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To Endings and New Beginnings

Autumn Tales
A Summer of Collaborations
Spring:  A Nod to Narcissistic Indulgence

Winter is a season of contrasts. While on the one hand the air is filled with Christmas carols and the aroma of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies, on the other hand grey skies and barren trees remind us of the cycle of life nearing its end.

Warm fireplaces and ginger scones aside, winter isn’t a time of high spirits for me. It never has been. I’d rather be forced-to-strip hot than bundled-up-in-13 layers and still be freezing! And while snow looks awesome in postcards, dealing with the harsh day-to-day realities of piled high hard white “cement” is no fun.

Winter, for me, has always represented a dark phase — one that I can’t wait to get over with. As much as I love my gingerbread lattes, I’d trade them in a heartbeat for the lemon-mint, foot-tall summer mojitos. It’s almost like winter exists to remind me of how much I cherish the newness of spring, the freedom of summer and the natural beauty of autumn.

Winter numbs me. And the only way I can feel my heart beat stronger is by wearing sunglasses and pretending the sun will melt this gloom away. Today is too cold to bear, so I hold the promise of tomorrow near.

This is the final segment of Jennifer Bracewell and my collaboration on the four seasons. As we ventured on this journey, we decided to share with you our inner-most thoughts, both through imagery and words. We hope you enjoyed this amalgamation as much as we did.

We swapped four self-portraits — one for each season — and decided to surprise each other with our interpretations. And surprise we did.

While apping the other’s image, we also worked on one of our own … and we came up with completely different visions. Winter was the only season that drew the same sentiment from both of us, visually and in verse.

Self-portraits can be limiting at first glance, but as you’ve seen, it only takes a bit of imagination to create something evocative each time. It has been a true pleasure to bring you an year’s worth of seasonal imagery in four short weeks. We hope you enjoyed the tutorials as well.

As we wrap up this series, we wish you a very happy holiday season, a warm and safe winter, and much happiness and inspiration in the New Year.

Enjoy the last four images for winter and Jen’s beautiful poetry.

Until next time….



Why does it seem so final when
Winter turns her cold shoulder on you?
The biting ferocity,
Hiding in the sheep’s clothing
Of a seemingly gentle breeze that just blew
Plants give their life
To the cruel shivery will of the season,
But it is only the falling action of their play

Snapping twigs and breaking branches
Are lessons learned of survival:
It is better to give than fight
Lungs fatigued from icy, thin air.
Yearning to shake off this white blanket
And return to the warmth of yesterday.


Jen’s tutorial of Mansi’s image

  • PaintFX enhanced eyes and lips
  • Iris motion blur(slight), adjusted with slider bar and dramatic black and white filters
  • Blender. I used a beautiful tree picture given to me by my friend Maryjane (@maryjane428) and blended it with the image of Mansi using Screen
  • I then Blended result with original image to get back some definition in her features
  • Next I Used TouchRetouch to remove her necklace and some stray branches
  • Snow Daze, random, for “snow” and glow
  • Finished with Scratchcam random


Mansi’s tutorial of Jen’s image

  • Used Photocopier to adjust the tone of Jen’s image and make it cold and gray
  • Ran the image through PictureEffects to stretch it out to one side
  • Blended the last two images first using Image Blender and then blended the result with an image of trees taken previously
  • Used Modern Grunge to add some texture and further adjust the tone of the image
  • Ran the image through Scratchcam for a different texture and feel
  • Blended these two images in Image Blender
  • Got some snow flakes in the picture using SnowDaze; also darkened the image but it made the image look gloomier than I wanted
  • To take some of that despondency away, I used Image Blender one final time to blend the last image with the one I had from the last blend (the result of blending the Scratchcam and Modern Grunge images)

One Comment

  1. Congrats on these tutorials. This is such an exciting collaboration for mobile portraiture. Your sytles work well together and these photos offer alot in both technique and emotive qualities. A fabulous resource for beginners and experienced alike.