Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lest We Forget


Camera: Canon EOS40D with 17-85mm EF USM

Original RAW file developed and cropped with Canon Digital Photo Professional

Apps used for post processing:
1) SimplyHDR - for a HDR version of the photo.
2) ArtistaOil - for a simulated oil painting.
3) Blender - to blend the HDR version with the oil version 50/50. This added some details to the oil version which was important for the crosses in the background.
4) FilterStorm Pro - I imported the Blender result and the HDR version into FilterStorm Pro where I painted a mask to erase the grave cross and the flowers from the oil layer so that it was coming through from the HDR layer.
5) Blender - I blend the FilterStorm result with the result from step 3 again to smooth the edges of the flowers and cross.
6) Photo fx Ultra - to add a glow effect.
7) Blender - to blend the result from step 6 with the result from step 5.
8) Photo fx Ultra again - to add the Depth of Field effect. This nicely blurred the background a bit.
9) TouchRetouch HD - to remove an unwanted lantern pole from the background.
10) Camera+ - to add the nice Vintage border.
11) ArtisataOil again - to create an oil version with the a maximum of bristle depth and canvas effect. I did this because I wanted some texture in the frame.
12) FilterStorm Pro again - I imported the results from steps 10+11 into FilterStorm and painted a mask over the frame to bring the texture out.
13) TouchRetouch - to touch up the inner border of the frame a bit.
14) Crop 'n Frame - to cut the very large frame to smaller size again. I usually prefer the neat little tool Crop Suey for this but it apparently has some problems with large files because it used to crash.
15) A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.


It was on May 4, 2008, as I visited the US Military Cemetery Meuse-Argonne in Romagne in France together with two friends of mine. It's the largest US Military Cemetery in France, if not in Europe, where more than 14,000 men found their final rest. One of them is Sergeant Bernard L. Pohlpeter (photo) who fought with the L Company of the 126th US Army Infantry Regiment, 32nd Division. He got killed in action in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918, only one month before the war ended on November the 11th. I did some research about Sergeant Pohlpeter and I found a copy of his regiments history online at this page: The Old Command. His grave is at Plot F, row 12, grave 23.

Although the day of death marked on Sergeant Pohlpeter's cross is October the 12th, 1918, he is listed in his regiments casualties list on page 42 as having been KIA on October the 5th. Reading through the regiment's history I also found no report about combat action of his unit for October the 12th but the unit took heavy casualties in the time from October 4-5. So I now wonder what's the truth is. 

As we walked the beautifully made cemetery in awe and respect, we spoke little because nobody wanted to disturb the silence on that place where so many of those men rest who fought for our freedom. So many graves... so many names... so many individual destinies... It really fills on'e heart with sadness to see so many white crosses on such huge fields.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ruins of Montfaucon


Camera: Canon EOS40D with 17-85mm EF USM Kit Lens

Original RAW file developed with Canon Digital Photo Professional.

Apps used for post processing:
SimplyHDR-HD - for a HDR version.
ArtistaOil-HD - for an oil painting simulation.
Photo fx Ultra - for various effects and enhancements.
Blender - to blend a lot. I cannot remember how often I blend what version with what version. I just kept on playing around with it until my picture looked right to me.
TouchRetouch HD - for minor touchups
A+ Signature - for the copyright watermark.

May 4, 2008 I was visiting the region of Verdun in France together with two friends of mine, where one of the fiercest battles of the whole 20th century raged in World War 1. We planned to visit the US Military Cemetery of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, but stopped on every occasion we found something that caught our interest. One of the places we stopped at was the ruins of the village of Montfaucon with the nearby monument erected for the U.S. troops that fought in this sector. The village of Montfaucon had been completely destroyed in the battle of Verdun. This picture shows the ruins of the church of Montfaucon, with the observation post build by the Germans. From this place. the German "Kronprinz" observed the battlefield.

There's a plaque attached to the observation post. It reads the following, original text (I did not do that translation):

HISTORY

THE RUINS WHICH YOU SEE HERE ARE WHAT WAS THE PARISH CHURCH OF THE VILLAGE OF MOUNTFAUCON (MOUNT FALCON) UNTIL 1914.

ON THIS PEAK, WHICH WAS 342 METERS (1.122 FEET) IN ELEVATION, MONTFAUCON WAS FOUNDED IN THE YEAR 587 BY THE MONK SAINT BALDERIC, GRANDSON OF CLOTAIRE, WHO ESTABLISHED A MONASTERY. TRADITION TELLS US THAT HE WAS GUIDED BY A FALCON, THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME OF THE VILLAGE.

BECAUSE OF ITS GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION, THIS VILLAGE HAS SUFFERED REPEATED INVASIONS AND WAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED MORE THAN TEN TIMES DURING THE COURSE OF HISTORY. HERE KIND EUDES LAUNCHED A GREAT BATTLE AGAINST THE NORMANS ON JUNE 24, 888.

ON 11. SEPTEMBER, 1914, THE VILLAGE, WHICH COMPRISED 900 INHABITANTS, WAS CAPTURED AND BURNED BY THE GERMAN ARMY. AS AN IMPORTANT STRATEGIC POINT, THE GERMAN ARMY ESTABLISHED 17 ARMED OBSERVATION POSTS (BLOCKHOUSES) IN THE RUINS. SOME OF THESE ARE STILL VISIBLE, NOTABLY THE ONE CALLED THE "OBSERVATOIRE DU KRONPRINZ" WHICH IS LOCATED AT THE CENTER OF THE OLD CHURCH.

DURING NEARLY FOUR YEARS FRENCH ARTILLERY SHELLED THE SITE WITHOUT RESULT OTHER THAN TO COMPLETE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BUILDINGS.

ON 26 AND 27 SEPTEMBER, 1918, THROUGH THE COMBINED EFFORTS OF THE U.S. AND FRENCH ARMIES UNDER THE COMMAND OF GENERALS PERSHING AND GOURAND, A POWERFUL ATTACK PERMITTED THE U.S. 313TH REGIMENT OF THE 79TH INFANTRY DIVISION TO SEIZE THIS PEAK THIS NEW BATTLE OF MONTFAUCON PERMITTED THE ALLIES TO CLEAR THIS SECTOR OF THE FRONT AND TO MAKE AND ADVANCE OF MORE THAN 50 KILOMETERS (30 MILES).

TO COMMEMORATE THIS ACTION AND IN MEMORY OF MORE THAN 100,000 U.S. SOLDIERS WHO DIED OR WERE WOUNDED ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF THE AREA, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ERECTED THIS COLUMN OF GRANITE AS A TESTIMONIAL TO THEIR MANY SACRIFICES FOR FREEDOM.






