Tag Archives: mobilephotography

Little Cabin in the Woods

  
At the outer edges of my noisy world exists a little cabin in the woods. A place where my soul can go to rest and reconnect with Nature and all of its beautiful gifts. 

 Whenever I go there it’s as if my soul does a giant exhale. A spewing out of all the damaging stress to make room for peace and healing.

   

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

   

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~ John Muir

  

  
 

“All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.” ~ William Shakespeare

 

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

     “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson

  
 

**All photographs and videos were taken on my iPhone. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.**

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Purchase a copy of “Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature” here.

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Ode to Spring

  

“Ode to Spring” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

March is a time for renewal, when the first buds of early Spring begin to push their way towards the surface. The days become a bit longer, less dark and bleak. Flocks of birds begin to fly overhead and make their way north after a long winter layover. Their excited squacks and cackles instill a sense of hope in my soul, but also a feeling of sadness that I never took the time to visit them while they were at rest here in our valley. My soul was tucked away in front of the warm fire, wrapped in reflection, which is where winter often sends me.

I stand in my backyard as a family of Sandhill Cranes ride a thermal right above me. Their giant wings glide in circles as their gutteral call rolls from their beaks in an ecstatic chorus. They circle and glide, resting for the long trip ahead, a momentary pause in their journey as if saying goodbye. A tear escapes my eye as I look up and wish them a safe flight.

The sun sneaks out between big white clouds and leftover raindrops that have settled on the new blooms begin to shimmer. My focus shifts from the vast expanse of the sky above back to the tiny things below me. The longer I stare, the more amazed I become. This micro world of color and light comes alive as if the entire universe exists in this few inches of earth within my vision. Life and death begin and end there. Spring approaches to remind us it is our job to live, to let go of the darkness, emerge from our coccoons and acknowledge the beauty in all that we have been given.

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Pick up a copy of “Zen in the Garden” here. 


Writing is Good for the Soul



From an early age books swept me away to better places where magical things happened to innocent children. Where mean giants were slain, frogs turned into princes, and even a poisonous apple was not enough to keep love from prevailing over evil. 

I learned to read books about “Green Eggs and Ham” and as a four-year-old pondered the question “Are You My Mother?” Later in my pre-adolescence Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, Little Women, and Watership Down became my goto books for validation of a better life outside my mini-Universe.

These books stirred something deep inside my soul that felt like a perfect fit. I secretly longed to be a writer that would make a difference in someone’s life. For years I wrote in the confines of my private space, rarely sharing my words with others. These words were an integral part of me and who I am. I was terrified at the thought of releasing them for others to read. The idea left me feeling vulnerable. In ways it was as if I was offering up my soul on a platter to sacrifice for anyone who dared.

Jump forward to three years ago when I was handed an opportunity to contribute a piece to an anthology that was going to be published by Seal Press. I was asked by one of the Editors, Hollye Dexter, who had become aware of my writing through my blog, through the writing community of She Writes, and a few other places where I had become brave enough to post. I was humbled and blown away to be asked. The topic of the anthology was shame. God knows I have had plenty of that in my life. Haven’t we all?



The book “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small” was published by Seal Press in 2012. My piece shares the pages with some extraordinary women. 0Being a part of that book has lead to some amazing opportunities for me like becoming a member of the faculty and speaking on the “Women Write Their Lives” speakers panel at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 2013. But the best thing to occur was my newfound sense of confidence in my ability to write.



** From left to right: Samantha Dunn, Brooke Axtell, Sarah Stonich, Laura Davis, Amy Ferris, Hollye Dexter, Suzanne Braun Levine, Tracy J Thomas, Brooke Warner. “Women Write Their Lives” speakers panel, San Miguel International Writers Conference, 2013. Photo by Jon Ware. **

I definitely don’t strive to be the next literary genius nor to make it onto the New York Times Bestsellers list with anything I write. Those amazing writers are few and far between. My only hope is to entertain and help others through my words. That alone is my greatest reward. Although of course I would be happy with any royalties that roll in so I can continue to pay my bills :).

I was thrilled this morning to find my little motivational Kindle ebook, “Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature” had moved up into the top 100 in the Kindle paid store for three categories on Amazon. It was perched at #32 in “Spiritual Healing,” #68 in Short Reads “self-Help,” and #78 in overall “Self-Help.” I am fully aware these rankings are precarious and go up and down on an hourly basis but am still giddy with excitement every time I see these numbers.



Whoever said “writing is good for the soul” was correct. Whenever I write I am immediately transported to my happy place and my soul feels renewed and quite often vindicated when I give it a platform on which to speak. My photography is on an even plane with my writing in regards to the cleansing of soul. Whenever I have the opportunity to combine the two I reach that elusive state of Nirvana. 

If you would like to download “Zen in the Garden” you can do so here: Zen in the Garden: Finding Peace and Healing Through Nature.

I welcome any reviews and would also love it if you would gift it forward if you feel so moved.


Wandering the Streets Once Again

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** “The Red Shoes” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved. **

It’s been a long few months but I am finally back out on the streets shooting again. For those of you who followed my journey through the end of 2014, you know this moment could not have come fast enough for me.

I was so happy to wake up to thick fog this morning. Not a typical response for most but in light of the fact I need to limit my UV exposure I was ecstatic. As I wandered the streets in this thick, wet, soupy veil of gray I felt more alive than I have felt in a long time.

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** “Old Choo Choo” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved. **

People say cancer has that effect on you, well at least after treatment. It most certainly has proven to be true for me. Everything seems so vivid and tangible now. My senses are on high alert with these “new” eyes. Things I once failed to notice now grab my attention with an immediacy that I shrugged off before. Life looks different and it is.

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** “Gun to the Head” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2015. All rights reserved. **


Skin Cancer Treatment – Fluorouracil Day 2

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Day two on Fluorouracil has been pretty uneventful. Last night my face tingled a lot and it felt like I had a mild sunburn (oh the irony). I sleep on my side so my pillow case kept sticking to my cheeks every time I went to turn over. I hear it is even more fun when your face begins to bleed and fester. Plastic covers under the pillowcases anyone?

This morning my face was still pink but the day was mostly uneventful with the exception of the fact I felt slightly irritated. More than likely not a side effect of the drug at this early juncture but feeling a little trapped by the thought of being a slave to this chemical for the next three weeks and not certain how intensely my skin is going to react.

There are a few tiny red spots that are already beginning to pop out on my forehead but nothing worth taking a photo of yet. So I decided to post some photos from my last nature walk this past Sunday instead.

It was my last chance to get in a good walk before starting the Fluorouracil. The medication makes you extra sensitive to UV rays. I have seen the photos of people who used the drug and made the mistake of going out in the sun. Even with sunscreen and short exposure times, their faces became terribly inflamed. Thus I have decided to become a vampire and go on walks after the sun goes down. It makes life more exciting that way :-).

So for now, here are a few iPhone photos I shot using the Tintype app by Hipstamatic. They were shot along the Barge Access Canal across from the Port of Sacramento.

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Honoring The Artist Inside

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Art has always been an integral part of my life. Through it I can make beauty in the midst of something ugly. Without it, I feel completely lost and void of purpose. With it, I feel at home, as if my purpose for living is tied in somewhere to the act of creating.

For me art takes on multiple iterations. Sometimes the vehicle for expression comes through my writing, sometimes it comes through the capturing of an image with my camera, and lately it has surfaced through working with clay.

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No matter which tool my soul chooses, I feel grounded and happy when lost in the moment of creation.

Since my diagnosis and surgeries I have experienced an extra strong desire to focus on my art. In the midst of these past few stressful months I found myself exploring macro photography, delving into play with clay, and most recently I have been drawn back into burying myself in words through the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, here is the description from the website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”

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I have had two novels simmering in the background for quite some time and 10 days ago I made the commitment to attack one of them by hammering out 50,000 words and the first draft by the end of November. I am already a few thousand words short of halfway on day 10. The accountability of recording my daily word count on the NaNoWriMo website has worked wonders for my writing habit. I have also felt a bit of urgency to write as much as I can to get ahead before I begin my topical chemotherapy today (more about that in my next post).

The majority of my freelance and published work has been in nonfiction. This is definitely my first serious push into the world of fiction. I have to admit, I am enjoying the journey. I believe I am enjoying it so much right now because it provides me a daily escape from reality and I am allowed to construct a world where my characters are free to roam without boundaries.

If I wanted to become all psychoanalytic about it I could probably tie it into my sudden lack of control over my physical body and the need to feel like the Captain of something once again. But meh, let’s not go there today and just say I am having a great time living in an alternate reality for around 2,000 words per day.

