The Great Journey in Photography

Posts tagged “Alaska

Evolving Augmented Reality Experience

Born from the desire to make better screenshots all the photography applications will get an enhanced AR experience on the next round of updates. The trio of apps will soon be able to save and share a snapshot of the augmented reality experience and return to viewing artwork in AR on the same screen. Users will be able to save the snapshot to Photos, other storage services, and social media. Now users can see what their own artwork looks like mounted on a wall and easily get an opinion from others.

Also included in this update will be a larger range of image sizes with a maximum of 1 meter (about 36″) sized artwork. Planned for an update later this Summer the apps will also have the capability to free stand on table and counter tops.

You can download all of the apps at the links below.

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40  Canvas Art

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40  Get it Straight

Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_135x40  Wildlife & Nature Pictures – Free Download

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Canvas Art – A Different Filter

One of the things I try to do when developing an app that is plentiful (and usually free) like a photo filter is to build an application that is a little more complex and produces an effect that is unique. While it is pretty much impossible to look at all the iOS photo filters available I am fairly confident the work I create is different from most other filters. This week a new and improved version of Canvas Art was released. For those who may not already know, several years ago I developed a technique in Photoshop that makes a photo look like a canvas painting. It is a complex process and takes many hours to create but the results are quite stunning and detailed.

Pair of Bald Eagles Art-

With Canvas Art I am trying to create a similar effect for the iPhone and iPad. Amazingly, the iPhone and iPad have pretty much the same capabilities as using Photoshop on a computer. The big difference is that the entire process is touch based and that simply does not allow the same level of precision. Also, the total time spent editing should be less than a minute on a mobile device. That is my personal rule of thumb.

The Canvas Art – Photo Filter application allows users to create art ranging from a sketch or line art style a water-color type look to a crisp canvas painting with just a couple of easy steps. You can see the range of looks in the three images below.

And that is what is different about Canvas Art. It is one filter with an infinite number of results. Another thing that makes Canvas Art different is the built-in augmented reality experience. Most other photo filters are a bit older and are not capable delivering an AR product but with Canvas Art things are always up to date and reflecting the latest technology. So with this application as with all my other photo related apps users can see the finished work in a variety of picture frames and sizes mounted on their own walls using augmented reality.

IMG_0115

Next time I will show you just how easy using Canvas Art really is.

You can download a copy of the Canvas Art – Photo Filter application at the link below.

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Seattle Stickies Updated

seattle

Today version 1.0.4 of Seattle Stickies was released. This release adds three new stickers to the collection bringing the total to twenty-two stickers. Seattle Stickies is a collection of  Messages stickers celebrating the landmarks and culture of Seattle and the greater Puget Sound.

Seattle Stickie stickers are made in the distinctive canvas art style. With twenty-two stickers to choose Stickies owners have sporting stickers, Mt Rainer, Seattle Ferries, 9/11 Memorial, hand blown glass, local eateries, wildlife, and other landmarks.

For everyone who is not familiar with Messages Stickers here is the explanation directly from Wikipedia.

A sticker is a detailed illustration of a character that represents an emotion or action that is a mix of cartoons and Japanese smiley-like “emojis“. They have more variety than emoticons and have a basis from internet “reaction face” culture due to their ability to portray body language with a facial reaction. Stickers are elaborate, character-driven emoticons and give people a lightweight means to communicate through kooky animations.

Stickers are commonly downloadable for free, while online stores provide wider alternatives for a price. Sets may be devoted to specific themes, characters, as well as popular brands and media franchises such as Hello Kitty, Psy, and the Minions of Despicable Me.

Note: Seattle Stickies has a description in the app store stating it is free. While it was free for a period of time it is currently sold for 0.99usd. This error will be corrected at the next update.

You can download a copy of Seattle Stickies at the link below.

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Augmented Reality Brings New Dimension to Photography Apps

Seattle,WA – April 3, 2018 – Ron Boyd Design today announced new augmented reality features in three of his photography related applications. With the introduction of Apple’s version 11.3 mobile operating system comes the ability to virtually place objects on vertical surfaces like walls. The new technology allows users to view art and photographs in a variety of sizes and frames mounted on their own walls before going to the great expense of printing and purchasing products. With the Wildlife and Nature Pictures application owners that are considering a purchase of a digital download of an image can preview what the image looks like as a framed print in their own home or office. Image editors Get It Straight and Canvas Art allow users to see their own masterpieces with AR. When viewing images with AR, users have the option of three frame styles, light colored oak, cherry wood, or dark walnut, with the choice of no frame, thin, regular, and thick frame styles. Users can also choose from five different overall picture sizes to get an accurate feel for what large prints would look like mounted on a wall.