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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rue de la Concorde (in Arlon, Belgium).


Camera: Canon EOS40D with17-85mm EF USM kit lens

RAW file developed and cropped in Canon Digital Photo Professional.
Apps used for postprocessing on the iPad:

First I created two versions of this picture in Canon's DPP, one slightly overexposed + one slightley underexposed. I saved the files in 16bit JPG format and transferred them to my iPad using PhotoSync. This neat little app is a real must-have for quick and easy picture transfers between iPad+iPhone+Computer. You can send from any iDevice to any other iDevice where the app is running, plus you can send from your iDevice to your Windows PC or Mac. In case you have no WiFi connection, you can do the transfer over a Bluetooth connection. Tip: Alternatively you can use Apple's Camera Connection Kit for iPad (MC531ZM/A) for quick photo transfers from iPhone to iPad. The kit is meant to connect either your digicam, DSLR or SD-Card to the iPad but if you connect your iPhone to it instead, the iPhone is being identified as a camera, allowing to transfer your photos to the iPad.

ProHDR - to create a HDR picture from the two original photos.
SimplyHDR - to enhance the HDR picture further. I was choosing a color overlay with a warm center (brownish, orange) and cold borders (gray). This nicely enhanced the picture but like the center was brownish and orange, also the lantern glasses and the roof of the last house on the picture had been tinted orange, which I didn't like. More about the lanterns later in this listing.
Photo fx Ultra - for a pencil drawing of the first HDR picture made with ProHDR.
Blender - to blend the pencil drawing with the SimpyHDR version. This nicely enhanced the outlines of the buildings. Blending the pictures in Overlay mode keeps the colors but enhances details in the picture.
TonaloptiaHD - for a black and white version of my picture. I switched from MonoPhix to TonalOptia because the developers of MonoPhix dropped color filter support in the HD version. I really have no understanding for that. The HD version appears very unfinished to me. I wrote to the developers but got no response. So their app is history now for me and I'm glad there is Tonaloptia, which includes various color filters plus a train load full of options to fine tune your picture. I was choosing a yellow filter on the b/w picture.
FilterStorm Pro - I noticed the lantern glasses and the roof had been tinted orange too so I opened the color version of my picture in FilterStorm Pro where I added the b/w version of it as a second exposure. Using the masking brush I masked off the lanterns, or to say it in other words, I brushed the b/w lanterns and roof free in the color picture so the b/w parts came trough. But now these parts had been b/w, which still didn't look right.
Blender - I was blending the new version, which had the b/w parts in it, with the color version in Blender, Normal mode, to add a little bit of color again to the b/w parts to let these parts look realistic again.
Photo fx Ultra - to apply a dreamy effect to my picture. I used the SoftFX effect No. 10 for it. This created a very dreamy version of my picture, which was what I wanted to have because I intended to reduce the effect anyway.
Blender - to blend the dreamy version with the non-dreamy version 65/35 in normal mode. Then I was loading this new version in Blender again to blend it with the pencil version which enhanced details a little more. I used only a 12% slider setting in Normal mode, color picture on the left side, pencil drawing on the right side, slider set 12% from the left.
Camera+ - for the beautiful old-fashion paper frame. I just love that frame!

March this year I did a photo walk with a friend in Arlon, a little Belgian town only a few miles from the border with Luxembourg. At that time I still had no clue about iPhoneography so I made my photos mostly with my DSLR camera. The photo that served as the base for this picture didn't even look good enough to me for making something special out of it in PhotoShop. But thanks to the iPad and the wonderful apps that exist I could finally make something out of it that I like. The buildings shown in this picture represent the typical architecture from the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century in Southern Wallonia (also known as "Le Pays de la Gaume), as well as in the Eiffel and Luxembourg.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Black Wheel of Power





Camera: Canon EOS40D with 17-85mm EF USM kit lens.


RAW file developed in Canon Digital Photo Professional.
Photo processed on iPad2 with the following apps:
SimplyHDR-HD, Photo fx Ultra, Blender, FilterStorm Pro, Snapseed and TouchRetouch HD. Unfortunately I cannot provide details about every step I took to create this picture because I was playing around with a lot of apps but in the end I wasn't satisfied with the results so I went back to the beginning and restarted from HDR version made with SimplyHDR-HD. I used Photo Fx Ultra + Blender to work out the colors because I wanted to have a deep black wheel. I resized the picture in FilterStorm Pro, added some structure in Snapseed and removed some unwanted white spots with TouchRetouch HD.
A+Signature was used for the copyright watermark, as usual.


This is one of the big power wheels of steam engine 5519, photographed as the engine was in the shed. Railroad friends may find more information at the website of 5519. Unfortunately the website is in German only but you may find photos of the engine in action if you click on the word "Foto" in the top row of the page.

This picture is based on an analog photo I made a few years ago, in 2005 maybe. I happened to just return with the old switcher engine 910 which is visible in the background, as 5519 rumbled onto the turning table.




In World War II, as the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg had been occupied by the Germans, the Reichsbahn ordered a set of 20 steam engines of the class 42 at the "Wiener Lokomotivfabrik Floridsdorf (WLF)" in Vienna in Austria but the engines couldn't be delivered to the Germans anymore as the war then ended. So the national railroad company SNCFL received these engines by the end of 1948, beginning of 1949, registering them as class 55. Engine # 5519 had been build in 1948 in Vienna Floridsdorf. It's "Fabriknummer" (serial no.) was 17615. Initially, the German Reichsbahn had planned to let it run unter the number 42 2718.
In service of the SNCFL this type was mainly used to haul coal and ore trains. It remained in service until the early 1960s as the costly steam engines got replaced by new class 3600 (electric) and the new classes 1600 and 1800 (diesel).
I still remember 5519 rotting away in the town park of Bettembourg, as I was a boy of 14. But 8 years later some railroad enthusiasts made an incredible effort to restore and save it. Now good old 5519 lives a new life again as a very popular tourist attraction, hauling tourist trains to Germany, France and Belgium.


Btw: if you're interested to have a ride then please contact the operators from their website. You may order tickets over the Internet.


This is the Instagram version of my picture. I really cannot say which version I like most, the original size, or the square size. Decide for yourself:






Questions? Send me an email to (quaffit(at)gmail.com) or leave me a comment ;o)!
Note: Please replace (at) with @ in my email address. This is a simple measure to prevent spam bots from harvesting addresses.





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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Billie



Camera: Canon EOS40D with 17-85mm EF USM kit lens.