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I am definitely not a traditionalist. I have always struggled with being confined to an office in a corporate setting. Money never made me happy when I had a lot of it and the stress of the crazy corporate work hours just about did me in.

Of course I never wanted to be a “starving artist” but I have always wanted to make a living with my art. It is what fulfills me the most and definitely what makes me feel the happiest.

So here’s to always honoring the artist inside of you no matter how he/she decides they need to show themselves to the world.


Hipstamatic Tintype

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This is just a quick share of some photos along with a quick update. I will write a longer post in the next few days with what I have been up to lately as well as a skin cancer update.

Since my surgeries I have not been out very much to take photographs. And honestly, I have also felt a certain lack of motivation and inspiration in the area of photography for a few months prior. A very normal part of the cycle of being an artist. There are times when I just need a break from the camera so I can begin to see things differently again.

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This short break away has been a good one for me. I find myself gravitating back towards my original love of black and white. I also recently discovered the new Tintype app by Hipstamatic and I adore it.

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These four photos were shot over the last two days with the Tintype app. I love the dreamy, vintage feel this app creates. It has also helped me to slow down again and really think about my composition before I shoot. If you love mobile photography and have not yet tried this app I highly recommend it!

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Black & White Mobile Photography 3

My world has been filled with multiple projects mixed in with a not-so-fun head cold, so I am playing catch up on my blog posts this weekend.

Here are my most recent selections for the New Era Museum’s Black & White Photo-Action on Eyeem. As I have noted in past posts, I am honored to be a Founder Artist, Web Administrator, and Curator for NEM. The museum was originally founded by Andrea Bigiarini in Florence, Italy. Our goal is to support mobile photography and provide exposure for the multitude of amazing artists around the globe by providing an exhibition platform and education.

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 07:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: CRISTINA MESTURINI (@CRIBLUE), FAUSTO SERAFINI (@FAUSTO_SERAFINI), DARKO (@DARKOLABOR), BENAMON TAME (@BENAMON), YANNICK BRICE (@INNEREMOTION), NETTIE (LUMILYON) EDWARDS (@NETTIELUMILYONEDWARDS), LEE ATWELL (@LEEATWELL5)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 07

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 08:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: ARJAN VAN DER HORST (@AVDHORST), PHILIPPE SCHLOSSBERG (@SCHLOSSBERG), TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), ALEX P (@ASTRALEIA), STEFANIE (@CHULAHOMA_CHICK), TRACEY RENEHAN (@TRACEYRENEHAN), DARKO (@DARKOLABOR), NATALIE PROSVETOVA (@NAPROSVET)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 08

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 09:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: LOST (@REFLECTEDDISTANCE), BY THE TWILIGHT (@VERONICAHASSELL), DAVID VALBUENA (@FOTOZOE), ♨ Λ L E X Λ N D E R (@NEOSEER), @BADGERBOI, GINA COSTA (@GINACOSTA2), TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), ARMINEH HOVANESIAN (@ARMINEH)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 09

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 10:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: AMO PASSICOS (@MELLEAMO), BRETT CHENOWETH (@BRETTCHEN), YANNICK BRICE (@YANNICK_BRICE), DARKTURNIP (@DARKTURNIP), JQ GAINES (@JQGAINES), ANDREA (@SCHLAWINCHEN), PHOTOVIV@CE (@VOLOVIVACE), LORENKA (@LORENKA)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 10


Mobile Photography Awards – 2013

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The Mobile Photography Awards is considered by many to be the creme de la creme or the “Academy Awards” of mobile photography competitions. Last year I was pleased to receive two Honorable Mentions in the 2nd Annual MPA’s for my iPhone pieces “Illuminati” (in Visual FX) and “Rubber Band Man” (in People/Portraits).

I woke up this morning and was thrilled to discover I have received four Honorable Mentions in the 3rd Annual Mobile Photography Awards. This time for iPhone photographs in the categories of “Performing Arts,” “Photo Journalism,” “Travel,” and “Architecture.” I feel very honored to stand next to some of the greatest mobile photographers from around the globe. The winners and honorable mentions in all categories are fantastic and the art of mobile photography seems to be morphing in leaps and bounds each year.

I was even more pleased by the fact that Ed Kashi was one of the esteemed judges. Ed is an award-winning photojournalist who I have looked up to and followed for many years.

There are still a number of “traditional” camera photographers who are naysayers when it comes to mobile photography. In my opinion, as one who has played seriously on both sides of the craft, it would benefit those individuals to open their minds a bit more and pay close attention to some of the stellar work that is coming out of the world of mobile photography. Many are competing quite well alongside traditional DSLR and film pros in all areas. Mobile photography is not going away anytime soon.

To view the winners and honorable mentions in all categories click here.

"Músicos" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts category.

“Músicos” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts category.


"Dolls Para la Venta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Travel category.

“Dolls Para la Venta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Travel category.


"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Photo Journalism category.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Photo Journalism category.


"The Blue Room" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Architecture category.

“The Blue Room” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Architecture category.


Black & White Mobile Photography 2

I am constantly blown away by the incredible art that comes out of the mobile photography community. Many of the top mobile photographers have come from a background in traditional photography, though quite a few have had very little experience in the craft.

There is just something about that little piece of metal, glass, and plastic that frees up the inner artist. Part of the beauty of the movement is the fact these images are being shared across the virtual landscape in a constant stream via social media. This provides access to an endless library of inspiring images plus direct interaction with the artists who create them. The perfect recipe for learning how to become a better photographer.

I am blessed to be a founder artist and curator for the New Era Museum. One of my weekly tasks is to choose 8 images to feature on the NEM website from those submitted to the “NEM black&white” Photo-Pool on Eyeem. Awhile ago I posted the first few galleries of images here on my blog (you can view the post here). Each week when I visit the photo-pool I am faced with the difficult task of honing down a large number of amazing images to a mere 8. Curation is of course a subjective task. What I feel are the best 8 images based on my personal taste and experience in the field, may not be the same as that of one of my colleagues. But such is the reality of art world in general.

Today I would like to share galleries from weeks 3-6 for your enjoyment.

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 03:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: YANNICK BRICE (@INNEREMOTION), @RIKKR, MANUELA MATOS MONTEIRO (@MANUELAMATOSMONTEIRO), DARKO (@KARKOLABOR), ALEX (@ASTRALEIA), ARWAN PRAMUDYA (@ARWANPRAMUDYA), ALON GOLDSMITH (@ALONGOLDSMITH), JEFF (@BLITZ_BW)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 03

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 04:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: MARCO LAMBERTO (@MARCOLAMBERTO), ROBIN COHEN (@ROBINSCOHENPHOTOS), JV@NYC (@JEANETTEVAZQUEZ), ASLEEPUNDERCOLUMNSOVLIGHT (@COLUMNSOVSLEEP), ALEX (@ASTRALEIA), CLAUDIA FERNANDES (@CLAUDIAFERNANDES370), MANUELA MATOS MONTEIRO (@MANUELAMATOSMONTEIRO), BY THE TWILIGHT (@VERONICAHASSELL)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 04

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 05:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: ELAINE (@SUNFLOWEROF21), DARKO (@DARKOLABOR), MARCO LAMBERTO (@MARCOLAMBERTO), TUBA (@TO_BE), PATRICIA LARSON (@PATYLARSON), ALEX (@ASTRALEIA), TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), GAETANA (@GAETANAYBRICE)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 05

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 06:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: @LORENKA, TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), NATALI PROSVETOVA (@NAPROSVET), JV@NYC (@JEANETTEVAZQUEZ), @FRELU, @PHOT0BUG, @ILE

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 06


Honored – Best Mobile Photography and Art Images of 2013

"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I am honored to have my iPhone photograph “In Praise of Blue” chosen by The App Whisperer as one of the “Best Mobile Photography and Art Images of 2013.” The honored images were culled from 5,500 favorites of an original 71,000 submissions and feature some of the very best mobile photographers from around the globe.

You can view the slideshow of the amazing collection of honored images here:

http://theappwhisperer.com/2014/01/05/the-best-mobile-photography-and-art-images-of-2013-theappwhisperer/


Breathing in the Landscape

Happy New Year!

I love spending time in nature. It always grounds me and helps me to remember the important things in life. During the last two months of the year I was able to refuel my soul with a visit to some beautiful places. Of course I am never without a camera, so here are a few of my favorite landscapes that came out of those journeys. All four of these photos were shot and edited on an iPhone 5.

"Tidal Plane Sunset" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013-2014. All rights reserved.

“Ebb Tide at Sunset” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

"New Melones Sunset" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013-2014. All rights reserved.

