How many of you tuned in for both days of the iPhoneography workshop on CreativeLive? I thought it was great. I picked up some new tips and tricks in the apps that I use, and even learned of a few apps that I hadn’t seen before.
I also felt validated because when I first decided to review iPhone photo apps, I did it with the goal of finding the best of the best photo editing apps. I was hoping to find a few apps that would essentially give me photoshop in my pocket. Jack seemed to share the same opinions I did about Snapseed being the best. We are both also fond of quite a few other apps, but Snapseed is the workhorse.
It was also cool hearing Jack talk about the iPhone 5s. He got me even more excited about it because his enthusiasm was contagious. I’d like to get one on the 20th and start sharing photos right away. We’ll see if I’m lucky enough to get one.
I do intend on writing up a post soon where I lay out my favorite apps, why I like them over others, and what I use them for. You’ll have to bear with me though, because I’m notorious for forgetting stuff. I have so many notes on my desk that its not even funny. They don’t seem to be helping me follow through on all of my ideas.
On the drive back from Ashland, I stopped at Lake Shasta to stretch my legs and take a few photos. The lake was really low, which made for some cool cracks in the dirt. I even set up my Nikon on a tripod for some self portraits, but I haven’t checked to see how those turned out yet.
The above photo wasn’t doing a whole lot for me. I like drama in my photos or something a little more interesting than the norm. I tried a mirror image and liked the composition. If I wasn’t too lazy to go back and edit it some more, I’d add a vignette, but I have stuff to catch up on after being away for 6 days.
Shot with camera+. Edited with Snapseed and mirrored with CameraProFX. There are plenty of apps that you can create symmetrical photos with. I just happened to try CameraProFX because I downloaded it recently and wanted to see what it had to offer. I didn’t see anything that made me feel like I need to keep it on my iPhone.
Last year I hiked up Grizzly Peak, in Ashland, Oregon, and found myself lost in the dark with my cell phone about to die. Luckily, my friends were able to come and find me after my phone had died. It was quite the learning experience haha. This is the view from the spot where I was found. I had no idea it was this amazing, because it was already dark when I got to this area.
Monday was my second time hiking the 5 mile trail on this peak. I didn’t think it was going to go well because I was getting light headed pretty early on. I’m not used to the elevation, and the summit on this peak is 5,922′. This time I was smart enough to leave very early in the day and bring a friend along. We hung out at the top for a good half hour, just enjoying the view of this valley on one side and a view of burned trees on the other. I got some cool shots of them that I’ll probably share later this week when I make it back to the bay area.
Shot with TrueHDR and edited with Snapseed for just a bit of contrast and saturation.
I don’t remember ever going to Golden Gate Park before. It’s really big, and I was expecting it to be awesome. When I got there, it was crowded and it was hard to find parking. I couldn’t help but compare it to my favorite park, Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon. There were some cool spots, but I don’t think it beats Lithia.
For one, I’ve never seen someone pull out a little potty for their kid to pee out in the open at Lithia. Also, you don’t have to pay to enjoy the little Japanese garden in Lithia Park, but you do have to pay to enjoy a couple of gardens in Golden gate Park.
They don’t charge to get into the Shakespeare garden, where this photo was taken. I was surprised to find that only a couple of people were in there enjoying the space. It seemed really peaceful compared to the rest of the park. I didn’t even bother with the Japanese Tea Garden because it was completely packed with tourists. I never would have gotten a clean shot off, which is too bad because I’ve seen some nice photos of the place. Maybe some other time…
Shot with Camera Awesome. Edited with Snapseed.
We got some good news yesterday. It looks like grandma will get to come home by Friday morning. She’s a tough old lady. The staff at the nursing facility and the doctors are surprised with how well she’s doing, even after the setback. She’s pretty happy about getting to come home soon. She’s been worried that she would be stuck in that place forever.
Today, I get to go in for some caregiver training, so I’m better prepared for when she gets home. The tiny, older woman that happens to be grandma’s case worker was asking me a bunch of questions yesterday. She wanted to know if I was going to be there on the weekends. I said yes. She asked what would happen if I met a girl and wanted my weekends free. I laughed at her and she said something like based on how I looked, I could meet a girl tomorrow. Fat chance hahaha.
Now, about this photo. I’ve been doing a lot of work in the backyard because everything was old and overgrown. The other day, when I was out pruning some trees, I saw this gigantic bee…or what I thought was a bee. What is it? I got really close for a few photos, then used snapseed to bring out some detail with the drama filter.
I took a quick pic of this statue in an art gallery in Big Sur this past weekend. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but I thought it might be interesting at the right angle, and with the blue sky/ocean background. As you can see in the original below, it was decent, but I wanted to challenge myself to come up with something more interesting.
I used Snapseed to adjust the color, add a vintage effect, and add some texture. Then, I used Rays to add the beams of light and blow out a lot of the image. For those that don’t know, blow out means there is no information in the highlights, aka they’re all white. Rays created a lot more highlights at the bottom of the image, where I placed the light source.
What do you think about the two images?
I haven’t been able to shoot or blog much lately. I’ve been busy with grandma and had to run down to the central coast for a few days. I caught a couple of sunsets on the beach, but really wasn’t motivated to take any photos. Its hard to do anything creative when you’re mentally drained. Grandma was doing much better this past week, but yesterday she came down with a fever and got quite ill. Turns out she has pneumonia and may end up back in the hospital :(.
Instead of sitting by her bead while she was sleeping/getting sick, my aunt said I should go do something. Lucky for me, a friend said she was looking for adventure and we ended up doing a spontaneous trip to Big Sur. It was my third trip there this year and her first time ever. I’m probably familiar enough with the coast there that I could do workshops now.