RAW file developed in Adobe Camera RAW.
Photo processed on iPad2 with the following apps:

PhotoStudio HD - for a pencil drawing version.
FilterStorm Pro - to add the original photo to the pencil drawing, masking off the horse to keep the pencil effect only on the background. I used FilterStorm Pro for the masking albeit PhotoStudio HD offers the masking tool as well but the precision and zooming for mask painting is way better in FilterStorm Pro than it is in PhotoStudio HD.
Blender - to blend the FilterStorm version with the original photo because I wanted some color in the background.
Camera+ - for the inner Vintage frame.
SP PhotoTada - for the outher frame called Statesman. All other sliders set to "None".
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark as well as for Billie's name.

This is my daughter's Anna-Katharina's beloved Haflinger mare Billie, now 18 years old. She's a wonderful horse with a very gentle character and still as crazy as a filly. Born in Tyrol on February the 9th, 1993, Billie was bought as a young filly by the breeder family Gremling-Dauphin where she got trained in dressage and where my daughter started to learn horse-riding at the age of 6 (Billie was 5 then). At the beginning Anka had her little problems with some of  the training horses. The reason for it certainly was to be found in her still very young age, but as soon as Billie got assigned to her the problems vanished. Billie and Anka made a great team, becoming friends for life. So Billie was assigned to my daughter most of the times she went riding. But in 2002 Billie was about to be sold cause some dude woman wanted to buy her for her daughter... Anka was desperate and sad, fearing to loose her beloved friend forever, so I had to do something. I called the breeder and investigated about that woman and luckily for me the woman was still undecided whether to buy Billie or not so I took the occasion to make the deal right on the spot. I had to give up my dream of flying though, cause the money I spend for Billie was initially meant to pay my PPL A with. But a flying license can always be made - a friend like Billie however, cannot be found a second time in life. She's a member of our family since then, and we all love her dearly.
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In the Shadow of a Crumbling Heart


Camera App: Hipstamatic with Loftus lens, DC film, Jolly Rainbo 2x flash (flash physically triggered)


Apps used for postprocessing:
PhotoStudioHD - for a pencil drawing effect.
Blender - to blend the pencil drawing with the original photo which added the structure to the picture. Again I used Blender a lot to create this picture and I don't recall every single step anymore. I also created a version where I applied the Exclusion effect and I used that version again to blend it with the previous one. I created a b/w version in MonoPhix to blend it in too...
Photo fx Ultra - to add a slight Smoque effect which enhanced the light on top and behind of the heart cookie.
TouchRetouchHD - for some minor corrections.
Camera+ - for the Vintage frame as well as for some color enhancement.
Crop Suey - to crop off part of the Vintage frame which was a bit large after my taste.
King Camera - to add frame #12.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.

This picture was made after pure intuition as I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some Christmas cookies after yesterday's dinner with my family. My daughter brought the cookies from school where the kids bake them to sell them for a charity cause. There was that heart cookie left and I plaid around with my Hipstamatic and it's new Foodie SnapPak before I finally ate it. I end up with the photo that served as the base to make this picture from it. I had been playing around with quite a bunch of apps until I was satisfied with the result. But that's the fun part in iPhoneography - playing around with apps, testing this and testing that, until one finally get's what one was looking for. Following always the same procedures to create a picture is way too boring ;o).

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Haircut



Camera: Canon EOS100 with 35-135 USM lens, film unknown,
Year the photo was made: 1996

Apps used for post processing:

MobileMonetHD - for a soft color version of the original photo.
Blender - to blend the original photo with the MobileMonet version.
AritstaOil - for an oil painting simulation of the Blender result.
ArtistaSketch - for a pencil simulation of the Blender result.
Blender again - to blend pencil version with oil version.
PhotoForge - for an Overlay version.
Blender again - to blend the Overlay version with the previous one to enhance details and contrast of the colors.
Snapseed - to bring out the structure a little more, plus enhancing vibrancy.
FilterStorm Pro - to enlarge the picture canvas.
TouchRetouchHD - for some touchups.
Snapseed again - for the irregular black frame.
A+Signature - for the handwritten copyright watermark.

This is my first picture created on the iPad2... Being much happy with FilterStorm4, Snapseed and Iris on the iPhone4 I was now impatient to test the iPad versions. I was playing around a lot with FilterStorm Pro because I wanted to add more details to the girl's eyes and mouth but in the end I dropped that idea again because I wasn't satisfied with the result. I must say I was quite disappointed about FilterStorm Pro because of it's file management system. This could have been done much simpler. Working with layers is a bit complicated at first but once understood how it works the system offers a lot of possibilities. Of Iris I was also disappointed because of one big flaw: when opening a picture it's automatically being set to a lower resolution of only 2048x1461px (in this case the original resolution was 3156x2236px) and there is no option included to change that - neither in the iPad settings nor are there app settings to switch on maximal resolution support. I wonder what's that's now good for? So if you want to get your loaded picture back to it's original resolution you must adjust Iris to it. However, I did not notice a visible loss of quality after re-adjusting and saving my picture as I tested Iris. Another flaw in Iris on the iPad is the missing landscape mode. I prefer using my iPad in landscape mode for editing pictures.

The original photo for this painted simulation was made in the summer of 1996, I guess it was by the end of July, as my then four years old daughter Anna-Katharina had her first haircut at the same hairdresser who cut my hair for 30 years since he gave me my first haircut, as I was four years old too. I scanned the original photo and optimized it in PhotoShop already a few years ago. Although I always loved PhotoShop I preferred editing my pictures on my iPhone after I discovered the apps for it and now with an iPad2, picture editing is an even greater pleasure.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sun goes down over Luxembourg City Main Station


