Monthly Archives: October 2012

Happy Halloween

Photo taken with iPhone 3Gs, edited in Camera+, Photoshop Express and PicFX. Polaroid frame and text added using

Follow me on Instagram: @callmeSheBear


The day after Sandy

So the remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew over Lake Ontario last night. I heard the wind howling through my bedroom window for a few hours in the night. Walking around my neighbourhood this morning, it doesn’t look like we got a lot of rain, but the strong winds certainly shook things up. There are reports of fires, downed power lines, and uprooted trees in certain parts of the city. The worst I heard on the local news is that one woman was killed when she was struck by a piece of debris at Keele and St. Clair.

The worst thing to happen in my part of the city is a few power lines went down causing the King and Queen Streetcars to be out of service today, and the vibrant and colourful autumn leaves have all been blown off the trees. This is nothing in comparison to what residents on the East Coast are currently experiencing.

Today the trees are looking pretty bare in comparison to this shot I took last weekend. I’m a dud and didn’t think to take a photo of the bare trees for comparison. Next time.

Today I am counting my blessings and my heart goes out to those whose lives have been impacted by Sandy.


Follow me on Instagram: @callmeSheBear

A view worth sharing and storm preparations

It rained all weekend here in Toronto. The rain stopped for a little while on Saturday evening and the clouds opened up and gave us this…

I will never get tired of sunrises and sunsets.

This morning Hurricane Sandy dominates the news headlines. I trust that my friends on the east coast are prepared and safe from the storm. Southern Ontario generally gets weaker storms during hurricane season on the east coast, which usually does not live up to the local media hype. However Hurricane Hazel pounded Toronto when the storm was expected to dissipate, so you never know right? Also, we have had a lot of rain here already so more rain could cause some trouble.

My downtown neighbourhood could get some flooding and power could go out, so today I will pick up some supplies, just in case. You can never be too prepared. Besides, if we don’t use our supplies during this storm, we’ll be prepared for the next emergency like a winter snow storm or worse, the dreaded Zombie Apocalypse.

Stay safe everyone.

Before and after – My photo editing process

A couple of people have asked me what I do to my Instagram photos in post-processing, so I thought I would write up a quick post about my editing process.

First of all, I rarely use the Instagram filters. When I do use them, my photo has already been edited in two, three or sometimes even four other apps. It sounds like a lot, but  I mostly only use maybe one or two features in each of those apps to tweak the photo. I might spend anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour editing a photo, trying out different edits.

I also never the use the Instagram camera. I mostly use the iPhone camera, sometimes Camera+, or the Pro HDR camera app. There are tons of camera apps available out there, but those are the ones I tend to stick with most frequently.

It rained all day yesterday. It was grey, cold and damp, but as evening came upon us, it stopped raining. I was dropping my daughter off to a sleepover party in Liberty Village and we noticed that the sky had a purplish hue to it that we haven’t seen before. Of course, I had to get a shot of it.

I edited the photo first in Camera+. I darkened it with one of the ‘scene’ presets, I think I used the ‘sunset’ scene. Then I went to the ‘Effects’ menu and boosted the Vibrant colour to 10. I then saved the edited photo to my camera roll, closed off Camera+ and opened up Snapseed.

Once uploading my photo to Snapseed, I went to Tune Image. Honestly, I can’t remember everything I did here. I made some small tweaks, but the biggest change I made was to the White Balance to bring out the purple a little more. Once I did that, I used the Straighten feature to make a very slight adjustment. I then cropped the photo and saved it again to my camera roll and closed Snapseed.

Then I uploaded the photo to Photoshop Express and added the Reduce Noise feature before saving the photo. It was getting dark and my old iPhone3Gs doesn’t take good pics in low light situations, so the raw photo looked grainy. Reduce Noise is a great feature for that.

My final step was to open Instagram, and upload my finished photo to share.

Wow, it looks like a long process when I look at those steps I took, but really it only took me about 15 minutes in total. I didn’t feel that I needed to change this photo too much, but I do like bold and vibrant colour and I like my photos to look a little bit surreal. So I indulged myself in the purple and pink, just a little.

What can I say, I love artistic license.

