Circular+ is free today. Its pretty fun to play with and helps to create unique images. Here are some that I’ve made using Circular+
We shot sunrise at the same spot that we took in the sunset the previous evening, since it was a bit lackluster. This is an iPhone shot that doesn’t do the scene justice. I can’t wait to edit the wider Nikon version. It was very pretty, but not amazing…at least to us.
Over the past week, while we were doing a lot of grueling hikes to some hard to find places, I had a lot of time to think. One thing that weighed heavy on my mind was how we weren’t able to appreciate the beauty of some locations, presumably because we altered our perception of beauty too much too soon.
We started the trip off at Oneonta Gorge, Trillium Lake, and Spirit Falls. These were absolutely stunning locations. Our perception of beauty had been changed by them, and it was mostly downhill after that.
We found ourselves disappointed by a few spots, and it even got to the point that we would rather just relax at the hotel. To be fair, the hotel was comfy, and we had done some difficult hikes after messing up our feet on the rocks at Oneonta. But still, there was so much to see, and we wanted to lay around, playing with our phones.
Next time, I think I’ll try to save the best for last. And, next time might not be that far off, since one of my travel buddies wants to go back to the gorge in a few weeks. I’ll have to introduce you to her and some of her work soon because she has some good stuff to share.
(Shot with ProHDRX and edited with Snapseed)
Last night I decided to go look for another spot to take in the sunset. The problem was that the sky was rather boring, so I changed my plans and just went for a drive in the mountains. I found this interesting old barn on a hillside, and decided to stop for a few photos.
I know there are quite a few apps that you can use to add light leaks to your image, but you can also create it in camera when you’re shooting. The trick is to keep the sun just out of frame. Since the sun was relatively low, and it was the golden hour, I got a nice warm glow from the left side of the frame. It absolutely adds to the mood of the image here, and in my opinion makes it work. Otherwise, you just have a barn on a hill.
I edited this in Snapseed, using one of the new Grainy Film filters. Like I said before, I think they look great, and I’m not really a filter guy.
Here is the original image.
Also, it seems like some people really don’t like Snapseed’s redesign. I think the layout is great. Editing feels quicker with this layout. I know change is hard, but this seems like a good change.
Another amazing thing I just noticed is once an image is saved in Snapseed, all of the stacks are saved as well. If you load any image you edited in Snapseed, all of the edits you made can be adjusted again. Thats a fantastic addition.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect Snapseed to add many more features to their free app. It was already pretty loaded with good stuff. The update to version 2.0 adds a lot of excellent features. For me, Snapseed was already the top editing app, and now its taken another step forward.
Let’s check out the new features:
The histogram is a very welcome addition for me. You can see it at the bottom left of the screen. Now I can keep track of my highlights and shadows, as I edit, making sure that I don’t clip them (lose detail by over-editing.)
Lens Blur isn’t a new tool. It was the tilt-shift tool, but has a new name now. However, they did add 11 shapes, instead of just the typical circle. You can have a heart shaped blur if you’d like. Perfect for the teenage girl inside you!
The Perspective Transform tool is a great addition. Now you can delete any perspective apps you had on your phone. The cool thing about this tool is when you adjust the perspective, which will create empty space in the image, Snapseed uses a content aware fill to intelligently fill in the open spaces. I’m not sure how accurate the content aware fill is, so you may need to crop if there are weird artifacts being created.
Spot healing is a good idea. I wish it was more like TouchRetouch, but right now, you can only use the tool by tapping on one spot, instead of being able touch and draw over what you want removed. Spot healing will be useful if there are spots or small things you want removed from your images.
Stacks allows you to re-edit or delete any adjustment you’ve made. You can also copy edits from one image to another. History was lacking for a long time in Snapseed. This is a big step up from a history feature. I’m so happy to see non-destructive editing included. Now you don’t have to worry about starting all over if you make an adjustment that you don’t like.
Selectively apply filters and effects to parts of the image using the Brush tool
The Brush tool lets you make adjustments to parts of the image that you choose by drawing with your finger. The Brush tool allows you to dodge, burn, and adjust exposure, temperature, and saturation. My first impressions are this is a decent tool. I wish you could select the brush size, instead of having to zoom into the image. I also wish there was some intelligent edge detection to make selections easier. This tool will be decent for broad adjustments, but maybe not the best for precise ones.
To selectively apply filters, tap on the stacks icon on the top of the screen. Below it’s the 3 icon. The number changes depending on how many layers you have.
Then tap on the layer you want to mask
Next tap on the paintbrush icon to bring up the masking screen.
Below, I’ve tapped the icon to the left of the middle of the lower part of the screen, to invert the mask. This puts a red mask over the image to show you where the filter is applied. For the purpose of showing how it looks if you make adjustments, I used a +25 to draw over the middle of the image. That means the effect will be applied at 25% opacity wherever I draw.
