Mobile Photography on Monterey Bay

I recently drove to Monterey to join my friend and painter Don Neff while he was doing plein air painting as part of the 2018 Carmel Art Festival. Don took us to one of his favorite spots along the Monterey Bay coastline – Perkins Park in Pacific Grove.

Don and I caught up on old times as he was painting a small 6×8 inch canvas for the show.

As I was sitting with Don, we watched the sun play with the fog bank – creating some beautiful and ever changing lighting on the bay. There was a single fishing boat out – seemed to be turning circles in the middle of the bay. I captured a few shots with my iPhone 8 Plus including this one:

Later, when I was home, I began playing with this image using some of the iOS photo editing apps that I’ve collected (don’t ask how many I have!). One of my favorites for landscape (or seascape!) scenes is called Distressed FX. This app is available on both the iPhone and iPad. It allows you to simply experiment adding both color and texture effects to an image. With this image, I cropped it to a square format and then, using Distressed FX, added the sky and a subtle texture overlay. The result is startling beautiful – and way different from the original! [Update 5/29/18: Here’s a good introductory tutorial about Distressed FX.]

Photo Editing on my iPad – Bay Bridge

San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Today I took a video workshop with Karen Klinedinst teaching me techniques for editing images on my iPhone and iPad. While I’ve had many of the apps she walked me through already installed on my iPhone and iPad, I hadn’t spent the time to learn how to use them. Karen took the time to walk me through them – and I came away inspired to try doing more image editing and creative processing on my iPhone and iPad.

This afternoon I grabbed my iPad and tried a few of the techniques she taught me – resulting in this image. Originally shot a few weeks ago with the Fujifilm X70, I used Snapseed and Photoshop Fix on my iPad to create this monochrome version. Snapseed does a superb job with black and white conversion – and Photoshop Fix has a superb healing brush tool. A great combination for this image!

Back to the Garden

The Garden - Filoli - 2013

I made a quick visit to Filoli this morning on a very warm day here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wanted to try out a new Toshiba FlashAir SD Card in my Fujifilm X100S. I have the 8GB version of the card – Toshiba has just announced a 16GB version which is also faster (Class 10 vs Class 6) – but it’s not yet available.

My goal today was to be able to take some shots, upload them from the camera to my iPad mini, do a couple of quick edits and then upload them as a new set to Flickr. Everything worked fine – I shot 28 images (before the heat got to me!) and headed into the café to upload them off the camera to the iPad and then on to Flickr. All told, it took me about a half hour to do this – roughly 1 minute per image. The combination of moving these 6-7 MB Jpeg files around twice took longer than I expected (the FlashAir uses WiFi to the iPad mini and on the iPad I was using the Flickr app to upload over Verizon LTE cellular.

In any case, mission accomplished! <a href="Derrick Story likes to call this combination the “nimble photographer”. Not sure I felt very nimble today in the heat – but it was fun and a walk in Filoli – even a short one – is always a lift for the spirit!

When I got home, I transferred the images off the SD card into Lightroom 5 and then did some editing using VSCO Film presets. A bit of dodging and burning in Photoshop CC, a quick border addition, and this image was finished.

Sketching in Havana

In the Market (Sketch) - Havana - 2013
In the Market (Sketch) – Havana – 2013

Over breakfast this morning, I stumbled across a recommendation for the iOS application (both iPad and iPhone) My Sketch – which costs $1.99. I installed it and tried it out on one of my recent photos – which took all of about 30 seconds for me to complete and save! I liked the look of the pencil sketch lines coming into the image very much like the rays of light behind him actually did at the time I shot the image.

See more of my shots from Havana and Cuba here.

Crafting an iPad Wallpaper – On South Beach

Easy Rider - Miami Beach - 2013

There’s something about some photos that just grab you. When Doug Kaye and I were exploring South Pointe Park and the beach heading north from there in late January 2013, we came across this bicycle, probably one of the local rentals, hitched up to a post right on the beach. Wow. You start thinking that it’s one of those special moments – where it doesn’t get better than this. So, you take the shot.

As I was looking back at this image today, I thought that it might be a good candidate for an iPad wallpaper – for my lock screen. Seeing it brings me back to that lovely morning – just walking up the beach, a peaceful easy feeling indeed.

So, I decided to try making it into an iPad wallpaper image for my lock screen. I pulled it into a 2048×2048 square image at 264 dpi (for iPad’s with a Retina Display) in Photoshop CS6. I adjust the image placement for the rotation that the iPad does between portrait and landscape – brought down the highlights a bit and then tucked in my contact information.

Here’s a generic version of the result:

Bike at the Beach-iPad Wallpaper-generic

I made a similar image a few years ago – which has been my iPad’s lock screen image from then until today.

Congrats to Day One – 2012 Mac App of the Year

Back in September, I wrote about how an app had worked its way into my daily life. That app is Day One – a personal journaling app that works on my Mac, iPhone and iPad – and syncs across all three using iCloud (in my case) or Dropbox. Day One was just declared by Apple to be the 2012 Mac App of the Year – a very well deserved award in my view!

Congratulations to the small Day One team for creating such a great application that I use every day to capture those more personal moments, observations, and insights. I’ve got almost 350 entries in my Day One journal – since I started using it in early June following surgery. Day One’s cross-device sync’ing just works – and makes journaling anywhere so quick and easy. And the results are beautiful.

Highly recommended!

Free Tablets!

2012 12 04 12 55 30 Snapseed

One of my favorite podcasts is Critical Path with Horace Dediu. Horace’s also the guy behind Asymco.com, a great blog about asymmetric competition, Apple, mobile in general, and more. He uses data to drive his analysis into otherwise lightly explored areas. Always a great read and an insightful podcast! He’s got an Asymconf conference coming up in late January at IBM’s Almaden Research Center – I’d be there if I could but I’ll be heading to Havana, Cuba for a photography workshop the week of his conference.

On a recent show, Horace talked about the evolution of tablets and how different companies were pursuing their objectives in the tablet market. At the high end, with classically high profit margins, is Apple with its iPad family. At the other end is Amazon.com and Google who both appear to be willing to settle for much lower margins on their base hardware products.

This discussion made me wonder what the endgame in tablets might be. We’ve got these two examples – Apple at the high end with a tablet (and associated ecosystem) generating lovely margins. At the other end, we’ve got others who are opting to price their tablets close to cost – viewing them as razors and expecting to make their real revenues from how those tablets are used to purchase content.

And then this article showed up a few days back – about how the Financial Times was crossing the threshold – giving away a free Nexus 7 tablet to new US digital or print subscribers. This feels like a slippery slope…

Pushing this discussion to an extreme, might we some day see free tablets from others – provided to us by those who would love to enable us for commerce within their particular ecosystem – and who might benefit from the additional signals such a tablet might provide from our browsing/searching/shopping history? Those signals – spanning across our interests as we read, search, shop, etc. – are valuable, aren’t they?

I’ve been thinking we’re moving into a post-card world with the capabilities our smartphones bring. Might a free tablet strategy fit in sometime soon? Where will mine come from? From Amazon? From Apple? From Google? A card issuer? A card network like Visa or MasterCard or American Express – or PayPal – or someone else? Maybe from my mobile carrier?

What do you think?