The Great Journey in Photography

Posts tagged “Eagles

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.

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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

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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 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.

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

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Augmented Reality Coming to Photography Apps

 

Coming soon to the iPhone and iPad augmented reality becomes more powerful and will bring a new dimension to the three photography related applications I sell. Specifically, the next version of the iOS operating system, version 11.3, will include vertical plane detection in it’s ARKit framework. What that means for all you non-nerd folks is that your phone or tablet will soon be able to detect walls and place objects on them like paintings and pictures.

For the free Nature & Wildlife Pictures app, users will be able to use AR to preview the for sale images in a variety of frames and sizes in their own homes, on their own walls before making any purchase. Get it Straight and Canvas Art users will be able to use their edited images to mount in a variety of frames and sizes so they can see what their completed art looks like on the wall before going through the time and expense of printing the image.

Augmented Reality was first introduced to the iPhone and iPad in September of last year. At that time horizontal plane detection was fully functional and placing  virtual objects on floors, table tops, and counters was all the rage. I have been testing the vertical experience since it has been available and I can say it works quite well and as soon as the feature is available to the public new versions of my apps will be released. I am anticipating this to be in about 4-6 weeks.

You can download the Nature & Wildlife app or Get it Straight app today.

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Seattle Stickies

seattle

Seattle Stickies is now available on the iOS app store. They are available as a free download to all iPad and iPhone owners for a limited time.

It is a collection of Messages stickers celebrating the landmarks and culture of Seattle and the Puget Sound. Great for residents and travelers. These stickers are made in the distinctive canvas art style. Help celebrate the art and culture of all Washington by using these free stickers today.

 

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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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Protected?

Scrub Jay

420mm f4 500iso 1/125sec

According to a study by the Wildlife Society Bulletin Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects, the Obama administration seriously underestimated the number of birds killed by wind farms. More than 30% not including bats. My first thought is that the agency responsible did not miss the estimate, they lied about it to make themselves look better. A few years ago that would be considered crazy talk but today anyone who dismiss the notion out of hand is simply caught in a rundown between bases. So who cares anyhow? Even I had a relatively casual attitude about the wind farm issue poking fun at the liberal conundrum, but numbers ware piling up and there is increasing cause for concern. You may be wondering if there are many wind farms? There are 120 “Large” wind farms currently in the US with another 20 coming soon, actually a whole bunch more because a few months ago the Obama administration adopted the EPA recommendation and approved what is known as the “30 year kill rule”. According to The Washington Post:

Under federal law, it is illegal to “take” protected species unless one obtains an “incidental take permit” from the federal government.  The Interior Department rule, finalized in December, extends the maximum time period for which such permits can be granted from 5 to 30 years.  ABC (American Bird Conservancy) calls the regulation the “FWS 30-year Eagle Kill Rule.”

In fact the kill rule benefits all industry not just the green energy industry. In case you were under the impression that these large wind farms were funded and operated by local green energy companies and enthusiasts you might want to think again, while there is no doubt plenty of businesses struggling to harness and market the powers of wind energy, large companies like General Electric and Siemens are running the show. From the rumblings I have heard General Electric is also building Natural Gas fired power facilities on the wind sites along with the turbines. Facilities that may not get approval on their own and for sure would have to go through a lengthy red tape process.

You can call me crazy all day long but I suspect there is gambling going on in that bar. If it only was gambling it would be cool but I don’t put it past any government agency or large corporation to collude and break the law for financial gain and things are starting to stink of that. Also I would like to point out that all this is about the Eagles and other “protected” birds but the actual kill count does not discriminate and there are many other species of bird that are killed and injured. I recommend to everyone, take a look for yourself and form an opinion as it really becomes a complicated issue. The only thing I guarantee is that the more eyeballs on the issue the better off we all are.

Thanks for reading. I hope I gave you all something to think about and until next time you can follow me on Twitter here.


Not the Same as LOL Cat

Bald Eagle on a Salmon

420mm f6.3 1600iso 1/800sec

Those of you who follow regular know that I spent some time in Alaska a couple of weeks ago photographing Bald Eagles. It was South East Alaska based out of the town of Haines AK and most of the time we were shooting about 20 miles away on the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve which is along the Chilkat River. It is a special place because every year around this time when Alaska and Canada begins to freeze over a bit to the North thousands of Eagles head to the Chilkat to feed on an overabundance of salmon. The Chilkat meanders along the valley and at some points the bed or “flats” as they are called look to be about a mile or two across. In all the State Park is 48,000 acres and it is estimated that about 3,200 pair of eagles migrate there every year. Waters that run through the Chilkat include glacial runoff that contain a lot of minerals and other sediment that can leave the river bank ranging from sandy beach to rocks with driftwood looking logs for the birds to perch. The outer banks are lined with tall trees where the Eagles prefer to eat their food. As an added bonus when the Chilkat freezes most of the birds congregate at the spots with deepest waters and it is not unusual to have hundreds of Eagles in your field of view. One unique thing about the Chilkat River is that it has warmer water constantly percolating through the rocky river bed so it never completely freezes over thus insuring a food supply for the Eagles and Gulls.

The Eagles come to the Chilkat to feed on the spawned out salmon that seem to be everywhere in the river at that time. The 4-year-old fish are huge in size, far to big for an Eagle to bring up to a safe tree branch so the best they can do is drag it up on the bank of the river and pick at it. That is where all the action happens. Bald Eagles have a fairly loose family unit, true that the do mate for life in most cases but when the young are able to leave the nest they are done and on their own. Fighting for a share of the fish is a common occurrence and makes for the best Eagle photography. The birds tend to not be distracted by humans at that point either so getting close is only a matter of logistics.

The preserve seems to have its own weather too. It is almost always different from the water’s edge just 20 miles away and can change fast so it is best to be prepared for any conditions. As you can see in the photo above it can have grey low light conditions at times that result in muddy images that need a lot of help to make viewable but if you hang out for more than an afternoon you most likely see some really soft pleasing light at some point. When that happens, make the most of it because it won’t last long!

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Please come back next week, this is only the first in a series of stories about photographing Bald Eagles in Alaska and I would hate for you to miss any of it.

You can see more of my Eagle photos here at my SmugMug site.