Sometimes its just Fail, all the way around~

So, long time no see, again. Yes, yes, I know. I fail at this writing thing. It’s not so much the writing as it is the keeping to a posting schedule instead of visiting wordpress and getting lost in other blogs. It’s the same thing on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and FB for me. No it’s not ADHD…. it’s more like easily distracted, believe me I am not hyper about anything… well except chocolate and new camera gear, and maybe cute puppies.

Anyway to the good stuff! On the list are two new photo sharing apps.

One is very specific and unfortunately for me doesn’t have an android app yet. Just a mobile website, which is fine, just lacks some of what you would expect. But it is a relatively new app. Know as Pack, it is a photo app for dogs! Only dogs. I mean you could take a selfie, as long as it is with your dog. Visit the website or check out the app for ios here. It is a great way to share the love of your best friend and not feel guilty about spamming your social networks with photos of your dog. If there was an app for android I would use it more as the mobile website doesn’t quite offer everything I like in a photo app yet.

On to my second, and I dare-say my Instagram replacement! Not that I really even use Instagram much, it is way, way to messy. EyeEm is my newest photo sharing app obsession! Oddly enough you can also connect it to your Instagram. You can also connect it to your Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, and Facebook. I am still waiting for a G+ hookup, please please please give me a G+ hookup! EyeEm offers a nice selection of filters and all those other things you like about a photo sharing app but it does offer more, a lot more. First there are missions, much like how Foap had events you can join and win money or prizes so does EyeEm, however, I don’t need to take a picture of my passport or drivers license to compete. Secondly unlike other photo sharing apps like Instagram where the plethora of tags is staggering, I am limited to 4 tags. It is amazing!  The limit of 4 tags helps a lot, and cuts down on the messiness. When I search for #Cute dog, I just get cute dogs, not random selfies tagged with cute dog. EyeEm also has two great features that deal with geo-location.  The first is if you photo has geo-location information you can tag businesses, locations, etc directly, much how foursquare used to work. The second geo-location feature is like something from 500px but much better. Photos tagged with a geo-location close to where you are with your phone now show up. A great little feature called “Photos around you” will bring up any photos tagged with geo-location in the area you are currently in. It’s great for last min photo ideas, photo walks, and inspiration in a neighborhood you may no longer see anything new in. So if you have the desire to leave the little square box behind check out EyeEm.

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In photo trip news August should be a decent month. I plan on going to Yoro Park in Gifu and hopefully climbing Mt. Fuji this vacation! It will destroy a pair of shoes though… it did last time. So I will need to get a new pair. I am in need of a new pair of Vibrams anyway 😉 September is looking pretty bland but I am saving for the Kouyou season so I can hit Kyoto, Wakayama and Nagano this year! I am taking part in Color Me Rad in Tokyo on the 23rd of September but I have been reading the horror stories of the cornstarch in the lens! So now I am seeing what I can do to protect my camera and if it is worth the risk…. One can hope! It looks like it may involve a lot of plastic wrap, plastic bags and maybe some duck tape to keep it all sealed up tight.

I did make it to the last day of the World Cosplay Summit which will be up in a post hopefully next week! So keep an eye out for those photos!  It was amazing! I just wish I had taken the days off in advance and gone to the whole thing! Next year that is the plan! I also became an official contributor to Yokoso News! Check it it here!! Get your Japan fix from the Chubu area!

 

 

 

 

Watch “The death of Mr. Al Gator” on YouTube

Koyo being cute. I’m kinda falling in love with the new auto awesome movie feature of google~

THE BOX

THE BOX, you either love it or you hate it! Then again there are those of us that just don’t really care 😉

If you haven’t figured it out we are talking about Instagram. Arguably the most popular photo sharing social media site out there. Started in mmnnmnm (What Anne means is “October 2010” – K) and now owned by the Big Blue Giant FB the box hasn’t changed.

I use instagram…. >.>…. sometimes. My screen name is Chimera_Refelections. I usually don’t post a lot of mobile photography per say as much as I take my camera shots and crop them to fit the box. I also hate trying to hashtag all my photos.

I happen to use G+ for a lot of my mobile shots now. Even before it changed owners I wasn’t a big user and after well…. I felt much less likely to use it. From my previous trip I posted a few shots of Fu but other than that I haven’t done much. In all honesty if I used it more it would probably be pics of my daily life (which I assume is what its supposed to be) and my dog.

