Thursday, July 7, 2011

A New Sheriff

Since it's introduction, over 2 years ago, VintBW was the undisputed home-run king of B&W Apps.  I've been using the newest contender, Simply B&W for a week and it pretty consistently slaps them outa the park.  Move over Big Papi.

The results of these 2 Apps are very very similar.  In fact whenever I've thought I discovered a difference it turned out to be a mistake I had made.  The App though is a whole lot more convenient to use, and for that reason I will use it a whole lot more often.  For one thing it doesn't just throw everything away if you happen to leave the App before it's done, for another it will process saved images.

The ability to throw a thin white border around the image (or black if you like) is really helpful.  The filters it offers are fun. I've taken real advantage of R, Y, O to "dramaticize" cloudy skies and I was playing with the Blue filter in the garden today.  Yes I did say Blue.  I found I was able to do 2 interesting things, turn blue flowers into white of course but also the blue really darkened the green background foliage dramatically isolating the flowers.

The wind picked up on the following 2 images and the focus was slightly off (my fault), I sharpened them (twice actually) and can see now that they are oversharpened.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yarn Bombing

Billed as perhaps the next "thing" after graffiti, yarn bombers knit covers for all sorts of statues, trees, vehicles etc.  This is Elliott Park in Seattle, several trees, lightposts, a kiosk roof have been yarn bombed

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks II

One of the OOF images further processed on the iPhone.  AutoPainter, Van Gogh


I used my iPhone to photograph fireworks last night. Slow Shutter Cam, Light Trail mode.  I set the shutter to B, started it when I heard the "Whump" and stopped when I thought the painted image looked about right.  Real scientific process here.

One of the things I remember from DSLR shots of fireworks is that it's really easy to overdo it. A few bright flashes and the image is a mess.  With the iPhone on Light Trail it paints the image onto the screen so it's a bit easier to judge.  About a third of the time the camera was pointed wrong (I was close, almost directly under the display), and about a third of the time the brightness of the firework just overwhelmed the sensor.  The other third I got what appeared to be a good image, but when I got home I discovered about half were out of focus.

I haven't figured a way top pre focus this App but have written the developer.


I'm a big fan of B&W photography.  Perhaps like others I find myself immediately attracted to B&W when reviewing thumbnails.  This is pretty great since with digital photography we get a B&W as well as a color image.  All we need to do is throw away the  Turns out that in order to make a good B&W image it takes a bit more than that, quite a bit more actually.

Enter the iPhone and the formula changes once again.  There are many Apps which will de-saturate the images and several more that give us various controls over the process.  Each has strong points, none work perfectly in every situation and many are almost tedious.  None that is but an App Vint B&W.

Vint was last updated Feb, 2009, an Ice-Age ago in iPhone time, and hasn't been updated since.  The developer Erik Pettersson has other things on his plate evidently.  Time after time new B&W Apps are released that seem to be as good as Vint but soon show that they are not.  There are some cumbersome problems with Vint though, it's a camera only App, it doesn't work on saved images.  So if after working a color image I decide to look at a B&W rendition I can't use Vint.  It also is kinda slow and won't work in background.  Now I am happy to discover that a new App finally seems as good as Vint...Yipee!!

Simply B&W produces images that are pretty much as good as Vint, and the images are easily improved.  It's a camera but works on saved images as well, in fact it will save a B&W image as well as a color image if used as a camera.  It has 2 areas that it falls a bit short compared to Vint, Contrast and Vignette, but it's tones, shades mid contrast etc are very very good.  It has a contrast control that quickly makes up for the shortcoming in this regard and also has 2 additional features.  It will apply color filters, R, O, Y, G, B and it applies a thin border, either B or W which goes on the outside of the image...which is a cool feature.  The program I use to apply Vignettes recognizes the border and doesn't apply the darkening to it.

The combination of features and being able to work on saved images is what I had been hoping for.  The developer Mr B Ware has a great product.