Monday, April 30, 2012

A little variety today.

I have chosen to give a little variety to my three images for today.  The Tulip is my Instgramm 366 photo for today.  Processed with Snapseed for the crop and frame only, colours are as is.
My "tadaa Today" image was from my Advanced Lighting class as we were doing some painting with light.  In this case a flash light and red gel are on a sheet in the background and then a small burst from a flash lit the model.  Was trying the app "Slow Shutter" and got mixed results, this was the best on from the few that I took.
Finally my Streamzoo photo is of my boy's set of drums. All the processing was using the filters and frames offered with that app.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Three shots for three sites.

Last yeas I started the Photo a day challenge and decided to continue it as the "Instagram 366" project.  So far I have shot at least one photo a day since December 31, 2010.  Along the way this year I have added to new apps that I have talked about, tadaa and Streamzoo.  I have also decided to try and shoot a different image for each of them.  So this brings me to three photo's a day on my agenda.  Only on my blog and facebook page will you see all three shots.  Here are today's entries.
Walking through the produce department at Safeway I saw a few interesting vegetables I thought would make great subjects.  As I was taking the photo's a couple noticed and I told them I was creating "iPhone Art".  We talked I showed them some of my images and told them I would be lecturing at the public libraries in the fall.  The above image of the vine ripe tomato's was my Instagram 366 photo and was minimally processed in Snapseed.  I only cropped and used the centre focus filter to soften and darken the edges.  The colours are as recorded.

The corn on the cob was my "tadaa Today" image.  I cropped and softened the edges in Snapseed and then used Wood Camera to rotate and add a texture to the photo before using RealCamera+ for the frame.
Driving up to the garage I noticed that one of the tulips had started to open and headed out to take a photo. I used my body to cast a shadow and soften the light. After bringing the image into Snapseed I cropped it and again used the centre focus app to darken the edges as well as the selective adjust to darken the concrete wall of the house.  I then posted this to Streamzoo.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sharing with the world.

Through my blog and a variety of other social media I have basically put my work out for the world to see.  I post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tadaa, Streamzoo; PhotoRepublik, fotoflock, 500px, tumblr, flickr, google+, [b]school, and now Pinterest.  In doing so I never know how any of my photo's will be received by those who see them.  Sometimes images I feel strongly about don't take much notice and then other times a photo will resonate and get lot's of comments.  This is all the more remarkable when I have created an image near the end of the day when I am tired and just trying to find something to keep my shooting streak going.

So it was very surprising that my images of the candles from yesterday became the most repined image of my on Pinterest. Some 23 people repined this photo to their boards and 5 left likes.  It was neat to see how this image resonated with such a variety of people.  Now if you are unfamiliar with Pinterest it is like a bulletin board where you can save web-sites that have stories, articles or photo's that you may want to find later.  These can be things that inspire you or something you may want to try.  I have chosen to use it to show my photo's and have the traffic rerouted back to my blog here.  Thus it is always a nice feeling to know that people have enjoyed my work and want to save or share it.

 While I was out this morning helping Cool's choir with the bottle drive I came across these wonderful manhole covers in the South East section of Calgary. I have always thought there is artistic ruggedness to these covers and have photographed them where ever I have found them in the world.  So I snapped a frame with the iPhone and did a little post processing in Snapseed to get the look I wanted.
Since it was a long day as after the bottle drive I had to teach my Wedding photography class at SAIT and then take care of the boys before putting them to bed.  Although I was tired I still wanted to do an image for my "tadaa Today" project.  Trying to be creative I took the watering can that my wife had left down stairs and held it in front of a photo of sunflowers and took this photo.  I again used Snapseed to finish up this shot which for me was a little on the experimental side.  Again it is funny as already got a couple of likes and a comment on the tadaa feed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Found items.

Someday's are tougher than others and when I hit them it seems like it would be easy to give up the 366 project and move on.  Yet I still manage to push myself and find something to photograph.  So I look around the house and found some items and try to make them look interesting.  My Instagram image for today was something I stumbled upon after I put my boy's to bed.  Luke was being his creative self and had made what he called a "Centre Piece" using a bowl, some of our battery operated candles, rocks, small rubber balls and AA batteries.  When I cam out of the bedroom after getting them to sleep the house was dark but his creation was glowing from the centre of the living room. I felt it looked interesting and shot the above image.  Cropped in Snapseed and framed with RealCamera+.
Then as I was coming to my office I noticed some of the old wood alphabet blocks had been taken out and played with.  So I took them to my office, placed them on the mirror and photographed them.  Cropped and post processed with Snapseed and framed with RealCamera+.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another new Photo Sharing site

There are so many new apps being developed today that it is sometimes hard to keep up and know what is out there. Today through one of my friends on Instagram I was made aware of another photo sharing site similar to Instagram and tadaa, this one called Streamzoo.  So I have added to my list of ways to create and share photo's and will be evaluating it and will report back here.

