Curiouser and Curiouser!

HDR Photography

Day #35 – A Photo A Day 2013

A pic from our walk to The Presidio for today – there were loads of these skinny trees everywhere near the entrance to the area and it smelled like eucalyptus! I think they may have been some variety of such, but a little research is due before I say it is thus and so.

I was particularly struck by the lush green grass carpeting the floor of this “forest”. I’d really like to come back here for a few more shots, this time with people.

Trees In The Presidio

Trees In The Presidio

I wish there was some way to give you the scent of these trees as well – it was heavenly!

Shot with Pro HDR.

Day #34 – A Photo A Day 2013

Yesterday Chris and I took a walk to The Presidio here in San Francisco, partially to take a nice long walk, but also our main destination was the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Unfortunately, they do not allow photographs in the museum and it was very tempting for me to snap a few, but I respected the rules. The museum was very different from what I was expecting – many interactive displays done in creative ways! It was a very fun and interesting experience for both me and Chris.

On the way there, I decided to take some pictures “from the hip” with my iPhone… in other words, I wasn’t looking at the screen to see what was going to appear in my shot – I just pointed my phone in the general direction that I wanted to shoot and clicked.

I ended up with several pleasing shots that I want to edit a bit – I won’t be posting them in successive order most likely, but probably all of them will be posted before the end of this month, and I’ll be sure to note which ones are from that walk.

This is one that was most stunning to me:

HDR While Walking - From The Hip

HDR While Walking – From The Hip

Pro HDR functions like this: you tap the screen and it analyzes the lighting, then it takes one picture with a longer exposure (more light) and one picture with a shorter exposure (less light, you see the darker portions of the pic) and then matches the two up as best it can.

This process takes around 30-45 seconds, so if you are moving at all the pic will be blurred. In daylight, if you are walking, you can get some pretty interesting results!

I’m pleased with this result, and it’s something that I plan on trying with Slow Shutter also in the coming weeks. What do you think of this experiment?

Day #32 – A Photo A Day 2013

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of Chris proposing to me, so I decided that today’s pic would be of him.

We went out to dinner at Chevy’s (Which turned out to be one of the most disappointing meals – did they change their recipes or something? It is NOT as good as it used to be) and while we were waiting for a table, I snapped a pic of Chris with my iPhone.

I have been playing with motion in photos as I use Pro HDR, and I asked him to move his head a bit while I was taking his picture. The result was rather cool, since the background was obviously not moving and he was – the effect was rather creepy.

I decided to make that look a bit more creepy by layering a pic of a Chinese lion I took the other day – I used the Blender app for that… adjusted the amount of lion that I wanted in the pic, ran the photo through a few more adjustments in a couple of other apps and I finally decided that I liked this version of my edit:

Creepy Chris Edit

Creepy Chris Edit

I made 6 versions of the edit, and this is the one that spoke to me the most. This is not a face that I would want to meet in a dark alley – such a dark pic is very opposite of Chris himself, so perhaps this is what his alter comic book villan self would look like.

By the way, Chris was pleased with the edit. (and that is some of the best praise of all!)

Day #31 – A Photo A Day 2013

The first day of MacWorld was TODAY and OH! I am so so SO inspired and encouraged!

iPhoneography is THE next big thing – I’ve been saying this for about a year now, and have been ridiculed by a few, and gently dissuaded by others seeking to keep me from finding rejection of my photos taken with my iPhone.

Interestingly, all of the speakers at these Tech Talks say the same thing – iPhones won’t replace SLRs (big cameras) but rather are finding their own niche of an art expression. iPhone apps offer mobility and ease of use that you just don’t find with editing software for your computer (such as Photoshop).

Photoshop isn’t bad, but it takes a long time to edit your photos. On your iPhone or iPad, I find it easy to find what I want in each app that will make what is in my head translate into the photo or photos that I am merging on my iDevice.

I have been “layering apps” for quite some time now in order to get the results from pics that I am trying to achieve. Most of that work I have not published at all, just a few on Instagram here and there, but I was afraid of rejection.

Not so after my first round of classes today! All of these people giving the talks were either already artists or professional photographers or both, and all of them have found an unusual creative outlet in their iPhones that is very different from their professional (big camera) photography.