Since we left around 3, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. I decided to take her to Julia Pfeiffer Burns to see McWay Falls because its the most gorgeous spot on the coast. This waterfall is on the same trail, but in the opposite direction. The tourists all go to see the waterfall on the beach, but this one is a nice surprise after a little hike along the creek and through the woods.
Shot with camera+. Edited with Snapseed.
I just got back from enjoying a large cup of coffee with my friend and I’m still exhausted from the last two days, so I went straight to the kitchen for more coffee.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Grandma’s surgery went well yesterday. They cleaned out all of the clots in her head and drained the blood. Today, they’ll get some more images of the brain and get a better idea of how she’s doing. I just talked to her on the phone because she has been asking about me since the surgery. She sounds like shes in good spirits and I’ll be visiting her at Stanford later on.
One thing I’ve been thinking about from this whole experience is what I’ve observed in people during emergencies. I’ve read about people coming together and being more caring during disasters. I was surprised by people’s small acts of kindness in the ER waiting room. A few times, people gave up their seats, so families could sit together. Others were starting up friendly conversation with people that happened to be waiting next to them. Not something you’d see in a regular doctor’s office, or anywhere that you’re stuck waiting for a while.
I’ve also received texts from people asking me to let them know if they can do anything to help out. I just wish we didn’t have to wait for horrible circumstances to treat each other so well. Still, its great to see random people being nice to each other. Especially, now that I’m back in the bay area where people aren’t as friendly as they are in Ashland or Arroyo Grande.
I hope you all enjoy your weekend and remember to give your loved ones a good squeeze.
In the local section of yesterday’s paper, there was an article about a musician who had placed 12 pianos along the coastline in San Mateo County. By last Friday, the rangers had removed 5, so I decided I had to make time to go to the beach before they were all gone. You can check out the project’s website here.
In early July, Mauro is planning to deploy twelve pianos at select locations along the beautiful San Mateo coastline. Anyone can come and play a piano by the sea, anytime. He’s inviting some incredible bay area musicians to join him in bringing attention to the fragile state of the world’s oceans, as well as the near extinction of the “personal” piano. Piano manufacturing has dwindled, and the neglect of acoustic pianos has caused thousands of them to end up in landfills. The “Twelve Pianos” project will focus the spotlight on two species with uncertain futures.
I drove out to Poplar beach in Half Moon Bay because the article said there were still 3 pianos out there. The one above was easy to spot from the parking lot. It was covered in plastic, so I had to uncover it to get my shots. There was a father and son at the piano as I approached it. The little guy was playing some music. I bet this is a memory neither of them will forget. How often do you get to play piano at the beach?
I wish I had someone with me to model/play while I took some photos with my Nikon. I do know a few pianists that I’m sure would love a free shoot, including my brother and his wife. I just hope someone has some time in the next few days because this is probably a once in a lifetime shoot.
Both of the images were shot with TrueHDR because using a camera app that only takes one exposure would blow out the sky and you’d miss out on the drama that the clouds were bringing. I also used Snapseed and SimplyHDR to edit.
We’ve got quite a few new readers here since my interview was posted at iphonephotographyschool.com. The last two days have been my top two days for visitors since I started this blog. Thank you so much for stopping by. Anyways, for the new people that might not know my current situation, I moved in with my grandmother last month to take care of her because she has dementia. It’s so much more demanding than I ever imagined.
Yesterday, my aunt took grandma to see the doctor because shes had headaches for over a week now. We still don’t know what they’re from. We had a heat wave last week, she’s stopped taking one medication, and it could just be allergies. Who knows? She also got her wrist x-rayed and blood drawn. Next week she gets to wear a heart monitor because her pulse and blood pressure are low. Not what you want to see in someone that has fallen twice this year.
They were gone at the doctor for an awfully long time, so I decided to surprise her by picking up some flowers at the store. They looked very nice in the store, but when I got home and unwrapped them, one of the gerbera daises was snapped off the stem. Someone had just laid it in the bouquet anyways :(. Oh well, she liked them all the same.
Today looks like its going to be challenging. When we have a day that’s outside of her routine, like yesterday, she is extra confused, anxious, worrisome, and forgetful. Last night, she kept asking me if I ate dinner, even though I ate right in front of her. Then, this morning she asked me how long I’m staying, like I’m only visiting. Fingers crossed that she regains some clarity and we have a mellow weekend.
Shot with camera+ and edited with Snapseed. I added some pop with the drama filter and used a circular tilt shift filter to try and draw more attention to the daisy and blur out the background. It changed the image just enough to make a difference. Often times, when everything is in focus, its hard for the viewer’s eye to go where you want it. Using a vignette or blur is a great way to lead them to your subject.
I had a great day yesterday. I finally found time to finish an interview for an iPhoneography website and I was asked to write up a tutorial for the topaz labs newsletter. Yay for more exposure. Even more importantly, I was able to focus and get some work done, instead of micromanaging my grandmother’s life. It felt like a day off even though I worked past 9pm.
Now, about today’s shot from Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA. I thought I would also share the before picture below so you can see what I started with. I had a hard time deciding how to edit this one. Sometimes, if you don’t previsualize what the final image will be, it can be a challenge making a very average photo stand out. As you can see, the original was flat and lacked pop. I tried a number of my painting apps because I thought this one would work as a painterly image. Wrong.
I knew I wanted to bring more drama to the image, so I made some edits in Snapseed and tried the drama filter. It just didn’t work for me on this one, so I canceled it and just saved the other edits. Next, I used SimplyHDR to pull out detail and add a very subtle vignette. It still didn’t seem done, so I saved the image and imported it into Tadaa where I used the HD clarity filter and the Sylt filter at a lower opacity. The result was more of a film look that had the pop I was looking for.
What do you think about the difference between the before and after shots?
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.