Heaven has a new angel

Heaven has another first class angel.
My cousin…..Carol Rowland Stepek Doezema

I got the news from her younger sister Nancy thru a Facebook private message early Friday morning September 8th, 2017.

Kathy I hate sending these out but I wanted to let you know last night Carol passed away. She collapsed getting ready for bed and they couldn’t revive her.

My heart instantly sank and tears began to flow.

While many of my past memories are just that and have no artifacts to look back on – thanks to the digital age and sharing  I was able to put together some moments of the last few years for me to look back on of only the small slice of her life I knew and shared. It in no way tells her story. It is such a small slice, but it is the one that is special to me. It is pictures of Carol and also some pictures/video of family she chose as her highlights of recent life as mom and grandma to share with others. Carol won’t be forgotten and the lives she touched will forever be blessed.

Most of my sorrow though is not in just losing Carol in my life but in knowing her immediate family has lost her. I am a distant node in her constellation hub. Her loss creates a void that is large for me and it is hard to even imagine how much her loss is to them. She was a center for her mom, siblings, husband, and most of all her children and grandchildren. We will all carry Carol forever in our hearts.

We spent quality time together as kids even though it was not often being 600 miles apart. We sustained our connection by being pen pals in those days. Exchanging letters with news and our philosophy of life at that time. Extended stays for her in WI and me in MI. Cherry picking, shopping, teasing her brothers. Dreaming of the future, talking of boys and love. ConeLand stories, hanging out with our grandmas.

Like most, we drifted apart for some years as we started out our adult lives and built our own families. Yet we stayed connected thru our parents on milestones, successes and challenges for what now I have figured out was about 30 years of once a year Christmas greetings or an update or two when the parents would connect when driving to visit other relatives. Our grandmothers were another glue that we lost with their passing, which made more frequent connections get lost in our busy young adult lives.

Carol became interested in researching family history and ancestry. She connected with my mom with phone calls and letters. I again was hearing what was happening in her life. About 15 years ago, an old school style letter here and there began again, a couple of phone calls and then came Facebook. The online connection provided connection to sharing things in our present lives that so tied back to our youth of dreams and plans. We were not a part of each other’s daily lives, but still maintained a relationship that was real and in the present instead of just an old memory or wondering what ever happened or remember when? We were sharing the now again.

I knew she had created a wonderful life with Joe and had sons. She was so proud and happy to be Mom. She faced challenges in losing her first love to ALS and yet her heart was open and she was able to find love again with Marv. She was happy and felt blessed.

Carol was strong and a fighter – taking on Multiple Sclerosis and not letting it control her. She was always the responsible, hard-working one that was there for others. She was the big sister I never had for the times we were together but also the best friend during those visits and after as well. And as sensible and smart as she was – she knew to have a good time and enjoy life. To live in the moment and move towards the future by remembering the past, but not letting it hold you.

She had a wild side – but it was the kind that could take a tiger by the tail one minute and be back to the one who kept everything together in a heartbeat. She also was one to get it done – when something needed to happen she stepped up and made sure everyone got to it – especially if it was family.

Her humor – Gosh – her wit was so sharp. She had a way of saying things that made a point – but with a touch of humor or sarcasm so one knew to stop and think and that in the big picture not to take one’s self too seriously on the small things. Her smile and eyes with those one liners – I will never forget.

Her love of cooking and baking. I could always count on a new recipe recommendation being posted. And it was long before FB that she shared recipes – I have a few handwritten ones – she was sharing long ago – one with a note. 🙂

Carol's Recipe

I am so glad to have been able to have her in my life journey. Past and present.

I love getting to know her family thru online postings and messages. I cheer at each success and feel so lucky to see the events and how time passes with each new thing. To see the small glimpses of what caught her attention or what was special to her in her life. The joy, sorrow, pride, she had in the milestones and daily lives of her children, siblings and parents. Her children and grandchildren were the center of the universe for a mom and grandma. She was one proud and happy mom and grandma. I have never met her sons, Marv, or grandchildren in person but look forward to each new update whether it was from her, Steve or Nancy. I have come to know some things about them and learned to love them from a distance.

