Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cloudy Days

Well now that it's summer the temps here will rocket up to almost 70, but then the clouds cruise on bye and the temps are back in the mid 60's.  The clouds though are great.  I'm shooting a TON of bracketed shots on the iPhone, this is one of them.  I was struck with how WW II -ish this building looked, contrasted buy the bright red porch (?).  I used iCameraHDR to bring out the saturated reds but wasn't crazy about the other colors being saturated also.

An App called PhotoWizard is my go-to masking tool, I masked the building and then desaturated.  PhotoForge filter Sin City removes colors with a slider, I removed 'till I had the mottled look I wanted, sharpened and called it good.  I tried a version without the yellow in the sign but didn't feel any differently about it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coffee Tasters

Oliver and Sam hard at work.

VintBW image processed in Snapseed on the iPad.  Crop, a touch of bright on their faces, textured, Vintage Film look and framed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


1/2 second exposure, tilted the iPhone up while shutter open.  I tried a half dozen or so, Automatic Mode and Light Trail Mode.  Didn't notice any difference.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Making White

The App ClassicPAN has an Exposure Control which seems to work so I got to thinking about making white.  White is not an easy color to photograph without various controls, white balance and Exposure Control for example.  I tried various ways with degrees of success but the easiest of all was unexpected.  I pressed SAVE in an App called iDroste and almost immediately changed my mind and hit CANCEL.  I expected it to just stop but rather it gave me a small bit of my image on top of a white "page." A bit of cropping and I have made white.

One use of a white image would be as background for edges and frames.  Another would be to get a good look at various surface treatments such as textures or grunge.  In fact as an increasing number of Apps have the ability to make and save Presets a white image would be an ideal starting point for making custom effects.  I haven't done an extensive search of iPhone Apps yet but I know that some desktop Apps will accept files made elsewhere so the combinations could be quite exciting.

Here are a couple from Grungetastic and a few from some other frame making software.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Tiffen, the filter people make some quite sophisticated filter simulation software.  DFX, originally priced north of $300, had great reviews but was out of my reach.  Early on (iPhone 3) they released an App which is a LOT like the DFX software,  Photofx.  For $3.00 it seemed to have about 95% of the capabilities of the $300 software.  It was my second purchased App, right after PhotoGene.

I took this image at a favorite location not far from my home because I could faintly see the Olympic Mountains and also for the yellowish glow in the clouds.  Unfortunately neither showed.  While having a cup a bit later I realized the Olympics would be a no show regardless of what I did but that I could do something about the color.  Photofx has a range of Grad Filters.  I just kinda dialed in the amount of darkening I wanted in the foreground and the colors were right.  A little diffusion filter to make the image softer, more dreamy and I was about done.  I framed it with another App, LiveFX and signed it with Impressions.

When I had a chance to download and look at this image on a larger screen the only change needed was to go back into Impressions and reduce the opacity of my signature so it would be less distracting.  I'm considering removing those branches in the upper left...haven't decided yet.

Total time less than 10 minutes.  Ain't the iPhone fun folks?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hat & Boots

The Hat & Boots was a Seattle landmark for years, built in the 1950's as a gas station (Texaco I believe) it lasted 'till the late 1980's.  Age, neglect and vandalism pretty much finished them off and one day they were gone.  I found out several years later that they had been restored and sat in Hat & Boots City Park in Georgetown, half a dozen blocks from where they

An outstanding photographer, Karen Messick has been doing some color saturated work lately with an App ClassicPan.  I'm familiar with the Classic Apps having used ClassicTOY in the past.  This and another App, Lenses always excited me with the colors shown on the iPhone but once on the big screen they never seemed to hold up.  But as this was Pre-Grunge (PG) and Pre Painter I decided to give them another try.

The boots are ClassicPan as interpreted by AutoPainter II, felt tip.

Hat and Boots incorporates the famous "Manny-Apps" (many) and reminded me of the joke about the inventor of cottage do you know when it's done.  Actually I had piled more effects onto the image but dialed some back.
Lenses Vivid which produced a very saturated, low resolution image.  Iris Comic Scene furthered the saturation and subdued some of the detail.  This was then blended back with the original.  An AutoPainter II version of the original was made which was blended with the previous blend. (tip...when stealing ideas, always steal from a great artist, Karen's use of this very blending idea transferred perfectly).   I found I liked the impact of LoMob  on the resulting image and also the Polaroid type frame works.  Impressions for text.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A year to 18 months ago there were only a handful of really good photography Apps, now there are hundreds.  Further, built into regular upgrades are many of the capabilities of other Apps.  It's difficult to keep up.

