Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winter's Bucket List

This is not about that ominous "bucket list".  I intend to keep going for a long time, but each winter I do make a sort of "seasonal bucket list" made up of those objectives that always get ignored in warmer seasons.  So my list includes a few books, exploring some new photo techniques and planning my photo travel for the coming year.  This still leaves some time for a few photo outings when the weather allows.

So, in between reading Charles Dickens and Richard Dawkins, I've been exploring some creative applications in my smartphone. The first iPhone app I've looked at is Laminar.  Had it for nearly a year, and had not been able to understand it until a new version was introduced.

The base photo was taken with the front facing iPhone 4 camera and sent to MobilMonet --another pretty neat iPhone app-- where I modified it so the background is monochromatic.

Next I slipped out to my frozen yard and snapped a photo of some dormant grass.  This grass image was put in Laminar as a base layer and the portrait was set on top with a bit of transparency. Seems to capture my thinking about the pause in the plant world.

 Our home has a sun room which is a nice sanctuary on winter days; I can sit there and watch the weather in between pages of a good book.  Right now, one of Pam's orchids has come into bloom bringing real cheer to each winter day. I am just fascinated by orchids.  They are so sensuous in both form and color.  How could I not photograph this? And then, how could I help but explore how to create a greater interpretation? 

Two layers processed on iPhone4.  Lower layer is monochromatic close up.  Upper layer is reduced in opacity to reveal the lower layer.  Laminar app.  Photogene app used to optimize each basic image.

There have been nice days to get out. Recently, we drove up to Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario.  The lighthouse out on the jetty showed the result of high winds and extreme cold in the form of heavy ice.

Initial image from iPhone4, edited in Lightroom4.  As good as the iPhone apps are, they cannot match the result in Lightroom4. And, should the reader get extremely impressed with the smartphone photo capability, here is what my Nikon DSLR gave me at the same location.

The color sensitivity and zoom lens just allowed greater flexibility in matching what the viewer actually saw.  Both nice images, but the iPhone has fewer options for composing the scene.

There is one very nice capability with the iPhone plus versatile apps, and that is exploring strongly interpretive images that step away from traditional "reality". (If there really is such a thing as reality.) So, the creative mind can run wild combining textures and colors.  This is a layering of two wildly dissimilar images - dried winter grasses and thin ice forms. 

So, this is my final post of February.  The bucket list is pretty much completed, and I am ready to burst out with images of birds and blooms. 

Paul Schmitt


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