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.
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.)
In a funny coincidence, I have a photo featured on photobotos today. The one featured was actually shot up on top of the rock in this photo here.
This cave/arch thing is just a short drive from where I live. I didn’t even know about it until I saw another photographer post a photo of it recently. All I had to do was walk down a mountain of stairs to get to it. Maybe thats why I didn’t find it sooner.
The great thing about this beach is its at a hotel, so the crowds don’t know about it. I had the beach to myself most of the time until a couple came down to watch the sunset. I’m happy to have found another secret beach that the tourists don’t know about
This time out, I was mostly just scouting the location and observing the light at sunset. I don’t think the sun will ever rise or set through the arch, which is too bad. I’m still trying to figure out what time of day will give me the best lighting. I guess I’ll just have to do sunrise, sunset, and stormy. My guess is storm clouds will make the best scene.
Shot with ProHDR because TrueHDR was making the sky grey. Edited with Snapseed.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to take a photo with your iPhone after the sun has gone down, but it’s a challenge to get a shot like this. You absolutely have to use an HDR app that takes multiple exposures and merges them. If you try to use a regular camera app, you’ll end up with either a nicely exposed sky and a very dark foreground, or a white sky and a properly exposed foreground. Sadly, neither one is like what you were seeing in person.
For this shot, I used TrueHDR. Ideally, you’d set your phone up on a tripod for HDR, especially at this time of day. It’s very important to keep the camera as still as possible so the HDR app can merge the images more cleanly. If you click on the image to view it larger, you’ll notice the the trees in the middle of the image are slightly off, as well as the hill on the right. Luckily, its not too noticeable if you’re just sharing a smaller version with your friends. You may not have even noticed it if I hadn’t pointed it out.
I edited this one with Snapseed. The image straight from TrueHDR was very flat, meaning it needed more contrast and some pop.
After an awful hotel experience the night before in Redlands, complete with screaming children bouncing around the room next door beyond 1am, we splurged on a boutique hotel, called Tuscan Springs, that we randomly drove up to in Desert Hot Springs.
I quickly took this photo while we toured the place. We originally were just looking to pay for day use of the hot mineral water spa’s and pool, but it was so relaxing and inviting that we had to stay. Everything about this place said vacation. Each courtyard had chairs, big comfy couches, and even beds. But, I think, when we were told it was adults only (not clothing optional,) we were already sold.
This particular spa was the size of a small pool.
Shot with camera+ and edited with Snapseed
Sometimes you have to get dirty for the shot you want. Sometimes you’re not dressed appropriately to get the shot you want and you have to make a note to return soon.
I was hiking in the woods near my house a week or two ago and saw lots of these little mushrooms around. At the time, I didn’t want to get the clothes I was wearing all dirty, so I told myself I would just come back soon in something I didn’t mind getting filthy.
I think getting on my hands and knees on some damp soil that was covered in dead leaves was worth it for this perspective.
Shot with camera+. Edited with Snapseed and ShockMyPic
I went for a lovely horseback ride on the beach and through some dunes last weekend. While we were cruising along the beach, having our picture taken by lots of random tourists, we saw about a dozen ducks playing in the waves. I’ve lived near the ocean for almost 8 years now and I’ve never seen ducks at the beach before.
Not only were they at the beach, but they appeared to be on dates. They were all paired up male-female like the two pictured above. It was pretty funny watching one duck follow the other around.
Taking photos from a moving horse is really hard, but I was happy enough with this one.
Shot with the default camera app and edited with Snapseed.
Today I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to edit this photo of wildflowers. I played with Snapseed to add saturation and contrast. I tried aquarella and autopainter. In the end, I couldn’t decide between the Snapseed edit above or the autopainter styles below.
Which do you prefer?
I took my first trip up to Figueroa Mountain this week. I’d never been before, so I invited my friend/student to come along for a spontaneous adventure. It’s a lot of fun shooting with someone else thats passionate about photography. Even though we are at different levels, she brings a great perspective and usually sees amazing things that I’m not aware of. I tend to see big, sweeping landscapes, while she sees the beautiful details.
You can’t tell from the photo, but these flowers are on a steep, rocky mountain. I tried to hike down to get some much better vantage points, but I only made it about 10 feet down before the ground slid out from under me and I sent a large rock tumbling down the hill. After seeing that thing tumble down the hill like Chris Farley in Black Sheep, I decided I’d better stay up on the road. Mostly for my camera’s sake.
On this particular day, the lighting was all over the place. It started out sort of overcast, which is good for flower photos, but it wasn’t dynamic enough for my taste. Then the sun poked out for a little bit while it was low on the horizon. That totally changed the scene and brought back some of the vibrant colors. Then, out of nowhere, some fog started to creep in quickly. It actually made for some interesting photos because it was golden fog.
These were taken with my iPhone, but I also posted a photo from my D7000 on my fb page and flickr.
When I look at this photo, I remember the crazy gusts of wind blowing through this valley. You can’t really tell just by looking at these turbines though. I should have had the girls that were with me posing as turbines too. Then you could see their hair blowing all over the place. This one was actually taken from the passenger seat of a moving car.
Shot with camera+ and edited with Snapseed. The drama filter made for a dramatic sky, once again.
Normally, when I go to Julia Pfeiffer Burns in Big Sur, I, like everyone else, hike the short trail to McWay Falls. This time, we had a little time, so we hiked the other direction and found this little waterfall on a hike through the woods.
It was a tricky spot with big, ugly logs just below the frame, and really harsh highlights from sun beams poking through the trees. I think we both made it work though.
I think if I wanted to make the image even better, I would use TouchRetouch to remove the twig from the bottom of the frame, but I don’t have time to go back and do that. I have tons of editing to do already!
Shot with camera+ and edited with Snapseed. The drama filter did a great job of bringing detail back into this image.
The clouds were pretty interesting the other evening. Just for a few moments, the light and the colors of the scene were awesome. I was lucky enough to be there to witness it. Stupid me didn’t wait around for the sunset though. I drove to another part of the coast, chasing a cloud that I was hoping would make for a great shot at sunset. Unfortunately, it evaporated before the sun went down and I was left in the middle of agriculture fields with nothing too exciting going on.
This was shot with TrueHDR. Edited with Snapseed, Tangled FX, and ImageBlender. I liked the Tangled FX version, but wanted to dial it back a bit by using ImageBlender to reduce the opacity of the effect to about 70% just to bring back a hint of realism.
While heading home from a recent trip to Oregon, I stopped in Redding, California to check out Sundial Bridge. I’ve always wanted to stop, but I normally skip it and keep driving since its a 10 hour drive between the 2 places I’m living.
Its a very cool footbridge to see in person. There were some interesting characters hanging out around there. One random man said “up with beards” to me because I hadn’t shaved in about a week haha. It was definitely a great spot for people watching.
Shot with camera+. Edited with Snapseed.