Pixelmator Goes Universal

Pixelmator, a high end photo editing program, was originally for the Mac. It was later released for the iPad. Recently Pixelmator became a Universal app so you can also run it on your iPhone! Here is the overview on the iPhone:

There is a vast amount of information about Pixelmator on YouTube to help you learn all about the app. Here are many videos from the Pixelmator team on YouTube.

Currently Pixelmator for iOS is available for just $0.99. A great deal on a powerful app. You can find out more on the Pixelmator home page, or go grab it on iTunes.

SKRWT: A Necessary Tool

It took awhile before the first few perspective correction apps were released for iOS, but last year SKRWT was released. It’s one of those apps that as soon as you use it you’ll know you can’t live without it. The description starts out as:

No more crooked lines! This keystone and lens-correction tool turns your phone into a view camera. All hail symmetry.

CORRECT LENS DISTORTION
Converging lines have always been a given in iPhoneography due to the fixed focal length of today’s mobile phones – but not anymore. You can now correct horizontal and vertical perspective distortion with just one swipe. It’s really that simple!

ALL-PURPOSE LENS CORRECTION
If you have been using any adapters for your mobile phone – from wide-angle to tele-zoom or external cameras with wifi-connection – you now have your all-inclusive distortion-correction with you at all times.

Let’s just say I could live with just those features, but the list is far more extensive. If you want to know how important lens distortion can be, and what this app can do for you, spend a few minutes watching this video.

I always have a tough time remembering the name of this app, but based on the spelling I mentally use ‘screw it’ as the name when I use spotlight to find the app. I figure I need to twist (screw) the image to correct it. A screw is also a simple machine on wikipedia, and this app certainly makes it a simple process to correct image distortions.

The SKRWT app is currently $1.99 on iTunes. You can find out a lot more about the app on the SKRWT site. It is designed for the iPhone, but runs with no problem on the iPad.

This is one of those apps you absolutely need on your iPhone. Worth every penny.

Apple Watch – First Impressions

I was one of the foolish ones that ordered an Apple Watch back in April without having seen an actual watch. I think I’m overly geeky…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’ve now had my Apple Watch for 36 hours and I must say, I really like it. I actually like it a bit more than I thought I would!

Apple Watch 101
I took this photo using my Apple Watch as a remote control for my iPhone.

There are so many ‘little’ things that over the course of a day really seem to simplify things just a bit. Not having to look at my iPhone as emails wander in, people retweet me, meetings are getting ready to start, reminders to stand up every now and then, knowing when the sunset will occur, and watching the Apple stock price. No killer app, but lots of little things make it a killer technology that integrates so well with the iPhone.

I’ve been playing with the built in Camera Remote app on the watch. When you start the app your iPhone will launch the camera. You then see the view of your iPhone camera on your Apple Watch. You can click one of two buttons: a three second delay or an immediate snapshot. Sometimes I’ve gotten burst images and other times I haven’t. I’m not yet sure why that is. When you do the three second delay the flash will blink three times (I wish that could be turned off). This is a great feature if you want to take a shot with the camera on a nice stable surface, or get a great selfie with the main camera (and not the front facing low res camera).

I’ve only tried one other photo related app at this point – Hydra. I really like the Hydra app on my iPhone, but it seems to have some bugs when trying to use it with the iPhone. Several times the app on my iPhone as well as the app on my Watch just show up as a black screen that seems frozen. The times when it worked it would take the photo but in no way did it indicate the photo had been taken. I’m guessing this one still needs a bit of work. Since hardly any Apple Watches shipped until recently, I’ll give developers a bit more time to iron out the kinks before I form a strong opinion.

There are still a lot of those “why doesn’t my Watch do yada yada yada” moments, and I really don’t understand some things at all. My Watch also crashed twice and rebooted – I’ve since updated the OS to 1.0.1 so that problem may be gone. Definitely a few things I’d like to see improved…but overall I love my new watch. I hadn’t worn a watch (other than my Garmin while running) in years, so it still feels strange on my wrist.