Are my edits good enough to show people? I think so, and that’s not an over-inflated view either. Each one of my photos is agonized over to the point where I probably obsess too much over this light level or that color in that exact spot – I am my own worst critic, and THAT is what has been keeping me from moving forward and making my art known.

Starting today, I am not holding back. I will allow my creativity to flow and I’m putting it out there for everyone to see. Will any of this go anywhere? Maybe! I made a few connections today with local photographers, and they have put me in touch with a few other contacts that I think will be great to network with.

Oddly, in one of the classes today, I was reminded that I had entered a contest on Instagram for Mobile Masters, a chance to have your work featured in the Mobile Masters book to debut today at the conference.

Long story short, I checked Instagram (which I had not done in a week), and found this message, which I snapped a pic of on my phone…

Mobile Masters Winning Entry Notification

Mobile Masters Winning Entry Notification

I almost let out a squeal of delight in the middle of the lecture! MY picture made it? REALLY!?!?!?! It DID!

This was my winning entry – the Matterhorn Edit I originally posted here in December when I was talking about Filtermania 2.

Disneyland's Matterhorn Heavily Modified

Disneyland’s Matterhorn Heavily Modified

DEFINTELY a validation moment for me! You can purchase the ebook here at iTunes: Mobile Masters Book for your iPad. I am so honored to be a part of this – my first published photo!

Now comes today’s photo, since this IS supposed to be a picture of the day entry, and so far all I have done is gush a bit about my day at MacWorld.

I give you a photo that I edited during one of the talks today, originally posted here on Day #16

Here is the edit:

Edit of 4th Street Bridge at Mission Bay

Edit of 4th Street Bridge at Mission Bay

I edited this one in three different iPhone apps, but right now I don’t remember which ones – I was editing this as I was listening to the lecture because I was so inspired at that moment to do something creative that I just went with the flow! Funny though… the speaker was talking about her use of color in her art and I was totally in a black and white and gritty sort of mood.

Two words to sum up day 1 of MacWorld iPhoneography Tech Talks? SUPER INSPIRED!

Day #29 – A Photo A Day 2013

Proximity to San Francisco Bay is one thing that I love about living in this city – just a few short blocks away are seabirds, seawater, a huge bridge, restaurants, people watching, tourist traps and photo opportunities galore.

Today’s pic is one that I snapped two days ago on a walk with Chris – the Bay Bridge again, but this time by day using, again, the Pro HDR app.

Basically, I like this picture as far as composition goes, but I do think that I over-adjusted the saturation and I am not completely happy about it. I share it here so that I can look back at it with more objective eyes later.

In the future, I may have to heavily edit this one and see what I can do to make it a bit more to my liking.

The Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge

Day #28 – A Photo A Day 2013

I’ve been a little fixated on the Pro HDR app lately – here is the latest addition to my iPhone HDR experimentation:

HDR Pier Light Near AT & T Park

HDR Pier Light Near AT & T Park

Taken at the pier near AT & T park – it’s a nice place to walk around!

Day #27 – A Photo A Day 2013

What a beautiful day it was today! The sun shines here in San Francisco very often, but today was just extra special despite the cold biting wind!

Chris and I decided that we NEEDED to get a coffee from Phillz Coffee so we threw on our coats and started the short walk to the Berry St. location.

We tried Phillz for the first time three weeks ago and we are hooked! BEST. COFFEE. EVER. Hands down, the best coffee experiences we have ever had have come from this place. They grind your coffee at the time you order it so it is fresh fresh fresh – also, it’s not weighted down by heavy syrups and sugar. They’ll add as much, or as little sweetening as you want, and they have many sweetener choices to choose from – even Stevia or honey!

From Phillz, we decided to continue on to AT & T park to go walk near the marina. Right next to the park is the Left O’Doul Bridge, which I find to be an endless source of fascination.

Lefty O'Doul Bridge

Lefty O’Doul Bridge

It’s a fascinating looking thing… I had never seen a drawbridge quite like this one, and I am from a city that is filled with bridges – Portland is affectionately called “Bridgetown”.

I figured those concrete “things” on that one end were counterweights, and turned out that I was correct. The link posted above is where I found some of my information – it turns out that the bridge is “a heel trunnion type bascule drawbridge” and “A heel trunnion is a pivot mounted on bearings and a bascule bridge has one end is weighted to counter balance the structure on the other end when the bridge is open.” They used concrete as the counterbalance because it was a less expensive option to iron.

