He Said, She Said: Black Friday Photo Apps

As many people head out to look for Black Friday deals, a lot of others are just hanging out at home using their iPhones and iPads. I’m one of the latter. So if you are browsing the web there are a number of deals for iOS apps this holiday weekend.

Created with XnShape and BrushStroke.

Created with XnShape and BrushStroke.

One of the big ones is the JixiPix “store wide” sale. Pretty much every one of their apps is on sale for just $0.99 (most have separate iPhone and iPad versions – not Universal). They make apps such as Simply HDR, PhotoArtista, Pop Dot Comics, Moku Hanga, and many more. I bought one of their new apps called Fold Defy and have just started playing with it. I really enjoy most of these apps. Check out all the fun stuff from JixiPix. A few shots edited with JixiPix are shown in this post.

Created with PhotoArtista by JixiPix.

Created with PhotoArtista by JixiPix.

Another fun bunch of apps that are free right now are the ones by pierre gouglelet with unique names starting with Xn: XnRetro, XnSketch, XnBooth, and XnShape. These are Universal apps. You can see the full listing on iTunes. I enjoy the image up at the top of this post (“He said, she said”) that started out with XnShape.

Waterlogue is a another great app on sale for $2 (usually $3). It’s a Universal app that has no comparison for creating images with the watercolor look.

Deteriorating dreams

Deteriorating dreams by R. Pfaff, created with Waterlogue.

And if the holiday shopping has left you glitchy, you can grab Glitch Wizard for free right now.

For the late night crowd that is glad the rest of the family has gone to sleep after a day of shopping and food, NightCap Pro is on sale for just $1 right now. It’s a Universal app that let’s you get some amazing photos of everything from stars to space station trails (with an iPhone!). You can see a lot of these photos on the NightCap site, and download the app on iTunes.

International Space Station using NightCap Pro. Photo by Grainge (Twitter: @grainge )

International Space Station using NightCap Pro. Photo by Grainge (Twitter: @grainge )

There are many other sales going on right now, so browse in the virtual iOS photo app sale world and see what looks good.

Hope you all enjoy Black Friday. :)

Created with PhotoArtista by JixiPix.

Created with PhotoArtista by JixiPix.

Created with Dramatic B&W by JixiPix.

Created with Dramatic B&W by JixiPix.

5 Years, 6 Months, and 18 Days

Many years ago I got my first iPhone (the 3G) and started taking a lot of photos, but on May 1, 2009 I decided to start taking at least one picture every day. I made it 2,028 days in a row. The streak ended this past Wednesday. My job has kept me so busy that taking a photo entirely slipped my mind. I then forgot again on Friday as I was trying to finish a ton of tasks leading up to my vacation this week. Two days of complete forgetfulness in the past week.

Morning Dew

The very first photo I took in this five and a half year long streak was a gnome in my front yard. The gnome is long gone – I’m not even sure where. I seem to recall that it was just gone one morning when I woke up. Maybe it took a trip. I used to post every photo on Flickr, but have been so busy that they just piled up on my home computer. The first 1,700 made it up to my Daily Photo album. Feel free to dig through them. Some are boring, some a fun. Sort of like life.

During those five years I went to an NFL game where the Dolphins won (doesn’t happen often enough). I got to enjoy our snowiest winter ever in central Virginia. I spent lots of days at work, ran a lot of races, ate a lot of great meals, went through a lot of shoes, took a few vacations, walked to and from work thousands of times, and saw a lot of sunsets.

I wonder if I can make it for another five and a half years without missing a day. Three days and still going strong! :)

Back from the Big Apple

Wow. Every single time I go up to NYC I love it. I had great weather and got to crash in a great hotel room right in Times Square. I had a great time, and for the first time heading up there I didn’t bring my Canon – I went with just my iPhone 5. Not the greatest camera in the world, but it’s always with me (as the saying goes). I got a few shots I really liked (haven’t actually made it through my big pile of hundreds yet!) and I’ll share them here, along with the apps I used to process them.

Busy Bridge

This one was taken as I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was heading down. As always, there was lots of traffic. With the built in camera I used the HDR image (I always set mine to HDR and keep both images). With the HDR shot it is easy to get a bit of blur for things such as headlights of cars. I took that image and used Brushstroke to create the virtual painting.