“New Melones Sunset” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

"Lonesome Oak" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Lonesome Oak” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

"The Fallen" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“The Fallen” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

As a New Year’s gift to all my followers, here is a 40% discount code that you can use through April 30th to purchase my work. Just enter AUARGP in the “Discount Code” area at checkout. Here is the link to my store: http://tracy-thomas.artistwebsites.com/. These are direct ship prints so if you would prefer a signed and/or limited edition print, instead of purchasing through my store you can email me through the contact form on my website and we can work out the details. (http://www.tjthomas-iphoneart.com/#!contact/c175r)

Here’s to a beautiful new year!


Daguerreotype & Ambrotype Inspired Mirror & Glass iPrints

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I first entered the world of iPhoneography after I stumbled across the iPhoneArt.com website. From the moment I opened the site I was hooked. I was blown away by the quality of art shot and edited on iPhones and iPads and displayed on IPA. I found inspiration, encouragement and friendship amongst this group of cutting edge artists. The first time I exhibited my iPhone art was at the LA Mobile Arts Festival in the Santa Monica Art Studios. It was one of the largest curated exhibits of mobile art to date, put on by the founders of iPhoneart.com, Daria Polichetti and Nate Park. The exposure for that event was global and it helped to legitimize the art form and create new opportunities for many of the artists who were on display.

Daria and Nate have decided to bring IPA to the next level and currently have a Kickstarter campaign that is very close to its goal. They have developed Ambrotype inspired iPrints that are printed directly onto glass blocks and Daguerreotype inspired iPrints that are printed directly onto mirrors or aluminum plates.

Check out the Kickstarter video and if you are moved to help them reach their goal, here is the link to the Kickstarter page.


Frozen – Macro Photography and the Ice Age

Since a recent deep freeze has engulfed much of the U.S. over the past week, I decided to take a series of abstract macros of the icy conditions with my iPhone and a Olloclip macro lens. During these severe weather changes a lot of us tend to focus on the negative impacts and inconveniences while few of us pause to consider the beauty that Mother Nature gifts us with in those fleeting moments. So here’s a slideshow of some of the smaller frozen moments that caught my eye, set to my favorite piece of classical music, Debussy’s Claire de Lune.


Black & White Mobile Photography

I have the distinct honor of being one of the Founder Artist’s for the New Era Museum, a collective of some of the best mobile artists across the globe. I am also part of the Founder’s Board, serve as the NEM website administrator, a member of the NEM Artistic Committee, and am Curator for the “NEM black&white” Photo-Action on Eyeem. On occasion I plan to post my selections for the “NEM black&white” submissions here on the blog. My intention is to share some of the amazing mobile art that is being created and to continue to support the mobile photography movement and the artists that are behind it.

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 01:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: MICHAEL MANZA (@FIXIT_INPOST), FEDERICA CORBELLI (@LUBALUFT), @MARQUESADESOBRADO, DARKO (@DARKOLABOR), @RIKKR, PAUL GATTER (@PAULGATTER3), @MABADCA, @WANT_SNOW

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 01

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 02:

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The featured artists clockwise from upper left: NATALI PROSVETOVA (@NAPROSVET), JAC (@JACCARDOSO72), NIKKI (@NIXV1313), TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), @LORENKA, ROGER GUETTA (@ROGERGUETTA1), STEFANIA P. BIGIARINI (@STEFANIAPECCHIOLI), ASLEEPUNDERCOLUMNSOVLIGHT (@COLUMNSOVSLEEP)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 02

If you are a mobile photographer and you would like a chance to have your black and white work featured on the New Era Museum website plus a shout-out across social media, submit your work via the Eyeem mobile app to the album “NEM black&white.” Hope to see your work there soon!


Fall Colors

I began my career in photography as a nature and wildlife photographer.  Over the years my work has morphed and touched just about every genre imaginable in the craft.  Lately I have found myself drawn back into nature, focused primarily on landscape photos.   In the past I shot most of my landscapes with my DSLR, creating moody High Dynamic Range images.  This time around I have been shooting exclusively with my iPhone and feel drawn to a combination of apps that create a more painterly effect on the final image.

Here are some of the recent landscapes I have shot during the Fall color change in the Sierra’s.

"Nature's Symphony" - Fall colors at Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Nature’s Symphony” – Fall colors at Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Change" - Fall colors at Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Change” – Fall colors at Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Into the Woods" - Fall colors on a grove of Aspens, Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Into the Woods” – Fall colors on a grove of Aspens, Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

Below is a photo I shot last year that was recently part of “Creatives Rising” and was projected onto the 42-story Linc LIC building in New York City as well as part of the See Me exhibition on Long Island.

"Soliloquy 9" - Fall colors in the Sierra Nevada, CA. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 9” – Fall colors in the Sierra Nevada, CA. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

 

 


More Fun With Photomontage

My creative imagination has taken over once again and I have been having a lot of fun with photomontage.  There are times when I burn out on montage work because it takes a lot of time and is pretty tedious to create on an iPhone.  So, I take a little break and gravitate back towards straight photography.  But since I got my iPad Mini, my eyes are far less strained and I am able to do the more tedious editing on the larger iPad screen with the remainder of editing on my iPhone.

Here are some of my recent photomontage pieces.  Yes, I have a very unique and often quirky imagination. 🙂

"Remnants of a Happy Life" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Remnants of a Happy Life” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Rabbit and the Wolf" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Rabbit and the Wolf” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Aliens on Holiday" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Aliens on Holiday” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Phone Home?" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Phone Home?” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 


Happy 4th and New Work

Happy 4th of July to my U.S. friends!  Still on the healing path and now waiting for word on the West Nile Virus antibodies test.  In the meantime, I have been focused on creating art by shooting with my iPhone and doing some of the editing on my iPad.  The iPad screen definitely provides relief for my strained eyes.

Below are two examples of the new direction that my photomontage are headed.  My photomontage pieces take a lot longer to create than my more straightforward app’ed images, but I have definitely had a lot of time on my hands lately :-).

"Owl Medicine" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Owl Medicine” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.  Apps: procamera, icolorama, pixlromatic, procreate, blender, superimpose.

"Mama Gaia" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Mama Gaia” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved. Apps: procamera, icolorama, superimpose, pic grunger, pixlromatic, blender

 


Healing in Nature – Independence Lake

photo(2)

“On the Mend” – Independence Lake, Tahoe National Forest, CA

I am still on the mend from this not so fun illness.  The mysterious polka dots still remains in smaller patches on my legs and arms but are fading daily.  The only symptoms that persist besides the rash is fatigue and a few achy joints.  I felt well enough this past weekend to escape to the Tahoe National Forest for a night of camping in “Lucy,” our vintage 1956 canned ham trailer.

We decided to check out Independence Lake, a pristine alpine lake that sits at around 7,200 feet in elevation.  The lake and surrounding acreage was purchased several years ago by the Nature Conservancy and is cooperatively managed by a number of agencies with the goal of preserving the area and protecting one of the last populations of native Lahontan Cutthroat Trout that live in the lake.

Our vintage 1956 Canned Ham trailer.

“Lucy”- our vintage 1956 Canned Ham trailer.

There is currently no camping adjacent to the lake so we chose the Little Lower Truckee River campground located off of Hwy 89 and within 10 miles of Independence Lake.

The five miles of road that lead to Independence is a rough and rocky ride that requires a high clearance vehicle.  The surrounding scenery was absolutely stunning with thick forests of pine that would occasionally open up into wildflower spotted alpine meadows and groves of aspen.

Here’s a very condensed version of the trip up to the lake:

In order to protect the lake from invasive species, no outside boats are allowed.  The Nature Conservancy provides the free use of a fleet of kayaks, fly fishing pontoons, and motor boats for anyone who would rather spend time out on the water than along the shore.

Following are a few of the photos I took while there.  I am experimenting once again with a variety of apps so each one is a bit different in look and feel.

Several of the free-for-use kayaks line the shore of Independence Lake.

Several of the free-for-use kayaks line the shore of Independence Lake.

"The Paddler" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Paddler” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Just Fishin'" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Just Fishin'” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Shoreline” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

It was so nice to spend some time outside of the house and out in nature again.  I look forward to our next trip to Independence Lake when I am feeling myself again and will definitely grab one of the kayaks and paddle around the lake and take a lot of photos!

**All photos shot and edited with an iPhone 5**


2013 iPhone Photography Awards – Honorable Mentions

I was more than honored to find out yesterday that I had received three Honorable Mentions in the 6th Annual iPhone Photography Awards.  This is an International competition that brings in a whole lot of global entries every year.  Three of my photos were chosen in the categories of “children,” “flowers,” and “travel.”

My photo “La Niña de las Flores” received an Honorable Mention in the “children” category.

"La Niña de las Flores" - La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“La Niña de las Flores” – La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My photo “La Novia y el Novio” received an Honorable Mention in the “travel” category.