Snapseed has added a couple of filters from Color Efex Pro (their amazing photoshop/lightroom plugin.) They are the tonal contrast and glamour glow filters. Both of which are great. Tonal contrast is my favorite new feature. It allows you to make adjustments to the contrast in specific tonal ranges. Also very useful are the protect shadows and protect highlights sliders, which should help prevent clipping.
Glamour Glow has 5 presets, or you can make your own adjustments with the sliders. This effect is great on portraiture, landscapes, and still life images. It’s an easy way to get something similar to an orton effect.
Grainy Film is another new addition. These appear to be VSCO type filters that simulate 18 different film types. They look pretty great to me.
Noir offers 14 dark and grainy filters. They’re really not my style, and I don’t see myself using them.
- In “Tune Image,” there is a highlight slider that is a very welcome addition. This allows you to adjust the brightness of your highlights. Also, there is an auto adjust icon that makes adjustments for you.
- The Vignette tool is slightly updated. The blur slider is gone.
- Also noticeable is the improved speed of the app. It’s very quick and fluid on my iPhone 5s.
My First Edit
I shot this with an HDR camera app that I’m beta testing, called Fusion.
This is after making adjustments in Tune Image, including ambiance, contrast, shadows, and highlights. Then I added a little structure in the details tool. I followed that up with Tonal contrast, which made the biggest difference between the original and the final image. There was so much more detail brought out in the trees, and part of the clouds.
I can tell already that I’ll be using the tonal contrast filter instead of the drama filter, from now on.
Yesterday, I got a bit stir crazy from playing the social media game for hours. I’ve lost count of how many times Shannon and I say we wish we had interns to deal with some of our social media stuff once in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate interacting with people. Its great, when you share the same passions. It’s just not great when it feels like you’re wasting your time, sometimes.
Actually, the reason I took off in the afternoon was because I saw a local iphone photographer, Bob Pocan, post some shots to facebook. I’m usually stuck inside working, and don’t look outside often enough. His photos showed me that there were some great clouds passing over the valley, and convinced me that I should be out shooting.
I started on the east side of the valley, shooting from Roxy Ann peak, towards upper and lower table rock. There were passing showers, so my first thought was to do some long exposures during the day with my 10 stop ND filter. Then the clouds got thicker, and I decided I wanted to do some timelapse, as well as a few photos, instead. I wasn’t prepared (which is something Shannon and I just wrote about in our upcoming book,) and I got caught in a little bit of rain and hail. Whatever, it was fun…and cold. So cold that my phone refused to hold a charge.
After that, I ran home to charge my phone, eat, grab a good jacket, and then drove out to the west side of the valley, up Mt. Ashland. I hadn’t been up to the ski area before, and I think I might have found a new favorite sunset spot. At least, in these partly cloud conditions, it was awesome. The clouds were glowing reddish pink, a few layers deep. Right behind me, when I took this shot, was an equally awesome view of a valley and Mt. Shasta.
There was just one problem, my camera quit working when the light blew up. I got an “err” message. I’m still not quite sure what the issue was, because my camera is working again now. It might have been where the lens meets the body, or a shutter issue. I wonder if it was the sub freezing temps. It was disappointing, not being able to use my Nikon while the light was so beautiful, and it was a sad drive home. At least everything is working again, now.
Also, one thing that I was reminded of while I was out shooting today was the old saying, “f/8 and be there.” It’s not so much about using f/8 as your aperture, as it is about just being there. You can’t get the shot if you’re in front of your computer, liking other people’s posts. Go, be there.
So we’ve finally cleared some hurdles with our workshop plans this fall. It’s unbelievable how stupid some government programs are organized. You have no idea how many people we had to contact to find out if permits were required for one of the locations in New Hampshire. What a pain.
Anyways, right now it looks like we’ll be running 2-3 workshops in 3 states, within about a week. Shannon and I will release all the details, when everything is all set. Better start saving your money, so you can join us on an adventure!
I spent a couple of days exploring southern Oregon this weekend. Getting out has made me realize that Medford kind of sucks. I can’t think of any good places to shoot in town. Luckily, the surrounding areas are really peaceful and beautiful.
This photo was taken out at the newly restored McKee Covered Bridge in the Applegate Valley. If you’ve never been to the Applegate, it’s a nice, rural area, with wineries and farms. Definitely a relaxing place to spend the weekend.
We got to the bridge at noon, which equals crappy light. The problem with letting someone else show you around to take photos is they don’t understand quality of light, unless they’re an experienced photographer too. Outside of the bridge, the dynamic range of light was way too much for HDR apps, so I decided the only good shots were going to be taken inside the bridge.
This was shot with ProHDRX, using my iPro super wide angle lens. I edited the photo in Snapseed. Nothing fancy.