Camera App: BracketMode

Additional Apps used for post processing:
ProHDR - for a HDR picture that served as the base to do this simulated oil painting.
SimplyHDR - to enhance the first HDR picture further.
Blender - ... and Blender again... I don't remember how often I used Blender on this picture until I received the desired result. I blend the second HDR with the first one, and the results I also blend again and again.
ArtistaOil - for an oil painting of my HDR picture.
MonoPix - for a black & white layer. Blending in a b/w layer in Overlay mode enhances contrast and colors.
Photo fx - for a pencil drawing with strong outlines. I blend that one in to bring back some details in the oil painting which looked nice but a bit too blurred, after my taste.
TouchRetouch - for some touchups. There was a flag on the right edge that was way too close to the edge so I removed it.
PicGrunger - for the canvas effect. I used Burlap for texture, Aged for effect and Block Party for style, but set the slider to full left (zero) because I only wanted the texture.
Camera+ - for a little more Vibrancy. I saved that result, then re-imported it to apply the magic Clarity filter. The result was stunning! The overall picture got much brighter and the details of the darker areas came out nicely. But the picture was too bright now so I went back to Blender again to blend it with the previous version in Normal mode.
I then transferred my results to the PC to check them on the big screen. I discovered the texture coming out a bit too strong so I went back to my iPhone again to blend it with the non Burlap version in Normal mode. The result was what I expected to get - great!
Camera+ - again, to add the Vintage frame.
SP PhotoTada - to add the Taveler frame. All other sliders set to zero (= full left). But then I discovered the frame overlapping the Vintage frame a bit too much so I went back to the Vintage frame version and loaded it in...
FilterStorm4 - to add a 27% white frame without inner shadow. Then I went back to...
SP PhotoTada - - now I could add my desired framed without it overlapping too much.
TIP: If your desired frame is taking too much of your picture, create a place holder frame in FilterStorm first. A place holder frame is a sizable, flat uni-color frame that FilterStorm adds AROUND your picture, not over it. Then apply the frame you really want to have. That frame will then be placed over the place holder frame, not over your picture, so it will look like the frame was added around the picture, not over it. You better do a test with the desired frame first. Save that result and estimate how large it might be, then add a place holder frame in FilterStorm of about the same size. Save the picture and you are ready to add your final frame! If you aren't satisfied maybe because the place holder frame was too large just go back to FilterStorm and try again with a different percentage frame.
A+ Signature - for the usual copyright watermark.

Last week as the weather was still sunny I took the occasion of a break at Luxembourg main station to take some shots. I made the photos for this picture from the foot bridge that goes over the tracks. Because it was in the afternoon there wasn't much action at the station and now as there is winter, the sun was already very low. It was big fun to work on this picture today. It took a little while to get it done but that was mainly because I did a lot of testing and tried a lot of things before the outcome finally was what I expected.
Below are the photos that served to create this picture. They could have been better, had I taken my time to set the exposure measuring point manually in BracketMode.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Beast in my Whiskey Bottle!


Camera App: Hipstamatic with Lucas AB2 lens, Blanko Film, Jolly Rainbo 2x flash (set to 1st position).

Additional Apps used for post processing:
SimplyHDR - for a HDR version of the Hipstamatic photo. That version came out darker than the original photo was.
ProHDR - to make a HDR version from the darker SimplyHDR result + the lighter original photo. Looked really great!
PhotoWizard - this cool app had been mainly used to create this picture. First I applied the FX effect Symmetry X-Axis, then Whirl (slider full right), then X-Axis again. As I turned my iPhone by 180° I looked into the throat of a flaming beast, ready to swallow me - huh. I then turned the picture by 180° in PhotoWizard and saved it. Did some color and contrast adjustments and imported the previously saved picture as a second layer which I blend in Overlay mode. I must say that PhotoWizard offers the same blending options than my beloved Blender app does so if you own already PhotoWizard, Blender isn't necessary.
PhotoWizard - to apply Pattern Border #4. I then discovered some white spots in the black irregular border which had been remains of the white photo border and which I disliked.
Squaready - to crop the picture off the original white Blanko film frame. Saved the result as a 2048x2048 PNG file.
FilterStorm4 - to add a 27% black frame to replace the previous white frame. The reason why I prefer FilterStorm for this operation is that FilterStorm really adds a frame to the edge of a picture. It does not overlay the edge, like most apps do.
PhotoWizard again - now I could apply Pattern Border #4 and I really liked the result.
TouchRetouch - for minor touchups. I removed some white spots from the nose of the beast, which had been remains of light reflections on the liquid to make it look more like a nose.
A+Signature - for the usual copyright watermark.

Yesterday afternoon, the weather being foggy, wet and dirty, I enjoyed a gulp of Jack Daniels Old No.7 Whiskey, which is my preferred brand. Oh yes I know, Whiskey experts will now protest and say the only real good Whiskey is being distilled in Scotland and Ireland, but frankly, it's a matter of taste and albeit I do also love very old Whiskeys made in Scotland and Ireland I love the rather rough taste of good old Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey even more. Jack Daniels belongs to Harley riders like the milk belongs to the cow, doesn't it?
Already the beautiful amber color of the tasty liquid is fascinating to look at so I came to the idea to play around a bit with my now almost half empty bottle of  Old No.7 and the iPhone. I made some shots through the bottleneck down to the liquid with the Hipstamatic and I loved the photos. The first ones had been a bit pale so I tried the first notch of the Jolly Rainbo 2x flash which nicely enhanced contrast and colors. I also made some QuickPix shots from the exterior of the bottle, and then I started playing around with apps like TinyPlanets and iDroste, but iDroste kept on crashing all the time when I was applying it's effect so I guess it doesn't like Tennessee Whiskey too much and I continued playing with TinyPlanets and TinyTube, but I didn't like the results too much either.
I finally had big fun trying the various effects included in PhotoWizardSymmetry and Whirl are really cool! After using them I looked into a tunnel (on my picture) and I wondered what else I can do with it until I turned my iPhone upside down and suddenly I gazed into the open mouth of a flaming beast with additional fangs waiting down in it's throat to swallow my poor soul and rip it into pieces.... Holy Cow! Yes there's a beast in every bottle of Whiskey, so beware! If you empty the bottle to make it disappear from it, you'll have it swallowed and then it takes control of you... and... ya know... so... just to give you a warning:

DON'T SWALLOW BOTTLE BEASTS AND DRIVE !!!

Btw: I wrote this blog entry 100% sober and my now about half empty bottle of that good stuff distilled in Lynchburg, TN had not been emptied that much as I made the pictures - I swear! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 8



Camera App: ClearCam


Additional Apps used:
BigLens - to separate the background from the foreground.
TiltShiftGen - for additional blurring in the foreground.
FilterStorm4 - for a simple b/w version.
Blender - to blend the b/w version with the color version to obtain more harmonic colors because especially the background had been much over-saturated with reddish tones.
FilterStorm4 - for saturating the foreground and a mask to keep the background desaturated.
PhotoForge2 - for a High Pass version.
Blender - to add a little more sharpness to the machine. At the same time this had the nice side effect to add a little structure to the blurred background.
TouchRetouch - for minor touchups.
Pixlromantic - for the frame.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.