Her first ocean wave~

A post shared by Anne Vornbrock (@anne_vornbrock) on

Being the stupid perfectionist that I tend to be when it comes to my photography I don’t like posting half thought out shots and thats what most of my mobile shots are. My bf on the other hand is an instagram pro, his screen name is shirokodogg  and he spends HOURS and HOURS (small exaggeration……not really pretty sure he spent an hr on some of those photos) getting that perfect instagram shot. He works from within the box to begin with and doesn’t crop. I on the other hand can’t spend that much time doing so with my phone. I like being able to enjoy the moments as the come rather than record them as they go.  Especially if I didn’t bring my big camera for just that reason. I am one of those people who get upset, well FURIOUS, at those people who can’t put their phone down and just enjoy dinner or the park or wherever we are. Also I hate it when my phone dies and the camera and auto-upload with G+ are two things that drain my battery!

I, on the other hand, use Instagram quite a bit.  You can find me as kwaterloo.  As per my previous post, I use it more to share moments in my life with my friends and family.  I do equal parts bringing a photo in to Instagram and simply using the camera feature within Instagram.  It depends on how quickly I want to get the shot.  And I don’t typically spend a whole lot of time perfecting a photo.  I worry less about “does this photo look amazing?” and more about “will this photo remind me of the experience I was having at the time?”  

My evening.

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I was very hesitant of using Instagram at first, but once I took those first steps, I broke out into a run into the Instagram craze.  I don’t have it linked to my Facebook or my Twitter.  I have more friends on Facebook and don’t necessarily want to flood their news feeds with pictures of my cats (read: they would not enjoy being flooded with pictures of my cats).  

Disco… Are… Are you trying to seduce me?!?

A post shared by Kate Waterloo (@kwaterloo) on

And then this happens.

A post shared by Kate Waterloo (@kwaterloo) on

But I am considering connecting it to my Twitter, just for shits and giggles.  I feel like Twitter would appreciate my cat pics more than Facebook would.  I tend to be one of those people that’s always on my phone.  But I think that has more to do with the fact that I’ve had a smartphone for less than a year and am still mesmerized by the whole experience.  If I am at dinner or out somewhere with a friend, what I usually do is snap a quick picture and deal with Instagram later.  That way I get to capture the moment and enjoy it!  

#Instagram

All it takes to call yourself a photographer these days is to have a camera, right?  Even a camera phone counts.  People are styling themselves iPhotographers.  They even have a magazine dedicated to photography with your iPhone!

This all seems somewhat ridiculous to those photographers who know it takes more than a camera to truly be a photographer.  I hear a lot of people complain about apps like Instagram ruining what photography is all about.  It’s supposed to be an art form, something you really work on.  This stems from the days of film, where it was a long and sometimes expensive process to take a photo, so the photographer really had to think about composition, subject, lighting, and all sorts of other elements.  Photographers with this mindset see Instagram as lazy and frivolous.  Instagram and other mobile photo apps come with all these preset filters and whatnot, no one really has to worry about if a photo looks good on its own without any help from editing anymore.

But Instagram is a social media site, first and foremost.  And while I know photographers that use Instagram as a way to showcase their skills, I use it as a social media site.  I use it to capture moments in my life that don’t necessarily warrant me getting out my Nikon.  Moments that sort of spontaneously happen, that I need to be quick about if I want to capture them.

My Instagram is pretty much full of my cats and whatever food I eat.  Both of these subjects are not something I want or need to capture as a large RAW file, edit in Photoshop, print out and hang on my wall.  They’re just moments and things that I want to remember and share with my friends and family.  Before Instagram, I would text my parents pictures of my two cats doing silly things.  My parents took care of my two furbabies for a while when I wasn’t able to, and are quite fond of Disco and his sister Juri.  Now with Instagram, my parents and my friends can see what shenanigans the two furballs are up to!

When it comes down to it, you can use Instagram or a comparable app however you want.  Use it creatively, use it to showcase your skills, use it to document your life, use it to share with your family and friends.  If you want to be an iPhotographer, go for it!  It doesn’t really matter what type of camera you use.  Being a photographer is more about how much you enjoy photography rather than whether or not you have an expensive piece of equipment.  It’s about you wanting to learn about photography and working at improving your skill and developing your own style rather than if you’re using a Nikon D5100 or an old point-and-shoot Canon.  Don’t let anyone talk down to you because of the equipment you use or the ways you choose to share your photography!  Even if you’re only using your iPhone and only using Instagram to share moments of your life with friends, it’s still developing your skill as a photographer.  It’s still developing your personal style.  You learn which shots you like and which you don’t, you learn what sort of edits you like based on what filters you use, you learn that the grid lines provided in the app will help you compose better photographs.  Tagging your photos and going through tags to see other people’s photos of the same subject help you develop your personal style and skill, too.  If you like the way someone else took a photograph of their cat, try and replicate it!  It’s fun and helpful to try and figure out new techniques on your own.  You might make a friend out of the deal, too!  But perhaps best of all, you can easily look back and see your progress as a photographer, regardless of whether or not you’re consciously trying to improve your Instagram photos.

