The photo on top is edited with just Snapseed. The one below is Snapseed and Tadaa. I used the tilt shift feature in tadaa and also used their masks to mask some of the tilt shift off of the car. It was my first time using the mask, and it was pretty easy with the edge detection. It’s not perfect, but good enough to get the desired effect for this image.
My first friday night back here involved free drinks and appetizers surrounded by exotic cars and people with too much money. It was a grand opening for a new Club Sportiva location. They rent exotic cars, like this McLaren, to people that would rather pay a fraction of the $240,000 price tag to drive it. They even do drives together along the Big Sur coast. Must be nice!
One thing I didn’t understand was how they could afford the Ferrari, Lamborghini, Viper, Porsche, Shelby, and so on, but the models they hired weren’t very attractive. Honestly, there really wasn’t any reason to have models there. This crowd was there for the cars and booze.
Yesterday, I drove my grandma and my mom to see my cousin’s baby who had just flown in from China the other day. Here, Anu is showing her great grandma the stick she’d been playing with. She’s only a year and a half, but shes really really big. It was funny watching her reaction to walking barefoot on the grass. I guess there isn’t a whole lot of it in China. I hear its mainly used for dogs to do their business.
On the drive to my cousin’s house, grandma was asking us questions about Dementia and if we thought she has it (she does.) She asked for examples of other things besides memory loss. She seemed to be pretty lucid a few times yesterday and when she was, she was curious about her health. She knows her memory is fading.
At dinner, we were talking about the day. She said she thought someone was coming to see her earlier. That’s because the day before, she kept talking about a nurse that was coming by to evaluate her. I reminded her that she had a whole house full of people that morning with two of her daughters, a caregiver, and a nurse. She couldn’t remember it at all. You could see the fear and frustration in her eyes as she was on the verge of tears. It’s an emotional thing to witness, as you can imagine.
I shot this out in Shell Beach a few days before the move. I was trying to get in as much beach time as possible before I found myself stuck in the city again. I actually got too much sun at the beach on friday and ended up with a nice sunburn on my back. Just what you want when you’re going to be moving the next day.
So far, the hardest part about being in Santa Clara is the painfully slow internet at my grandma’s house. It definitely has to be upgraded if I’m going to keep my sanity. The second hardest part is living with someone who is losing their memory. She keeps telling people I’m only here for a few days (I’m not) and each morning she gets startled when I join her in the kitchen because she forgets I’m here.
Another thing I’m not loving is all of the people and the pace of life. I’m definitely a small town guy that appreciates nature and open spaces after 9 years of living in small towns. I’m having a bit of culture shock again, just like I did when I first left the city. Fun stuff…
I shot a horse show this weekend for a friend of mine. It was my first time attending one of these things. I was warned ahead of time how boring they are. It was pretty repetitive and I’m sure its fun if you’re competing. If you’re a spectator, expect lots of sun and dust. Luckily, the time flew by for me, so it wasn’t that bad.
Although they look stationary, Monica and Troy are about to go over a jump on this course. They placed 2nd during this timed run. I think they would have had first if she didn’t slow up at the end. Troy was a handful at his first show. His stablemate/girlfriend, Juno, was also in the show. He was incredibly jealous and was freaking out when other horses came near her. It was also kind of cute at times when he stood next to her and was being cuddly. I really wanted a shot of that, but it didn’t come out well on the iphone.
I forget which camera app I used to take the photo, but I edited with Snapseed and PhotoToaster.
Last night I went for a nice walk on the beach with a new friend. She wanted to hang out because it looks like I’ll be moving next week. I thought a walk on the beach would be nice because I won’t be able to visit as often as I do now.
I was asked to move in with my grandma in the bay area because her health is declining. I never wanted to move back there, but never say never, I guess. She has dementia or possibly Alzheimer’s. Nobody wants to give a diagnosis for some reason. The doctor did say she shouldn’t be living alone, so I’m going to suck it up so she can still live at home.
I don’t know how this will affect my photography. It’s probably going to be harder to find the landscapes I love. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some real estate photography for work, as well as the usual portraiture, weddings, and anything you can think of. If you know anyone around the Santa Clara/San Jose area that needs photos, spread the word that I’m available
Shot with TrueHDR. Edited wtih Snapseed.
In the town of Huasna, there are a few dinosaurs out in the hills. There’s not much else out there besides horses and cows. We did find a couple of cool things out on a dirt road. There was a burned down house and a very old car that a field had started to swallow up.
These photos were taken with Perfect B&W. I’m going to write up a review of the app soon. Don’t buy it yet. There are some issues and, at this point, I can’t recommend it. I used the Ansel filter on the first photo. Apparently Ansel turns the sky completely black in all photos. The 2nd and 3rd photos were edited with some of the other b&w filters in the app. They really aren’t my style at all, but thought I would share anyways.
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.
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.
If you’ve liked the Percolator facebook page, you’ll notice they’ve posted links to free promo codes of their app. They posted 5 more about an hour ago. If you go quickly, you might be able to get a copy.
This is my review of Percolator from a while back. I should probably update it because the app has been updated and got new stuff.
After playing in the desert again recently, we escaped the heat and headed to the coast. It was overcast and a little chilly in Santa Monica, which makes for dull photos. I tried to spice this one up with a number of apps, but it still doesn’t pop too much.
Shot with camera+. Edited with Snapseed at first to add saturation,contrast, and to crop. Then TouchRetouch was used to remove a distracting element. Aquarella was used for the conversion to a painterly image. Snapseed was used again to add more contrast and saturation.
While I was in the bay area this weekend, I decided to stop by the Winchester Mystery House to snap a photo for a friend. I lived in SJ for 21 years and I always end up making a few trips every year, but I’ve never been to the Winchester House. I didn’t take the tour this time because I was about to meet up with friends and it was more expensive than I expected.
This was a difficult shot to get because the lighting was so harsh. It was taken just before noon with the sun shining right into the lens. Using a regular camera app blew out the sky and lost part of the roof. In high contrast scenes you can use an HDR app to try and replicate what you see with your eyes. In this case, I used TrueHDR. I was pleasantly surprised with the result, save for the beam of light on the left.
The blended image from an HDR pretty much always needs to be edited in another app to add contrast so it looks more realistic again. I used Snapseed to do the trick. Then I decided I wanted more texture and drama in the image so I used SimplyHDR. Finally, I wanted to see what a ShockMyPic version would look like (below.)