"La Novia y el Novio" - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“La Novia y el Novio” – San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My photo “Icelandic Poppy” received an Honorable Mention in the “flowers” category.

"Icelandic Poppy" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Icelandic Poppy” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.


Still Healing and Creating

Skin biopsy site with rash where the non-latex bandage was located.

Skin biopsy site with rash where the non-latex bandage was located.

Today is day #17 of the Great Pink Polka Dot Mystery.  The crazy rash is beginning to fade nicely after using the heavy-duty steroidal creams for the last eleven days but it is still pretty evident on my legs and inside of my arms.  It now looks like a bunch of faded circular lavender bruises.  Still sleeping about 10 hours a night which is highly unusual for me and am still feeling some muscle weakness and fatigue during the days.   However the fever, headaches and muscle contractions are now gone.  Still awaiting the skin biopsy results and have to go back in for more blood tests in a few weeks.  Bets are still on for West Nile Virus but the antibodies have not shown up in the blood tests as of yet (which is normal for several weeks after infection).

The past two days I have finally felt well enough to begin creating again.  My iPhone 5 arrived so I have been enjoying the much higher resolution over my antiquated iPhone 4.

Here are a few of the pieces I have created over the last few days…

"The Place of His Imaginings" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Place of His Imaginings” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Place of His Imaginings” was chosen for Pixels: The Art of the iPhone yesterday and was “Explored” on Flickr today meaning it was chosen as one of the top 500 photos out of roughly 4.5 million uploaded photos.  Quite exciting and as of this hour it has received over 100 “likes” and a multitude of comments.  You can give it a “like” too at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tjthomas_iphoneography/9008848760/

"Where the Wild Things Roam 1" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Where the Wild Things Roam 1” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Where the Wild Things Roam 1” is the first photomontage I have had the energy to create in a while.  It was also chosen for Pixels yesterday:  http://www.pixelsatanexhibition.com/uncategorized/tracy-j-thomas-where-the-wild-things-roam-1/

 

"Butterfly Iris" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Butterfly Iris” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I haven’t spent much time outdoors since my illness with the exception of journeys to and from my doctor’s office.  The other day I was going stir crazy so spent the evening in the shade of our patio and noticed the Butterfly Irises had begun to bloom.  I snapped a photo with my new iPhone 5 and went to town on editing it the next day.  It reminded me to open my eyes to everything that surrounds me even in my home.  There is always something picture worthy no matter where you find yourself.

"The Lifeguard Shack" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Lifeguard Shack” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

The other day while sitting on my couch I found myself day dreaming about the ocean.  I flipped through my photo files from last summer when we spent time down in Santa Monica and Venice Beach for the LA Mobile Arts Festival where I had several pieces on exhibit.  I came across a photo of one of the lifeguard shacks at sunset and decided I needed to app it and keep it on my computer to remind myself of that fun trip and the healing vibes of the ocean.

Tomorrow my new iPad mini arrives and I am so looking forward to using it for a little videography as well as having a much larger screen with which to edit my iPhone photos.

 


Accolades to Boost Immunity

Still feeling under the weather and just waiting for more test results.  I haven’t had much energy to do any work, especially not of the creative kind, however over the past few days I have received notice of a few accolades for recent work that have helped to boost my spirit and hopefully my immune system as well.

"Tainted Beauty Queen" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Tainted Beauty Queen” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My iPhone photo “Tainted Beauty Queen” was one of 8 chosen for New Era Museum’s “NEM memories” photo-action, curated by Jennifer Bracewell.  You can view all the choices here.

"Oasis" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Oasis” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My iPhone photo “Oasis” was chosen as one of 8 entries for New Era Museum’s “NEM landscapes” photo-action, curated by Gianluca Ricoveri.  You can view all chosen entries here.

Artist of the Day at iPhoneArt.com

Artist of the Day at iPhoneArt.com

And once again (I believe this is my sixth time) I was chosen as “Artist of the Day” on iPhoneArt.com today.

I only wish my body felt as happy as my mind does with all these new accolades.


Featured in iCreate Magazine

The June issue of iCreate Magazine with a feature on my and my iPhoneography.

The June issue of iCreate Magazine with a feature on my and my iPhoneography.

I have been very ill this past week with a yet to be diagnosed illness after being bit by an unknown bug (most likely West Nile but time will only tell).  So yesterday I received a nice “gift” in the mail that lifted my spirits – the recent issue of iCreate Magazine with a two page feature about me and my iPhoneography.

The two page spread with interview, a few of my photos and some tips & fave apps.

The two page spread with interview, a few of my photos and some tips & fave apps.

You can also pick up an electronic copy of this edition in the Apple iTunes store.


The Frustrated Painter in Me

"Waiting to Board" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Waiting to Board” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

The frustrated painter inside of me has decided to hang out for a while.  Since last Monday I have been ill with the lovely upper respiratory virus that has been making the rounds.  I feel as if my body has taken ten steps backwards following last Sunday’s wonderful 10K run under the giant Redwoods.  I am hacking and coughing and sniffling and am finding it hard to get enough rest.  To take my mind off the illness, I edited a ton of photos I had hanging out in my iPhone photo gallery.  Every single photo I edited ended up with a painterly feel.  I have learned to just trust my intuition when editing and go along for the ride for a while until my creative spirit takes another turn.

"The Orange Bag" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Orange Bag” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Runners" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Runners” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"That Way" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“That Way” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

**All photos were shot with my iPhone 4 and the ProCamera app and edited with Camera+, Glaze, Laminar and Pic Grunger.

 


More Color and Texture

"The Farm" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Farm” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

This past weekend I took Amtrak up to Arcata, California to spend time with friends and to run the Avenue of the Giants 10K under the giant redwood trees just outside of Weott.  It was great to escape to cooler weather away from the heat of the Valley and to spend time on the laid back North coast.  On my way home I took a lot of photos of the landscape from the train window and several photos at the train station.  The photos in this post are further experimentation with the use of color and texture which during the editing phase.  All of these photos were taken with my iPhone 4 using the ProCamera app and were edited in Camera+, Laminar, Glaze and Pic Grunger.

"Along the Tracks" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Along the Tracks” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Terminal Stroll" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Terminal Stroll” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 


Playing With Color and Texture

This past Sunday we drove up to a lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains to get away from the abnormally sweltering Spring weather we have been having in the Valley.  I parked my chair in the shade and immediately felt the stress of past weeks subside.  I sat and walked and took photos all day long while breathing in the beauty of my surroundings.  Here are a few of the photos I created with a focus on playing around with color and texture in the editing process.

"The Docks" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Docks” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Peaceful Place" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Peaceful Place” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Kayak" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Kayak” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

**All photos were shot with my iPhone 4 using the ProCamera app and edited using the Camera+, Laminar, Glaze and Blender apps.

 

 


iCreate Magazine Interview

©iCreate Magazine.

Photo ©iCreate Magazine.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the Features Editor of iCreate Magazine.  iCreate is a print magazine based in the UK with a large circulation that focuses on everything related to Mac computers, iPhones and iPads.  The Features Editor came across my portfolio on iPhoneArt.com and sent me an email with the desire to feature me in one of their upcoming issues.

I was surprised and honored to say the least.  I continue to shake my head with amazement over the amount of exposure I have received for my work since I purchased my iPhone about a year and one half ago.  And to think I never thought I would take a single photography with my phone since I was a diehard DSLR user.  This whole experience has taught me to remain open to the possibilities in all forms of new technology.  I can’t wait now to play more with video and video editing once I upgrade to an iPhone 5, just to see where that experience might lead…


Never Give Up

The Press

Have you ever had one of those weeks that was stressful for a variety of reasons and no matter how hard you worked it felt as if you were running backwards instead of reaching the target you were shooting for?  That was the type of week I had.  So, when more good news in the area of my art work began to flow in at the end of this week, I was reminded of the fact that hard work is eventually rewarded as long as you just stick with it and never give up.

To begin with, I had work chosen for “MobFORMAT: The Press” at the Format International Photography Festival in Derby, UK.  This was a unique exhibition deemed to be the first mobile photo press and curated by the festival goers themselves.  Over 6,000 photos were printed and displayed over a period of 30 days.  The concept was to “print out the thousands of photos being shared on EyeEm every day and create the largest interactive exhibition the mobile photo world has ever seen.”  Here is a time-lapse video from the event:

I was also informed that three of my images were chosen for the “Physical Streams 2” exhibition at the Overpass Gallery in Loano, Italy.  This is the second year in a row I have had images chosen for this exhibit of 100 mobile photographs presented in a giant mosaic.  Last year’s exhibit was also on display at the Nuovo Film Studio in Savano, Italy.