I have decided to spend a bit more time with some of the Apps I have only given a cursory  review.  One favorite is PictureShow.  This App would fall into the All in One category.  It has a number of preset "Filters," 45 at last count which may be combined with a collection of frames, light leaks and what it calls Noise but what other Apps would see as Grunge.  These may be combined in any order and also added to tilt shift, HDR, RGB color adjustments, and various cropping arrangements.  It also allows the creation of personal combinations--presets, which can be a very useful tool.

This App has a Random Tool...of course.  Random tools arbitrarily combine effects, frames noise etc and sometimes the results are wonderful.  PictureShow gives the option to not only see what elements are combined to make the image but also save it as a preset.  

Frames may be added to an image without degradation of the original image.  If it's 5MP going in it's 5 MP coming out.  I really appreciate that.  PictureShow also seems to recognize the frame.  If like me you might decide to add something at the last minute,  by that I mean if a Vignette is added towards the end of the workflow it doesn't darken the frame, if Noise is added after an image is framed the frame gets no noise treatment.  With other Apps I would need to backstep through my actions in order to add either.

The crop tool is very very interesting.  When changing an image to square format it up-rezes the image.  The 5MP iPhone image is 1937 pixels by 2593 pixels.  Cropping this image square makes it 1937 x 1937 or 3.7 MP and in fact this is the output size for Apps which produce a square image, like Hipstamatic.  PictureShow produces an image which is 2592 pixels square, or 6.7 MP.  I might imagine there is some degradation of the image but it's not obvious to me.

Finally it uploads quite well to Blogger, and appears to be the only App to do so.

Slow Shutter Cam

After discussing the App with a Beta tester I was anxious for Slow Shutter Cam's introduction about a year ago.  Upon release this App combined multiple screen shots into a slow shutter type photographic effect.  Initially an exciting concept but kind of a difficult to master "One trick pony" that produced very tiny images it has developed into an exceptional creative tool.  Along the way the developer, Cogitap Software, has made several improvements and additions which not only improve this App but help show other App developers a new trick or two.  For instance Slow Shutter cam now produces images up to full resolution. (other Apps take advantage of screen shots but produce unusably tiny images)

With the latest upgrade last month I noticed 4 additional capabilities: a Bulb setting; Live Preview; improved Exposure Control; and Freeze Frame which I have yet to test.  The first two give me the ability to watch an image be painted onto the screen and when I think the exposure is correct to stop the exposure.  The improvements to Exposure Control are allowing me a bit more repair of an image (noise reduction) after capture but before saving.  Dependent upon ones ability to creatively use the small screen I think there are some exciting possibilities here.

The fourth, Freeze Control moves emphasis of the final image from first to last image with a slider control.  I have a few ideas about trying this with some across the screen movements, either of subjects moving or by panning the camera.  These ideas are in the "Gotta try this real soon" area of my mind.  Things get lost in there though, more and more as I get older I'm afraid.

The image below was taken with Slow Shutter Cam, Light Trail Mode, B shutter setting and a high "Sensitivity" which is somewhat like f stop I think (more testing required).

Taken at a beaver pond on a grey and rainy day last month.  As best as I could on the tiny screen I tried to get as much exposure into the dark areas- in the foreground for example and along the back edge of the pond while keeping the sky from completely blowing out and flaring.  The images looked pretty good at the time so I didn't try too many exposures, 3 total I believe.  All in all I like the exposure.

Although it changed the mood of the day from grey and dreary to almost sunny the slow shutter effect was very interesting to me.  The water took on a glow which I could watch develop on the screen.  Also,  I watched almost clear reflections of trees develop on the screen but was completely unable to see them on the pond itself due to the rain hitting it.  The camera picked up things I couldn't ... fun.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Perkins House

I first "Discovered" The Palouse about 20 years ago.  It's an incredibly productive agricultural area of  rolling hills,  mostly within SE Washington State although it does extend a bit into western Idaho.  At first nobody except locals seemed to know the name but the fields, sky, towns and equipment are so attractive that the are is becoming quite well known photographically.

I've been making semi-regular two day trips for years and regardless of my plans The Palouse presents me with something new and unexpected on every trip.  This trip I was able to tour The Perkins House.  On the national historic register The Perkins House is a Victorian Age home in Colfax, WA.  Although I've known it was there, I never really had the opportunity to visit.

I wound up taking hundreds of digital images in the house and on the grounds.  In no particular order here are 3.

New Roof

Many photo Apps are able to upload to a service such as Blogger. the thing they all have in common for me is my lack of trust in them.

PictureShow manipulated and uploaded Hipsatmatic image.