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.

3-4-13 olivercollage

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iPhone panorama

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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.

Phone, food and photography

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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.