Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Creating a Bahamas Themed MovieTrailer Using Iphone Applications

My classmates (awesome new friends actually) have been patiently waiting for me to post another Bahamas blog. Well, I digress, this is not that blog; however, some day I'll finally complete that series.

While working on the Bahama blogs, I ended up with another island trip. I had the craziest flight from Anchorage to Honolulu, Hawaii. I had two layovers, one in Juneau and one in Seattle, and I eventually made it to Honolulu. I can't remember what happened during the decision process as to why I chose this particular flight schedule. I think it had something to do with getting more flight segements. Through the extended 12 hour journey, I started to get a tad stir-crazy and needed something to do to cure my wandering thoughts and boredom. So, on the last leg to Honolulu, I began to play around with my various photography and video apps. 

At the end of this blog post is the final creation that I am very excited to share with all of you. I promise you, I laughed over a dozen times while making my Bahamas themed movie trailer. 

I figured since I spent so much time playing with iphone apps, I would give you a quick glimpse of my favorite apps to use for editing on a smartphone. Let's face it... There's not always time to plug in a memory card, upload photos to a computer, edit, download, and share. Therefore, I've enjoyed being able to do some quick edits on the phone. 

Number 4 favorite iPhone photo app:
Phonto - This text application is a fun way to add quotes or a signature to your photographs. I made sure they had my particular font first, which they did! 

Number 3 favorite iPhone photo app:
Hyperlapse- I just started using this app as a recommendation from a photo buddy in Alaska (willdayphotography on Instagram). For those with the new upgrade on the iPhone, you have time-lapse capabilities. This app helps smooth out the shake from handholding while shooting a time-lapse.

Number 2 favorite iPhone photo app:
ProCam2 - I've enjoyed playing with this one when creating iPhone videos. I used it in my movie trailer at the end of this blog (along with iMovie for the iPhone).

Number 1 favorite iPhone photo app:
Lightroom - ahhhhhhhh, Lightroom. It's the best, and there is no doubt about it. Computer, tablet, smartphone... Doesn't matter. If you want a great editing program, you'll purchase Lightroom. I think it is one of the reasons they are taking aperture, the former Mac photographic editing program, off of Mac computers. 

What does all this equal to?? Watch "Draw a Line in the Sand" below. It is a comical movie trailer about my journey to The Bahamas this past January. Let me know what you think in the comments section. Also, I have 14 other photography applications that I use. If you want to know any of those, shoot me a comment or message.

Enjoy the trailer! Maybe one day I'll create a real film... You never know... The sky's the limit! 
(If a video does not appear, please open this site on a laptop or desktop.. Trust me, you don't want to miss it).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What To Do In Alaska on a Cold, Wet Winter Day

I've decided to take a break from editing Bahama photos. Don't worry, I'll finish the Bahama Blog series in the next week. However, I wanted to give you a glimpse into my first winter in Alaska. Let's just say.... It's been a slightly disappointing one.

Growing up in Mississippi, we never really got a "real" winter. School is canceled all the time, but that doesn't mean it is actually winter. It just means the temperatures dropped for the first time and ice has covered the streets. Southerners don't know how to prepare for the winter season, so we all get out of school and days free from work. It's not that bad of a deal.

Yet, I was ecstatic for my first actual winter (not including the winter I had in Antarctica, which was actually their summer season). I was ready to perfect my skiing techniques, learn to snowshoe, and take tons of gorgeous photographs of mountains covered in snow. Did any of these happen the past several months?? Not really.

This is the second winter in a row in which Alaska has suffered from the lack of snow and the warmer temperatures, while the lower 48 have been impounded by snowstorms and ice storms. I sadly have to say I haven't been skiing up here once. I was planning on skiing in the mounds of snow when I returned from the Bahamas. I thought maybe if I left for a few weeks, the snow would return. Didn't happen.

Anyway, enough ranting about the sad winter weather... Here's what you can do in Alaska in the Cold, Wet Winter...

Virgin Creek Falls, Girdwood, AK

1. Go outdoors anyway. This was kind of a spontaneous trip, and one we were both nervous to take. It was raining, slick, and cloudy. Not the best weather for our photography day. However, we went out anyway and ended up having a great time.

2. Go ice sledding for an adventure. It's free, fun, and relatively painless. Simply find a slight decline in the ground covered with ice, sit, and slide. (Just make sure your camera is well attached. I don't think mine liked being banged around on the ice). Also, you might want to make sure you can stop; otherwise, it could become a tad dangerous.

3. Attempt somewhat sketchy rock climbing. Of course, this probably ended up being my favorite part of the day. I get this odd enjoyment when I'm risking something a little bit on the dangerous side. We climbed around this waterfall for a bit, taking in the quiet, peaceful atmosphere.

4. Just have a laugh (and enjoy sauna time later). It may have been a little slick, and I scared myself once or twice. However, I'm hoping to go out on another icy adventure this weekend. So, obviously, I haven't scarred myself out of exploring Alaska just yet.

(Disclaimer: Due to subject matter, reader activity is advised at 
reader's own discretion. 
Lena Stevens is not responsible for any injuries including bruised tailbones, 
twisted ankles, or those of a mental state. 
If reader goes ice sledding or rock climbing, 
it is at his or her own adventurous risk.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. 
Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kayaking, Cooking, and Camping in the Bahamas- 10 Things You Wouldn't Expect


10. Eating Under Palm Trees. There were many instances where we stopped on a random beach to eat lunch. All of us would gather under a palm tree (or the nearest thing that cast an ounce of shade) to eat our trail mix, crackers, and bars. It may not seem like much, but it was always a fun setting in which we could all relax from paddling and enjoy each other's company.

