Oliver entered our lives just over a year ago, and his arrival coincided with me finally joining the 21st century and getting an iPhone. It didn’t take me long to discover the Nike Running app – not for running I might add – but for measuring our daily walks together. As you can see from the screenshot above, my little friend and I have covered some serious ground over the past year. Twenty pounds lighter and probably considerably healthier, I’m looking forward to our next one thousand miles together!
As summer has slowly made the transition to autumn, here in Maine, the temperatures during the day have been mild and the weather in general has been quite spectacular. Early morning walks with Oliver have revealed some impressive sunrise colors… I think it’s something to do with the temperature changes this time of year. Just about every morning I’m clicking away with my iPhone camera, and since most of the photographs I make never see the light of day, I figured I’d share a few here on the blog so that you could get a glimpse of how we begin our day together. All of these are from the past couple of weeks, and even Oliver stopped in his tracks to enjoy that last one…
When you’re up early, you see things most people don’t get to see. The scene above presented itself at 5:40am as Oliver and I started out on our pre-dawn walk. Most of the time, this is just another stand of trees trying to green up for the summer, but on this particular morning, it was transformed into a fog-shrouded and magical landscape with trunks and limbs intertwined and seemingly stretching forever. In fact, the morning fog was so thick, that as we continued our walk, the sun never did win the battle to break through and make an appearance, but the soft light generated made for some unusual views of usual places.
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.
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!
The unseasonably warm temperatures we are experiencing of late have brought a temporary January thaw, and with it a dense and spooky fog that envelops the landscape. While accompanying Oliver on his early morning walk today, I used my iPhone camera and the “SlowShutter” app to create this image of a local scene we walk through every day. To make this photograph, I chose a shutter speed of half a second, and then moved the camera in a vertical path while the shutter was open. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy this type of image where there’s a mystery about what the photograph will look like every time you press the shutter. Significant in my journey to get back to landscape photography… I’m up before dawn, and there’s no dog in this one!
The ability to seamlessly stitch images together into panoramas has been around for a while, but when a friend recently showed me examples of how he used his iPhone to create amazing panos using the latest iPhone camera software, I quickly got hold of Lori’s phone and downloaded the update. It’s amazing how smart technology can be, and for someone who has always been intrigued with the wider format of panoramic photography, this latest addition to the iPhone camera repertoire is fascinating (and easy to use). You literally point the camera and follow the arrow to keep everything in line… voila.
We recently spent an awesome weekend together as a family eating burgers at Five Guys in Portland, watching Sea Dogs minor-league baseball at Hadlock Field, and then boogie-boarding and chilling on a foggy Sunday morning on the beach.
Here’s a quick photograph of my lovely lady Lori walking on the beach at Scarborough State Park. Building on my interest in using Instagram and appreciation of always having a camera with me, I snapped this iPhone photograph of Lori as we wandered along the shore.
I love being on the beach in weather other than a typical sunny day, and though winter is my favorite time to be there, a cool foggy day is hard to beat. On this particular morning, although the air wasn’t that warm, the water temperature was almost bearable as we relaxed before wrapping up what was a fabulous family weekend together.
No, this hasn’t all of a sudden turned into a food blog, though you could be forgiven for thinking that based on the photographs in this post. Stay with me and I promise I will get to the photography part. Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, parsnip, brussell sprouts (you heard me) and red onions… roll them all around in a little bit of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper… roast them on a cookie sheet for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees turning them gently every 15 minutes… hearty, eh? Just the other weekend while Sam was home from college on winter break he asked if we could do a traditional Sunday dinner… the works with turkey, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. Yikes… the only problem was that I had never actually cooked a turkey before.
They say there’s a first time for everything though, so I hopped onto the Interwebs and searched for directions on how to cook a turkey. Giblets, neck, cavity… interesting… and how best to prepare the birdie for the oven? Feeling bold, I worked my magic on seasoning our farm-fresh bird using a little bit of chicken stock, garlic, onions, butter, rosemary, thyme and more than a dash of white wine. Short version of the story… it was quite the culinary adventure with everything turning out wonderfully, and even though the photo above might not appear all that appetizing, the turkey was cooked to perfection and with all of the fixings it tasted awesome!
I promised to bring this back to photography… Santa recently brought Lori and Sam new iPhones (while I still have my work-issued piece-of-junk Blackberry), and being the gear head I am, I can’t resist picking up and exploring Lori’s phone the minute she sets it down. I admit to having serious phone envy, and am intrigued by the capabilities of this little device, especially when it comes to the camera. Before I got my hands on Lori’s phone I never really understood the spawning of the whole iPhoneography craze… I’ve read about people swearing religiously by this thing, and now I’m starting to get the attraction. It’s a very solid little camera, one that is capable of producing decent quality images and HD video. I just know if I had an iPhone of my own and a camera like this in my pocket all the time I would be making photographs 24/7, instead of only on my every-other-weekend planned and somewhat un-spontaneous photo expeditions.