My only disappointment about this bridge: there were no rusty spots to photograph. Oh well. You can’t always have what you want.

Photo taken on my iPhone 4s with the Pro HDR app.

Day #22 – A Photo A Day 2013

What a good day it was today! I’m finally feeling more like myself than I’ve felt in a week and it was good to actually get outside and stretch my legs for a bit!

My wanderings took me over to the Mission neighborhood here in San Francisco, which was not my original destination, but regardless of where I was going to begin with, I was glad that my wanderings ended up taking me to a couple of places that I totally did not expect to be going to.

At one point when I was way off course, I spotted some street art that looked intriguing, so I went even further out of my way to go take a look. Again, I was without my SLR unfortunately, since I had planned to go shopping and I didn’t want to haul heavy camera equipment around in a clothing store… but of course I had my iPhone at hand!

This mural was so awesome – several notable figures from mythology, some of which I did not recognize, but some I most definitely did like the ones in the picture below:

Wadjet, Horus, Anubis & Nekhbet

Wadjet, Horus, Anubis & Nekhbet

I thought that the portion of the mural with the Egyptian gods Wadjet, Horus, Anubis & Nekhbet was particularly awesome, especially since the style very much reminded me of Stargate: SG1 and I am a HUGE fan of that series. Also notable was the boom box that they have with them. 😉

I have a couple more pictures of that wall to share – perhaps in the next couple of days I will post those as well, but that may be trumped depending on what the next few days bring in photographic opportunity.

Day #21 – A Photo A Day 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today, and while I was not able to go out to take pics, I do have a nice pic of a place that I pass by and visit often here in San Francisco.

Today’s pic is of the Martin Luther King Jr. Fountain in Yerba Buena Gardens. I love the fountain itself, but one of the nice things is that you can walk behind the fountain! There you will find quotes from the man himself; in this picture, the lovely green glow behind the water is of the illuminated glass panels that bear the etchings of those words.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fountain

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fountain

Day #20 – A Photo A Day 2013

Oooof! Today I am feeling worse than yesterday – no fair! I had photography plans for today!!!!

Ah well. So, today I give you… another window view from breakfast yesterday. (this time, panning to my left)

I like varying colors and the worn look of the window decal.

Worn Out Coca-Cola Window Decal

Worn Out Coca-Cola Window DecalWorn Out Coca-Cola Window Decal

Day #19 – A Photo A Day 2013

Despite not really feeling well, I made a bad decision to go to breakfast with Chris. Breakfast tasted wonderful, but my stomach is quite angry at me for selfishly trying to give my body sustenance!

It is my intent to go back to this restaurant when I am well and do a proper review of the offerings there, since I really did enjoy my meal other than the pain that my body is in, which is obviously no fault of that fine establishment.

This is the view I had at the counter that Chris and I supped at:

Lunch In The Window

Lunch In The Window

It’s not a fancy place, but I think that adds to the charm. It’s lack-luster decor certainly doesn’t deter customers, as that place is always really busy.

Day #18 – A Photo A Day 2013

Sunsets – I just cannot get enough of them, and I fear that at times my photography library contains a few too many examples of sunsets.

I am certain that some of them look a bit redundant, but then again, I always find a different beauty in each one.

I have been feeling very under the weather today, and when I saw this beautiful view out of my window, I had to drag myself over with my iPhone, sick or not to take this pic. I snapped a few with my SLR, but I haven’t even checked them out to see if the turned out alright. (I am DEFINITELY not feeling well if I can’t even be bothered to see how I like my photos!)

Sunset over San Francisco on Jan. 18

Sunset over San Francisco on Jan. 18

Day #17 – A Photo A Day 2013

Okay okay, just ONE MORE from Mission Creek Park, and then that’s all for that place for the week! (maybe…)

I snapped this one as I was crossing the 4th St. bridge:

Mission Creek Park from the 4th Street Bridge

Mission Creek Park from the 4th Street Bridge

Day #16 – A Photo A Day 2013

Abandoned building shot #2 is today’s photo. I especially like the rusty chain link fence that guards the building. Hmmmm…. I may need to do a special series of photos just of rusty objects since I do love rusty metal!

