Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Archive of posts with tag 'photography'

: Dubrovnik's Old City

Dubrovnik, Old City, photo by Rick Moen
You can usually tell the difference between Rick photos and Deirdre photos: mine only rarely have people in them. In fact, it’s hard for me to remember to actually take photos of Rick or myself. Or anyone.
I’m just so conditioned to waiting for that people-free shot, which means I usually don’t have photos of the whole of a tourist monument; my shots typically start above peoples’ heads.
Why? Partly for the reason in this photo: a lot of the photos of people in touristy locations wind up being very meta. I’m quite charmed with the meta nature of this one, though.
Despite the fact that it was a brutally hot day, magnified by the stones soaking up the hot sun, it was super-great to finally have the chance to walk around Dubrovnik. In the early 80s, I had a French teacher from Yugoslavia who waxed poetic about the place (she herself was from Belgrade, which is now in Serbia). I’ve wanted to go ever since, so more than thirty years.
At the time Rick took this photo, I was sitting in a shady spot behind on the right. It was still a billion degrees out.

: Paying it Forward

[![Paying it Forward, Photo by Lizzy Gadd](/images/2014/08/KGcbEHoSLmcHyhqA2nfl_76591_667052060003591_1045050051_n-700x464.jpg)](/images/2014/08/KGcbEHoSLmcHyhqA2nfl_76591_667052060003591_1045050051_n.jpg)Photo by [Lizzy Gadd](

Fandom (and I mean greater extended fandom, not just science fiction fandom) has had various ways of paying it forward for decades. In fact, TAFF, the trans-atlantic fan fund, has been around since 1953.
What’s harder to find are those opportunities to transition from serious amateur to professional. Sure, there are Clarion (and Clarion West) scholarships, and various other programs to help get people over that hump. However, there are vastly more people qualified for them (and needing them) than there is money to go around.
Which is why I’m so excited by Lori Witt’s offer for romance writers: to fund (sans airfare) attendance for one new romance writer to RT Booklovers convention for 2016.> The thing is, the authors who stand to benefit the most from a convention like this often struggle to justify the expense. The very people who need to increase their sales and exposure the most are the ones who generally struggle to pay for it because they need those increased sales to fund the means for increasing those sales. It’s a frustrating paradox! The really awesome swag is expensive. The most visible and eye-catching advertisements and posters are expensive. Just being there is expensive.

How expensive? Look at what Lori’s offering to cover:

From the essays, I will select a group of finalists, and with the help of a group of published authors, determine a winner and two runners up. The number of finalists and the size of the panel will be determined based on the number of qualifying entries.
The two runners up will each receive $150 toward swag or advertising.
And for the winner, I will pay for the following:

  • Your conference registration as a published author (approximately $500).
  • Your hotel room for the duration of RT (April 12-17, 2016 – 5 nights) at the conference hotel.
  • $250 toward custom, professionally produced swag.
  • $250 toward an advertisement of your choice.
  • One celebratory drink at the bar.

In addition to financial assistance, I will provide a guest spot on my blog for a follow-up post about your experiences at RT. Also, one-on-one guidance at the convention. This means help with pitches, going over the agenda to decide which panels and workshops will be most helpful for your goals, helping you set up and prepare for the book signing, generally navigating the conference, etc. This part is entirely optional, but is there if you need it.

Applications close August 1. Here’s the link to Lori’s blog post.
Maybe you don’t qualify, or this doesn’t fit, but you’d like to support Lori in some other way. She writes M/M romance under the name L.A. Witt, and sf/f (that’s not romance) under Lori A. Witt.
Now, granted, RT Booklovers is far more of a professional convention than anything other than World Fantasy in the science fiction/fantasy space.

How Not to Pay it Forward: The Unsplash Edition

Unsplash had become one of my favorite free stock photo sites. They have good taste. The range is limited (partly because they publish 10 photos every 10 days), but the photos are interesting.
However, there’s a darker side to it. Previously, they did nothing with submitted but not accepted photos. Then, suddenly, they decided to create a photographer page with all the submitted photos, killing the chance the photographer had to sell those particular shots for money.
As if that weren’t enough, instead of linking to the photographer’s site, now they just link to their own portfolio page. So the people who did the work are getting name credit, but they’re not getting the referrals. Because so many people link to Unsplash, very often the photographers’ own sites are pushed off the top search results as a consequence.
I’ve used about a dozen Unsplash photos here (including the one up top), and I’ll be deleting all references to the site as well as making sure all credits point to the photographers’ respective pages.
(To be clear, most of the free stock photos I’ve used in my blog posts came from Unsplash. I’ve also used regular stock photos that I’ve paid for, but I’ve used more of my own photos.)
While I’m going to reuse previously-uploaded photos, I’m not sure how I feel about uploading new ones at this point, even though I have a saved library. Unsplash’s actions feel like slapping someone who offered a gift, you know?
It’s a particularly tough time for photographers right now, and Aleksandra Boguslawska speaks more about how Unsplash’s actions hurt photographers.