Instagram continues to be my favourite way to share images I have created.  I am use to the square format having worked for a long time with a Hasselblad when I shot film.  This is my entry for the 366 day challenge and once again processed using Snapseed.  The second shot was an abstract I shot through the wind shield of my car as the rain came down.  I liked the way the neon lights of some of the stores at Dalhousie Station looked so took a photo.  Other then the cropping no additional post processing was done.

The following two images were my first images posted to Streamzoo.  It seems to be a fairly nice addition to or alternative to Instagram.  It has a simple interface and a fair number of filters and frames.  I will still use Snapseed for the majority of my post processing but I have added another app that can add some new looks as well.  It is called Wood Camera and the image of the shell below is another version of the shot posted yesterday only post processed with  Wood Camera.

 The two photo's below are using some of the filters and frames available in Streamzoo.

 Finally these two images are my "tadaa Today" photo's. I am still not sold 100% on tadaa as still needs to develop the community and add a way to share some profile info.  You also need to develop a few friends so that you can share each others images in order to gain new followers.  Still I am having fun with it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Inspired by Edward Weston.

As I work on my lecture for my History, Art and Culture class at SAIT I find that I am rediscovering and being influenced by some of the masters of photography.  Today it was Edward Weston and his work with shells and plants.  So working with the iPhone I composed these two images.  The above was a shell that I have in my collection and I put it on a mirror that was placed on top of a black piece of matt board.  Then I used a large piece of white foam core to eliminate a distracting reflection, add some fill  and then create the wonderful a background.I then used Snapseed to correct the colour balance, darken the image, crop it and add the frame.
Earlier in the day I was out in the yard with Luke and I really liked the way the tulips looked as they start pushing up and getting ready to bloom.  I moved in close looking at how the larger leaves framed the small bud knowing that I would convert the image into a black & white shot.  Once opening and cropping in Snapseed I went to the B&W filter where I used the Orange filter and then worked on the exposure and contrast to get this result. I then posted it as my "tadaa Today" photo.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something new.

So as I logged into blogger today to post my photographs I was greeted with a very interesting note saying that it no longer supported the browser I am using and I need to down load Google Chrome to make it work properly.  So here I am making my first post using Google Chrome.  I guess this only makes sense as blogger is part of the Google family and as such they want you to use their products.  Well so far it looks not to bad and I can access my stats for my blog much more easy.  Uploading the photo's is also quicker as I can do multiples at one time.  Still have to see how the lay out works and if it is cleaner.  For the time being I will be keeping my blog here, but it has been a goal of mine to integrate it with my web-site and that may happen a little sooner depending on my experiences here.
 So I was visiting the flowers once again today, both at my house and at the Varsity Community Centre. The first two here are the same flowers as yesterdays post but they have perked up now that we have had some sun and rain.  The top one is my Instagram 366 photo and the one immediately below is one of my "tadaa Today" images.  Both were processed minimally in Snapseed as I feel that they deserve to stay unaltered.  The main filter I used on all the images is the new centre focus feature called Old lens that does a nice job darkening around the edges thus keeping the focus on the flowers.
The bottom two are at the Varsity CC and were taken as the rain was coming down.  I loved the water droplets on the first photo as it added some charecter.  I moved in close to take advantage of the rain.  The  last photo is where I backed up and took in more of the scene.  I titled this image on my tadaa post as "My Sisters turned their backs to me" as I saw how three had turned facing one direction and the other was facing away.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The flowers are a bloomin.

Calgary set a record high today at 26C and it is amazing what the heat can do. Yesterday we had no blooms in our front garden and today we had to different flowers expose their glory. When I saw this I knew I had a couple of images for my photo's of the day. The above was of one of the Lillie's that came out and was a bit of the challenge as it was hanging upside down and was only about 6 inches off the ground. This is one of the advantages of the iPhone as you can get it in to tight spaces and so I was able to slight it on to the ground and shot up at the flower. This position allowed the sun to shine through the petals and give a great feel. Now I did have to crop a fair amount and this did bring out the noise but upon inspecting the image I found I liked the feel it gave to it. This was my Instagram 366 photo for today.