Without further delay… here is the picture:

Graffiti on the Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Graffiti on the Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Day #15 – A Photo A Day 2013

It certainly looks as if I will be visiting Mission Creek Park more often – I like the views, and also it’s a nice place to stroll and look at the scenery and watch people play with their dogs too.

For some reason, I love urban graffiti, especially so when it’s on an abandoned structure. This building is on a dilapidated dock… I wish that I could get inside to take pics of whatever might be in there, but the whole structure does look really unstable, so it’s probably a good thing that the access has been fenced off.

Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Day #14 – A Photo A Day 2013

This evening I went for a walk – I was on a mission to photograph in the light of the sunset/twilight, and a few days ago I scoped out a spot that I thought would be interesting.

I brought my SLR, my point-and-shoot, and of course, my iPhone. I ended up taking a few with my iPhone that I liked quite a bit, so I think that over the next few days I will post those pics before I upload a few from my SLR.

Mission Creek Park Sunset

Mission Creek Park Sunset

Here is one of my favorites that I took on my iPhone, again with Pro HDR.

Look for more from that park in the coming days!

Day #13 – A Photo A Day 2013

Back on the 8th I was still visiting the Portland/Vancouver area, and while I was there I met a friend for lunch at the Stardust Diner in Vancouver, WA… a greasy spoon that does not disappoint!

They have an amazing breakfast menu that’s served all day, really good hamburgers and the best milkshakes and sundaes around! I didn’t get a pic of the chromed exterior (think Airstream trailer, only HUGE) but I did remember to get a shot of their colorful menu covered in pictures of old-fashioned ads.

Stardust Diner Menu Cover

Stardust Diner Menu Cover

Mmmmmmmm… I’m really craving a sundae now!

Day #12 – A Photo A Day 2013

Today I give you TWO pics, simply because I could not decide between the two!

Again, using the Pro HDR app for iPhone, I have re-visited the “Seasons of the Sea” at Yerba Buena gardens…

Seasons of the Sea HDR

Seasons of the Sea HDR

… and close-up:

Close-up Seasons HDR

Close-up Seasons HDR

Holding still for these shots was difficult at best – if I’m going to use this app much more, I need to invest in a tripod.

Day #9 – A Photo A Day 2013

Flights to San Francisco have been delayed due to weather (I am guessing most likely fog or a really low ceiling) so I am still sitting here at the Portland Airport, listening to live music entertainment! (I think that I’ll post the video I took in another post – it’s amusing!)

So, having time on my hands I decided to play with the Pro HDR app again. There is a steady stream of people walking by so I thought hmmmmm, wouldn’t it be nice to get a longer exposure and see them as a blur?

I decided that it would be fun to see how long of an exposure I would get with this HDR app, and wondered if that movement would translate well into the picture:

Portland Airport - HDR with Movement

Portland Airport – HDR with Movement

I am pleased with the outcome! In fact, I have a few apps that have “longer shutter speed” so that you can get longer exposure times out of your phone, and I feel like Pro HDR did a better job of that than the apps that I have which are specifically designed to do that.

To be fair, I have not tried out those long exposure apps with night time exposures – just daytime, so before I write them off completely, I have a bit more experimenting to do.

For now, it’s Pro HDR for my long exposure needs.

Day #8 – A Photo A Day 2013

HDR is an aspect of photography that has intrigued me for quite some time now, and I am finally beginning to dabble in it a bit with my SLR.
Although I haven’t had the results that I have hoped for, I continue to experiment and I am not going to give up until I get the results that I am striving to achieve! Perhaps I need to read more on the subject.

Just a few days ago, I came across an app for my iPhone that claims to do the HDR work for you, so I decided to give it a go based on a plethora of good reviews.

Here is the result of my first experiment:

HDR Experiment

HDR Experiment

The app is Pro HDR and it is really easy to use. Set your phone on a stable surface or attach to a tripod and it does the bulk of the work – first it analyzes the light/shadow in the room, and then it takes two pictures to layer. That process takes around 20-30 seconds – that’s just an estimate as I didn’t actually count how long it took to finish.

Once the processing has finished, you then have the opportunity to adjust various levels of the picture: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Warmth and Tint. Beyond that, there are also crop, frame, text and filter options to add to your photo.

It’s easy to use, and I think that it’s an app that I will be apt to use very often which means that I am going to have to invest in a Joby tripod! 😉