My thoughts go out to her immediate family and friends that will feel her loss so greatly. Together we can celebrate her life, her love, and our fortune in being touched by her. Our memories together will bring the story of the depth of her touch on so many lives and yet still never be able to tell it all.

Peace to all who loved her. She is watching over us all.

Obituary for Carol Ann Doezema

Carol Stepek Doezema, age 62 of Greenville, passed away unexpectedly at home on September 7th, 2017. Carol was born March 30th, 1955, grew up in Cascade, and later married Joseph Stepek and raised four boys in Lowell. After Joe’s death in 2001, Carol later met and married Marv Doezema, and was active in her church and community in Greenville.  Carol loved working with her hands and her quick intelligence allowed her to excel at whatever she put her mind to; over the years she taught herself everything from doll-making to tile cutting. Her passions for crafting and gardening influenced not only her own children and grandchildren but also all of the children she provided care to over the years. She leaves a lasting legacy. She took joy in her grandchildren and they will greatly miss their “Grandma Carol”. Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis for years, she remained active and future-focused, living out God’s love in her communities. Carol is survived by her mother Elaine Rowland; her husband Marvin; her children William Stepek, Steven (Erin) Stepek, Jeffrey Stepek, and Christopher Stepek; step-children Sarah (Jeff) Schatz, Jason (Terri) Doezema, and Joel (Ashley) Doezema; siblings Gerald (Lois) Boelter, James  (Denise) Rowland, Gary (Theresa) Rowland, Ronald (Sherri) Rowland, and Nancy (Dave) Bradley; parents-in-law Jay and Ruth Doezema; brother-in-law Lary Doezema; sister-in-law, Pat Rowland; and grandchildren Xander and Charlotte Stepek, Isaac and Levi Schatz, Jay and Jocelyn Doezema, Taylor Toman and Violet Doezema, and a new baby Doezema on the way. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Rowland, first husband Joe Stepek, and siblings Richard, David, and Katherine. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville, with Rev. Robert Roush officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a time of visitation Monday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the funeral home. Memorial Contributions can be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

iPhone Photography Learning – Starting Out

Well – I am principled – so I won’t be giving bootleg copies or primary source information without permission. But there are publicly available videos from Emil Parkarklis of IPhone Photo Academy. In the real course the videos have a little more to them, but you can get the basic ideas.

After going thru the features and set up of the camera options on your iPhone, the first module is practicing focus and exposure. How to focus on one area, adjust focus and actually lock it. The feature puts you in control of what  part of the screen will be the focus instead of the camera deciding. It seems much easier on my iPhone than on my DSLR. You are not adjusting aperture and shutter speeds or figuring out the focus points in your viewer. Now – I do like to do that and won’t give it up. But there are SO MANY times I am someplace and my phone is with me – not all my DSLR equipment. If I am going to capture things for creating the best way to do that is to have content that comes up vs planned. And when I look at it – my phone is a more expensive piece of equipment than my camera – so I should be using it for more than texting and checking social media.

The next 2 videos are promo videos  but give you enough info to be curious enough to check things out on your iPhone. This is one of the times I am glad to have a directed course for learning. It is helping me move thru things more quickly and focus on what I want to learn more than trying to create my learning. I do believe there needs to be that balance and diversity – a little of it all for better learning. I am still the one designing my learning, but I am also now determining my resources to meet that learning. How cool would that be as an outcome for our K12 students – or any learner – to diversify and find the right resources for your learning goals and to put them together.

 

What I have learned in 2 days

How to hold my phone camera. So simple  so common sense. I always held from all four corners and looked like the old grandma holding a camera. Shaky, blurry pictures – fingers in shots.

How you hold and use your body to stabilize for better shots. It’s hard to show on my own. But here is an attempt.

Hold landscape/horizontal. Two fingers under the bottom, two along the back and your thumb and forefinger on top. You will then put your other hand under and use your thumb to push the shutter. (can’t show that and take a picture). It makes a difference – and it feels cool!