I then turned my attention to these little purple flowers and framed it up to get both blooms that were showing. Purple has always been one of the more difficult colors to render and I felt that it need to be worked on in Snapseed in order to do it justice. In this case I wanted the rich saturation that came out. This was my "tadaa Today" photo.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This could have been written today.

"As soon as these technical improvements had been made, portrait studios were opened almost everywhere in the western world. Their number can hardly be estimated. Their proprietors came from a wide variety of trades and professions: in two weeks almost anyone could gain sufficient technical proficiency to set up business."

Does this sound familiar? Does it sound like it is spoken about the current state of photography and what digital ha brought? What if I told you this was written in Beaumont Newhall's The History of Photography and was talking about the rise of the daguerreotype? Barely 15 years after the first recognized photograph by Joseph Nicephore Niepce had been fixed to a permanent medium in 1827. It speaks to this medium we love and how it alone has been embraced by the masses since it was developed by pioneers like Daguerre and Talbot and improved upon by countless others who improved and refined the techniques and equipment. What we have today is just a continuation of the process and it will always be the medium of the people.

Can one prosper if they choose to work as photographers in this modern environment? I guess that depends on how you look at the industry and the medium in general. If you choose to be bitter, complain and close yourself to the possibilities that are coming then I guess not. However if one takes what is happening, stays on the cutting edge and up to date on developments in the industry I believe one can. Will it be easy? No, there is a more visually literate audience out there and they know what they can and can't do. If you can figure out your way to tap in to the new ways of presenting your work and offer something that others can not easily achieve I believe you can prosper. But I think you must love the medium and want to create out of the sheer joy and passion of it.

It is also important to understand where photography started and the history of the different genres that we have available to us. I hope that in the new course I am developing and will be teaching at SAIT in the continuing education program will aid in educating and inspiring those interested in and entering the world of photography. Knowing the past helps in improving the future. So after talking about the early days I now post my latest iPhone images. The above was of a wonderfully restored Ford Model T that was in the parking lot of Northland Village Shoppes as the family and I went for brunch this morning. I barely had a chance to shoot two frames before the driver took off. I would have enjoyed the chance to talk to him a little more and maybe have the opportunity to do more photos of his fine vehicle. However the moment was fleeting and the iPhone allowed me the chance to make a capture. As we ate brunch I worked on the photo in Snapseed and decided I wanted to use something that gave it an old time feel that matched the car. Scrolling through the grunge I finally found one that worked the way I wanted. This is my Instagram 366 image for today.
This shot looks like it could be any set of deck chairs out in the yard with the leaves left over from fall lying around. However I shot this image this afternoon when I was at Iris in Market Mall. While waiting for them to repair Cool's glasses I noticed these two miniature chairs on the counter and thought I might be able to do something with them. So I took a couple shots and again opened one in Snapseed. Choosing the grunge filter once again I was able to get this wonderful look and posted as my "tadaa Today" photo.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring is here!

We had a mild winter this year and it seemed to hang on through the spring. We had not had an real warm temperatures till today and his afforded me a chance to get out for a walk in Nose Hill Park here in Calgary. I did set out with a purpose and that was to search for Crocuses which are usually the first wild flowers to bloom here. I had been out a couple weeks ago but it was still cold out, yet today I did not have to walk far before I found them. In fact there were so many I had to search to find the ones I thought would photograph best. I found this trinity of blooms and since it was a sunny clear day I used my body to cast a shadow on them so as to give a nice soft light. This one was my Instagram 366 image for today. I used Snapseed to crop the image and the new features in the centre focus to darken the edges. This was necessary as though I did clean some of the dead grass around them there were still blades that were very bright and needed to be toned down. The new choices in this filter work well with this. I then returned home and decided it was to nice a day to spend indoors so I went to the backyard to cleanup the leaves and grass left from last fall. While raking a particular large pile of leaves I suddenly saw a large number of Ladybugs emerge. I was trying to take some photo's with the iPhone but they were scurrying around to fast through the leaves and grass and it did not make for a pleasing image. So I continued cleaning and then went and turned on the tap so I could water the tulips that are starting to emerge through the soil. As I was doing this I felt something on my hand and looked down and saw a ladybug walking across it and then on to the nozzle of the hose. Using my other hand I took out my iPhone and worked carefully to line up the shot trying not to scare it away. However it sat patiently moving only slightly at times and I was able to capture a few frames. Once it flew away and I was done watering I went inside and brought the image in to Snapseed where I cropped it and brightened it slightly before adding the frame in RealCamera+.

