Tag Archives: Snapseed

iPhone As A Visual Diary

I was walking in bushland not far from my home the other day and noticed some Waratahs starting to flower. These are a couple of quick “grab shots” that I have processed in Snapseed. I often find now  that I am using my iPhone as a sort of visual diary. I can quickly try out ideas for images. Why don’t I just shoot it with a regular camera first – I hear you ask?. Well two reasons. When I went for a walk it was the middle of the day and quite harsh light even under the trees. The other important consideration was that it was extremely windy. With my “regular” camera I would have simply struggled to get the shot.

I am not too worried, I got some ideas to work on and I am sure there are other ideas bouncing around somewhere on the “back processor”. Also, I have started keeping a visual diary as part of my TAFE visual arts course (ie paper, not digital.) I have never kept a visual diary before, but I find that creating quick images on the iPhone as well as sketching ideas in my visual diary get me thinking more like an artist, not a photographer.

So next time I go to photograph some Waratahs, I will have had some practice, and “practice makes perfect!”


Cloud Abstracts – Part 1

I love clouds. Working out in the garden was hard, as every time I looked up the approaching weather front had some absolutely stunning cloud formations. I used Snapseed to “tweak” these images a little.

  1. add drama
  2. add detail
  3. crop if required
  4. increase saturation
  5. alter colour balance

In between  these “test shots” I also shot a heap of images on my “proper” camera as well. I will process and post these in due course…

Cloud Abstract ICloud Abstract IICloud Abstract IIICloud Abstract IVCloud Abstract VCloud Abstract VICloud Abstract VII

iPhone vs Phase aka David vs Goliath In The Camera World

I would say that up until recently cameras would be simply summed up by megapixels (MP). Often image quality and usability was swept aside by the MP count. I think that the megapixel war seems to have dissipated somewhat. Yes, the latest bunch of DSLR’s have bumped up the MP count, but some seem to be concentrating improvements on low-noise high ISO and better focusing as well.

Winter Blues (iPhone)

Blue Ice (PhaseOne)

I am lucky to have two extreme examples of cameras. I have a PhaseOne digital medium format system. This camera has a 80MP back!! Arguably the best camera currently available. Owners of other brands would no doubt beg to differ. I also own an iPhone4s with its 8MP camera and use a bunch of cool apps including Snapseed (my favourite), AutoStitch, ProHDR, ProCamera, and ScratchCam.

Press, Cockatoo Island (iPhone)

Karijini Volcano (PhaseOne)

Apart from the obvious MP count these two cameras could not be more different. For starters the vast difference in sensor size has an interesting side-effect. The iPhone has a huge depth of field, so objects both near and far are all in focus. On the other hand the medium format with its large sensor has the opposite, a shallow depth of field.

Branch (iPhone)

Landmannalauger 1 (PhaseOne)

For landscape work it is generally accepted that you want everything in focus, so this presents interesting challenges in itself. For portrait work this can be advantageous. Further, to optimise image quality normally  you shoot at f8 or f11 (higher f-stops increase depth of field, but also diminish image quality through diffraction of the small opening). Using these apertures also contributes to a shallower depth of field. You have two creative choices:

1. Go with the shallow depth of field and use it to to separate your subject from the background. For example treat a tree or a rock as if it were a portrait.

2. Focus stack. This involves taking multiple images, but focusing at different points in the scene, from close to far. All these images are then combined into a single image. (this will probably be a subject of a future blog)

Reach (iPhone)

Lake Wakatipu (PhaseOne)

The other difference is shooting technique. Most people would be familiar with taking images on an iPhone (or similar smart phone). Pretty much just whip it out and click away. The Phase on the other hand is a very regimented approach (especially for landscape work). Setup camera on a very substantial tripod, plug in cable release, turn camera on to mirror lock-up, turn digital back on, compose, focus, trigger mirror lock-up, wait 4-5sec for any possible vibrations to subside, take image, double-click on digital back to zoom in at 100% to check focus.

Line of Loos (iPhone)

Philosophers Falls (PhaseOne)

This beast is not a point and shoot camera! Its awesome amount of MP is a two-edged sword. The amount of detail it can capture from a scene is simply staggering. However it will also highlight any deficiencies in shooting technique.

Autumn Leaf (iPhone)

Karijini Drive III (PhaseOne)

“Pixel-peeping” on the internet is not really a true test of image quality. The Phase can be fiddly to shoot with, but when technical aspects come together, the printed image quality really has to been seen to be believed. I have been pleasantly surprised with printing from the iPhone, however it pales into insignificance when compared to a 1.5m wide print. (Mind you this is not even at the limit of the size print you can create.)

Blowhole Point, Tasmania (iPhone)

Tarkine Canopy (PhaseOne)

In the end each camera is best at what it does best. Ultimately it depends on your purpose for your final image. The advantage of the iPhone is that I nearly always have it on me. However, both are fantastic to create images with. I hope you enjoy the images in this blog.

Cradle Mountain Padana (iPhone)

Straight Trough I (PhaseOne)

What Is Wabi Sabi and Why Is It On My Photos Not My Sushi?

I had never heard of the term Wabi Sabi until recently.  There are lots of varying definitions but most centre on the Japanese philosophy of the beauty in things imperfect, impermanent, incomplete, modest, humble and unconventional. In fact part of the definition is that there is no definitive description! If this sounds all a bit too “high brow” then think about the alternate definition: “If a bunch of photographers suddenly take an interest in your hay barn, its probably time to pull it down…”

I hope the following images convey a sense of Wabi Sabi. They were all shot on an iPhone and edited using my favourite app “Snapseed”.

Dried Flower Study #1

Dried Flower Study #2

Dried Flower Study #3

Joadja is a ghost town, it was formally a centre for mining and processing of shale to produce kerosene. The operation lasted from 1870 until 1911. Apart from the mines, retorts and refinery there were orchards, school and cemetery. It is located near Mittagong in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia.

Many of the buildings are in ruins,but with a bit of imagination and reference to some of the old photos on display, you get a really good sense of the past. Naturally it is a photographers paradise (as per the Wabi Sabi reference to the hay barn above).

Refinery Ruins


Retort Remnants #1

Retort Remnants #2

Stem Against Rusty Tank

Header Tank

Roll the Dice

Rusty Flange