: Another PSA About Nude Photos

Chuck Wendig has the first PSA. Note: much swearing.

What I think annoys me most of all about this whole debacle is the implication that nude photos are okay to steal.

: [Society6] Bora Bora Overwater Bungalow

Bora Bora 1200
Now on Society6, products including:

  • Prints
  • T-shirts (including v-neck), Tank Tops (including biker tanks), and Hoodies
  • Clocks
  • Rugs
  • Shower Curtains
  • Stationery Cards
  • Phone, Tablet, and Laptop Covers and Skins
  • Tote Bags
  • Throw Pillows

: [Society6] Hawaiian Orchid

This is a photo I took in 2010 when I was on the big island of Hawai’i.
Available now from Society6 in prints, cards, pillows, shower curtains, coffee mugs, tote bags, clocks, rugs, and laptop, phone, and iPad skins and cases.
Note that while the coffee cup is available, the flower’s center is opposite the handle.

: Apple Discontinuing Aperture

Daring Fireball comments on it.
Aperture and I have had a difficult friendship. I migrated from iPhoto to Aperture after I started at Apple. But, since leaving Apple, I’ve been wondering if I should move to Adobe’s Lightroom.
The split’s about 50/50 from the people I know who are serious photographers.
Part of my dislike stems from how Aperture handles larger libraries (even though mine isn’t super large) and how it handles multiple libraries plus iCloud syncing (badly would be a good word for it).
I need to research whether to jump ship before Photos ships—or not. Or keep Photos for the kinds of stuff I still use iPhoto for (a very limited subset), plus iCloud stuff, and Lightroom for other stuff.
Or something.
Also: the Photos slogan?

Every photo you take.
On all your devices.

My film scans of medium format are 150mb each, frequently. So that doesn’t sound practical.

: Lemurs and Penguins

Found some super-old digital photos from 2003 from a visit to the San Francisco zoo.
Not really worth keeping for that, but cute enough to bother sharing. If you’d like to use them for whatever, please go ahead (license: CC0). These images are the maximum size I have, though, so probably there’s no viable commercial use.

: Because Kitten

Rabat, Morocco, 2011.

: Car Crusher Grunge

This is a photo from a visit we took to the Military Vehicle History Foundation. It’s the battering surface of an M60A1 tank that’s privately owned. Every once in a while, they’d throw a party, invite people over, bring a couple of car wrecks up, and run over them with this tank.
This is what you call hard-earned real grunge texture.

: Two Volcano Pics

Kilauea, of course.
Except for being resized, these are straight out of camera. Taken in 2010. These were taken with a wide-angle (28mm) lens half a minute apart.
close volcano
water over volcano

: Two Alhambra Photos

Alhambra Detail
Alhambra Detail 2
From our trip in 2011.

: Random Photoshop Things I've Learned Recently

  1. It’s easier to remove power lines by creating a path (using the pen tool) and stroking the path with the healing brush tool than the old way I used to do it. Yay. (I think this technique was added in CS5 or so.)
  2. I’d forgotten you could create a transparent gradient of an image. (See below)
  3. You can, if you want, combine two different images. One technique I used was to use a darker image over a lighter one and then use the lighten mask. Or vice-versa.
  4. Or, you know, you could pick a sunset one and a thin beam one from here and stack it several layers deep in photoshop (using the above techniques), fuss with it until it looks just so, edit out the stars (for sad and arcane reasons), and then you have this:

And the gradient (bumped up to 100%, but only used at 30%):
Here are two of the originals I used in creating the composited image:

: New Pic

Rick and I had our portraits done by the awesome Scottish photographer John Parris, who was truly a delight to work with. Glad we could get him down under (when we ourselves were in the South Pacific) and out of the gloomy Scottish winter.
There are three solo portraits of me (for author photos), one solo picture of Rick, and three of us together.