November 21, 2011 @ 03.11pm - Demolition work at Luxembourg Railroad Yard continues. Gates had already been removed from Roundhouse #1. Turning table #1 also cut into pieces and removed, this machine now hammers the turning table pitch apart with a huge jackhammer.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 7 - Old No.3





Camera App: BracketMode

Additional Apps used for processing:
ProHDR - to create a HDR picture from the shots made with BracketMode. Hower, I later discovered the HDR picture being partially unsharp which was the result of too much movement as I made the photos with BracketMode. So I decided to redo my picture, this time using only the darker photo of the set made because it was sharp all over.
SimplyHDR - to enhance the HDR picture created with ProHDR. If you want to create an HDR picture with an app that works with a set of photos make sure you don't saturate too much or your picture will look extremely over-saturated if you load it in yet another HDR app that works with single pictures, such as SimplyHDR. I was already much satisfied with the first result SimplyHDR came up with after loading my picture so I accept it the way it was and saved it.
Grungetastic - to experiment with because my the HDR version looked too boring to me. Testing various settings I finally stuck with Gritty 2 which I adapted to my likes. I pulled almost all sliders back to the left for zero effect except but for the tone slider which I left in its position. But Grunge 1, Grunge 2 and Papers had been set to full left and Borders had been set to No Border.
Blender - to blend my HDR with the Grunge version in Overlay mode, 50/50. Nice result, saved it.
PhotoForge - to create a version with High Pass filter because I wanted to add a little more sharpness. Sharpness could also have been added in Grungetastic but I haven't tested that feature yet.
Blender again - to sharpen my picture by blending it with the High Pass version in Overlay mode, 50/50 settings. Usually 50/50 looks right. To my taste more than 50% is overdoing the effect a bit.
After saving that result I was loading it again in Blender together with the HDR version before applying the Grunge effect because the picture looked a bit too greenish to me. I reduced that effect by setting the slider to 27% only, HDR loaded on the left side, greenish version loaded on the right side. Now I only needed a frame.
Grungetastic - I loaded my picture again in Grungetastic because I wanted a particular frame that I liked. Again I applied the Gritty 2 effect, pulling this time ALL of the sliders to the left, including the Tone slider, but for border I was choosing Border #13 (counted from left to right).
TouchRetouch - for minor touch-up. There had been a bright red little something laying underneath the wheel, disturbing the overall picture a bit so I removed it.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.

My latest picture from the "Beauty of Destruction" series shows wheel #3 of the now wrecked old electric locomotive #3609 of the National Railroad Company of Luxembourg, SNCFL. You can still see a number "3" pained in white on the wheel's glide bearing box. Attached to that box was also the speed gauge, a part that transformed the mechanical information received through the revolutions of the axle into electric tension to feed the Hasler-Bern speed indicator with in the cockpit. Also well visible are the wheel rim markings as broad yellow stripes (now bleached after long time weathering). The wheels on this type of engine had not been made in one piece but consisted of a wheel body and a rim that was shrunken onto the body in the workshops. For this purpose, the rim was heated up to a certain temperature because heating metal means the material will expand in its dimensions, hence the inner diameter got bigger and the wheel body could be inserted. Then the completed wheel was slowly cooled down, the rim shrunk again and got fixed in that way to the wheel's body. The reason for this type of railroad wheel simply was cost reduction because it was less expensive to replace a set of rims than replacing a complete axle with full body wheels. But like the advantage of this type of wheel was it to easily shrink a rim onto a wheel body, the disadvantage was that the rim could loosen again especially during a prolonged application of the brakes. Then the cast steel brake pads heated the rim up through friction. In the result the rim was loosening and turning on the wheel body. Under extreme conditions a wheel could be falling apart, with the certainly disastrous result of a heavy derailment of a train. To avoid this, the engineer had to check the markings on the wheel especially when preparing an engine for the day. The greatest railroad disaster as the result of a broken rim was the derailment and crash of the German high speed ICE 844 train "Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen" in 1998. The link goes to a video report on YouTube taken from a German TV documentation. I added this one because I couldn't find a suitable English report. But even if you don't understand German, the pictures show it all. In case of the ICE884 the train did not derail because a rim was overheating but because there had been fissures in it which had not been discovered due to technical inspections not being made.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 6 - Torch Cut


Camera App: BracketMode

Additional Apps used for post processing:

ProHDR - for an HDR picture made from one single photo. Reason: Because I had no tripod at hand I unfortunately moved a bit too much for ProHDR to align the two photos correctly, which resulted in an unsharp HDR picture. So I did an HDR from a single photo, choosing the darker one for it because the contrast and details had been much better on the molten metal surface than it was on the overexposed photo where that surface was almost white. White pixels contain no information thus they are useless for further processing but underexposed pictures may still be corrected for as long as there aren't too many black pixels included.
I saved two versions from ProHDR - one with low contrast but lighter and one with strong contrast but darker. Then I created an HDR picture again from these two versions in ProHDR. The result was a much better HDR picture than the first one. I also tried SimplyHDR, but no matter what settings I tried I wasn't satisfied with the outcome.
MonoPhix - to create a b/w version of my HDR picture. I prefer MonoPhix for this job because it allows to use color filters. I used a Yellow filter on the rusty surface to obtain a maximum of details. Blue is the complementary color of red, which means that a picture containing much red will turn very dark if you apply a blue filter. On the other hand a red filter applied on a red picture will let all red surfaces appear almost white while a red filter applied on a blue surface will let this one look almost black. Green is a more neutral filter so in most cases a green filter gives nice contrasts to a b/w picture. I was choosing a yellow filter because it gave me a lighter picture than the green filter gave me but still the picture had nice contrast and was rich on details. Don't believe me? Try it out and see yourself ;o)!
Blender - to blend the b/w version with the HDR version in normal mode. This de-saturated the picture a lot because I gave it only 27% of the HDR version.
ArtistaHaiku - for an outlined ink version, almost no color.
FilterStorm4 - one of the most powerful apps available for picture editing on iPhone and iPad recently had an update which motivated me to work with it and test the new version. I loved FilterStorm since I used it the first time because of it's well thought and ergonomic design. Beginners might feel a bit helpless at first because of the many features it offers but once you're used to it you don't want to miss it anymore. I opened the version created in Blender and I added the Ink version as a second exposure. Then I applied a Gradient mask, placing the big circle in the middle of the lower half on the right edge and pulling the small circle over to the the middle of the upper half on the left edge. This revealed the Ink layer partially, with a soft transition from right to left into the de-saturated HDR layer. But like the transition was soft and straight I saved this result and I reloaded it as a second exposure again to the de-satureated HDR version. I did this to apply a mask because I wanted the torch cut piece of steel standing out sharp from the Ink background. I loved the outcome of this and now I needed a suitable frame.
KingCamera - I loaded my picture into KingCamera because this app comes with some very nice frames and structures. The one that I liked is 9th from left in the line of frames. It has no specific name.
PicGrunger - for a slight Grunge look. I chose Aged effect, Strength set to about 25%. Style: Palooza, Texture: Original.
Perfectly Clear - After transferring my picture to my laptop computer I found that it could use a little more contrast which I changed in  Perfectly Clear. Usually this really cool app tends to brighten a picture up so I set Exposure to full left, Contrast and Vibrancy to full right plus I gave it a little more Sharpness.
A+Signature - after I was done with my picture all I needed was to add my copyright watermark but this time I wanted to give it an extra touch of my handwritten initials. A+Signature is just perfect for that job. You may add any handwritten or drawn markings to your pictures, scale them, turn them and place them wherever you want. To use the same stuff again and again you can even store your creations in the app catalog.