The poster announcing Physical Streams 2.

The poster announcing Physical Streams 2.

My three pieces chosen for “Physical Streams 2.”

"Rubber Band Man," "Illuminati," and "The Undertaker" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Rubber Band Man,” “Illuminati,” and “The Undertaker” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Illuminati” being printed for the exhibit:

©Alessandro Gimelli, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Alessandro Gimelli, 2013. All rights reserved.

The giant mosaic that hangs in the Overpass Gallery.:

©Alessandro Gamelli, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Alessandro Gimelli, 2013. All rights reserved.

And then today, I woke up to find out I was named “Artist of the Day” on iPhoneArt.com again:

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 12.08.54 PM

All is well within my soul this morning and I am ready to keep my nose to the grindstone and never, ever give up!  :-)…


Recent Exposure

"Wings" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Wings” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

On Sunday I was very honored to have my iPhone photo “Wings” chosen as a  featured photo on the Juxt 1000 Words Showcase.  Juxt is a highly respected site made up by some of the best mobile artists from around the globe.  You can view it along with the other amazing pieces chosen for the showcase here.

"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

This morning, two of my iPhone photos were chosen for display on Pixels: The Art of the iPhone website.  “In Praise of Blue” above and “The Pleading” below.  I took these two photos last year at a local Color Run and just recently rediscovered them when plowing through all my photo archives.  I love the quality of light in each one and the energy of the subjects and used minimal apping with Laminar to create two images I am really happy with.

"The Pleading" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Pleading” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

All three of these images seem to speak to my current personal spiritual journey as do several other images I have been working on for quite some time now.  It will be interesting to see how they evolve over the coming months.


Taking the Leap

"A Conference of Clowns" - Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“A Conference of Clowns” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I was looking through my photo archives for one of a series of photos I took a few years ago when I was documenting the “Occupy” movement with my big girl DSLR and I came across the following photos that I decided to share in this blog post.

My studies at the Academy of Art for my M.F.A were in Documentary photography and I still love taking photos of people whenever I get the chance to wander the streets. I do a ton of that street photography with my iPhone although until recently I haven’t shared much of that work since I have been so focused on creating and exhibiting my montage work over the past year.  But perusing through my archives this afternoon has rekindled my desire to delve a bit further into my street and documentary photography with my iPhone.  All my serious pro work has been captured with a DSLR but I think I am ready to take the leap as soon as my iPhone 5 arrives (yes, I get the upgrade this month finally!).

I was also extremely inspired by hearing Richard Koci Hernandez present at MacWorld.  A photojournalist by trade, Koci now shoots his street photography exclusively with his iPhone.  And God knows we need more women representin’ in the world of street photography.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Happy Hippy” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Strike of the Sunflowers” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Half and Half” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Thinker” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Two for a Buck” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 


Spring Hath Sprung

"Fire Poppy 2" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Fire Poppy 2” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

Ah Spring.  The beautiful awakening of flowers, pollen and the honey bees that still remain.  The the time of year I love to roam the garden and take photographs of all the pretty blooms that appear after a Winter’s rest.

This year we have Icelandic Poppies that we planted in the Fall and they seem to be very happy to be here.  So here are a few of my favorite shots for you.  The piece above “Fire Poppy 2” made its way onto the “Pixels: The Art of the iPhone” gallery website today (you can view it along with all the other wonderful art here).

"Fire Poppy" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Fire Poppy” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Poppies in a Row" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Poppies in a Row” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Spring Hath Sprung" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Spring Hath Sprung” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Spring Equinox 1" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Spring Equinox 1” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Spring Equinox 2" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Spring Equinox 2” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.


Tienes mi Corazón San Miguel de Allende

The bride and groom of a traditional wedding leave the Parroquia in a horse-drawn carriage followed by a mariachi band. - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The bride and groom of a traditional wedding leave the Parroquia in a horse drawn carriage followed by a mariachi band. – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I arrived home this last Tuesday night after spending a week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I presented a workshop on social media for writers, gave private consultations, and was part of a “Women Write Their Lives” speakers panel during the International Writers’ Conference held in this beautiful city in the heart of Mexico.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Chicle para usted” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

For the past four days I have been catching up on my work, my sleep, and have been struggling to find the right words to describe my experiences in this truly magical place. So for today I will let a few of my photographs do the speaking for me until I find my voice again. To say that San Miguel de Allende won my heart is an understatement. The culture, the beauty of the architecture, the amazing faces, and the kind hearts of the people who live there will forever remain etched inside my soul…

"Flores en la Puerta Roja" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Flores en la Puerta Roja” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Músicos" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Músicos” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Cruzar la puerta de la iglesia" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Cruzar la puerta de la iglesia” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Dolls para la venta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Dolls para la venta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Esperando en la Puerta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Esperando en la Puerta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Sombreros y Bolsos" ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Sombreros y Bolsos” ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

**All images were shot with my iPhone4**

*Back to iPinion Syndicate*


This Thing Called Photomontage

"When Tempest Tossed," iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“When Tempest Tossed,” iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

I stumbled across the world of mobile photography a year ago this month when I purchased my first iPhone. Yes, I was a bit behind the times in regard to the little rectangle of metal, glass and plastic that people have been addicted to for some time now.

When I first got my iPhone I had plans to use it for everything but taking photographs. Having just graduated with my Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Academy of Art University the month prior, the use of my iPhone to create images worth keeping was truly a hard sell in my mind.

And then I stumbled across iPhoneart.com. To say this website was a life changer for me would be an understatement. The brilliant work I witnessed as I perused the galleries of images on this website blew my mind. How could this be possible? These images were shot and edited on an iPhone? Really??

I began to download photography apps and thus began my own addiction with my iPhone. Before long I realized it truly does not matter what tool a photographer decides to use. What matters is the photographer behind the lens, and the end result of its use. This has been true throughout the history of photography and the multitude of cameras made available to create photographs.

"Drowning in a Speed Queen," iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Drowning in a Speed Queen,” iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Not everyone who picks up a camera of any sort can create images that can stand next to the best in regard to subject matter, composition, use of light, line, color, and texture. But those who understand the technical and conceptual aspects of photography and are blessed with a bit of natural talent can indeed create compelling images no matter what tool they choose. It doesn’t matter if that tool is an SLR that uses film, a pinhole camera made out of an orange juice can, a plastic Holga, expensive large format, Polaroid, DSLR, point and shoot, or an iPhone; all have been tools used by some of the greatest photographers in the world.

What I have found endearing in the world of mobile photography is the controversy in some circles surrounding composite photography, better known as “photomontage.” Photomontage is basically joining two or more photographs through the use of layers into an illusion to create a surreal or artificial virtual reality. Photomontage has existed in the world of photography since its beginnings, long before the digital age, and was still considered to be “photography” because it was, and still is.

A great example is the image “The Two Ways of Life” by Oscar Gustav Rejlander, created in 1857. This piece was assembled from 30 individual negatives and printed onto one large piece of paper. Rejlander’s piece was first exhibited at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857 and Queen Victoria purchased a copy for Prince Albert.

"The Two Ways of Life" by Oscar Gustav Rejlander, 1857.

“The Two Ways of Life” by Oscar Gustav Rejlander, 1857.

In the early 1900’s, the Dada movement out of Germany was instrumental in moving montage work into the limelight with their political protests against World War I via photographers such as John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters, and Raoul Hausmann. The Surrealists and Constructivists continued the trend of photomontage, which has moved on into the modern-day contemporary photography movement.

From "The American Way of Life" by Joseph Renau, 1949.

From “The American Way of Life” by Joseph Renau, 1949.

From "Flying Houses" by Laurent Chehere, 2012.

From “Flying Houses,” digital photomontage by Laurent Chehere, 2012.

The grumblings in the world of mobile photography seem to arise from the lack of knowledge of the history of traditional photography. Some of the individuals heading the “movement” appear so caught up in the tool itself they seem to forget that it is just that, another tool to take photographs. It is really nothing new, other than being super portable with the all-in-one ability to edit photographs directly inside the same tool that takes the images. If someone uses an iPhone, it does not magically make them a photographer.

Photomontage, composite photography, photographs with a painterly effect, etc. are all accepted in the world of fine art photography and are exhibited in mainstream galleries around the globe. Photographs taken with mobile phones have also begun to show up in these same galleries with the same level of acceptance as traditional camera photographs.

"Rubber Band Man," iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Rubber Band Man,” iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Of course there are rules and ethics surrounding composite photography in the world of photojournalism, as there should be. Yet, the remainder of the medium along with those who lend their support to photographers (whether film, digital, mobile or otherwise) should remain open to not only “straight” photography but also those who choose to express themselves by way of “fine art” photography (manipulated or not).

