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User Spotlight: Sonel

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Our Pixlr on Flickr group is one of our favorite places to view Pixlr-made art, and we love profiling some of the artists who share their work with us. This time around we wanted to alert you to another skilled sharer, Sonel. A homemaker from Hartbeespoortdam, South Africa, she’s a wife and mother, animal and nature lover who enjoys swimming, blogging, digital scrapbooking, photography, digital art and graphic design, computer games, good movies, singing, reading, and most of all being at home with her family. Phew. She’s got a lot of hobbies, not the least among them taking some beautiful photos. We wanted to find out a bit more about her and her gorgeous photos, many of which she works up in Pixlr Express….

Pixlr: Have you always taken photos, or did something at some point spark the photography bug in you?

Sonel: I’m just an amateur and have always loved to take photos of nature and animals. A year ago my husband bought me a new DSLR camera, and I had something new to learn and experiment with. One day my dream of having a Canon EOS 7D with telephoto lens will come true. Maybe then I will be able to call myself a photographer.

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Pixlr: Where are you located in this wide world?

Sonel: I live with my hubby, two sons, my Peketese, Simba, and Tweety, the African Grey in Schoemansville, Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa. What I love about this place is the clean air, the mountains, and my most favourite, the dam.

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Pixlr: Sometmes you seem to focus on adding inspirational quotes to photos. And you’re pretty good at it. Why inspirational quotes? Are they all photos you take or are some photos you find?

Sonel: Thank you for the lovely compliment. All the photos are my own. I love quotes so much because I’m not really good with words. I know what I want to say but can’t always express it. Inspirational quotes also inspire me and make me think about the things in life I’m grateful for. I sometimes forget I have a lot to be grateful for; through photography and inspirational quotes I can express myself and feel good.

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Pixlr: What kind of things inspire you? Besides the inspirational quote photos, are there themes or subjects that people might notice about your photos?

Sonel: Nature, animals, my family, and music always inspire me. I think the one thing that people will notice about my photos is that I truly love nature, and I am crazy about animals. And I love to be creative with my photos.

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Pixlr: What kind of equipment do you use to take photos? Camera, smartphone, apps, etc.

Sonel: My camera is a FujiFilm FinePix S2960. The photos of my camera itself are taken with my Nokia cellphone, but I prefer to use my camera to take photos.

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Pixlr: Is incorporating effects into your photos important?

Sonel: I’m the kind of person who gets bored very easily. Most of the time I use effects on my photos, whether it’s Pixlr or Lightroom or even Adobe Photoshop actions. I don’t want to present boring photos. For example, I am currently running a photo challenge on WordPress about split-toning. When doing that I challenge myself and my readers and blogger friends and show them new ways of being creative with their photography.

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Pixlr: That’s great. Split toning is something included in some photo editing apps, and Pixlr Express uses that type of process with certain effects. It colors shadows for effect.

Sonel: Yes. With this challenge I showed them that they can do the same with Pixlr that I am doing in Lightroom. Most of them can’t afford most of the professional programs and would love to do the same. With the wonderful Pixlr apps they can.

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Pixlr: Is there anything you’d like to see in our apps that aren’t there yet? What’s your feature requests?

Sonel: More effects, borders, and overlays would be awesome. One can never have enough of them.

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Pixlr:Where’s the best place to view your photos online?

Sonel: The best place would be my WordPress site and then there’s Flicker where I belong to the Pixlr on Flickr group.

In addition to her great quotation photos, Sonel takes some stunning photos of nature — particularly flowers — that are not to be missed. Check out her Flickr page and dig back for some great shots.