Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Catching up after a busy week.

The past week has been a busy one and I did not have as much time to blog as I would like.  The following are some of the images created during this time and brings me back to date.

Friday, June 22.  We had more rain and I headed into the front year to capture this photo of a Honeysuckle flower with rain drops on it.  Shot with the iPhone I cropped in using Snapseed and posted it as my Instagram 366 photo of the day.
We also had a couple of celebrations for Luke who turned 6 on the 21st.  First they had a celebration for kindergarten graduation and I shot this photo with the hat they had made in class.
Later that day we had some of his classmates over to celebrate his birthday.  It was a new experience for him and he had a good time.  I shot this photo with my Canon 7D and then downloaded it to my iPhone where I cropped it with Snapseed and added the frame.
Saturday, June 23. A long day with teaching and other activities and at the end of the day I was looking for something to shoot for the photo of the day.  The boy's had received these lego type toy Mario car series as they both enjoy playing the Super Mario games on the wii and the DS.  I propped the car up to give it the illusion of taking off and then used the iPhone to make the capture.  Some tilt and shift focus adjustment and a bit of vignetting added with Snapseed to give it the final look.
Sunday, June 24. The weather turned nicer and all the rain has been great for the flowers growing in our yard.  So I headed out once again to see what I could find.  I used Snapseed to convert the colour image of this close up of a flower to B&W.  I loved the shadow that was cast on the leaves and chose this one as my Instagram 366 photo for the day.
I then like the way these three Pansies looked together.  I took a black piece of foam core to place behind them to eliminate a busy background and shot them with the iPhone.  Cropped and framed in Snapseed.
Monday June 25.  A visit to the Calgary Zoo with the boy's school afforded me a chance to take a few images. I had hoped to shoot more photo's but when you are supervising four kindergarten boys it makes it a little difficult.  The following though are  photo's shot both with the iPhone and the Canon 7D.  The first three are iPhone captures with post processing done in Snapseed.  The first of the penguins was my Instagram 366 photo for the day.

The following photo's were captured using the 7D and the 70-200mm f2.8 lens.  Afterwords I downloaded them to my computer and then uploaded them to my iPhone where I did the cropping and framing with Snapseed.  There was no additional post processing done on these photo's.

Tuesday, June 26.  Luke was looking so cute in the bath tub and had laid down in the bubbles and looked up with such a sweet look I had to take a quick photo.  This is one of the advantages of the iPhone as it is always close by and you can get these moments.  Post processed using Snapseed.
Wednesday, June 27.  Walking home from school we came across this car loaded with cameras as it was cruising our neighbourhood for TomTom.  Again I only had a fraction of a second to grab a shot with the iPhone before it drove away from the red light.  Not sure what state the licence plate is from, but what a job, driving around North America taking millions of photographs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

By candle light.

Today was a special day for Cool at school as they held a mass for the year end where he was asked to be one of the alter servers.  After the mass they went back to the school and celebrated those students had a received a sacrament during the past school year.  While waiting for Cool to come down to the gym I noticed the lanterns and candles sitting on the tables that were decorated for the students.  So while I was shooting this photo with my iPhone one of the other parents who knows me ask if I ever stop taking pictures.  I may not be snap happy but I do walk around looking for photographic opportunities.  After taking this image I then brought it in to Snapseed where I cropped it, added some grunge and then the frame.  This was my Instagram 366 photo for today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grass and Sky, Two Looks.

Today was the summer Solstice and I managed to get out and shoot a few frames in Nose Hill Park on my way home from SAIT.  As it is the longest day of the year this was shot close to 10:00 pm and I was fortunate to have some clouds in the sky to add to the drama.  I also wanted to have something in the foreground so I got down low and had the tall grass in the frame.  The only post processing was the crop and frame done in Snapseed.  This is today's Instagram 366 photo for today.
As I was posting the above image I realized that yesterday's Instagram 366 image was of similar subject matter, however done with a different look.  I was at Heritage Park and wanted to photograph the dramatic sky but needed another element to add to the shot.  I choose the tall grass and shot the image in B&W using the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone.  I did bring the photo into PhotoToaster to give the sepia tone effect as I felt it gave the feel I was looking for.
While at Heritage Park I also shot this photo of a flower again using Hipstamatic as I am liking this app for B&W photo's.  Tone was adjusted in Snapseed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo's from a busy weekend

It was a very busy weekend as We celebrated sons Cool and Luke's birthday's on Sunday.  I spent most of the weekend running errands to get ready for the family party we held at the Greenview-Thornecliffe bowling lanes.  here are a few photo's from the last few days.

