Picturesque

This weekend was way more involved than previously thought. Including a trip back to see UK family, we hit up the US Embassy in London to finalize wifey’s visa for the UK. Then dogs, friends, and more family ensued. All-in-all, it was really great.

As far as new news goes, we still don’t have the US visa. We are one step closer – just have to redo some paperwork and it looks like we will be moving to the 10-year clearance as opposed to the 2-year we previously thought. Also got to reunite with wedding friends and grabbed some pints with the father-in-law.

Not a whole lot else going on but wanted to take a moment to discuss some photography apps. I have been hobby-ing with photography for the past 5 years. I have worked with some old school point and shoot’s, DSLRs, tons of iPhone apps, and now looking into the mirrorless. I have also taken a step back and invested in some film equipment though I haven’t had much time to delve into that extensively and now all the equipment is back in the US.

But for those of you who want to take some nice photos and are utilizing the wondrous iPhone (or any other phones that allow the photo apps I will mention) this one’s for you.

The first thing I like in a camera is to know that if I drop it while out, it’s not going to break on me straight away. For phones, the way to go for me is Lifeproof. If you haven’t heard my story as with their cases, I will indulge: I went surfing for the first time off the coast of the UK. I wanted to make sure I captured that day in all it’s glory so I had my GoPro on me, as well as my Lifeproof encased iPhone. After about 30 minutes of surfing, I realized my phone was gone. Instead of ruining the day, I decided to rue. I continued surfing for about an hour. As it was time to go, I decided to have a quick look after a prayer to St. Anthony (Patron of Lost items and travellers – check him out) and found my phone washed up on the beach. Wonderful – a brick with water in it, right? Turned it on and thanks to the wonderful people at Lifeproof, I was a-okay.

Now that your camera is protected, what do you use to take those fancy photos? The iOS 8 standard camera app packs quite a punch currently and with the iPhone 6 lens, it’s pretty impressive. The only app I am currently finding to outdo this is called ProCam 2. Not only does this app allow you the same features as the standard iOS app, but you get to have a bit more control with a zoom slider (I find this better than pinch-to-zoom) and exposure slider. The camera also has a nice HUD to show you battery and storage levels, the ISO rating, the shutter speed, what mode you’ve selected, the current file size and what the flash is doing. There is also a world of settings to set up, making this feel more like a DSLR in your phone.

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Once you’ve got your shots, I have found a new favorite editor: Darkroom. This is a very powerful editor that does one amazing thing that most other editors have with either started doing, or have not done yet: it doesn’t automatically create a new image, saving a lot of file size. Instead if allows you to edit the photo and it saves the changes within the app, but does not save the file to the camera roll unless instructed to do so. The only downfall for me is that it doesn’t give an opportunity to sort through folders, but gives one large screen of all photos available to edit (you can’t access specific iCloud Albums, or Photo Albums on the phone).

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To that, you still get your basic filters to choose from or my personal favorite – sliders for the main effects (both below).

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You can go further with a small purchase ($2.99 in US) to get curves. This is a way more advanced version of sliders and if you understand the tonal ranges of a photo and want to have a lot more control over editing. I have not delved into this realm yet as the sliders are good for me at the moment. Either way, you can make some beautiful adjustments then export them to your camera roll, instagram, or other social outlets. Not to mention the all important, “Save as a square photo” feature. Lastly, Darkroom provides a timeline of edits you made so you can remove the edits in chronological order and see the effects. The great thing is, the edits never save over an original image so you can always get back to the way it was or start fresh if desired (you can see how the first effect I selected before is listed in the edits too).

Here are some images I shot with my phone and these apps over the weekend:

Hope you enjoyed it and that these apps can work out for you as well!

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