As others have stated before me, eventually all this brouhaha surrounding mobile photography will subside. The iPhone will be viewed along with all other cameras as simply another means to an end. We saw it happen with the Holga, the Polaroid, the first digital cameras. Before long, every digital camera on the market will have the equivalent editing capabilities of the mobile phone.

The most important change will occur when photographers who choose mobile phones as their primary tool begin to compete on the same level as the master photographers who have come before them. Many have begun to enter that realm already with success including Karen Divine, Chase Jarvis, and Richard Koci Hernandez. These photographers view the iPhone as another tool to take photographs and they treat this little rectangle of metal, plastic and glass in the same way as they treat their more traditional cameras. It is one of their tools of choice to create the compelling imagery that comes from a space of technical and conceptual mastery. It is as simple as that.

**Back to iPinion Syndicate**


Photowalk: The Evidence of Creatures

When I was a child, I spent most of my summer days following animal tracks in the fields behind our house in search of elusive creatures. On occasion I would find one, but most often their prints were the only evidence that proved they had once waddled or hopped or slithered on that same piece of ground.

Yesterday’s photowalk was all about finding evidence of creatures both big and small. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the Sacramento River was calling. The heavy rains have subsided for now so the river was lower than normal for this time of year. I made my way along a short stretch of sandy beach and found prints of several animals that make this area their home.

Here are the photos with evidence of creatures, both human and animal, that I discovered yesterday. All photos were taken with my iPhone with the Hipstamatic App, JohnS Lens and Ina’s 69 film.

Looking across the Sacramento River towards Riverbank Marina. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking across the Sacramento River towards Riverbank Marina. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon and mollusk tracks.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon and mollusk prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Bobcat prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Bobcat prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon rear foot print.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon rear foot print. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Clam shell critter snack.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Clam shell critter snack. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Baby raccoon prints the size of one half of my thumb.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Baby raccoon prints the size of one half of my thumb. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter and Bobcat prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter and Bobcat prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon print.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon print. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon family prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon family prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The head of a sardine discarded by a fisherman.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The head of a sardine discarded by a fisherman. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Discarded shopping cart that was most likely the carryall for one of the homeless who live along the river.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Discarded shopping cart that was most likely the carryall for one of the homeless who live along the river. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

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“Illuminati” – Honorable Mention in the Mobile Photography Awards

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Illuminati" - Apps used:  vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Illuminati” – Apps used: vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

My heart is beating double time. They just posted the “People/Portraits” category winners for the Mobile Photography Awards and my iPhone piece “Illuminati” won an honorable mention! So this piece, along with “Rubber Band Man” in my previous post will be on exhibit in the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City at the end of February. An unbelievable honor to be in the company of the best mobile photographers in the world!

You can view more of the winners here: http://mobilephotographyblog.com/peopleportraits/


“Rubber Band Man” – Honorable Mention in Mobile Photography Awards

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

I am beyond thrilled and honored that my iPhone piece “Rubber Band Man” has been chosen for an Honorable Mention in the Visual FX category for the Mobile Photography Awards! These awards feature the best of the best in the world of mobile photography. All those chosen in all categories will be on display at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City from February 22-28.

You can check out all the amazing works here: http://mobilephotographyblog.com/visual-fx/


Photowalk: Old Sacramento

After finishing up the class I have been writing for the University and finally recovering from a bout with the flu, I was able to get out on a photowalk this morning. I decided to photograph Old Sacramento with my iPhone and used my Hipstamatic App with the Tinto 1884 lens and D-Type plate. This combination seemed very appropriate for a place steeped in history.

The Sacramento River

The Sacramento River with the I Street Bridge and paddle wheeler boats docked in the distance. The Sacramento River was an important food source for the area’s indigenous tribes and became a major transportation and trade route during the California gold rush during the 19th Century. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge was built in 1935 and was the first vertical lift bridge in the California highway system. The center section of this bridge raises and lowers for large boats to journey up and down the Sacramento River. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The paddle wheel of the Delta King that journeyed daily between San Francisco to Sacramento from 1927 to 1940.  It is now a floating hotel and restaurant docked in Old Sacramento.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The paddle wheel of the Delta King that journeyed daily between San Francisco and Sacramento from 1927 to 1940. It is now a floating hotel and restaurant docked in Old Sacramento. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The I Street Bridge has spanned the Sacramento River for 100 years.  The steel double-decker swing bridge was built by Southern Pacific Railroad and continues to carry trains and automobiles across the river to this day.  The bridge swings open for larger boats to go up and down the river.

The I Street Bridge has spanned the Sacramento River for 100 years. The steel double-decker swing bridge was built by Southern Pacific Railroad and continues to carry trains and automobiles across the river to this day. The bridge swings open for larger boats to go up and down the river.

A Sacramento Southern rail car sits on the tracks near the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.  The Sacramento Southern rail line was built between 1906 and 1912 and ran south for 24 miles to Walnut Grove and later became part of Southern Pacific.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A Sacramento Southern rail car sits on the tracks near the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. The Sacramento Southern rail line was built between 1906 and 1912 and ran south for 24 miles to Walnut Grove and later became part of Southern Pacific. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A stack of freight sits near the Central Pacific Freight and Passenger Stations in Old Sacramento.  The station was reconstructed on the site of the original which was built in the mid-1860's.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A stack of freight sits near the Central Pacific Freight and Passenger Stations in Old Sacramento. The stations were reconstructed on the site of the original which was built in the mid-1860’s. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The backside of the passenger train station along the tracks.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The backside of the passenger train station along the tracks. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking toward the trains and boarding area from the passenger station. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking toward the trains and boarding area from the passenger station. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Huntington, Hopkins and Company Hardware Store.  During the 1860's this company was a wholesale brokerage that supplied all of Northern California.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Huntington, Hopkins and Company Hardware Store. During the 1860’s this company was a wholesale brokerage that supplied all of Northern California. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Park sits in an empty lot where City Market, a butcher shop, used to stand.  There are remnants of Old Sacramento's past throughout this park including columns that used to adorn the outside of buildings and ironworks cast in Old Sacramento in the 1800's.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Park sits in an empty lot where City Market, a butcher shop, used to stand. There are remnants of Old Sacramento’s past throughout this park including columns that used to adorn the outside of buildings and ironworks cast in Old Sacramento in the 1800’s. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A slab of granite, some ironworks, and the old brick wall of the adjacent building in Pioneer Park.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A slab of granite, some ironworks, and the old brick wall of the adjacent building in Pioneer Park. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Closeup detail on one of the columns used to adorn the outside of business buildings in Old Sacramento.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Closeup detail on one of the columns used to adorn the outside of business buildings in Old Sacramento. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A fallen column slowly being absorbed by a tree in Pioneer Park.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A fallen column slowly being absorbed by a tree in Pioneer Park. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

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A Self Portrait in Pieces

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These eyes have seen the depths of Hell and stared into the very face of God. They have stayed themselves on beauty and sought out the very truth of every soul they’ve met.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

This mind is often lost in thought. A thousand pictures formed in rapid fire across the neurons, reminding me of things I’ve seen and forming visions of what is yet to be.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These hands have written a million words, played a thousand tunes, gently cradled a newborn child, clenched closed with rage, and held my heart for all to see in tenuous trust.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These wrinkles. Each one earned as a badge of honor over time, woven across a once smooth surface like a roadmap leading to my past.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These feet have climbed a dozen mountains, walked a million miles, run as fast as they could carry, and propelled me through the dark out into light.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

And this heart still keeps on beating, whether broken or whole, happy or sad, empty or content, with others or all alone. And it will beat on, until the day it decides its job is complete.

This is me.

[**All photographs were taken with my iPhone4 using the Hipstamatic App, Tinto 1884 Lens and D-Type Plate Film**]

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“Asphyxia” Makes the Best of 2012 on iPhoneOgenic

"Asphyxia" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Asphyxia” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

My steampunk inspired iPhone piece “Asphyxia” made it into the “Best of 2012” on iPhoneOgenic. It is one of 60 iPhone photographs chosen out of 45,000. Quite an honor to have my work placed in the presence of some of the top iPhoneographers in the world.

You can view all the photos here.


More Playing With Colors

And the color phase continues. Every time I finish one of these pieces it makes me smile. They bring me right up out of the fog (both literally and figuratively). I am reminded of summer and warmth and the sand that sifts between my toes. I can smell the barbeques and feel the waves lapping rhythmically against my feet. I taste the salty air on my lips and curl up beneath the shade of a beach umbrella, completely content with life.

"Beachcomber's Paradise" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Beachcomber’s Paradise” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"A Parasailer's Heaven" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“A Parasailer’s Heaven” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"California Dreamin" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“California Dreamin” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

To view the rest of this series visit my recent post Playing With Colors.