I found the first image while I was at the check out counter at the Dollar Store.  They had a small display of these rocks with engraving on them.  I shot a quick iPhone photo and later processed it with Snapseed before uploading it as my Instagram 366 photo for June 16th.
One of the things that kept us busy was that Cool wanted to make his own birthday cake based on a design from Minecraft, one of his favourite web-sites. It took a lot of effort from him, Lysa and myself to create this colourful cake that is suppose to resemble a block of TNT.  It may not have worked out perfect but it tasted great.
I decided to make Cool my Instagram 366 image for June 17th after his birthday party and one of his favourite gifts.  This remote control helicopter will fly close to a kilometre in height and you can attach a small video camera on it as well to get aerial views.  Once we learn how to fly it I am sure he will have lot's of fun with it this summer.
Today I had to make a trip to the eye surgeon who has been keeping tack of my eyes for the last 5 years.  As a photographer one is always worried about our eyes and thus since I was diagnosed with some optic nerve problems we have been maintaining a watch to make sure nothing changes suddenly.  While sitting in the chair waiting I noticed the stack of lenses for testing sitting on the shelf.  I took a couple of images and used Snapseed to enhance it and used tilt and shift to change the depth of field. This is my Instagram 366 photo for today.   Fortunately there my eyes have stayed consistent and and we will keep checking them regularly.
The final image here is another test of the app HDR PhotoCamera.  As I was leaving SAIT tonight I noticed this wonderful light on the city and storm clouds in the sky.  The foreground was dark so I decided that I would see what this app could do.  The results are OK and one of the better ones that I have shot using the app.  I find a lot of the time this app creates an image that is to over done to really be useful.  Tonight though it seemed to give a more acceptable result.  I think the concept of this app is sound, however I think it still needs some work on it in order for it to give consistent results.

Friday, June 15, 2012

More flowers

Maybe it is because we have such a long winter that when we have flowers they become a main subject for our cameras.  As we keep getting new blooms it makes it easy to train my iPhone on them trying to get an interesting photo.  Now flowers are always tough as we see so many shots of them and to make them different and dynamic can be a challenge.  Once again I used the Hipstamatic app as I am getting more comfortable with knowing the results it will give. I still use other apps in conjunction to get the final results I want.  I don't always like the frames in Hipstamatic so this is one of the finishing touches I can get from apps like WoodCamera which I used on the third image.  The top photo of the pansy is my Instagram 366 image of the day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nature at extremes.

I was out the for a walk a few days ago and found this stalk of dried flowers that I thought might make for an interesting study.  Tonight I took these dead flowers and placed them in front of my soft box and began experimenting with a variety of techniques both with my Canon 7D and my iPhone.  I finally settled on this image from the iPhone using the Hipstamatic app with Americana Lens and Kodot XGrizzled film.  I then brought the file in to Snapseed where I converted it to B&W and tuned it.  I loved the way it gave beauty and elegance to a life once lived.
Earlier in the day as I returned home with Luke from school I looked at the sky and saw these wispy clouds. They showed the beauty in that part of life that we take for granted, air, wind and water.  These are part of the building blocks and the essence of life.
These two images are my tribute to this wonderful world around us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hipstamatic for Black & White.

I have stated for a while now that one has to understand the apps they are using if they want to truly benefit from what the camera in ones smart phone.  As I have started to play more with the Hipstamatic I have found one of its strengths to be in the Black & White images it produces.  The three film stocks it has can produce some mighty fine results.