You can download a copy of  the apps at the link below.

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Augmented Reality Update

A quick note to let everyone know that testing is going well for the inclusion of augmented reality for three of my applications. I have a few screenshots to share. Please allow me to apologize in advance for the quality. It turns out making the screenshots is more difficult than I had expected. Rest assured that it looks much better on your actual iPhone or iPad.

IMG_1106IMG_1108IMG_0074IMG_0075

You can learn more and download my apps at the link below.

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Get a High Resolution Copy of This Image For Free

canvasEagle

Version 3.1 of Nature & Wildlife Pictures is now available with many new images and performance improvements. NWP is a free download with most of the 60 downloadable images available at no additional cost including the one at the top of this post. There are also additional images available for sale.

Among the other improvements the app now allows image purchases on both the phone and iPad and the entire process is more robust and informative to the user. Previously purchased images are now shaded in green on both the phone and iPad and allows users to easily restore purchases they have already paid. This version is also translated into Spanish and shows local currency rates for all countries.

Nature & Wildlife Pictures is a free download for all users so if you enjoy the pictures you see on this blog you will love the application.

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The Shadow Knows

420mm  f6.3  640iso  1/1,000sec

420mm f6.3 640iso 1/1,000sec

Every man woman and child who has ever tried to photograph birds has probably more than once fallen prey to the ruse. The old Giant Bird over the shoulder trick. Well, ok maybe not a real ruse we all know birds are not sophisticated enough to perform a ruse, or are they but time after time we have all fallen for that shadow of the giant bird shadow streaking across the scene. Our human nature emotion of the grass is greener on the other side of the hill makes us believe that just outside of your field of view is the largest, slowest flying bird in the history of flying birds, yet overtime we react and look for said bird it turns out to be a waste of time. After thousands of failed attempts I have almost become oblivious to shadows. It really is important to set up with a plan of action and to stick to it. Yes, you do need to be able to react to developing bird movement very quickly but it still has to fall within the parameters of making a useable image. Swinging around 180 degrees to capture a bird that may or may not be flying behind you does not fall into those parameters. The chances that it ever will are so slim that one should consider it an exercise in futility and avoid it all together. My recommendation is to make every effort to ignore both shadows and stray noises that may come from behind you but don’t feel bad if you do, everybody does. Just know that you are disrupting your workflow. On the other side of that though I think it is a good idea to note that usually I set aside some time, every time I go out, to just look around without any intention of making images and during those time I will watch shadows and look for patterns of flight etc.

Hey folks-Don’t forget if you have an iPad you can download my app and for a limited time all the images are available for free.

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Puppet Magic

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo from my new iPad app Wildlife HD

Just when you think you are at the top of your game when it comes to Photoshop, this guy gets completely blown out of the water.
OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration but I did feel high and dry, let me explain. One of my favorite shows on the internet is Photoshop User TV on Kelby One. The show rotates through the staff as hosts for the show and every episode has at least two Photoshop or Lightroom tutorials. The other day I was catching up on some shows when what comes along is the “Puppet Warp” tool and birds and I am blown away because I could have used it about a million times the last couple of years.

First, let me point out a very cool tip in making a selection around a bird. If you follow this blog regular you will know that digitally separating the subject from the background is an important part of my workflow and making a selection around a bird can be a time-consuming process in Photoshop. Rather than making a fine grain selection you can also make a very loose selection around the bird with the Lasso tool and then grab the Magic Wand (aka Tragic Wand) tool, hold down the option/alt key and the selection will snap to a tight fit around your bird, then go to Selection>Modify to expand, contract, or feather your selection. Given enough contrast it works really well but the real magic is in the Puppet Warp tool. Once you have made your selection put it on its own layer in most cases, and then go to Edit>Puppet Warp. There you will create a fine grain mesh containing the bird where you will create anchor points to manipulate body parts without harming other pixels. This is the perfect solution for moving a wing ever so slightly or changing beak position to that perfect point.

I highly recommend watching Photoshop User. You can catch the episode here.
Also, if you are not taking advantage of it now Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are available as a package for $9.99Mo.