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Playing With Colors

The New Year finds me playing with colors and texture. I suppose it was some subconscious shift from the dark events that occurred in our country at the end of 2012 and the hope that 2013 will be a brighter and more colorful year. Whatever the reason, this week I found myself pushing color and texture on a few beach scenes I had shot with my iPhone while down in Santa Monica at the LA Mobile Arts Festival last summer. Although it is most likely a temporary direction in my art, I am having a lot of fun with these pieces and they have a way of keeping my spirits high during a very busy time in my life.

"A Surfer's Sunset" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“A Surfer’s Sunset” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"The Pier" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“The Pier” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"The Beach Electric" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“The Beach Electric” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"Beach Time" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Beach Time” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Primary Apps used for all these pieces: procamera, camera+, iris, glaze, blender

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Happy New Year!

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Today I went on a long walk and reflected on what an amazing year this has been for me professionally. It has been filled full with exhibitions, publication and a ton of wonderful projects that kept me focused and moving forward with my life. There were of course some difficult times – you’ve heard the expression “starving artist” I’m sure – however, I used those times to focus on creating art which carried me right through to the brighter side. Art always does that for me.

May each one of you reflect on all you have accomplished during 2012 and have a wonderful and very happy New Year!!

Here are some highlights from my year:

Exhibitions in juried shows at:

The Lunch Box Gallery in Miami, Florida (2x’s)
LA Mobile Arts Festival in Santa Monica, CA
Rebekah Jacob Gallery in Charleston, SC
Nuovo Film Studio, Savano, Italy
The Overpass Gallery, Loano, Italy
Orange Gallery, Orlando, Florida
Black Box Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Gallery 1075, West Sacramento, CA (Solo show)

Featured Artist on the App Whisperer, Life in Lofi, Pixels, iPhoneOgenic, Mobile Photography Awards, and iPhoneography Central websites.

Artist of the Day at iPhoneart.com (3x’s)

Two-time featured documentary series on SocialDocumentary.net

Finalist in Digital Photo Pro Magazine’s Emerging Pro Photography Competition

Finalist in the Digital Arts: California “Wide Open Digital” Competition

My photography was featured in PhotoWorld Magazine – China, The Huffington Post, LAist, Lesnscratch, the Miami Herald, F-Stop Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltic News Network, The Daily Mail UK, and the West Sacramento Press.

I was published in the Seal Press Anthology “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the stories that kept us small.”

I was added onto the teaching faculty at the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

I was contracted by the Academy of Art University to write the “Business Practices and Principles for Photographers” course.

May 2013 be just as good or better for all!


Digital Arts California: Wide Open Digital Finalist

Screen shot 2012-12-28 at 9.25.20 AM

What an exciting week! The good news for my iPhoneography keeps on coming! In addition to being notified I am a finalist in the Digitial Photo Pro Emerging Photographer Competition that I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post, I just found out nine of my iPhone pieces were chosen along with 66 other digital artists and photographers for the Digital Arts: California “Wide Open Digital” competition.

Here is a link to the online exhibit: http://www.digitalartscalifornia.com/?cat=14

From the Director:

“Our latest exhibit, ‘Wide Open Digital,’ showcases exciting innovative work by 67 digital artists and photographers from 22 countries. This show includes 293 images that range, in style and technique, from one end of the digital spectrum to the other. These images represent some of the most talented work in digital arts around the globe.

I would like to mention that this was a very competitive show, and thus, having even one image chosen for inclusion is a high honor. As much as we would have liked to have included every entrant in the show, we did not. But, we can say that every image we evaluated showed promise. We hope that those artists whose work was not chosen will continue working to further that promise.

…I would like to thank my fellow judges. These two graphics professionals have long resumes of accomplishment in the visual arts. As Art Director of Buddah Records, Elektra/Asylum Records, and 20th Century Fox Records, Glen Christensen was, for many years, a major figure in graphic design in the music industry. He has received two nominations for the prestigious Grammy Award, for Best Album Package. Gary Viskupic has, to his credit, an extensive body of work in editorial illustration. He created most of this illustration during his long tenure as an editorial artist at New York’s Newsday. In addition, his international freelance work has included many award-winning posters and illustrations for magazine and book publishers. Gary has been recognized many times by such prestigious organizations as the Society of Illustrators, Graphis, The Society for News Design, and Print magazine. He is currently an instructor of illustration at New York Institute of Technology.”

Additionally, on Wednesday of this week I was chosen as Artist of the Day at iPhoneart.com!

ipa


Finalist in Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro Competition

DPP

I woke up to some really cool news this morning. My iPhone piece “Illuminati” is one of 42 finalists in the Fine Art category for the Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro Photo Competition. Now it is up for People’s Choice Award and you can help me out by voting for it (if you are moved to do so of course).

Digital Photo Pro is a major photography magazine with a circulation of 100,000+ and I am so excited they chose one of my iPhone photos as a finalist alongside many other beautiful pieces shot with DSLR’s.

Just follow the link below and choose “Register” on the left (it’s free). After you register click on “Return to Contest Page” then under “Vote Now” choose “Fine Art Finalists” and give 5 stars to the little man with the illuminated umbrella (photo below). It will be greatly appreciated!

http://www.digitalphotopro.com/6th-annual-emerging-pro/fine-art/finalists.html

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Illuminati" - Apps used:  vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Illuminati” – Apps used: vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam


Feeling Gratitude

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Although my life is currently the busiest it has been in a while I am feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful that I am able to wake up every single day and create art for a living. Trusting life enough to cast all other expectations aside and take that step off the precipice with faith was not easy. But doing so has brought me such a full and satisfied heart filled with great peace. Finally, I know my purpose in life.

My days are now ruled by writing and photography and creating. All the things my soul has longed to do since my childhood. I am finally free enough inside myself to bring this life to fruition. It is through these very gifts that I have been given that I was able to free the chains that bound me for so long.

Today I am grateful, as I am every day. Grateful for the gifts, grateful for the opportunities, grateful for the people in my life who have always cheered me on through the good and through the bad. Grateful for the chance to wake up every morning and breathe in a new day. Grateful for nature and all of its beauty. Grateful for the knowledge that through my words or one single photograph, I may make a difference in someone’s life. And that is all that really matters.

I wish each one of you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you will carry a sense of gratitude with you beyond Thanksgiving day and into every day you receive the opportunity to open your eyes to a new dawn.


Soliloquy Continued…

so·lil·o·quy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\: a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.

It is in nature where I cleanse myself from the constant drone of the city and absorb the quiet beauty all around me. A deep breath of fresh air and my lungs open to capacity, free from the exhaust and toxins spewed out hourly by the bane of a “civilized” society. My feet do a happy dance as they touch the raw earth beneath them. It is much more forgiving than the asphalt and concrete of everyday life. I feel connected to the core.

Surrounded by an infinite wisdom that transcends the exterior casing that houses my soul, I walk. I listen. I see. I discover. A swarm of white gnats gathers next to my cheek. I am amazed by an almost silent, collective “whoosh” created by their tiny wings. They move in unity with barely a space in between. Somehow they know to move left or right or up or down as one, without impeding the flight of another.

I continue my walk and contemplate. Hours go by and I feel refreshed, renewed, ready to move forward through life. The fall air lays its final kiss across my skin and once again the evening comes to slowly bid adieu…

“Soliloquy 9” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 10” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 11” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 12” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

More Soliloquy here.


Soliloquy

so·lil·o·quy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\: a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.

Nature has always been my savior. No matter how dark, cloudy or confusing my life circumstances become, I can always turn to the outdoors to calm my nerves and regain perspective.

Nature helps me to breathe a little more deeply and to strike up an internal conversation with self. That internal monologue can be dramatic and filled with expression in order to release frustration and solve all of life’s dilemmas or it can be quiet, centered and reassuring.

I will forever embrace it as the grounding mechanism for my soul. My safe place. My source of replenishment. My healing balm. The inspiration for self-dialogue. My soliloquy…

“Soliloquy 1” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 2” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 3” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 4” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 5” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 6” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 7” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 8” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.


The Bothersome Borg

I was recently infected with another case of the sillies. After a few months of being pulled back into the more serious side of life with our “Dancing at the Shame Prom” book launch and a couple other more straight-laced writing and photography gigs, my whimsical side decided to tackle me to the floor and demand release.

So, “The Bothersome Borg” series was born.

The Bothersome Borg is kind of like that annoying person who shows up in your life during the most inopportune moments. He is that pesky little brother or that persistent and ridiculous thought that pops up in your mind when you least expect it. Wherever he shows up, you would prefer that he didn’t. He tends to wreak havoc on everything around him. He makes a mess out-of-order, noise in the midst of quiet and constantly colors outside of the lines.