These are some photo's I shot today by Heritage Park here in Calgary.  I have driven by this train which is on display at the entrance to the park for many years and finally stopped to take some photo's.  Reaching through the barbed wire I was able to aim my iPhone at the engine and shoot a number of shots.  This was my favourite and is my Instagram 366 photo for today.  I used the Kaimal Mark II lens with the BlackKeys B+W film.
The following two images are of a nearby slough and I loved the look of the tall grass and duck weed in the water.  I shot  this image with the Roboto Glitter Lens and Claunch 72 monochrome film.  I did some adjustments in Snapseed to make it pop a bit more.
While taking shots from this angle the little black bird sitting on the stalk in the foreground started to dive at me so I figure there must have been a nest near by.  I used the Americana Lens and Claunch 72 monochrome film then enhanced it with Snapseed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

From iPhone to DSLR.

So I have again had a busy two days and thus am posting yesterday and today's photo's.  I have been using the iPhone a lot this year but there have been times I have used my Canon 7D.  This post has a little of both.

The first image is of a small flower in our backyard and was shot using the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone using the Helga Viking lens and BlackKeys B&W film.  Some how the combination of the colours of the plant, the shade it was in and the app created this negative look.  I guess it is one of those things that you can call a happy accident that gives a great result.  One of the interesting things about this image is that I shared it as usual as my Instagram 366 photo as well to Facebook, tadaa and Streamzoo.  One Facebook it obtained 6 likes, on Instagram 14 likes, Streamzoo 21 likes, and finally on tadaa it received 59 likes.  A real big difference especially when when I have more followers in a descending order as listed above.  The big difference was that a number of people reposted this shot thus giving it a small viral following.
In the evening I joined Rolando Gomez and some other photographers for a fun evening photo shot that combined low light and flash.  I helped the participants with some add direction and only managed to shoot a couple of frames using my iPhone and the flash that is built in to it.  Considering the tool it gave a good result with the flash illuminating the subject (although a bit of a flat light) and yet the sky came out nice and rich.  This was taken around 10#0 in the evening down at the Rundle Ruins on 12th ave SE in Calgary.
Today I did a little bit different for my Instagram 366 as I had been out shooting my boy's playing soccer this evening.  TO do so I brought out my Canon 7D with the 70 - 200 f2.8 lens.  This allowed me to catch the action from a bit of a distance away.  These two sots I liked a lot and so I decided to bring them from the computer back onto the iPhone where I finished the cropping and framing using Snapseed and then uploading them to my photo share sites.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gone Walkabout.

One of my favourite films is "Crocodile Dundee" and one of the terms I heard for the first time (as did many North Americans) was gone walkabout.  When Walter explains to Sue that a walkabout "is an aboriginal term meaning to go off and discover new places" it struck a cord with me.  Shortly after that I did my own walkabout as I headed out on my first trip around the world.  For many years after I put this to good use and travel fairly widely both abroad and locally.

However the last few years as I have settled down to raise my family and to teach my classes at SAIT I have been more bound to routine and my patterns have limited the areas to where I have shot most of my images for the last 528 days.  There has been some travel during this time but I have created most of the images close to home, SAIT or where the boys have their activities.

Now I have lived in Northwest Calgary my entire life and had explored much of the area thus I thought I was familiar with it's entirety.  So today when I found myself with three hours to do what I wanted I decided to explore some areas of my youth.  So I headed down towards Bowness Park, a place that I had rode my bike to many times as a kid.  Things have changed and Calgary has grown.  There are many new roads and loads of development.  I first headed down Bearspaw Dam Road where I use to go with my father as we would take our canoe and boat and fish on the reservoir behind the dam.  I was deeply disappointed when I found the road is now closed due to safety issues along the rail road tracks.