My new picture shows a steel part that was once holding one of the huge electric motors of old electric locomotive 3609, now cut apart with a powerful torch as the old lady got wrecked.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 5

DEVASTATORS 

 Master (with prey)   

    Slave (at rest).
                                 

Camera App: BracketMode
Extras: Ollo Clip 3in1 lens system, Fisheye lens

Additional Apps used for post processing:
ProHDR - for HDR pictures made from the photos shot with BracketMode
Squaready - to crop a 1:1 format part from the original picture.
ToonPaint - for an outlined colorless version of the HDR pictures.
Blender - to give the colors back to the ToonPaint sketches. I really like the outcome of this experiment.
FilterStorm3 - for the simple frames.
PhotoWizard - for the Devastator Master picture. I had been really amazed about the outcome of the Mirror effect on the original picture, which was the one of the right. Because the space in front of that monster looked quite empty I decided to add some "prey" to it. However, this demolishing machine was not involved in the wrecking of the old locomotives!
Superimpose - to add the piece of wreckage from old electric locomotive #3609 to the picture of the Devastator Master. Superimpose is a mighty blending tool, perfectly suited for compositions.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.

After the demolition team had left the place I had the occasion to get some nice shots of their machines and equipment. I was playing around a bit with my apps and this was the outcome of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 4



Camera App: BracketMode

Additional Apps used for post processing:
ProHDR - to create a HDR picture from the photos made with BracketMode.
SimplyHDR - to enhance that HDR picture further.
PhotoWizard - to create a nice Crayon version of the HDR picture.
Blender - to blend crayon with HDR 50/50 in Normal mode.
Pixlromantic - for the frame called Sand and a b/w effect called Tom. I saved both versions, color+Sand and Tom+Sand, then I blend both in Blender to reduce color saturation a bit.
PhotoForge2 - for a High Pass effect.
Blender - to blend High Pass with the Pixlromantic version 50/50 in Overlay mode to enhance sharpness.
FilterStorm3 - to apply a mask because I wanted more sharpness only on the molten and burned steel surface.
TouchRetouch - for some minor corrections. There had been a few drops of burned steel that appeared just as white spots in the background so I removed them.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark

Old electric locomotive #3609 is laying in pieces, her body brutally ripped apart by the claws of a huge wrecking machine; her entrails cut apart by a cutting torch.... This had been a part of her braking system. The part in the background is one of the brake blocks, which had been made of cast steel.

In previous posts I described how to use a Pencil version of your picture made in Photo fx to blend it with the normal version in Blender to receive a nice outlining effect. I now discovered an even better solution because PhotoWizard includes a really beautiful Crayon filter that gives you a beautiful picture you can either use as it is or use it to blend it in Blender. But PhotoWizard has much more to offer than just that. Another app that I recommend because of its nice filters and frames is Pixlromantic.

Below is the Instagram version of this picture. Additionally to the effects described above I used the Sophia effect which gave the picture a blueish tint on the burned steel. Also I did not sharpen the burned steel surface but I did not apply one of the typical Instagram filters either cause I did not like any of them on this picture.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 3


Camera App: BracketMode

Additional Apps used for post processing:

ProHDR - to create the basic HDR picture from the photos made with QuickPix
SimplyHDR - to enhance that basic HDR picture.
AutoPainter - to create an Aquarell version.
ArtistaHaiku - to create an ink version, almost an ink drawing with only the outlining and just a little bit of color.
Blender - to blend the Aquarell version with the ink version, then used again to blend the result with the HDR version. I wanted to give my picture a touch of a painting, not pure HDR and no pure painting either.
FilterStorm3 - for a Vignette effect. I wanted only a slight vignette effect so I needed an app that allows full control over it's intensity. FilterStorm3 does a perfect job here.
Camera+ - I used the Vibrant effect here to enhance the colors. In Camera+ this effect can be adjusted with a slider.
iDarkroom - for the Black frame.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.

Yesterday I still had time before driving my first train of the day so I took my profit out of the situation to take some more shots of the scrap yard where the old electric locomotives 3609 and 3612 are currently being wrecked. This picture shows a now broken porcelain isolator apparently (but not necessarily)  from the roof top of either of the two old engines.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 2




From the ashes of old number 3608 reborn, the Scraponator rises to take revenge...

Do you see what I see? Do yo see the face in this picture? Yellow glowing slot eyes in a metal face? Or do you see a head on top in the middle, with two black teddy bear eyes, a round nose and a golden piece of jewelry on top of the nose... A face with an open mouth? Yes? No?

The above picture is the result of intense playing around with apps today. I photographed the remains of old electrical locomotive number 3608 today again to create another picture for my series about the Beauty of Destruction. I had been playing around a lot with Artista Haiku, Blender, SimplyHDR, Iris, PhotoWizard, FilterStorm, Snapseed, PhotoForge2, Camera+ and other apps and after I finally created a nice looking version of my picture I loaded it into PhotoWizard by curiosity to try other things. Here I used the Simmetry effect, and I had been very astonished about the results. Then I suddenly discovered when I turn my picture upside down it will look like an evil face of some sort of a machine monster. I wanted to add a nice looking frame and as I tried some frames from different apps I suddenly got aware of the presence of a head with a face in this picture. Do you see it? I DO!

The techniques applied in today's picture had been my basic techniques I almost use in every picture. Taking the photos with BracketMode, then creating a HDR picture in ProHDR.... enhancing that HDR picture in SimplyHDR... creating an ink drawing in ArtistaHaiku, blending in Blender again and again.... trying different settings until the whole thing looks the way I want it to look like. It was really big fun to play with my apps today. Sometimes creating an iPhoneography picture is a bit like riding my Harley - I start from somewhere, but I never know exactly where the road is leading me to. But the thrill about it is it to go finding out what's over the next hill...

Below is the final version of my picture after playing around with a bunch of apps but before application of the Simmetry effect. The frame that I added later was taken from the Steam Punk app SP PhotoTada.