These two images were also shot on Nose Hill and posted as my "tadaa Today" images. The above image I shot specifically to test the new features of the B&W filter in Snapseed. After making the initial conversion I then added a Yellow Filter and then did some exposure adjustments before finishing up with the frame. It is nice to see a company keep making improvements to it's apps and I can see that it will remain my favorite for post processing.
I also found this lone Crocus bloom and shot it the same way as I had the three above using my body to shade the flower and processing it the same way before posting to tadaa.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nice to have my work appreciated.

My blog since the begining of the year has been mostly dedicated to work I have created using the iPhone. Allthough I know I have some followers it is nic when somone from a different field recognizes and appreciates your work. This morning I had a conversation with a representative from the Calgary Public Library to see if I would be interested in lecturing at various libraries this fall. The topic will be "How to get the best out of your Camera Phone". I will be showing people the inner workings of Instagram, tadaa, Hipstamatic, RetroCamera and others as well as post processing apps like Snapseed. I think this will be lot of fun and another chance to share. Before our meeting had ended she told me that she was talking to one of the managers at the Art Gallery of Calgary and that they to were interested in talking to me. So I contacted them and now have a meeting scheduled for mid-May to discuss the possibilites of doing something with them as well.

Later in the day I received an e-mail informing me that my galley was approved and ready to go on-line. You can view it at and if you like any of my images you can order a canvas print through them. This is a very neat service as it gives one an opportunity to sell there photo's that they have already shared through Instagram. This is very cool.

So today's images I have the ragged old basketball hoop at my son's school that I thought looked interesting with the clouds behind it. Processed in Snapseed and shared as my Instagram 366. This evening my boy's were taking a bath and Cool has become a master of bubbles and was showing his technique once again. So I shot a few frames, processed the one below with Snapseed and then posted as my "tadaa today" photograph.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Start of another soccer season.

So tonight was the start of the soccer season for my son's Luke and Cool. Fortunately the weather co-operated even though there was a cold breeze. So I knew right from the start of the day that My Instagram 366 (above) and my "tadaa Today" (below) images would be. So all three were shot with the iPhone and cropped and framed with Snapseed. Beyond that the only post was a little brightening and contrast added.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some items from my collections.

In this age of digital it is nice to look at some of the traditional items that enhance our lives. For me these consist if old cameras and beautiful photo books. Above is a small sample of my collection of photography books by some of my favorite photographers. Even though I have embraced some publications in the digital format to read on my iPad I still think having a large photo book is the best way to view the work of great photographers. This photo is my Instagram 366 image for today.

I also love to display the many cameras I have owned and used over the years. There is something beautiful in the craftsmanship and design of these old cameras that does not exist in the design of digital cameras today. Below is my Zone VI 4x5 camera which is well crafted and looks exquisite. I love to look at it and I think I will be bringing it out this summer to shoot some B&W film. This is my "tadaa Today" photo.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some observations on Pinterest and tadaa.

Today I walked around Southcentre Mall here in Calgary as I had some time while Cool was at choir. I had a chance to think about a few of the ways I have been sharing my photographs and some of the new sites that I have been trying the last little while.

First is Pinterest. I have chosen this new favorite content sharing board to showcase my work. It is fairly easy to use and does offer the chance to file stories, articles or photo's that are of interest to you for quick finding later. Once you create your board anyone can access it and repin what you post to your board. It is always a bit of a thrill when you receive the notification that some has liked what you have created and pined it to one of their boards. I take it as a big compliment that has the ability to reach greater audience. However one of my frustration's with Pinit is that it does not keep track for you who and where your pins are reposted. If you keep the notifications that are e-mailed you can do it yourself, but adding this feature would be great.

Now for tadaa. It is an nice addition/alternative to Instagram. The above image was my "tadaa Today" post shot with the iPhone and processed with Snapseed. After using the native filters and processing options I have chosen to come back to using Snapseed as I feel I can do more with it to get the look I want. So far I have liked tadaa except for two issues. The first is a minor issue that deals with your profile page. One is that there is no option to add personal info about yourself or view others. For me this would really help to decide whom I would like to follow. The other is that there is some sort of tadaa dollars type number on your profile, but look as I may I can not find anything to tell me the purpose of this or if it will have some value going forward. These aside the biggest thing that frustrates me with tadaa is the push notice function. It does it every time that anyone you follow post a new image. At this time I only have about 12, but I can just imagine how crazy my iPhone would be buzzing if I had a couple hundred. It is one feature I would like the option to disable as it will keep me from adding photographers that I want to follow until it is corrected.
As for Instagram I still find it to be my favorite for sharing and here are a couple images from today. The above is my Instagram 366 shot and was done at the mall. Processing with Snapseed was minimal this time for the photograph. The image below was posted using Instagram's native filter "lo-fi" to give the result I wanted on these seat cushions.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Creative under pressure.