: That Odd Moment

…when you realize that places erupting into problem areas on the news are now more likely to be places you’ve been than places you’ve not.

The first three? We were there last year.
We went to three Ukranian cities last year: Odessa, Yalta, and Sevastopol/Balaklava. Loved them.
I’m going to do three separate posts for the Ukraine, partly for @bobtiki.


First, the Primorsky Stairs, better known as the Potemkin Stairs because of the film Battleship Potemkin, give the optical illusion of being longer than they are. The bottom of these steps is the port where our ship called. There were quite a few people with birds there, and they’d let you hold (and be photographed) with the bird for a few Hryvna (though they’d also accept Euros and Dollars).
Bird Lady on Potemkin Steps
The city coat of arms is everywhere.

There are lots of lovely neoclassical buildings, some with great chandeliers.

: Society6 Art: Iceplant

Based on seeing a friend’s pieces on Society6, I decided to start uploading photos there for sale in various forms. They have prints, iPhone cases, computer cases, pillows, tote bags, and stuff like that.
My first piece (my plan is to upload one per week) is called Iceplant.
I know, I know, it doesn’t look like iceplant, right? I prefer to think of it as iceplant in someone’s acid trip.
Actually, the photo is really of iceplant. Rick and I were walking around Pigeon Point Lighthouse one day. I had my finger on the shutter button, as you do, and misstepped, setting off the trigger. I got a lovely streaky blurry photo of a patch of iceplant.
Honestly, it really wasn’t very fetching, but there was something about it, so I played with it.
My friend Joe (zeruch) also has a shop on Society6, and I like this piece in particular. Note that some of his figurative work is NSFW, but I’ve linked to an abstract. I think it looks pretty awesome as a pillow or clock.

: Here, Have Some Lava

Taken Nov 22, 2011. I drove as far south as one could go south from Pahoa, which is south of Hilo on the big island of Hawai’i. The road ends near Kalapana, then there’s a dirt road that other cars were going on, so I went too. (Never a great idea.)
The “dirt” road turns out to have been a paved road that lava flowed over. A few hundred feet back, there’s a bit of road again, leading out to a parking lot ending in a guard shack with a bunch of scary signs. I parked there and got out, went to the guard shack. He made sure I knew where the safe boundaries were and that I had water, sunscreen, and a hat.
Walking in the sun on a Hawai’ian day is brutal enough, but the black lava just soaks up heat. As if that weren’t enough, you’re not actually that far above the actual real hot lava flows that are probably radiating even more heat.
Despite my SPF 85 haole basting sauce, I managed to get a sunburn.
Oh, and I’d been very close, only a few hundred feet away, the year before. Here’s what the view looked like from offshore back on Nov 23, 2010:

: Pinboard WordPress Theme Icons for Instagram & IMDb

I’ve updated my Instagram icons for the Pinboard WordPress theme and added new IMDb icons.


1x icon
2x icon


1x icon
2x icon

See Them In Action!

See ’em in action on the header of this

: A Few Book Covers

Things coming out Real Soon Now, in probable release order.

Coffee & Canopy

Coffee & Canopy is a forthcoming book about our experiences in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Monkeys! Crocodiles! Bats! Venomous sea snakes! Volcanoes! Cover photo is one I took of Nicaragua’s Masaya volcano.

The “travel diary” series will be novella length, have selected color photos (as well as the occasional black and white), and will be digital only. I’ll also have PDF as a format option for this series. Price will be $2.99.

So You Want to Travel the World

Would you like to travel more? See the world? Get discouraged by how many things there are to do and see? So You Want to Travel the World will help you divide and conquer the problems so you can get more of your travel goals accomplished. The cover photo was one I took in Venice, Italy in December, 2011.

This book will be in both digital and print. Pricing will depend upon final size, so I’m waiting to announce that.

Deep Pacific

Deep Pacific will chronicle our journey from San Francisco to Valparaiso, Chile to Easter Island, Pitcairn, Moorea, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and finally back to San Francisco. The cover photo is one I took on Easter Island.

This is also a digital-only member of the “travel diary” series. Price will be $2.99.

For more titles coming out later in the year, see my home page.

: Bora Bora: One Last Look


: Deep Pacific: Easter Island Trailer

Because I was worried about being bored, I took an iMovie class recently and made a trailer from pics and videos on Easter Island. Fun!