Friday, November 11, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 1



iPhone Model: 4
Camera App: BracketMode


Addtional Apps used for post processing:
ProHDR - to create a HDR picture from the shots made with BracketMode.
SimplyHDR - to enhance the previously created HDR picture. SimplyHDR provides a lot of settings, thus permitting to adjust a picture precisely after one's taste.
ArtistaHaiku - to create two ink versions of my SimplyHDR version. Like all the great apps made by Jixipix also ArtistaHaiku provides a lot of settings to control the effects. After I found what was looking for I created another version with less colors but a stronger structure effect.
Blender - as usual, Blender is one of the most important apps in the process of creation of my pictures. I used it many times again to try different blending effects with different versions of my picture. First I used it to blend the two ink versions in Overlay mode, then I was blending that result again with the HDR version in Overlay mode which gave me a structured ink version with enhanced colors. Then I blend that one again with the original HDR, this time in Normal mode, to reduce the ink effect again, because I wanted more of the original colors in my picture. Sometimes you'll have to play a lot with slider and blending effects in Blender until you found what you like. You should always save a result that you liked so you can use it again to try something different with it. If the result of an effect appears to be too strong for your taste, then just blend that result again with the previous version to reduce it again. You will mostly, but not necessarily use Normal mode to reduce an effect, adjusting the slider until you are satisfied with the result. 
Tip: To see the differences clearly just move the slider quickly from one side to the other, then adjust it to the desired intensity level.
VintageScene - after I was happy with my picture I was looking for a suitable frame. I rarely like standard frames provided by the apps but prefer to create my own. So I created a Grunge version of my picture in VintageScene. That version had a greenish-gray color. 
Snapseed - to create another frame with an irregular black line and a white outer frame. My idea was it to replace that white frame with a structured frame again. The base for the structured frame was the Grunge version I previously created in VintageScene.
FilterStorm3 -  is one of the best apps available to deal with layers and masks. In FilterStorm I imported the Grunge version as a second exposure, then I applied a mask over the white border to bring out the edge of the Grunge layer. One of the nice features in FilterStorm is the option to show the painted mask in a red translucent color which gives you pixel precise control over its application. If you run a bit too far with your Brush, don't worry. Just use the Eraser to paint that part back.


After I had finally painted my frame I had to discover that the greenish-gray tone didn't go well with the colors of my picture so I decided to de-saturate the frame. In FilterStorm3 this is easily done. Just choose the Hue/Saturation option from the list of filters, pull the slider down to a value that you like (in my case -65%) then choose the Brush in the right side to paint on your mask. Confirm the operation after painting and you're done (Don't forget to save your result indeed).
A+Signature - to add my copyright watermark. It's my favorite app to add such watermarks, especially because it comes with a huge number of fonts and because you can create any objects or words to use. Just paint hearts, flowers, handwritten words or whatever with your finger, then add it to the database for later use if you want to re-use it again. You can easily adjust the size and color of your object, add an outline of shadow and turn it any way around.


Before transferring my pictures to my laptop comuter (I prefer using PhotoSync for this) I checked if the picture size was still anything close to original size by using the very handy little tool app called PhotoSize. I discovered that a handfull of pixels got lost on the way from the original photos to the final picture. Size was down from 2592x1935px to 2588x1927px. This happened as a result of ProHDR aligning the photos that served to create the HDR version of my picture because I didn't use a tripod as I made the photos and no matter how steady one's holding a camera in one's hand, the human body is always moving a bit. I brought picture size back to original size by using Iris, which is my favorite, but you may also use FilterStorm or any other app that offers that option. I prefer Iris for that kind of operation since it allows me to type in the dimensions by numbers, which allows to define picture size on the pixel precise.


After transferring the pictures to my laptop computer I wasn't satisfied with the look of the colors yet. For that reason I opened my final picture in Perfectly Clear to enhance it, which worked well for me. Again I transferred that picture to the laptop computer to check it on the big screen. Checking your work is important because on a big screen you can see things you can't see on the tiny iPhone screen. Also pictures displayed on the iPhone are being optimized for best possible viewing experience so they usually look better on the iPhone than they look like on any other computer. To enhance colors I opened my last version - the one that I optimized in Perfectly Clear - in FilterStorm again. I applied two different saturation settings, one with 27% and one with 45% and saved both, then I transferred both to the laptop computer to compare them. I finally decided to stick with the richer colors, hence I used the version saturated by 45%. 


Do you like it? The most important thing about creativity of any kind, be it photography, iPhoneography, real painting and drawing, sculpting... whatever you do, the most important thing is that YOU are happy with your creation, no matter what the rest of the world says. It is of course even more satisfying to receive positive feedback from other people, especially those you share your passion with, but it's not a must. Just think over the question if you want to produce artwork for the masses, or artwork for your happiness? Frankly, my own happiness matters more to me than the taste of the masses does and the creation of this picture was giving me much fun.




This composition shows you only 8 of the steps it took to create my final picture (on the low right) from the two original photos (on the top left).


Sadly, the reasons behind this picture are not that fun at all, especially not for railroad fans. Currently there's important transformation work going on in the Railroad Yard of Luxembourg-City. The old roundhouse is being demolished and two of the old electrical engines, numbers 3609 and 3612 fell victim to the cutting torches. I made quite a bucket full of pictures of the remains of the two old engines yesterday as my work of the day was done and daylight was still good enough to make pictures. Sadly I had no time for photographing as the slaughter begun. Only the night before I came along the place on the end of my shift and I saw this:




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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Angels On My Wall...



Camera App: regular iPhone4 camera app with HDR switched on.


Additional Apps used for post processing:


Well, I've got to to confess that I did not keep records on the exact steps I took to make this picture of two metal cast angels hanging on our kitchen wall. But included was:


SimplyHDR - to create an enhanced HDR picture from the original HDR photo.
Artista Sketch - for a pencil drawing of that picture.
Blender - again one of my most important apps plaid a major role in this creation. I used it a lot to blend different versions of my picture until I was finally satisfied with the result.
Super Retro - for an effect called Middle Earth. This gave the photo a burned look with nice colors.
PhotoStudio - for a burned paper effect.
FilterStorm - for many steps... First one was to apply a radiant gradient filter, starting from the middle and going to the far right, as far as the left wing of the male angel goes. This gave a very nice effect. To do this I imported the version I saved before applying the burned paper effect to the layer with the burned paper effect I opened in FilterStorm. After applying the gradient filter I imported the version before the burned paper effect again. This time I applied a mask over the angels to cut them from the streaky gradient effect.
PicGrunger - for the Burlap texture.
SP PhotoTrade - for the beautiful Steam Punk frame and Journal texture. I must say I'm very happy about the will of the app developers to listen to us users because as the app came out it only supported low res savings. The argument of the developers was that processing on the iPhone would take too much time for high res pictures and they feared the main steam of customers wouldn't be willing to wait that long. Luckily I could convince them to include high res saving with a warning that this may take some time to process. But I wonder what they really understand as "high resolution" because still the picture wasn't saved in full iP4 resolution of 2592x1936. I was only 2300somethingXanything which I found out by checking the picture size with the neat little app called PhotoSize.
Iris - to resample the downsized picture back to 2592x1936 pixels. Although other apps may do the same job I still prefer Iris for this because there is no loss of quality. I recently did some pics for friends of mine who provided them in 640x480 and boosted the final version to 2592x1936 which looked brilliant then. So Iris is first choice for boosting resolution.
FilterStorm again - this time for erasing the Journal texture from the angels. To do this I first created two different versions in SP PhotoTrade, one with the frame an no texture, using the version before PicGrunger, and one with the frame+Journal texture using the PicGrunger version for it. I then imported one version to the other as a second exposure in FilterStorm to erase the Journal texture from the angels only. 
SnapSeed - to change white balance to a blueish look. The original angels have the look of oxidized bronze which I wanted to get back. The blueish tint was only the first step to achive this.
Blender - as I said I used it again and again to blend a lot. I don't remember the different steps in detail but I sure used it to blend the blue tinted version with the normal version.
FilterStorm - again I used it to erase the blueish angels from the brown tinted version so the angels stood out from the background. But I still wasn't satisfied because the angles looked too blue.
Blender - I was then blending the blueish angel version with the normal version again and I finally got want I was looking for.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark...
After transferring my pictures to my laptop computer I saw on the big screen that it looked much too pale for my taste so I used Camera+ to enhance Vibrancy by 46%. 


I was big fun to make this picture. Hope anybody else likes it too. Below is the original photo I started from to make it. The angels are hanging on our kitchen wall. I photographed them using the iPhone camera app and the kitchen light only. No tripod either.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rise of the Orchid!



Happy Halloween everybody!


 I created this picture based on a photo that I took with Quickpix of an Orchid that I placed on our kitchen table, under the kitchen light - nothing else. Apps that I used? Well it's Halloween so guess yourself how I did it! The photo that served for the base of this creation is displayed below. Just take a close look at the evil Orchid - do you see the tongue that is licking for you and the teeth waiting for a bite on you? Well... ;o).


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Scrapped

Camera Apps:
BracketMode - for the photos that served as the base for the HDR picture.
Hipstamatic - for the b/w retro photo on the end of this page.
Additional Apps used:
iCameraHDR - for the HDR picture made from the the BracketMode photos.
SimplyHDR - to enhance the HDR effect and for fine tuning.
MonoPhix - to create a b/w version of the HDR. No color filter applied, shades set to 0.
Blender - to blend the color HDR with the b/w HDR to enhance colors and contrast. Blending mode was Overlay, slider set to 27% only. More would have darken the sky too much.
Camera+ - for the nice frame. I used the frame called Light Grid. There are other apps offering similar frames but I prefer the one provided by Camera+.
MergeEasy - to put the pictures of the different steps together in a strip so you can see the differences.
A+Signature - for my copyright watermark as well as the labels on the photo strip.
Old 3612 now awaits the cutting torch after being partially scrapped of usable parts. I'm not sure with this but it could be the parts scrapped from her served to restore 3608 to factory fresh condition. Currently 3608 is in the paint shop where she'll be repainted in her original green+gray colors from 1956. The above photo strip show the different steps I made until the final picture before the frame was added. The picture below shows the engine's number with the modern company logo CFL.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reading Greg's Diary



Camera App: QuickPix
Additional Apps used:
Squaready - to crop a 1:1 square picture from the original photo.
Perfectly Clear - to enhance the picture.
MonoPhix - to create a b/w layer. I love MonoPhix to create black and white pictures because it is very easy to use and it comes with color filters.
Blender - to blend the b/w layer with the color layer to reduce saturation. Blending mode was Normal, slider set to the middle 50/50. I did this in preparation for using SimplyHDR because HDR effects usually overdo it with saturation.
SimplyHDR - to create a HDR layer.
Blender - to blend the HDR layer with the normal color layer to reduce the HDR effect by 50%. That means both layers had been blend in Normal mode, slider set in the middle 50/50.
PicGrunger - to create a grunge version on Burlap, Strength set to 0, style chosen was Block Party.
PhotoSuite - to add nice photo frame.
A+Signature - to add my copyright watermark.
This afternoon I caught my youngest daughter Melina reading a book. It's German title is "Greg's Tagebuch" which translates as "Greg's Diary". It's a great reading for children and my daughter loves the whole series. We're a family of book worms anyway. We all enjoy reading books - real books, not the e-books. Although I also use Kindle on my iPhone to read novels sometimes I think that nothing compares to the real thing of holding a real book in one's hands for reading. Smelling the paper and the ink.... the sound of turning pages in a quiet room.... and the impatience to read on until the next page can be turned, the next chapter be closed.... nothing compares to that.
Melina hates to be photographed so I had to switch my iPhone to quiet mode and sneak up on her for shooting. Here QuickPix came in really handy. It allowed me to quickly snap up a whole lot of photos before Melina finally got aware of my presence, then yelling at me "get that damn camera away you crazy paparazzo freak!" (grin). Well, the unsharp Instaplus picture below shows you what I am talking about ;o).


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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Beauty of Decay, Part 3.



Camera Apps: 
BracketMode
Hipstamatic - for the b/w pictures in the photo slide. Lens: Melodie, Film: A0 DLX


Additional Apps used:
iCameraHDR - for the HDR pictures in color.

SimplyHDR - to create two different HDR pictures with darker and lighter settings
Blender - to blend those two HDRs into one with 50/50 slider setting in Normal mode which nicely enhanced the picture.
MonoPhix - for a b/w version of the HDR picture. I usually chose a green filter with low shadow darkening
Blender again - this picture did not need too much blending because it turned already out very nicely after processing it in iCameraHDR. I created a b/w version to blend with the color version to obtain better contrast and richer colors but it didn't need a high setting of the slider to enhance it. Less is sometimes more. 

Snapseed - for adding some slight Drama effect plus enhancing saturation slightly.

PicGrunger - for a nice Grunge version with Metal structure. Even with the effect slider set to zero the picture turns out darker after processing but like I wanted only the frame I was loading the grunge version and the original version in FilterStorm3 to erase the dark picture from the frame so the lighter version came trough.EasyMerge - to quickly create a photo slide with four Hipstamaticphotos of the old steam engine.
As usual I added my copyright watermark in A+Signature.





This is the last one of the rusted wheels pictures of the old steam engine 5621. I enjoyed a lot making it because the structures of the rust and the colors turned out nicely.