After a busy weekend it was a hectic Monday as well. Beside taking care of the family it was the start of a new session of my Advanced Lighting class at SAIT. Since I have used images from the first night of this class in the past I did not want to repeat again tonight. This put me under pressure having not shot an image with only 1 hour before the end of the days. Fortunately I saw that the Christmas Cactus had a bloom on it so I decide this would be my Instagram 366 photo for today. So after refining the light and Isolating the flower against a neutral background I shot a couple of frames and then opened one in Snapseed. After cropping and exposure adjusting I used vintage filter #1 which gave the right impressionistic look I was hoping for.

Next was my image for "tadaa Today' Looking around I noticed the first camera I ever used sitting on my shelf. I brought the camera and placed it on top of my red fridge where there is some good light and shot a couple of compositions. Once I made my choice I opened it in Snapseed, cropped and added a little grunge. It gave a look that fit the age of the camera.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rolando Gomez Workshop Day 2

Today was the second day of the CIFP workshop that I organized with Rolando Gomez. Once again it was a busy day and I spent a lot of time running from floor to floor. In between I was able to shoot a couple of image with the iPhone and I also shot some with the Canon 7D. The above is my Instagram 366 image for today and after shooting with the iPhone I brought it into Snapseed where I changed the white balance and then added a vintage filter to it.

My "tadaa Today" image below was a close up of Tatiana and was also shot with the iPhone. I did some cropping in Snapseed and used vintage filter 2 to which gave a more natural color to her skin and smoothed it out as well.

I will be posting some images shot with the 7D in a day or two once I have a chance to work with them. Right now it was a full and tiring day and I need to take get some sleep.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rolando Gomez Workshop, Day 1

So today my long time friend, Rolando Gomez, taught a workshop for my group the Calgary Institute for Photography. Rolando is a master photographer, Author and Internet Guru and he came to town and did a lecture last evening and then worked with 14 photographers and 4 models today. For my part as facilitator I spent the day running from the basement to the 4th floor at least 25 times to make sure all the participants where having fun and things were running smoothly. In between I was able to squeeze off a few shots on the iPhone and then process them with Snapseed. The Square images were shared on Instagram and the rectangular ones to tadaa.

The location for the session was the rustic King Edward School which is going to be restored and enhanced by cSpace. This added a wonderful opportunity for the photographer's to create some unique images in a rare setting. I wish to thank them for allowing us this opportunity to work in the building and if you are interested in learning more visit http://www.transform to see the wonderful future for this facility.

Tomorrow I will return with Rolando and 12 different photographers. I hope that things will be a little easier after the initial day and that I will also get a chance to shoot with my Canon 7D although I will still be shooting with the iPhone.

So the first image was shot with the main doors in the background. It is very colorful and the robe the model is wearing is a bright blue. I knew that this would look good as a B&W so I did the conversion in Snapseed and shared it as my Instagram 366 photo.
This photo was shot in the old wood shop with one big window giving a beautiful light on my subject's face. Cropped in Snapseed with no additional enhancing.

One of the more interesting location's in the King Edward school is the attic and copula and to access it one has to enter through the boy's washroom on the fourth floor. Since the stairway is narrow I was standing with some of the photographers as they took turns shooting. I started joking about how it would be funny if we had are model standing by the urinal and when she came down suggested this idea to her. She was a good sport and obliged me for this shot. It was later processed in Snapseed with the Drama 2 filter and then posted as one of my "tadaa Today" photographs.

This image was created in the basement hallway and Rolando was showing the students how to use strobe (one head with a beauty dish) to light the subject and then a slow shutter speed to get motion in the dress. I knew that I could accomplish this as well with the iPhone as I have used it in the past. So using available light I had her lift her leg and dress and told her just swing the dress and made the capture. I then used Snapseed to do some corrections with the vintage filter and then into PhotoToaster for the vignetting and frame.

On the fourth floor there is an abandoned piano and we had one of the photographers sit down to play while we had the model lie across the top. We had opened the top and removed the front panel so we could see the keys and strings. Processed with Snapseed and using some grunge and centre focus to do the enhancement.

Back in the basement wood shop a more dramatic lighting but included the window to add the flare and soften the image. Again cropped and processed in Snapseed and then a vintage filter added.