Staten Seagulls

On this shot I used a standard B&W filter in Camera+ (they have a wide variety of presets). The app is one of the few where the frames go on the outside of your image and don’t cover part of the original image. I’m a big fan of that since I often don’t want to lose anything in the shot. This image was taken on Staten Island. I’d taken the ferry (which is free) from the southern end of Manhattan (Whitehall Terminal). The ferry passes by the Statue of Liberty, so many many tourists ride it on the weekend. Just like me. :)

Brooklyn To Manhattan

This image was another one taken on the Brooklyn Bridge. I used the built in panorama feature to take the photo, and the processed the image using Snapseed. I gave it a bit of the HDR filter and converted it to B&W. I like that you can see Brooklyn on the left side of the shot, and Manhattan on the right. Along with all those tourists. [You can see a much larger version on Flickr.]

Two Strangers?

This image was taken from The High Line. This raised train track in Manhattan was recently converted to a mile long park. It’s great for walking (or jogging) while at the same time getting a different viewpoint on the city. At one point I walked past a group of about 15 people that were taking a photography class. I would have stuck around for a bit, but had to catch my train home in a few hours. I used Snapseed to edit this one. I also did a quick perspective correction in Lightroom just before I uploaded it to Flickr. I could have used Persepective Correct on my iPhone/iPad, but since I already had the photo in Lightroom I just did it there.

Overall a great trip. I’m sure I’ll post a few more shots as I get around to looking through my big pile. If of course I find a bit of time. I’m in the midst of being a project manager for a multi-million dollar project (and I’m not getting the millions). I’m not a fan of anything that has the word management in it. I’m a physicist, not a manager!

PS. Speaking of some great shots in NYC, Ron liked one of my NY images so I checked out his Flickr page. Superb.

Pixelmator Arrives for the iPad

When Apple was introducing the new iPad Air 2 they had a sneak peek of Pixelmator running on the iPad. It has now been released!

Pixelmator for iPad

I got a brand new iPad Air 2 for myself (to replace my iPad 3) and bought Pixelmator right away. I’d let you know what I thought about it, but I’m heading to NYC tomorrow morning for a few days of vacation. My first vacation this entire year. :) Once I get back I’ll sit down with the app and see what I think. Here is the introduction video:

You can learn more about Pixelmator for iPad on the home page. 9to5Mac did a nice review of the app.

The app is currently $4.99 on iTunes.

More Camera Rolls For iOS8

The ‘Camera Roll’ feature continues to be an annoyance of iOS 8. There is a possibility it will return in iOS 8.1, but it is not entirely clear how it will relate to the iCloud Photo Library. In the meantime, there are several apps that can replace the camera roll.

My Camera Roll ($1) is a Universal app that let’s you view your camera roll, and do basic editing. I haven’t tested this one, but some of the reviews say that you see both iCloud photos and local photos.

I mentioned MyRoll: Smart Camera Roll Organizer (a Universal app that’s free) in my previous post. It’s got a feature called Moments which groups similar photos automatically, as well as showing a general camera roll. This app also shows images that are in the cloud. The photos are organized with the newest on the top and you scroll downward to go back in time (opposite of how Apple does it – although some other apps do it this way). This same company has also released a free iPhone app, called Camera Roll+, that is a bit simpler and only has the gallery (camera roll). As with their other app, the photos are sorted with newest on the top and the iCloud photos are included in the view.

A new Universal app called Photosane – Classic Camera Roll ($1) was released this week. It gives you a bit more control when viewing albums on your iOS device. You can choose the Camera Roll view, or any other albums you have on your iPhone. Their is also a listing of Smart Albums that include things such as favorites, hidden, recently added, etc. You also have the ability to create new albums. When viewing the camera roll it is sorted with the newest image at the bottom (as Apple does it).

A really nice feature is that there is an arrow to let you immediately get all the way up (to the start of the roll), and another arrow that lets you immediately get to the bottom of the roll (most recent). I constantly wish Apple would add the ability to do that with a tap at the top (which they do have), and a tap at the bottom (which they don’t). One other nice feature is that you can swipe up and down so you’ll skip a few photos and go up or down in the ‘grid’ of photos (you can still do the standard left/right swipe to go from photo to photo). I tried out this new app and it has a few quirks. The ‘help’ screen seemed to open to a blank page and get stuck there (I couldn’t reproduce this – just saw it once). In the camera roll view I see duplicates of many photos, the local version and the iCloud version. I’ve let the developer know about these issues.


I’d still like to see an app that can easily show me local photos and not include the images in my photo stream. Hopefully Apple will get things together and let us iPhoneographers have a clear view of where photos really are when viewing them, or at least let developers deal with the differences (I’m not yet sure if developers can do that under iOS8). Having a ‘local camera roll’ and ‘cloud camera roll’ would be two albums I’d like to see.

My biggest concern is always the iCloud photo size. Soon Apple will store full size images in the cloud, but right now they are storing 2048px maximum size. When I jump between my iPad and iPhone I really don’t want to lose thousands of pixels!