So I turned around and decided to head over to Bowness Park on the South Side of the Bow River.  As I headed don the road something told me to take a side road that lead of on the north side of the river and I ended up at Baker Park.  Now I had seen this park from the other side many times, but for some reason I had never explored it before today.  So I parked the car and headed out on my first walkabout in a long time.  It was pleasing, relaxing, and a chance to discover a gem I had not known before.  The following are a sample of the photo's I shot here today.
I found this flower at the start of my walkabout.  I had decided earlier that I wanted to use the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone for most of the photo's today and to shot them in Black & White.  The above was shot using the Roboto Glitter Lens, Claunch 72 Monochrome Film. There was no post processing on this photo at all.  It was also shared as my Instagram 366 image for today.
I next wandered towards the bridge for Stoney Trail.  I looked for a nice angle and positioned myself under the bridge and used some trees to frame it as well.  There was some wind so the leaves in the upper corner were moving which gave a nice feel to the photo.  Film stock remained the same but the Americana lens was used this time.
On the other side of the river at the West end of Bowness park stands a protected area of old growth forest. I took a walk through the woods and found this tiny flower alongside the path amongst these giant trees.  I tried a number of films and lenses but found that the Roboto Glitter Lens, Claunch 72 Monochrome Film gave me the look I wanted.
As I crossed the bridge back the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for a split second casting these wonderful shadows. I loved the lines and quickly used the normal camera on the iPhone to snap an image.  However in the few seconds that it took me to switch to the Hipstamatic app, the sun had disappeared behind the clouds and this scene had faded away.  When I returned to the car I used Snapseed to crop the image and convert it to B&W and add the frame.

In all it was a good day and one that I hope leads to some more Walkabouts.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Changing colours and reflections.

This was a series I shot using the iPhone af a piece of silver tubing from one of the toys that my boys have.  Light source was the light from the screen of the tv and I took images as the clours changed through the broadcast.  After cropping in Snapseed I then brought the individual photo's into Frametastic to create this composite.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Playing with a shadow.

Light is the most important thing in creating a photograph, however shadows are just as important.  So one of the fun things to do is to take an object and light it to see what the shadows do.  We have this wild ball the boy's got at an arcade in Hawaii and I thought it make for an interesting subject.  I placed it on a while piece of foam core and then used a small light source as a light source.  I angled the light so to use the edge of the light and not the hot spot as the iPhone does not handle the contrast range easily.

After taking the shot I opened the image in Snapseed where I cropped it and then converted it to B&W.  This was necessary as the ball is multicoloured and I knew this would be distracting.  I also knew that the different colours would create a variety of tonal ranges as well giving it a nice look.  After adding a frame I then uploaded as my Instagram 366 photo for today.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Demonstrating apps at SAIT

Tonight was the last night of the first offering of the History, Art and Culture class at SAIT.  I started to develop this course last fall and we were able to offer it this spring.  Tonight was all about photographic processes and I covered everything from Wet Plate to Apps for smart phones and tablets.  In order to do the last part I wandered around SAIT before class started and snapped a few images with my iPad.  This was due to the fact that I can hook the iPad up to the LCD projectors and show how the apps operate live.

The first two where post processed using Snapseed and the third one was done using Pictureshow.  Once I got home I uploaded the shot of the windows to Instagram as my Instagram 366 photo.
This one here was shared to Streamzoo.
This one was posted as my "tadaa Today" image.
I had also shot this image of the flower in my backyard earlier in the day.  I shared this one to Instagram.
I then converted it to Black & White in Snapseed and liked the result so I posted this one to Streamzoo.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spring in Calgary.

Spring time in Calgary brings two constants, dandelions and thunder storms.  Yesterday and early this morning I had a chance to photograph both with my iPhone.  For a small camera it does pack a punch and can produce some amazing results.

While waiting in the field for Luke during his soccer I wandered over to a large patch of Dandelions and picked one.  Holding it up to have the grey sky as a background and isolate it.  I brought the iPhone close and captured the below photo.  Using Snapseed I tuned the image to help separate it from the sky and enhance it to give this wonderful look. This is my Instagram 366 photo for June 5, 2012.
As the night wore on the skies darkened and shortly before midnight we had a full blown thunder storm upon us.  Sitting in the safety of my living room I watched the storm progress.  As the bolts came closer I brought  out my iPhone and held it up waiting for the next strike.  This image was the first I took and the only one that gave the result I wanted.  As there is a lag in the time you press the shutter button and when it records the scene I got fortunate that there was a second quick strike.  On following attempts I was not so lucky however there was one interesting shot where the whole neighbourhood was lit up as if it was mid-afternoon instead of 1:00 in the morning.  This shot is my Instagram 366 for June 6 and other then a bit of darkening in Snapseed no other post processing was done.