Easter Island from Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Vimeo.

(Depending on the Content-Security-Policy headings at sites I’ve crossposted this to, video may not display there.)

: Bora Bora

Bora Bora

: Mou'a Roa (aka Bali Hai), Mo'orea


Not quite the same one in the song from South Pacific, and definitely not the same one in the movie.

: Pitcairn Island

Technically the occupied island out of the four-island group, a British Overseas Territory.

Home to 49 people. Though I’m not sure if that number is before or after the Pitcairn native we dropped off today.

Pitcairn Island


: Rapa Nui at Dawn

Approaching Hanga Roa.


: Easter Island Pic

Moai. Anakena.

2014-01-13 21.12.52 copy copy

: 2014 Calendar: My Travel Photography

I started making calendars in iPhoto in 2007, using travel photos for the year.

I didn’t make one the last two years, which is really a shame, so this year I relaxed my rules a bit. Normally, I want photos from December of the year before to November of the current year for next year’s calendar, and I try to show the diversity of places we’ve visited.

This year, the goal is to show as many of the Travelers Century Club regions as I’ve been to in the last couple of years. Most of these are iPhone photos, by the way.

Cover photo: Hong Kong (June, 2012), Asia

This photo was taken from the Macau ferry on what was obviously a very wet day. The focus on the window was accidental, but it was a happy accident.


January: Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (January, 2013), Pacific Ocean

This photo was taken out of the window of a United flight as we were landing in Chuuk. In my case, I continued on to the next stop, Pohnpei, which became one of my favorite places in the world.


February: Narita Hilton Wedding Chapel, Japan (January, 2013), Asia

Finally a use for the oil paint filter in Photoshop!



March: Wales (September, 2013), Europe

After Milford, we did a field trip around Northern Wales. I need to figure out where this was on the map. What’s not obvious from the big shot, but is in the detail below, is the dog chasing the vehicle.



April: View down from the Burj Khalifa, Dubai (June, 2012), Middle East

In my only visit to the middle east (yet), the group tour to the Burj Khalifa was definitely one of the highlights. The wind was pretty fierce, and I was afraid I was going to drop my iPhone from the tallest building in the world.


May: Rick Swimming with the Dolphins, Tortola, British Virgin Islands (December, 2012), Caribbean

Professional photo, and the best of the lot of them. They have other locations (and there are other providers), but this was a lot of fun. Our first SeaDream cruise, and we loved them so much we ripped up our other cruise plans and rebooked.


June: Sunset, Guanacaste Region, Costa Rica (August, 2012), Central America

Picture was taken on one of my several crazy miles-using trips last year. Out on a Friday night red-eye, arrive in Central America around noon, take the noon-ish flight home the following day, arrive home Sunday night. Total trip time: around 48 hours, of which half was spent on a plane. Crazy. This trip cost me about $150 (plus miles and points), and most of that was the shuttle to/from the airport.

After one of these weekends, one of my coworkers looked at me Monday morning and said, “Oh, look what United dragged in.” That’s about how I looked, too.


July: Waterfall, Faroe Islands (September, 2012), Atlantic Ocean

I like weird cruise itineraries, so we went on one from Denmark to Norway to Faroes to Iceland to Scotland to Ireland and back to Denmark. Some of the seas were super-rough (even I got seasick and I’m not prone to it) and it was bitterly cold at times, but we got to go to some awesome places and have some awesome pictures to show for it. The Faroes were amazing.


August: Ex-Soviet Submarine Base, Balaklava, Ukraine (June, 2013), Europe

We missed BayCon this year because we took a Black Sea cruise on Seadream. It was a very similar itinerary to a cruise Rick had taken before the collapse of the Soviet Union–just a very different cruise for him. For me, it was all new. This place haunts me. It was very strange to be walking through a place that was built to withstand such high megatonnage blasts and staffed by 1000 people. Because they were afraid of us.

Here’s a link that gives more context to the submarine base.

Another SeaDream cruise.


September: Island in the Lagoon, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (January, 2013), Pacific Ocean

This is about the entire size of the island: a small house, a thatched-roof outdoor picnic table (with a dog underneath), a fishing net to catch dinner, a handful of trees for shade, and a ledge to make getting on and off a boat easier. Someone really lives there.