 


Promised Land

Pair of Bald Eagles Art-

420mm f9.0 500iso 1/500sec

Today is another excerpt from text that I am writing about the importance of shutter speed, also known as exposure time, in bird photography. This time I write about the range of 1/250 to 1/500 sec.

The light is coming up and you just entered the point when you can do pretty much anything you want with the camera and can still maintain a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 sec. Congratulations, you have just entered the promised land. Many bird shooters may disagree with the notion but the range of exposure time between 1/250sec an about 1/500sec is the best place to be. You most likely would disagree if you were using a very long lens between 600mm-800mm, or making a lot of birds in flight images. Granted it is easier to shoot at the higher speeds but not essential. With good support and stabilization you can get nice sharp images in this range.

Generally the time of day associated with these slower shutter speed ranges has a softer light, one that will be more flattering to your subject in all ways. If you are in close making portraits you can actually stop down a little bit and let me tell you that even with a 300mm lens at a range of ten or twenty feet you will want to stoop down. If you have the luxury of shooting a lens as fast as f2.8 and are making a small bird portrait wide open you would be struggling to get both the eyes and feet in focus. That is usually a depth of field around a quarter of an inch or less. Because the goal is to get as close as possible the depth of field is going to be very shallow depending on your success, so you are actually punished for achieving the impossible unless of course you have the where-with-all and the ability to stop down to just where you need it.

If it is morning, the birds are waking up and beginning to become active. Like all living creatures birds wake up at varying speeds and there are ones that are sluggish often making great subjects. In the evening birds are looking for that last meal before hunkering down and you will undoubtedly notice a large increase in activity.

Here is the kicker that makes this shooting range the most wonderful time of the day, it is flash. Most likely you are at the upper limit of being able to use a speed light without taxing the gear to the point of not being all that helpful. In a nutshell, most speed lights max out around 1/250sec for syncing to the shutter, some go a little higher and some of the better ones have a hi-speed mode. Hi-speed is simply a series of flash pulses over a longer timeframe hoping to catch the shutter opening rather than actually syncing with the shutter. It is hard on the system and does not work all that well so I avoid it. Using a regular sync speed, adding some flash can work wonders to your bird photography. It is very important for hummingbirds but for other birds it will often be that finishing touch. Adding that extra light will soften harsh shadows and create a better edge contrast and freezes the micro movements all which helps the image to appear sharper. You are best served to use your flash as a fill light so back off on the intensity with at least -1 stop of compensation and add an extender if you are using a long lens.


Hurry Up and Wait

Iconic Bald Eagle Pose

420mm f6.3 400iso 1/1,000sec

If you compare today’s photo with the one from last week you will see there is very little difference yet it changes the photograph a lot. I like both of them but both have challenges to process. I have already done a lot about processing photos so I won’t say much about that today, rather lets take a look at the stats about making those photographs. I will call it “the series”. For me the series is a number of photographs I make having set up on one bird in one place. As I move around, in and out and different angles and aspects, it is all part of the series. So this series was 24 images and about 7 minutes in duration. Short by my standards, there are times when a series can be hundreds of images lasting for more than an hour. After a few months it can be hard to put the details into proper context and the series mindset helps organize things. For example, in this series the bird may have flown off or I might have moved on to a more promising scene as it looks as though the light was getting harsh. To help preserve the context of the moment you might consider not deleting all of those forgettable images, you know like the empty perch or the out of focus back half of the bird as these will often jog your memory of the events. In this case it was a combination of things that made me pull up the sticks, I was a little further away than I wanted to be, angle to the sun was off a bit, the sunlight was becoming harsh, and there were other Eagles in the vicinity. By the way, if anyone gets clued in to the EXIF data for these images you can note that the timestamp is incorrect. I really don’t concern myself with the time of capture, date is important but with time zone changes and all that I just don’t rely on a time stamp at all.

Like I said, I like both photos, last weeks was nice because it had some action, the old head throw as this Eagle was chatting up a storm. It is a little awkward though, the angle is a bit off in relation to the sunlight and it casts a harsh shadow across the head. Today’s photo is nice too, it is the iconic Eagle pose with an almost perfect (best possible) angle to the sun. As you can see though, just a couple of minutes further along, the sunlight on this bird is getting really harsh, just short of being unusable.

So that is just a little glimpse of what happens behind the scenes, super exciting right!

You can keep up with all the action by following me on twitter @RonBoyd