I’ve barely played with my Apple Watch and still have a lot to learn (I’ve barely scratched the surface). My fingers are crossed for many great photo related apps moving forward and I’m so glad I bought the watch! I’d have been even happier if Apple had bought it for me! :)

Before Snapshots Were Digital

As the old song says, the boys are back in town. As you may have noticed, there haven’t been many posts here in recent weeks. I’ve been out in California. My father passed away after a four month struggle with cancer. He was a cinematographer for many years (primarily working on documentaries with PBS), and then tinkered around with a new way to produce tempeh (he was a vegetarian for more than 40 years), created some great art, enjoyed modern photography, and played tennis every day during his retirement. I hope I can get as much fun out of my retirement as he did!

Back in the ‘old days’ of photography – when pictures were developed in darkrooms – he took a lot of great shots. Here are two that just show the simple joy of childhood.

Having nothing but fun on a sunny day by the farmhouse.

Having nothing but fun on a sunny day by the farmhouse.

Nothing more fun than running with a frisbee.

Nothing more fun than running with a frisbee. That’s me!

Now that I’m back in town…posting will resume once again. :)

If you would like to donate to a charity, he requested donations go to the Farm Sanctuary.

NightCap Pro Adds Artificial Intelligence!

NightCap Pro, a Universal app, was updated to version 6 a few days ago with a wealth of new features and an updated interface. This app is the one you need if you want to do light trails or low light photography. From the description:

Do you find your photos a little dark and grainy in low light? Meet Aidie, the AI camera operator at the heart of NightCap Pro. Aidie (Artificial Intelligence Derived ISO and Exposure) handles the camera for you like a pro, ensuring you get the brightest, clearest shots possible. All you need to do is hold steady and tap the shutter.

NightCap Pro also has amazing tools for serious photographers, including full manual control with a unique gesture based system that gives you instant access to all controls. Simply swipe to adjust. ISO can go up to 4x higher than any other app, and there are 2 special long exposure modes: one removes almost all noise, the other captures light trails such as night traffic and even the movement of stars in the sky!

I’ve used the latest version (currently $2 on iTunes) and was really impressed. The changes to the interface (and nice walkthrough when you first start the new app) definitely made it feel more intuitive than prior versions, and ‘Aidie’ made it simple to take photos in really low light conditions. The new manual controls (and their interface) works flawlessly. There are lots of great sample images on the NightCap Pro home page and below are just a few of mine (last three edited with Snapseed).

A hand-held shot of a remote control in a dark room (you can tell the remote needs a cleaning!). The image on the right is from the built-in camera app.

A hand-held shot of a remote control in a dark room (you can tell the remote needs a cleaning!). The image on the right is from the built-in camera app.

To compare the noise in the images this is a closeup of the '3' region. This was handheld in a dark room and there was very little noise in the NightCap Pro image.

To compare the noise in the images this is a closeup of the ‘3’ region. This was handheld in a dark room and there was very little noise in the NightCap Pro image.

'Moving Man', A shot taken in the afternoon as a person walked past the window of a local coffee shop.

‘Moving Man’, A shot taken in the afternoon as a person walked past the window of a local coffee shop.

'Porch traffic', I propped my iPhone on my front porch as the sun was heading down on a stormy day. Several cars passed by.

‘Porch traffic’, I propped my iPhone on my front porch as the sun was heading down on a stormy day. Several cars passed by.

'Underneath the tracks', Using the light trails feature let's you get some awesome shots like this one. This is a local underpass as a truck passed through. A tripod was used.

‘Underneath the tracks’, Using the light trails feature let’s you get some awesome shots like this one. This is a local underpass as a truck passed through. A tripod was used.

If you want some great long exposure, light trails, fireworks, or low noise shots you can’t skip getting this app (selected by Apple for the App Store’s Amazing Photo + Video Apps promotion April 2015). Be sure to visit the NightCap Pro home page to see lots more images including star motion for the astrophysicist in all of us.

Download NightCap Pro on iTunes

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