To hold in portrait view – hold like you are going to text in one hand and use the other hand to support.

Common sense things like keeping your phone closer to your body instead of extending your arms, using surfaces to set your camera upon etc. help too.

Setting focus and exposure is an easy task once you know what it is and how to lock it, you should get enough from the video to figure that out. Again – I am not going to replicate the instruction but highlight things I find useful.

Burst Mode

Have you ever put your finger on the shutter button too long and get this blast of photos. Well that is burst. I never knew what to do with it.

Once you have taken a Burst – go to the photo. In your window at the bottom of the screen click on Select. You can now see all the photos taken and go thru each one and choose the ones you want to keep. The IOS choose some it thinks are good by putting a gray dot below them. You can choose the ones you want to keep and delete the rest. It is suggested to use this for action shots or shots where people are moving. Fantastic! I can’t wait to try this one.

HDR

How many of us that this meant something High Definition?

It is High Dynamic Range. And if you have it on all the time it uses up a lot of phone memory because it takes 3 pictures for every one you take to blend them together. It also makes your phone use up battery faster.

HDR doesn’t work well with a lot of movement either.

In your settings you want to make sure you have selected Keep Normal Photo so that you have that option.

The assignments are carefully explained on how to be successful in completing.  First assignment is to practice selecting a focus point and locking it to take a series of pictures. You lock by keeping your finger on the little yellow box that shows up.  This is a good feature when you want to make sure what you want as the focus is what is captured.

Here are some of my practice shots.

#IPA Foucus

#IPAFocus

#IPAFocus

 

Featured Images:  flickr photos by konarheim shared using Creative Commons    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

#IPAFocus and Exposure – First module of learning

Okay – made it thru the first module videos on how to hold your phone to stabilize and how to set focus and exposure locks.

The assignment is to take at least 10 pictures – but I got pulled away  – so still have more to do. But part of my own expectation is to take pictures and post each day again – so going with what I have for now and will catch up! (we will see if reality sets in or not)

I didn’t realize you could lock the focus and exposure on the iPhone camera. I have tapped on it on occasion- but blindly and without really any intention – just dumb luck.

The first module also went over ways to hold the phone to stabilize and make photos sharper. They were good tips-  common sense – but the ones that don’t come naturally.

I was enjoying the nice weather on my deck while watching the lesson – so the few shots are limited to planters on the railings. It does make a difference. I will practice more.

#IPAFocux

My focus point and exposure was on the pink blossom. There is still some pixelation and it seems I am off a little bit.

Another shot could probably benefit from some cropping – not sure yet….

#IPAFocux

And the third I liked, but there was a distracting leaf that was blurred in the front. I attempted some retouch editing, did a few other edits and came up with this. Better-  but still meh….. So onto taking some more photos and practicing.

#IPAFocux

 

 

 

New Journey -IPhone Photography with IPA and Personalizing for Me

I am going thru an online course IPhone Academy. The first course is based on using the iPhone as your primary camera vs a DSLR.

I do not have any intention of discontinuing use of my Canon Rebel. I love it and have some investments in it with lenses etc. But many times I am without it. In 2009, I always had my small point and shoot with me and had begun the photo a day routine. Jump ahead 8 years and carrying around a point and shoot is like getting the daily paper  – it is falling into oblivion. My phone is with me more than not. The quality of the phone camera has improved so much it is truly hard to not use it. The challenge is to use it well and with the features it has to get good photos and photos that will be good for processing later. Anyone can point and shoot – but to use the phone as a camera and art takes some practice and learning.

When I think about a phone that costs $600 or more – why wouldn’t I be using it for more than texting and communication? The phone costs more than my DSLR beginner kit did!

As a self directed learner – there are many ways to accomplish the goal of learning to better use the iPhone camera. The Internet has many communities and groups who share. You can find and piece together all that you need to improve.

BUT – in a social media feed I stumbled across Emil from iPhone Academy. A young business man who has capitalized on his proficient use of the iPhone and iPhone camera. I watched a few of the click and tease videos. Emil has a nicely paced delivery style which was easy for me to follow.