October: Sunbeams on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa (July, 2013), Africa

My third trip to Africa, but the first time I got to see any impressive mountains there.


November: Sunset, Maldives (April, 2013), Indian Ocean

Taken from my own over-water bungalow at the Conrad Maldives.


December: Gustavia, St. Bart’s, French West Indies (December, 2012), Caribbean

I thought it would be kind of cool to have the calendar end with Rick walking away, sort of a metaphorical end of the year. The ship in the harbor is SeaDream II, and we’re on the sister ship, SeaDream I.

I learned that one of the yachts we saw had anti-paparazzi lasers. Way.


Back Cover: First Man, Street art, Brisbane, CA (July, 2011), North America

Taken in an old burned out building in Brisbane, this remains one of my favorite photos. Here’s the original version of the photo, though I prefer the highly-processed version.


: Staircase iPhone/iPad Wallpaper

Rick took a great photo of the Apple store in Manhattan a few years ago, and I’ve been using a tweaked version of it (using Nik Silver Efex Pro) for my iPhone and iPad wallpaper for about a year.
Here are the files sized for the various iDevices. Feel free to use them on yours if you like.
iPhone 5 (640 x 1136)
Retina iPads (2048 x 2048)
iPad Mini, non-Retina iPads (1024 x 1024)

: Photo Friday: Hawai'i

Taken at the Hawai’ian Tropical Botanical Garden, just north of Hilo, on my trip last year.

: Photo Friday: Antipodean Flower

[![UCSC Arboretum 8/22: - 20](/images/2011/10/Antipodean-Flower-800x600.jpg "Antipodean Flower")]( at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

I took this photo in 2010 when Rick and I visited the UC Santa Cruz arboretum, which specializes in southern hemisphere plants, specifically plants from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
I used Nik Color Efex Pro to modify the photo from the original found here. The effects I used were Pro Contrast, correcting the color cast and brightness (with as little detail loss as possible given the great detail on the flower), followed by Vignette Blur to de-emphasize other elements. Nik’s products have rapidly become my favorite for photo editing.

: "A Landscape of Ruins" Show Opening

Today, the show with my photo “First Man” opens, though the reception is tomorrow.
Date: Tuesday, September 27
Time: 5-7 pm
Place: Foothill college, building 6100, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA. Closest freeway exit is El Monte exit from I-280.
Parking costs $2 (in quarters) in marked spaces; handicap parking is free with appropriate handicap placard/plate. Parking logistics below.

Campus map here.
For handicap parking, lot 8 is your best bet (two elevators required), followed by lot 3-A, which is fairly level. However, campus construction may make 3-A impractical. Everything else is hilly or farther away.

: Friday Photo: Morocco Street

I do a lot of photography but haven’t been posting a lot lately, so I thought I’d post a photo every Friday.
Today’s photo was taken on the road between Rabat and Casablanca. It was taken with my Panasonic GF-1 (micro-4/3) camera and converted to black and white with Nik Silver Efex Pro.

: Urban Ruins Show

My photo, First Man, has been accepted for Foothill College’s Urban Ruins exhibit, which runs from September 26 – November 2nd.
I used two programs for this: Apple’s Aperture, which I used for straightening and cropping the image, and Nik Color Efex Pro, specifically the saturation stylizer effect.
My thanks to Mung and Digit, whoever they may be, for such photographable street art.

: Melbourne at Dawn

When we were in Melbourne, I woke up each and every day some time between 4:30 and 5:30. I’d go back to sleep, but it was odd that I woke up so consistently every morning at such an odd time. This is the view from our hotel room one of those mornings.

: Melbourne by Night

Melbourne, Australia has quite a few stunning features, one of which are these modern freeway overpasses lit inside in blue. I don’t know what to call them, exactly, so I’ve been calling them “hoops.” This was a rare break in the late winter cloud cover.

: Southern Hemisphere Plants

For the last two weekends, we’ve visited the UCSC Arboretum, which specializes in plants of the southern hemisphere, specifically South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. One of my favorite discoveries is this Banksia. At first, I thought someone had added the brown “elf,” but then I realized it was a dried flower.
More photos.

: Photographic Revelations

One of the reasons I wanted a better camera is the options for faster lenses. Most point-and-shoot lenses are slow, slow, slow, and I'm a fast glass kinda gal. Sure, you can take brilliant photos with a point-and-shoot. This photo Rick took is an example:

Apple Store, Central Park