Few words today, but in addition to the many not-so-natural medicines I’ve been pumping into my body lately, here’s a glimpse of another kind of medicine that has certainly been impacting my well-being. I’m getting lots of love from Lori, Sam, Jack and family – don’t know what I would do without all of them – and then there’s my baby boy Oliver. He knows somethings up, but as always – regardless – he’s got lots of love to give. Both photographs in this post are iPhone pix processed in the Snapseed app – the one below is a “selfie” I’m especially proud of.
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!
I’m officially “retired” from the landscape photography game… or at least it feels that way. It has been a long, long time since I raised my camera at a sunrise or sunset in earnest. Between work, family, Oliver and the recent soccer season… I’ve not even given my tripod a second look in months. In fact, the last “serious” photograph I made was way back in July when I visited the area just beyond the cliffs at Otter Point in Acadia National Park. The good news? I am determined to get back in the saddle and make a few runs down to Acadia before the end of the year in the name of landscape photography. In the meantime… you guessed it… here’s an impromptu photo shoot of Oliver relaxing after a long walk! Happy Thanksgiving.
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…
I recently made the drive to downeast Maine for a work event, and in doing so I used Route 9, a road known locally as the “airline”. I’m not entirely sure why it’s called the airline, but it probably has something to do with how much quicker people drive on it than other local routes. Fast-moving two way-traffic, winding up and downs, and around the corner twists and turns all the way, this stretch of road is notorious for accidents… both of the car-to-car, and car-to-wildlife variety. The road to Calais and/or Machias is one of the more rural parts of Maine, and it was no surprise that on this particular morning drive I spotted Moose hanging out near the side of the road on two separate occasions.
About half way to my destination, as I was speeding past a primitive rest stop, a large grove of trees off to the side of the road caught my eye. There was a strange and eerie uniformity in how the trees were arranged, and although these were likely planted intentionally, there was still something quite unique about the scene they created. I turned the car around, parked in the lay by, and made a couple of photographs with my iPhone. I’m a sucker for trees, and even more so when there are large numbers of them grouped together like there were here. So… here’s the scene three ways… black and white, straight color, and an in-camera movement shot… a triple play.
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.
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.
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.