Regardless his foibles, you still can’t help but feel a little love for him… And maybe, just maybe, he can teach you a thing or two about life.

Without further ado, the beginning of my series, “The Bothersome Borg”…

“The Borg Around the Corner” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Sewer Diver” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“A.K.A. Borgsky” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Chef Borg-Uignon” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.


I Left My Heart in Massachusetts

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Here we go again.

With every trip I take, I find myself falling in love with the new surroundings and reaching the conclusion that yes, I should definitely live there. Or there. Or over there.

I have done this with Port Townsend in Washington, Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, San Luis Valley in Colorado, Moab in Utah, the island of Kauai, Paris, London, Singapore, St. John in the Caribbean. And the list goes on.

Just call me fickle. Or maybe it’s due to a little bit of gypsy intertwined somewhere in my DNA.

Our most recent foray was to the lovely Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For decades now I have longed for a trip to Boston and Rhode Island in order to place my feet firmly on the ground where our country had its beginnings. I finally got my chance when asked to shoot a very special wedding in New Bedford.

The minute our plane circled over the Boston skyline and approached Logan Airport I knew this was going to be an epic trip. I became immediately smitten with the aerial view and had no doubt I would fall even more deeply once my feet hit terra firma.

“Mass Turnpike” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

As with any new relationship, the first contact was a tad tentative. Finding our bearings and navigating the Mass Turnpike was a bit nerve-wracking straight off a six hour flight with nighttime approaching. We only missed one tunnel and were lead back smack into the heart of the downtown. But there were plenty of friendly Bostonians to point us back in the right direction.

After an hour drive, we reached our accommodations for the week; a charming little beach house in Fairhaven. The moment I stepped outside onto the back deck I felt myself take a deep breath and release it in a long, slow sigh. I could hear the ocean lapping at the shoreline mere yards from the house.

I was in love. Yet again…

The next morning revealed an astounding view of Buzzard’s Bay from the big bay window in the living room.

“Buzzards Bay” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

There was a quaint little beach shack directly behind the house that held fishing poles, clam rakes, a kayak and anything else one would desire to use at the beach.

“Beach Shack” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

In between shooting the pre-wedding events, we took as many side trips as time would allow.

No journey to Mass would be complete without riding the “T” into and around Boston. We drove to Quincy and hopped on the red line that lead us to the orange line that was supposed to lead us to the blue line where we would walk mere yards to the Long Wharf to catch a Boston Harbor cruise.

“The T” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Well, being a tourist is simply not being a tourist unless you end up lost at least once. We exited the “T” earlier than we should have after speaking to a local who told us we could hop out at Downtown Crossing and take a short walk through Quincy Market and past Fenueil Hall to the Wharf. His version of “short walk” and ours were worlds apart. So we missed our cruise.

We discovered how nice Bostonian’s could be when the ticket agent not only gave us a full refund but booked us on the next cruise for free! That gave us time to have lunch at a seafood restaurant where I drooled over a bowl of lobster bisque and fresh out of the oven french bread. I washed that all down with a wonderful Maine-brewed Hefeweizen.

“Boston Harbor” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The harbor cruise was relaxing and informative and provided a glorious view of the city skyline.

“USS Constitution” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

After the harbor cruise, we chose to follow part of the Freedom Trail up through the Italian section to the North Church, past Paul Revere’s house and then back to the Olde State House.

“Olde State House” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The next day, we had lunch in Providence, Rhode Island and walked the hilly streets that were lined with incredible Cape and Victorian-era houses.

We strolled through beautiful Brown University where I began to think of ways I could attend Brown and acquire yet another degree. It’s good we didn’t visit Yale or Harvard or Dartmouth because I would certainly feel conflicted. Yes, I also fall in love with educational institutions. Especially the ivy-league kind that I could never afford to attend.

We drove to Falmouth and took a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard one afternoon. Everything about Martha’s Vineyard embraced me. From the oldest working carousel in the nation to the quirky and colorful gingerbread cottages that line the MVCMA.

“Gingerbread Cottages” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

And then there was the steamed lobster…

Alex lovin’ on his steamed lobster – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

On our last day of the trip, we decided to drive all the way up the Cape to experience Provincetown. Of course I fell in love with every little historical town that lined the cape thinking “I could live here. I could live there.” The sense of history and beauty of the area was astounding.

Though quaint, P-Town was a bit too touristy for me. I can certainly understand its lure during the non peak season. We had lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall cafe that served incredibly delicious Lobstah rolls.

Lobstah roll in P-Town. – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

On our way back down the Cape we stopped in at Highland Lighthouse and were pleased to spot a pod of whales feeding just off the point. I got great pleasure posting this on my Facebook status: “Whatcha’ doing right now? Oh, just watching whales swim by off Cape Cod… Nothin’ special :-).”

Lighthouse at Truro on Cape Cod – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

It was such a magical trip for many reasons. I fell hard for the history and beauty of the area. I fell hard for the friendliness and happy demeanor of the people. I of course always fall hard for any town near an ocean and beaches, but these little towns drew me in like few others.

I could only imagine the lure of the Fall colors and how that would have sealed the deal for me. I would have adamantly refused to climb back on the plane for home if the wedding had occurred but a month later in the year. But that is one more of many good reasons to visit the east coast yet again in the future.

“Alone Time” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.


LA Mobile Arts Festival Opening Night: Not just your mama’s snapshots…

This past Saturday, August 18th, was the opening night for the LA Mobile Arts Festival at the Santa Monica Arts Studio in Santa Monica, CA.

And what an epic opening night it was.

The entire evening brought a steady stream of art lovers and artists flowing through the 2,400 square foot Arena 1 Gallery housed inside a 22,000 square foot airplane hangar.

The exhibition was stellar and the gallery browsers appeared genuinely mesmerized by over 600 pieces of outstanding art created by 200 plus artists from 30 countries. The pieces were shot and edited entirely on iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices and are a far cry from your mama’s average mobile phone snapshot.

I was so honored to have six of my own pieces chosen for this show and humbled to have them displayed next to the stellar work of so many amazing artists. Some of the work in this show literally took my breath away.

Here is a video I created with photos and video I took during the opening gala on both my Canon 7D and my iPhone4 then edited in iMovie. This is a rough edit mind you, as I am getting ready to leave for Boston in a few days and wanted to get something up on the web before the show ends this Saturday the 25th.

This amazing event would not be at all possible without the founders of iPhoneArt.com and the LA Mobile Arts Festival, Nathaniel Parks and Daria Polichetti, plus the amazing LAMAF crew who worked so many tireless hours in preparation for this event.

Nathaniel is a “veteran visual effects editor with a stream of award-winning films to his credit. Park received his BFA from University of North Carolina School of the Arts in film editing and sound design. Los Angeles-bound, he launched his career in film and TV production, editing main title and visual effects sequences, honing his sense of photography, storytelling and design on projects such as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, Sherlock Holmes, Across the Universe, Seven Pounds, Superman Returns, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and others. Besides film, photography and technology, Park’s other passion is basketball. While recovering from a career-ending injury he discovered the wealth of creativity in the mobile art arena, drawing parallels between his visual FX work and the emerging medium. This discovery ultimately lead to cofounding the mobile art community IPA with his partner-in-crime, Daria Polichetti, though he continues to work with young NBA prospects, staying involved in the game.”

Daria is a “writer, illustrator and visual effects artist for the LA film industry. Polichetti received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was born in Afghanistan, grew up in Africa, India, Thailand and Hawaii, then settled in Los Angeles where she worked as a director of photography and VFX producer for feature films. She has produced visuals for works such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Tempest, Splice, Standard Operating Procedure, Iron Man, Valkyrie, Orphan, Masterpiece Theater, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Walk the Line, Sherlock Holmes, and the now-infamous Broadway musical, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, which earned a 2012 Tony Award nomination for best scenic design. In addition to cutting-edge mobile art, Polichetti also has a passion for glass-plate negatives from the early 1900s and comes from a multi-disciplinary background in large-format photography, painting, writing and book-binding. She is currently working on her first illustrated novel for young adults.”

Not only are these two individuals uber-talented; they are extremely genuine, caring, nice human beings. I was so happy to meet them in person and will be forever thankful to them for including me and my art in this amazing event.

If you are anywhere near Santa Monica over the next few days I implore you to take a trip to the Santa Monica Art Studios to take a long look at this cutting-edge display. Who knows… you may find yourself walking out with a piece to hang on your own wall in support of a starving artist or two.

I was fortunate enough to have two of my own pieces sell on the second day of the show and am so happy they have found a home with someone who will appreciate them as much as I do.