As someone who has had a life in instructional design and online delivery – it was great to see the polish of Emil’s instruction. He takes it seriously – and seems to have the energy to get all the details done. Questions are anticipated. Video and audio and written –  (multi modal) are provided. Feedback is built in and automated in to provide instant validation. Moderation is provided and modeled to establish community. All the things we know as educators are important for good instructional design implemented and in place. It is an instance of making learning a business service. The learner does not have voice in direction, but does have consistent structures in which to rely for making progress. He is a business man who has taken his interest and now markets it.

Well – I grabbed the hook. While I could follow and assemble tutorials and videos and pick a little here and there from many awesome and sharing individuals I decided to take the route of purchasing Emil’s IPhone Academy course at the 80% discount promotion (and still higher cost than I am usually comfortable). Besides learning some new things about my iPhone camera – I am fascinated in seeing and reviewing how the course is put together and how  it holds up. Definitely a ready made example for others to learn from in creating online instruction. (if one is in need of creating some somewhat traditional delivery in the cover of technology tools).

I am impressed. It is a well oiled machine and evident that it is a focus because it is to create business. Many learning paths I have taken before have either been institutional places that can be somewhat rigid and steeped in academia and get stuck in explaining the theory of learning within context of whatever course you are in or the open format (still my favorite) in which I design and personalize my own learning path.

But there very much is a need for some of the learning pie to have a slice of what Emil offers. Not everyone finds the same energy or interest in how and why we learn when learning themselves – they just want to learn and need “services” that provide direction and flow. His target audience is not in creating learners, it is giving topics of interest to those who want to learn the topic.

Some have criticized and said IPA is out to just sell apps and make money. I think that is capitalism right? No one has to buy it.

So far – I am okay with the price I paid. The format and the pace are good for me. The IPA staff have created a dynamic flow of interaction I have rarely seen in education institution offerings. It seems to attract individuals who are not associated in any way with education. Maybe that is what it is – just people who have an interest and want to pursue. Hmnnn-  I think that is the product outcome we have wanted as educators.

I am thru the first of 7 modules. I think I will make it thru all of them. The pacing, the hooks to the next level are all there and designed not only in pedagogy – but social media and consumerism. I am intrigued equally in how the delivery and flow, the kinds of participation and interactions, as well as with the content of learning things about my iPhone camera.

To the dismay of Emil – I probably won’t sign up for the next course (but who knows?) – Editing iPhone Photos. For that I will continue with what I know and take the open learning route. It is a topic and direction in which I want multiple views and ideas vs. producing trendy or similar art. But I can see where many individuals will take on things they may not have on their own and develop skills because they will have the opportunity. So in that sense I think it is great that it is offered and available. And yes- good for Emil and his business for being successful. They are not after the whole pie – just a slice they can manage.

The parts I bring to the IPA course for myself are seeing photos as stories. As documentation of lives. As art and as more art.

In this video that came across one of my feeds, Charlie explains photography as art. I like his thoughts. They resonate. And guess what – Charlie was a techy before he retired – how about that?

Here is an article that goes along with the video:

A Message To Photographers | Direct Advice On Making Truly Great Images

Even with a purchased path of learning – one always can and will personalize (or should). IPA is my content and a resource – but not my total learning experience. I will grow more by taking what I learn and discover into other places and applying, tweaking, expanding. It is my prep and research to contribute in other places at a higher level.

I will be following my #ds106 format of blogging as I learn. I have added a category for IPA.

#4life – #ds106: Still the method that helps my learning mean more to me and to make me accountable to self -but also in increasing my wealth thru sharing.

 

Photo Avalanches and Hocus Pocus

tdc1427-2

Digital life brings file management hell! It is SO necessary. I find the longer you have been in this the more you have to change…..those just starting are able to leap ahead from our lessons learned. Clean up is tedious – but necessary. In some ways it is like our new home – we have lots of things that are important to us or have history and still in great condition -but it would be so much easier to start from scratch than try and work with what we have.