Sunrise Chaser gets the weekend off

I chose to sleep in this morning instead of going down to Lake Ontario for sunrise. It wasn’t because I couldn’t get myself out of bed but because it is grey, overcast and rainy and according to the weather forecast, it will be this way for the next week or so.

Maybe it might be a good day to take puddle photos…on second thought, as I look out my window I’m thinking it’s a good day to stay indoors. Pajamas, slippers and movies are on the agenda for today. Maybe I can find some photos on my camera roll to edit and re-edit, or dig up some older ones from my iPhoto collection to share.

I took this sunrise photo at Ashbridges Bay two weeks ago. It was a beautiful, fairly warm morning for this time of year. The shape of the tree caught my eye and I knew right away that it was going to be my spot to capture the sun coming up across the lake. I parked myself on the dewey grass behind the tree and as I was sipping my coffee, an animal came out of the bushes beside me. I thought it was a dog at first, but after looking more closely at it’s red coat I realized it was a fox. We both sat there looking at each other straight in the eye for a couple of seconds, which felt really intense and much longer. We were both startled, and the fox had a look on it’s face like “what the hell are you doing here this early in the morning?!” Then he moved his head a bit, which to me looked like he was nodding or acknowledging me in some way and then ran off onto the rocky shore.

I had my iPhone in my hand with my camera ready the entire time and didn’t even think to try snapping a photo of the fox until he was gone.

Some special moments in life are so fleeting that they are over and done within seconds. I don’t think there is a shutter speed or a pair of hands fast enough that could have captured a moment like that.

The fog is lifting

I was on the 86 bus to Scarborough yesterday when I happened to look up from my notepad and saw that GuildwoodPark was covered in a thick blanket of fog. The contrast between the fog and the bright autumn leaves was so inviting that I hastily pulled the bell to get off at the next stop so I could snap a picture. I found the perfect view from the bridge on Kingston Rd. with the train tracks below. I get excited about train tracks for photos because of the lines. Yes, I’m a nerd.

Like a maniac, I only realized after I got my shot that the time was ticking closer to my meeting and I still had a few city blocks to walk to get there. Luckily, I’m a brisk walker and I made it to my meeting just in the nick of time.

The foggy view was definitely worth the hustle.

iPhone 3Gs. Photo edited with Camera+ and PicFX, and Instagram.

Instagram:  @callmeSheBear

Staying ahead of seasonal depression

For many years I have had Seasonal Affective Disorder. As much as I love autumn, it’s actually a difficult time of year for me, particularly late autumn. The days get shorter, and nights grow longer day by day. Soon it will be dark when we leave the house in the morning and dark when we return home at the end of day. The other day when I woke up my son at 7am, he asked me why we were getting up when it was still night time, lol.

My symptoms of S.A.D are extreme tiredness, lethargy, irritability (more than usual) and a general blah feeling about life (maybe also more than usual). ;p

It’s strange because up until this week, I was good. And then it’s like someone came along and flicked off my light switch and now I suddenly can’t seem to get enough sleep or get out of bed in the morning. I suppose the one good thing about this is that this time of year is when I catch up on all the sleep I am missing the rest of the year. Normally, I toss and turn all night and haven’t had a full night of sleep since my daughter was born ten years ago. This week, I have been asleep by 9:30pm then I drag my ass out of bed at 6:30am. You would think that this would be more than enough sleep, but I still feel exhausted the entire day and I could easily fall asleep every time I sit down for more than a few minutes.

The good thing is that this generally doesn’t last the entire winter. The peak time for me, is between now and Christmas. The key is to stay on top of it and to use this time for self-care. I do more brisk walking around the city than usual, and St. John’s Wort and omega 3 fatty acids become a part of my daily routine. It helps as long as I make a commitment to myself to be consistent with it everyday.

I’ve been living with this long enough to know how to keep on top of it by now, so I’m not too worried about my seasonal depression turning into something bigger. However, my biggest concern is, will I be able to tear myself out of my warm cozy bed on the weekends to go down to the lake and capture the sunrise with my camera?

I don’t know yet, but I’m sure gonna give it a try.

Photo taken with my iPhone3Gs, and edited in Camera+, Snapseed, Photoshop Express and PicFX.