Phoneography: Editing and Processing (Morning Golden Hour)

30 March 2015


I. Converted to Black and White in Snapseed:

1. Early Morning Light at the Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Early Morning Light at the Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

II. Post Processed in Mextures:

2. Early Morning Light at the Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Early Morning Light at the Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why. Click on image to enlarge.

Pens: This week I’ve taken a leisurely approach to arise each morning. The time between my mind being fully awake and day dreaming ebbed and flowed until I stepped onto the carpet floor.

Yesterday as I amassed thoughts to guide me through the day, I was stirred by a reach for my iPhone to check the weather. The pulsing of its electronics made me contemplate it as a living breathing entity. That was scary and an illusionary truth.

It seems the world is at my disposal the minute I awake. The iPhone is like an encyclopedic force that talks about all subjects and tries to fulfill all needs.

Obviously, it lacks what human require most. You know those intangibles that shore our soul and spirits: like my morning stroll as the sun rose through the creek.

Our lives include digital maneuvering that must be countered by the slow ascent into our own minds. That place can never be supplanted by the stuff of cyberspace and its naughty lure.

I stood by the creek bank and was covered in subtle rays of the dawn’s light. The view was seductive and tranquil. The combination of slowly entering the day and slowly appreciating the gift by Mother Nature made for a cup runneth over from head to toe and toe to head. I was fully awake, yet fully drifting into a meditative state.

The hour of golden light appears twice every day–somewhere and everywhere in our vast universe. Since it needs sunlight to be visible, the sunrise and sunset ease into it or reduce it. The time after sunrise and just prior to sunset are the magical moments of  splendid radiance. It’s a parcel of visual glitter that becomes a palette of low softer (though it can be very bright) light to freeze-frame in place. And it’s an apt time to hunt for landscapes.

In the Lens section are two images from the morning’s meanderings. Since it’s editing and processing week, I converted one of the dawn’s early light to monochrome and the second view to layers of fluid liquid-like colors.

Each reminded me of the morning’s acknowledgement about my interdependence upon nature and human nature and technology. It’s the good, the strange and the transformative.

Tip of the Week: When I discover a person who has found their life’s passion, I am drawn to learn more and more about their motivations. While reading about our national park system, the work of Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) was brought to my attention. It made my day. Now I’m awaiting the singular publication by snail mail that made her a well-known figure. Her recognition for The Land of Little Rain (1903 and reissued 1997) is a gem in the environmental world. Austin studied the California desert and dedicated herself so deeply into its language that it seems part of her ancestral lineage. She focused on the land “between the high Sierras south from Yosemite—east and south over a very great assemblage of broken ranges beyond Death Valley, and on illimitably into the Mojave Desert.” Her advocacy was directed at issues about the preservation of natural resources, especially water and national parklands. She even collaborated on projects with the master photographer Ansel Adams. Her contribution to the early environmental movement will be in my mailbox on Monday. Think of me curled up with a cup of tea and paging through her most coveted writings.

The Land of Little Rain by Mary  Hunter Austin (1903)

The Land of Little Rain by Mary Hunter Austin (1903)

View other entries from this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Phoneography: Editing and Processing (Morning Golden Hour)

  1. elisa ruland says:

    Both are lovely, Sally!

  2. Nato says:

    I am a little behind on reading here, but I like the color shot better. I am drawn to blended colors though, so I may be biased. I truly enjoyed our thoughts too: our phones being little endless tools for information, the beauty of sunsets/sunrises and the inspiration from someone who is living their path and passion. Great post!

  3. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. Hope all’s well. My favorite is the second shot–with its moody colors. Lovely!

  4. lumar1298 says:

    I just posted for this challenge, but unfortunately I’m using my iPad and cannot copy the link. Hope you got it… I’ll try to come back later and do it… Happy Easter… 🌹🌹🌹

  5. I love the second image. It’s got such an ethereal quality.

  6. Two lovely images, but I am most drawn to the second one. It has a dreamy feeling and seems to hold some undefined mysteries. I got interested in the Mextures app, but found it was only available for iPhones – unfortunately since I use Android.

    • Otto, there are so many apps that it can be overwhelming. I still hold onto my sense of purity about the original. On the other hand, the digital darkroom is really no different that the chemical one, in theory. Both give the photographer the tools to make decisions. I’ve found a a handful of apps and seem to stick to those. See you soon. Thanks so much.

  7. I love the colour- both wonderful but the colour spoke to me!

  8. badfish says:

    both very cool…I like the second the best, don’t know why.
    still haven’t bought that smartphone yet!!!