So matter what anyone says, get out there and shoot!

-Kate

Being Mobile

Almost everyone has a camera on them. If you are reading this you probably own and have with you at this moment at least one or two cameras. One would probably be on your computer or tablet or whatever you are reading this on and the other would be on your cell phone/mobile. I am sure many of you have heard of the Chicago Sun-Times firing the whole photography staff and then giving out iphones to make up the “new” staff. It was a shock to the photo community as a whole and in a way a sign of the things to come. What is interesting is when you come down to it being a “photographer” is the easiest job to get in the world because all you technically need is a camera, preferably you also have talent but its art, so again subjective. Instagram fame aside apps like Flickr’s, Streamzoo, 500px, Lightbox, Muzy, and We heart it, all point to a new direction in photography. Social sites like G+ and Facebook have a heavy emphasis on photos and even offer automatic uploading from your mobile device. The new trend is towards social photography. We enjoy “hearting” or “thumbing” to show our appreciation but let us not lie….. we also greatly enjoy being a critic, and an anonymous critic at that, no chance for backlash well not a great chance, you can always block them. Using these services in a way also limits the photographer. They no longer have to think about how to show this photo to the best of their ability. This also affects how we see things and what we expect in a photo. When everything is laid out cleanly we become more attracted to it because it’s easier to process and able to be processed quicker. Instagram for example only works in one frame, that of a square, all members of the community must operate within that square. So when we pull up IG it automatically appeals to us because everything is uniform. Though the pictures are different the layout is always the same. When you move over to Streamzoo for example the “photographer” has the option of using their original photo or cropping it. It doesnt seem as visually appealing for this simple reason. But social photo-sharing sites and services aside. How else is this changing photography and what are some key points to remember when you are out and about and only have your mobile available?

What are some simple tips to great, well decent, mobile photos you ask? Well most our common sense and a few are some that are always optional.

1. CLEAN YOUR CAMERA! Let me just say that my phone resides for most of the day at the bottom of my purse, and well… I think I still have a few M&M escapees down there too…>.>  Among other things. But needless to say I have found this clears up quite a lot of my “cloudy” photos. Whether you decide to go all out with a case or to just carry around a small cloth for cleaning it will definitely will help you out!

2. Check your case. If you have a case do a little test. Take a photo with the case on and the same photo with the case off. You might be surprised but the photos may actually be quite different. Due to lighting, shadows, focusing in & out, and how secure you case is there could be a difference even if slight in the quality of your photos. I have to take off my case if I plan on doing a short video or a shadowed scene or sometimes depending on the light a bright as my case is red and reflects a bit the light in my photos also changes.

3. Check your settings. No I’m not talking about your “night mode” or “portrait mode” I am referring to all the other options your phone may have. In my case I have a global HTC One ❤ which I love! Not sure how fond of the “ultra pixel” I am yet… more on that later. However, as for optional settings I can control my Crop, Quality, In phone Image adjustments, ISO, White Balance, Lock focus, Auto smile capture, Geo tagging, face detection, auto uploads, Touch to capture, Grid, Continuous shooting, default filter, and Flash just to name a few. These settings can be personalized to your style to help you get the photos you want.

4. Get the Light! Lets face it, you aren’t carrying around a mini-DSLR here. All phones are different but lets just say that the sensors are all about the same size… for the most part. Don’t expect amazing HDR photos or superb night shots because it’s just not going to happen. Read the light, change the light, use the flash! Whatever you need to help brighten your subject the better it will look.

5. Now go on and check your mode. Most smartphones today come with different modes, or filters. These can both help or hinder you…. but they are there! USE THEM IF YOU NEED THEM!

These are probably the most common sense things once you read them but I doubt you have seen many people clean off the lens after they pull it out of their pocket before they take the shot. Now I can’t tell you how to take your shot only that these will help you get that shot!

Last but not least depending on your phone and your style you might want to get or invest in a phone photo editor. I enjoy Snapseed. It works great for me.

I will leave you with a few shots that were shot by my HTC One and minor edits in Snapseed.

Up or Down~ Illusion

Squishy Nose~ It’s her ball

Remember it isn’t the camera that makes the photographer, it’s the eye behind it.

~Anne