But you can’t escape – so it is figuring out how to make what you have work and improve on it. Much like collaboration on creative pieces – building and tweaking on what is already there…..hmmnnn – another DS106 thread of life.

I embarked on the DS106 path in January of 2015- 6 months after retirement. My goal was to organize myself and learn in order to document family. As I have gone thru iterations, I have found wealth. As I approach my 3 year mark, it is time to reflect.

I have improved my skills and learned new things. I have met new people. I have expanded my global view.

While DS106 is many things- it has made me think about learning and teaching.

I have always been one to think learning is personalized. You get out what you put in. I never quite figure out how others do it differently. How can you not want to put things in order and figure out how they work?

Part of my personal journey is to keep family first. Figuring out how to make sure my kids and their kids know who we are, where we came from, and how great they are in carrying us into the future.

I have inherited the family photo albums. We have 30K in digital pics! We have our first grandchild who prompts us to create even more to document!

After 2+ years of trying to figure out Lightroom I fell into a format by accident.

I have been following and reading bloggers by the numbers on how to organize and manage. I saw a common thread of saving by date and then using collections. It all sound great- but how.

I deleted what I had set up in Lightroom. I was working with only current photos. On a lazy Sunday, I started a new catalog from all of my photos that were on my hard drive. I didn’t realize I had set up Lightroom for certain import specs. By accident I got it right. All my photos imported by date!

This did create MANY folders. but it was okay. It was better than going photo by photo.

I began reorganizing by year to make the tree structure smaller. This was also a time to get rid of all the duplicates. It actually went smoother than I would have expected.

The other plus was the work I had done previously in Lightroom or in tagging etc. all carried forward!

The first thought was to get my catalog smaller in case Lightroom would start to freeze etc because the catalog had 30K+ photos. But more research points towards the fact that it is a database and not actual storage and many have not yet found the breaking point.

Next steps will be to go in and create the collections. I now know to keep folders with originals and dates move forward from there. With tagging I can create collections for special events or times.

I am almost finished up to the current date. Ironic in that 2017 is the most difficult. Seems I was saving and making sure I had pictures so I have 5-6 of the same picture to go thru. My sister also scanned all her hard photos and shared them with me so I have 1K that say 2017 when they are really the last 30 years. They are all tagged by her name – so I will create a collection and a folder that says Sandy’s Pics to separate them.

There are also all the ones I have downloaded from family via Facebook, messenger, texts. Those don’t always come thru with good metadata – so there is now a folder of Unsorted that will need attention.

All in all – so far it is feeling a whole lot more manageable. I found my notes from more than a year ago a workflow. I have changed it up a little to actually be less tedious.

  1. only download on desktop and directly into Apple Photos
  2. Title, tag, add descriptions etc. in Apple Photos
  3. Export to an auto import folder on my desktop so when LR opens they import with all the tags and metadata. (at least once a week or as needed)
  4. Optimize SmartFolders for Collections to pull in by tags.
  5. Set Time Machine up to back up hard drive so that Photos and Pictures folder are backed up. I know I have pictures in two places – but now I can back up the photos library and and the hard drive in two different places so that I know I will have redundancy.
  6. Set up Flickr for album uploads to share with family (also another back up)

Along with this new workflow I am also doing a weekly update in a private family blog. My first direction was to create the stories – but with so much coming in and limited time – I have been missing milestones and become buried in content. The weekly updates will offer a slice and still allow me to do the creations for events and milestones – but hopefully have more organized and ready to use. Plus it eliminates the urge to include everything in a creation – because now the content is still somewhere and available as narrative.

As I was cleaning up these files I also cleaned up my music files. Two older iPods are now music only and have all of our music on them. New music can be added easily now. It is backed up as well. Two years to get to this point – including ripping all of our CDs!

Can you see me doing a happy dance? It has made sticking to a walking regimen easier too. Just hope the new neighbors don’t laugh too hard if I start singing out loud while walking.

Yes – I guess Spring is the time to get organized!

The photo is from a ds106 Daily Create. It is a self portrait in a mirror and using photo editing to eliminate the camera. It took a little longer than 20 minutes but was a great creation process. #TDC1427

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