Lignum Vitae campsite. This is where the best snorkeling was located.

9. The Lou with the View. Not many people will understand this one. You would have to know my stepdad and his hilarious "Antarctica- Lou with the View" story. However, our story is special because of what the toilet bucket represents. It portrays hilarious conversations about "dumping duties", a two-in-one shower and toilet, and the fact that it was the most creative backcountry bathroom I've ever seen. Yet, these photos will always remind me of how much this group could laugh! 


8. Solitary Moments at Sunrise. I had this habit of waking up before my tents mates during most of the trip. My body got on a regular sleep schedule in which I woke up at 6:08 AM almost every morning. I would quietly crawl out of the tent and spend time sitting on the beach or taking photos. One morning in particular, I sat on the edge of the softly lapping waves and simply just thought. I thought about life, love, where I am now, and where I want to go. The patterned waves made me realize that every day will come and disappear, but it's the small, special moments that mean the most. 

7. Receiving Fresh LOBSTER! As we kayaked up to a beach on Big Farmer's Cay and were beginning to pull our things out the boat, a small fishing boat with three native Bahamians followed us to the shore. I can't explain how happy the entire group was to see fresh lobster and conch. We found out that these free-divers (meaning they don't use any snorkeling gear) can dive down to 90 feet and hold it for minutes in order to get a catch. Incredible! No pasta for dinner tonight!

Turtle, Curly, and Percy were the fisherman/divers who brought us the incredible goods. 

Lisa and Paul purchasing lobster. 
Alec and Jared excited for their fish!
We bought approximately ten lobsters and two conchs.

6. Getting Your First Coal with a Bow Drill. One of our classes was how to use a bow drill taught by James one evening at the beginning of the trip. However, many of the students tried again and again... and again to get a coal. It is definitely more difficult than you would think. I couldn't tell you how excited those of watching got when Jared was able to create a coal.

Jared attempting the bow drill.
First successful coal by a student other than James.
Bow Drill set. 
5. Creating Deliciously Unique Concoctions with Tent Mates. I'm not sure if it was the fact that we were nearing the end of the trip and longing for good food, or we had lots of extra food left and decided to get creative. My second set of tent mates and I really pushed the limits with out food rations. We made stuffed-crust garlic chicken pizza, brown-sugar cinnamon rolls with strawberry syrup, cornbread stuffed chili casserole, and blueberry pancakes. Eventually, our fuel was getting low, so we built various fire pits to cook our dinners. Our absolute favorite meal, in which we were the most proud, were the breadsticks- garlic cheese, cheesy salami, and brown sugar!

Cody and Jocelyn cooking our chili for the casserole. 
One can use coals underneath and a fire on top of a fry-bake in order to bake goods in the back country.
4. Serenity Shelter Conversations. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to set up the serenity shelter with my tent mates after a long day of paddling. It's refreshing to know that you could now relax, enjoy the beach or snorkeling, and stay out of the bugs. It was like coming home each evening. Many wonderful laughs were made, life stories were shared, and friendships were strengthened in the serenity shelter. One evening, nine people mingled into our shelter, and we reminisced and laughed about the cruise ship escapade for the longest time.

Lisa and Alec cooking dinner. 
3. Seeing a Hammerhead Shark. As I had finished getting my camera sorted under the water, I popped my head up to hear my professor telling me to get back in the kayak. "Why?" I asked. He told me a Hammerhead had just been spotted. Knowing me, I dismissed getting back in the kayak and pointed my camera in the other direction as I shouted, "Where?!" I missed him on camera, but trust me I saw him as he whooshed past us. Including the shark (and the intense, overprotective Barracuda), that particular snorkel was my absolute favorite!

Cody diving to look at fish.
Paul taking a video of groupers.

2. Impromptu Astrology Classes. We each had to sign up to teach two classes during the entire course; however, no one signed up to teach an astrology class. It turned our that it wasn't the worst thing. Some of my favorite nights is when we would unexpectedly gather under the starts and Paul, our main instructor, would enlighten us with facts about stars, galaxies, constellations, and comets. Did you know we can actually see the Andromeda Galaxy? It is the furtherest point a human eye can see.
Star gazing as a group.

1. The "Lion Tamer" Succeeds! I have to say one of the most incredible (and hysterical) moments of the kayaking expedition was seeing Kelly successfully come out of the water with a speared Lionfish. Earlier in the trip, Kelly gave a class on invasive Lionfish, and she had hoped to have one as an example. But, the snorkeling had been disappointing, and she had yet to see even one Lionfish, which was extremely unusual. The day she finally saw not one but three Lionfish was also the day we saw the Hammerhead shark. Afraid spearing a fish would attract the shark, Kelly was told she couldn't kill one. Disappointed once again, Kelly made peace with the fact that she wouldn't get a Lionfish on this trip... Well, at the end of the dive, we managed to keep everyone safe and Kelly was able to get her fish. It didn't even take ten seconds before we saw the spear jet out of the water with a squirming fish on top! Lots of cheers and excitement came from the four of us on the snorkel. However... this is nothing compared to the excitement the girls showed back at camp. Watch the video below to see how thrilled our group really was! (Please excuse the language. We were just really happy Kelly finally got her fish!)


* Honorable Mention: Photography Shoot on Our Last Beach. I can't forget the fact that I had numerous spectacular photographic moments, especially the last two mornings on our trip at Williams Cay.