Every now and then, I get asked about my favorite photo apps for the iPhone…
This got me curious to see how many photo apps I had on my iPhone 4 .. I plugged in my phone on my laptop and went to iTunes … 44 apps in the “photography” genre!
I certainly don’t use all of these.. or probably even half of them.. so I’ll go through and just discuss the ones I know I use the most ..
Pro HDR ($1.99) - the best HDR app I’ve tried – it allows for adjustment of brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth and tint after you’ve merged your dark and light images. Tiltshift Generator ($0.99) – give your photos that ‘miniaturized’ look by selecting the focal point after the image has been taken.. works GREAT in conjunction with HDR for dramatic photos! Instagram (free) – apply creative filters and share your images with other Instagram users Old Photo Pro (free) – give your photos a creative, old look Camerabag ($1.99) – apply custom filters to your photos and get cool, creative effects 360 Panorama ($0.99) – Create a real-time 360 degree panorama in your phone without having to stitch together multiple photos. Works pretty well. Adobe Photoshop Express (free) – a great multi-function basic photo editing tool. Crop, rotate, sharpen, soft focus, auto timer and more.. and it’s FREE! LensFlare ($0.99) – choose from a multitude of lens flare effects, adjust their strength, position, color and more. Really cool effect. Hipstamatic ($1.99) – one of the most popular photography apps on iTunes, almost an infinite number of combinations to choose from to get some great retro effects Autostitch Panorama ($1.99) – another panorama app – but this one stitches multiple images together to create a panorama. The benefit of this one over the previous panorama app, is that it does a much better job of blending different images together for a more seamless image. Flickr (free) – after creating all these great images, you need to share them!!!
On my way back from the Hot Air Balloons in Windsor, I had to make a stop to get something to drink in Vallejo. As I was driving, I noticed some interesting folks walking down the sidewalk. It looked like the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean were invading Vallejo. Soon enough, I understood – I saw the big sign for the “Pirate Festival”. Since I had all my camera gear with me, this was just too good an opportunity to pass up.
Admission was free (they collected donations), and there were more pirates than you could shake a sword at. All over the place. I really liked the ‘zombie pirates’.. some of them got REALLY into character and had incredible makeup. I only stayed for about 20 minutes – enough to get some photos and then I was back on the road. It was a cool looking event – not sure if I would have wanted to stay too long, but if you had kids, it would be a great place to take them for a good afternoon swashbuckling.
Anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes knows that I’m not an ‘early morning’ person. Conversely, anyone who knows me also knows that I’m willing to get up at just about any time of day for a great photographic opportunity. This past weekend, my desire to capture some great shots outweighed my dislike of early mornings… my alarm clock went off at 2:15am, and I was on the road by 2:30am, heading to Windsor CA for the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic.
The schedule for the day showed that the “Dawn Patrol” started at 5am.. so I had to hit the road early. I made it to Windsor around 4:45am and started checking things out. There were vendor booths set up, fresh apple fritters, breakfast stuff, munchies and other knick-knacks for sale. People huddled up in blankets, kids napping, and people sipping their coffee.. soon enough, the 4 balloons who were participating in the “Dawn Patrol” started to inflate. Hearing the burners fire up (and feeling the heat from them) was exciting and got the adrenaline going .. then the secondary burner that illuminated the balloons kicked in and lit up the balloons in the pre-dawn sky like Christmas lights.
After the Dawn Patrol cleared the field, dozens of other balloon teams filled the field and started getting ready for their lift off. Over the next couple hours, I witnessed numerous balloons fight the breeze and sail away into the cool morning air.. This was my second time seeing a hot air balloon event like this in person, and it was just as fun to watch as the first time was.
Collage of balloons
It was challenging to get out of bed and on the road so early, but it was absolutely worth it! I strongly suggest it to anyone who gets the chance to go to one of these kinds of events!
HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography can be a touchy subject with some photographers. There are some who don’t care for it at all, there are some who use it frequently and the range in between. Some photographers seem to get offended when they see the ‘overly-processed’ and dreamy look that some people end up using on their HDR images. Personally, I am not a fan of the overly processed HDR with the ‘halo effect’ .. but that’s not to say it’s wrong. As HDR becomes more popular, there are more resources available to photographers to learn the process. See some of the links below for some great resources:
As far as what applications/programs to use for HDR, Photomatix Pro was one of the first ones to offer a lot of adjustments and customization. There’s another application by Nik Software which is getting positive feedback as well – HDR Efex Pro. Both offer plug-ins for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. I’ve used Photomatix Pro for all my HDR stuff, but the Nik product looks pretty good too, based on the free trial I’m playing with.
The key with HDR processing is to play around with it.. play with the settings and see what happens.. and have fun with it!