I went out on an adventure to the eastern part of the county a couple of days ago. I’ve never been out that way before, so I didn’t know what to expect. First, we drove to a wildflower hotspot in Santa Margarita where there was no trace of any wildflowers being there this year. I know the peak was a month or two ago, but I thought there might at least be a few flowers and some grass. Not this time. It was all brown. All I found was a couple of tiny flowers in a dry creek bed.
After that disappointing find, we headed to Soda Lake. Before we left, I googled the lake and saw some cool pictures. When we pulled up, we were greeted by a massive salt crust in the shape of a lake. It was cool, but not what I had envisioned. The white lake bed was so bright that the camera’s sensor couldn’t handle the dynamic range of the scene. The sky ended up being very dark.
We walked out on the dried up lake because we drove all that way. Some of it was powdery and some was crunchy. I felt like I was walking on the moon. If you stood still, you sank into the ground another inch or two. It was a funny feeling.
I got some cool shots with my Nikon too. Hopefully, I’ll find some time to share those soon. I was able to capture one of the white dust devils (twisters) out on the lake.
This image was shot with camera+ and edited with Snapseed. I included the before image below so you can see what I started with. I had to brighten it up and straighten the horizon. I chose to use the tilt shift filter on this one to bring the focus more to the dead bush in the foreground.
I went to on of the more hidden beaches around here recently. I’ve been here a few times before, but never remember seeing this stop sign in the surf. There’s a whole section of beach closed for some dang birds, the snowy plover. There were ropes and other trespassing signs, but this stop sign seemed out of place.
Shot with camera+. Edited with XnSketch.
I finally was able to catch a sunset at the beach last night. We’re getting our June gloom foggy weather already, which means sunsets are usually ruined. Lucky for me, last night the fog stayed off the coast just far enough.
This particular sunset wasn’t anything too amazing. I felt like I should use a few apps to make it look more beautiful in my eyes. First, I shot with TrueHDR. If you’re new to my blog, I use TrueHDR a lot because often times it makes for a more realistic image by combining two exposures. Next, I used Snapseed to brighten a little, add contrast, and bump up the saturation slightly. Then, I used TangledFX for the painterly/fibrous look. Finally, I used Snapseed again because I felt like the image needed more contrast and saturation.
Yesterday I went out shooting with a new app that I’m going to review soon. The wind didn’t make for good shooting conditions, so I need to take some more time getting better images before I give the app a proper review. I don’t want to name it yet because I don’t want anyone to buy it before I give my opinion. Mainly because I’m not blown away by it and I’m not sure if I’d recommend it yet. I have to use it some more and see if some quirks were related to the shooting conditions.
2 apps that I used to edit were Snapseed and ShockMyPic.
This was a challenging sunset shoot for me for a couple of reasons. #1 It was very, very windy. #2 I forgot to charge my batteries before this trip and by the time we made it to Joshua Tree, they were both flashing at me because they were nearly dead. I had to set up a shot ahead of time, turn the camera on, take the photo, and turn it off immediately, just to conserve the battery.
Lesson learned. Always double check the batteries before leaving on a trip and bring the charger even if you don’t think you’ll need it.
I really didn’t expect much of a sunset because of the mountains to the west. I’m used to wide open ocean for the sunset, so anticipating what the scene would look like in the dessert was a challenge. I didn’t think there would be any color in the sky. I was totally wrong. Not only did the sky behind me in this shot turn pink, but the land had a salmon colored glow to it. It was cool to see even if I didn’t get any incredible photos of it. I still have to edit a few of those and see if I like them.
Shot with my Nikon D7000 on a tripod. Edited with Photoshop CS6, Topaz Software, and Nik Software.
There are some apps that are available for free right now that you might be interested in checking out.
First, if you don’t have a camera app, besides the default one, Zitrr Camera is free right now. I just looked at it for the first time, and it has a lot of features including: different grids, a level, different shooting modes, anti shake, filters you can apply while shooting, and the ability to create mirrored images similar to mirrorgram.
LensLight is also free right now. If you like lens flares and bokeh, pick this one up. You can check out my review from a while back, here. I believe more lights/flares have been added since my review. Its worth a look for free.
Developer Dropico has a number of their apps available for free right now as well. If you like adding various effects to your images, or are interested in trying that out, you can save a lot of money by downloading these now. The downside to these apps is their size, which ranges from 49mb to 149mb. They do offer some cool effects though.
So I downloaded a free app the other day called MasterFX. Its an app that allows you to add a lot of special effects to your image. I don’t think its an app I would use too often, but its very easy to use and does a very clean job of blending in different elements. There are a lot of freebies in the app, but also a lot of paid stuff. The stuff I used was all free.
I like all of the tools in the app that allow for greater control and creativity. You can resize elements, copy them, mask them, mirror/flip them, distort them, and you can even adjust the opacity.
In this image I added the sunburst and rays on the left, the white bokeh effect around the base of the palms, the hot air balloon, and the stars. It really only took a few minutes to complete the image. I have to admit it was fun to be creative again.