  9. Sunlight through trees always draws me too, Sally. I really like the starburst effect in #1 but also enjoy the colors and rough texture in #2. Nice choices this week. 🙂

  10. yprior1 says:

    I also like the second (Early Morning Light at the Creek) – the way the turquoise sits in the lower middle is so nice –

  11. Sally, both photos are unique and have different qualities. I like both. These are excellent examples of post processing. Thanks.

  12. restlessjo says:

    Can’t imagine the golden hour without colour, Sally. It’s often the best bit of the day. The only bit of technology that sits by my bed is my wristwatch and I don’t always consult it when getting up. Looking at the sky is enough for me most mornings. Have a happy Easter! 🙂

  13. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally; I’m a fan of No. 2 particularly. I love the etherial quality of the colour palette. The opportunity to edit always gets me excited, so here’s my (rather long) offering of the week. Cheers, Su.

  14. Gallivanta says:

    Number 2 is definitely my favourite today; it seems to represent the golden hour beautifully. Enjoy the Austin book. It looks as though it will be a delight.

  15. Maria F. says:

    Both are very nice! The color one is excellent.

  16. I go with the B and W. The starkness is eye catching.

  17. Sometimes it is as if you know me well. The ‘golden hour’ is so special and so transient, I can get emotional! It can make one’s heart skip a beat! When you enlarge the second photograph, the full beauty of it is revealed. Such subtle colour. Wow….
    I have got to the extremes of saturation for this week. You will find it here:

  18. The black and white is pretty but I really love what you did on that second picture. I also totally enjoyed your musings on sunrises and sunsets. The perfect times of day! 🙂

  19. perfectlight says:

    well, you don’t see to many comments from me but this time i have few things to say as lately i’m using the camera on my phone more often. first of all (take this in a nice way, i have no intention of being rude) i think you’re wrong: if you want people to compare and chose one processing over other, i think you should present the same photo but processed in 2 different ways.
    secondly, the second photo looks more like a painting (it has its own beauty, don’t get me wrong) than a photo so i chose the b&w to be the winner: is it nice, clear, crispy, sharp and being presented in b&w it’s just more interesting (technically has a bit too much contrast but that can be part of the beauty).
    i never used mexture, in fact is the first time when i hear about it, but as a photographer i would highly recommend “aviary” which i consider to be photoshop on the move. and for the lovers of film photography i would suggest “645pro” (it is not free) which makes your phone a medium format camera loaded with different types of film and coloured filters (the ones that stay in front of the lens). and if that wasn’t enough, the 645pro can produce an amazing 21mb tiff file, good for pretty large prints.
    all the best!

  20. I just love the second photo. It has so much atmosphere. The sun is framed a bit better too, not so overpowering.

  21. Amy says:

    I love the second one, Sally! It’s like a beautiful painting! I’ll get my ready tomorrow. 🙂

  22. I forget to use Mextures…thanks for remindening with such a mystical image.
    Lovely essay on your relation to your smartphone.Will pass it on.
    Ready to look up Mary Hunter Austin…Is her actual book still available somewhere?
    Happy Monday Challenge

  23. The personal preference is for black and white lately. I like the starkness of the light. That said, the mextures one has mood. 🙂 Hope you have been well, Sally.

  24. Tish Farrell says:

    Yes, the colour edit wins for me too. It says enchantment.

  25. Helen C says:

    Sally, I like the second one better. The color and the texture seem adding more meaning to the photo. And I can’t stop staring at it.

  26. Angeline M says:

    I’ve been so into black and white lately, but I really love the Mextures, photo 2. I absolutely cannot wait until I get a new phone, iPhone, in a couple of months! I will post momentarily, but nothing to do with the early golden hour, I just cannot seem to get myself out then, but maybe that is a goal to work towards.

  27. LavendarLadi says:

    I like the sharp freshness of the black and white photo. The second photo makes me think of the ‘almost asleep’ time… peaceful and beautiful.

  28. ~meredith says:

    I love the second; the way you processed the picture takes my breath. (great book!)

  29. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Sally, I really like what you did in the second photo. The textures of the colors are wonderful. I have Mextures and rarely use it. You have inspired me to re-think my processes and start using it. Thanks for the nudge. Ω

    • Allan, I noticed months ago that many people use Mextures. I got it, but didn’t use it. Then I was pushed to use it after I saw someone else’s results. Will await your experimentation. Thanks so much.

  30. Sally, I’m a black and white lover, but the color image, with its subtle textures, colors, and shading, is just gorgeous!

  31. Sally, the black and white shot is very attractive. The second shot has a brooding atmosphere like a scene in a scary movie. I like both.

    Thanks for the link. We’re out and about and it’s difficult to do on the phone.


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