Why not..?

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Is it possible to update Oliver’s condition too often? Forgive me if I’m being overly zealous with his recovery pics, but I just wanted to keep you all up to date. Top pic has a touch of Instagram applied.

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*As a loyal reader, please don’t feel as though you need to leave a comment every time I make a blog post. I just want to provide a quick note about my little friend’s condition. Though he does look a little sleepy, trust me… he’s doing awesome!

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My new favorite black and white filter

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Lately I’ve been using EyeEm on my phone instead of Instagram, and I like it. Usually I’m playing with the “Earlgrey” filter which adds a warm, soft, muted tone to photographs, but when a new filter was recently added to the app, I jumped at the chance to try it out. It’s called “KCe” and with one swipe of your finger you can have a pretty nice black and white photograph. Here’s a little sample of it at work… I know it seems sacrilegious to take the golden out of the golden retriever, but I kinda like it.

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An alternative to Instagram

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I ditched Instagram a while back after they announced what I considered to be greedy changes to their terms of service. Rather than re-hash that whole debacle though, I’m moving on, and I’m sharing an alternative to what was once my favorite iPhone app.

I have to admit, I kinda like the simplistic approach that many photo-sharing apps take toward using filters and effects to process photographs. Some might argue that using these apps and their features actually “dumbs down” the artistic process, but me… I’m all for a little filtering and tilty-shifting… as long as it’s in good taste of course!

My new go-to alternative to Instagram these days is a little app called EyeEm. As with Instagram, it offers several interesting options for applying funky filters and effects to your photographs. It is also a social platform like Instagram was, but I don’t use it for that at all. Other apps I’m a fan of include Snapseed, Camera+, Wood Camera, and B&W Lab.

Here’s my workflow (really should be called playflow) using EyeEm… I make my photograph using the standard camera app that comes pre-installed as part of the iPhone iOS, though you could obviously just use the camera built right into the EyeEm app. That photograph is saved to my camera roll, and I use the EyeEm app to open it, crop it if desired, and then start experimenting with the filters. When finished, my “filtered” photograph gets saved to my camera roll alongside the original.

Anyhoo… here’s a little sampling of a photoshoot I did with my baby Oliver over the weekend. He was quite pleased to be invited onto the sofa, but I he soon realized that he’d rather be on the cooler wooden floor. This is him with a little bit of EyeEm’s “Earlgrey” filter applied… it’s quite similar to Instagram’s “Earlybird” filter. I just like how soft it makes these photographs feel.

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I’m done apologizing…

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It’s all of my own making. This blog used to be mostly about showcasing my experiences exploring the beautiful landscapes of Maine and especially Acadia National Park, but lately it has been swallowed up by photographs of Oliver – the little, but fast-growing dog.

I know that some loyal readers enjoy seeing what Oliver has been up to lately, and that it’d be quite OK if he was front and center all of the time. I do, however, feel as though I am forever apologizing for this recent change in course for the blog, so here I am throwing in the towel regarding the apology bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hopeful of getting out to shoot landscapes again soon, but in the meantime… purely for my own sanity, I’m done apologizing for posting pictures of Oliver. Phew… just saying writing that feel’s like a load off!

Anyhoo… here’s a sampling from the last couple of days… all shot using the iPhone 5 with a touch of Instagram Earlybird filter applied. Though I ditched the Instagram app itself, I have the filters stored as actions in Photoshop – I kinda like the effect.

Have a great weekend!

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A landscape photograph… sort of

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So, in case you hadn’t noticed, most of my photography efforts lately have been focused pretty much on one thing… that’s right, Oliver the new family dog. I’ve been enjoying my new iPhone – and all of the camera apps I have downloaded – as I document how quickly Oliver is growing. Until recently, I haven’t had much desire to break out the “real” camera and go in search of any pretty landscape images, and I’ve been more than happy to experiment with the handy dandy little camera that is also my phone. I’m the guy you would think has never owned a camera before now… the guy shooting his food, his dog, his kids… you name it and I’m photographing it!

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Anyway, despite being tempted to visit Acadia this past weekend on a landscape photography adventure, the early start, sub-feezing temperatures, and an additional inch and a half of snow that fell somewhat dampened my enthusiasm. So, instead of spending time in Acadia, we settled for a visit to the local golf course with you know who… and that’s where I made a landscape photograph… sort of. While Oliver was doing his thing, I noticed this solitary tree standing tall in the falling snow. And since I had my iPhone/camera with me… here’s the result.

Instagramming my dog

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Sounds painful, doesn’t it? Not as painful as the most recent round of bad publicity Instagram (acquired by Facebook) has endured because of the changes they made to their Terms of Service. Uproar has ensued all across the Internet with hordes of Instagram users ditching their once favorite photo sharing app – all because of the strategies Facebook proposed using to recoup some of the gajillions of dollars it spent acquiring Instagram.

We all like things that are free, especially things that are pretty cool… like Instagram. However, I learned a long time ago that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, so in order to monetize my favorite filtering photo fun app, parent company Facebook decided that they wanted to put ads in Instagram. As a loyal Instagrammer, this might not necessarily be a deal breaker for me, especially if I could buy a $2-ish in-app purchase upgrade that wouldn’t show ads. Where it got sticky though, was when FB wanted to place those ads, “on, about, or in conjunction with” my content… my photographs. That’s not cool… I’m all for creative people making a living, but I don’t think it’s right that they would claim use of my photographs for using with their ads… for free.

News travels fast on the Interwebz, and it now appears that the company is backtracking and has removed at least that part of the TOS language which stated that they would be authorized to use my (or your) photographs in their ads for free… we’ll see how this all plays out, but methinks that with the array of photo sharing app options available these days, Instagram might just have done themselves irreparable harm. When you think about it though… is there much difference between what caused this brouhaha and the terms of service of other web entities like Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter? Heck, I’m not really sure. Reminds me of the old adage… read the manual.

Some might say that this post is just an excuse to display more photographs of my dog. To you, all I can say is “shame on you” and that I resemble that remark! Anyhoo… here’s how I Instagrammed my dog. I promise Oliver was not hurt in the writing of this blog post, nor in the making of these photographs…  just a little Lo-Fi filter applied.

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A Ninja in New York

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There goes my New York Ninja. Jack adapts to the city easily, and although not on the horizon, Lori and I often talk about how well he would do if we ever decided to live there. Though we were sad to be in the city to pack up Aunt Joan’s apartment after she moved to a Northampton assisted living facility, Lori, Jack and I did enjoy being back in the heart of Chelsea – even if it was just for a long weekend. I’ve always felt that life in the city is dynamic, exciting, and full of energy, and our recent visit, though brief, brought back all sorts of good memories from when Lori and I lived here twenty years ago. Knowing that family ties to the city are becoming more and more tenuous, throughout the weekend we felt a sense of wanting to really absorb as much of this lifestyle as possible. I know we will be able to return to the city whenever we want to, but somehow without the family connection I don’t think it will feel the same. The bond and sense of almost belonging here that we have always enjoyed will be harder to find, so I’m glad we packed so much of the city into one of our “last” visits. New York, New York… so good they named it twice.