Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vintage Toy

Camera App used: 645pro

Additional apps used for post processing:
Snapseed - for a little drama effect with de-saturation.
Portrait HD - JixiPix new app is meant to create beautifully painted portraits, but it's also well suited for any other kind of picture. I had no portrait picture at hand so I tested it on this one.
Blender - to blend the Snapseed version with the Portrait version. Reason was, I wanted to restore some detail on the camera lens which had been lost due to the painting effect. So I erased that part from the Portrait layer and lend it with the Snapseed layer at 88% in normal blending mode. I chose 88% because I wanted to keep part of the canvas texture still shining through on the lens.
Snapseed again - to add a little bit of drama again as well as some fine tuning of light and colors.
PhotoToaster - for the frame
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.

A few days ago I was finally holding my latest toy in my hands, a genuine Kodak Retina IIIc vintage rage finder camera from the early 1950s that I auctioned on eBay. It came with its original manual as well as with its Certificate of Import and Ownership. Doing a little research I found out it must be a pre-1956 build after it's serial number. The camera is is great condition. The body shows only little traces of wear, all mechanical parts work smoothly and the selenium light meter reacts vividly to light changes. Today I rode out on my bike to do some first shots with the camera. Now I'm curious to bring the film to the photo store for development.
The camera is all mechanical and that's great! It's massive metal body feels great in my hands.

Below is another photo that I took with the 645pro. It's unedited. 

Looks like I'm on my best way to become an addicted vintage camera collector....


Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to: correct the iPhone lens distortion...

Camera App: 645pro with F4 b/w film and 645 format.
Location: Luxembourg Main Station, the new sidearm with the modern glass roof in front of the old station building. I took this photo late in the evening, as the station was deserted.

Additional apps used for post processing:
Frontview: to correct the lens distortion. The photos below show you how I did it.
Photo fx Ultra: for cropping and contrast.
PhotoForge2: for a slight re-sharpening.
Pixlromatic: for the frame.
A+Signature: for the copytight watermarks.

This is the original photo as taken with the 645pro. You can see clearly that even if you align one side to the camera grid (left) the lines on the other side are oblique. To correct this I used a neat little app called "Frontview".

This is the Frontview screen after loading my picture....

The first reference point is set....

Second reference point top left...

Third reference point down right....

Fourth reference point set top right. Note that the points follow the lines that shall be straight after processing.

Now tap the arrow to process the picture...


After this operation completed, I saved my picture and I opened it in Photo fx Ultra for cropping and enhancing. Then I opened the newly saved version in PhotoForge2 for a slight re-sharpening, added the frame in Pixlromatic and the copyright watermark in A+Signature.

I hate it when I photograph a building and some lines appear oblique, no matter what I do. The happier I was as I discovered "Frontview". You cannot only take photos with it and correct them, you can also load photos made with other apps to be corrected.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Doing HDRs with the 645pro (beta)

Camera App: 645pro beta

Other Apps used for post processing:
Mobile HDR - to create a HDR picture from 3 files. Most iOS HDR apps use only 2 files, one overexposed and one underexposed. Mobile HDR aims at creating HDR pictures from your bracket shots made with a DSLR. Because the 645pro currently offers the best picture quality available on the iPhone I wanted to see if Mobile HDR can be useful for photos made with the iPhone too. The answer is YES it can! But to create the files necessary for the HDR picture one must use some tricks because the 645pro offers no bracket mode shooting. So I did the following:
1) I used the 645pro film with the richest colors, which is the FC5 film.
2) I used the Neutral Density #1 filter with 100% efficiency. Currently that filter is only available in the actual beta version of the 645pro but that version is to be released soon. It runs rock stable and comes with a lot of improvements. So if you don't already have the 645pro on your iPhone I recommend you buying it. It's definitely the best camera app available, and it's a pleasure to work with it. 
The 645pro saves your photos in TIFF format as well as in JPG formt. The TIFFs are the RAW files, unprocessed, no film effects, no filters. Development of RAW photos shot with a DSLR is usually done in a so called "RAW converter" but no such app exists for the iOS devices so development is done in the 645pro itself, that's why it's called a dRAW file - a developed RAW file. The JPG file (of the same photo) is the photo with the configured effects applied, such as films and filters used.
3) In case of the old Diesel engine (above) I also created a black and white version in MonoPhix HD as well as an overexposed version in Laminar.
4) To create the HDR picture in Mobile HDR I used the black and white version created in MonoPhix HD, the JPG version from 645pro and the overexposed version made in Laminar. To create the overexposed picture I simply adjusted its curve by pulling it a bit outwards on a spot set in the middle of the line.

Here you see the original photos and the finished HDR picture

Screenshot from Laminar showing the adjusted curve 
to create an overexposed photo.

The black and white picture created from the TIFF file
using MonoPhix HD.

After importing the files into Mobile HDR the processing
 screen looked like this.

Here's yet another HDR picture created in a similar way than the picture on top of the page. In this case I created an underexposed version of the TIFF file to use with the set of 3 photos in Mobile HDR. Then I created a black and white version from the HDR picture in MonoPhix HD. I also tried Snapseed but I liked the result from MonoPhix HD more. Then I was opening the color HDR and the b/w HDR in Blender. The color version on the left side - the b/w version on the right side. Blending mode was "normal", with the slider set 25% to the left. This enhanced the colors and de-saturated the picture a bit at the same time.

As usual, a copyright watermark was added in A+Signature.

If you got questions please feel free to ask. You may also find me on Facebook. Just search for "quaffii" or "Gaston Graf".

Monday, August 6, 2012


Camera Apps used: 645pro, BracketMode and Hipstamatic with Jane lens + Ina's 1982 film

Additional Apps used for post processing:

And now I'm in trouble, cause I don't remember all the steps I took to create the pictures on this page, except for the Hipstamatic shots which are left unprocessed. For the rest there was:
iPhoto - for local corrections. I love iPhoto for that feature!
Photo fx Ultra - for color corrections, fog effect and other.
Blender - to blend the different versions to obtain different results, as usual. For instance, I added the frame in Camera Awesome but blended the result with the previous version to reduce the frame effect by 50% because I found it too strong.
Snapseed - very useful for the detail functions, like "structure" which is about the same as the pseudo-HDR function of other apps is. I did two versions, one using SimplyHDR and one with the "structure" function in Snapseed and the outcome was about the same. Also Snapseed is great for creating b/w pictures. The b/w version of the above picture had been created using Snapseed with neutral filter but 25% of grain setting.
Pixlromatic - for various retro filters which I mixed in Blender. Don't remember what combination I kept in the end, I'm sorry.
LensFlareHD - to enhance the sunlight reflections in the chrome on the headlights, the fuel level indicator cap on the gas tank and on top of the rear view mirror. I did not add it to the reflection on the handle bar close to the risers and left it as it is. To place such light reflections precisely, move them in bigger size with two fingers to the destination, then use the controls panel to adjust size, brightness and rotation. After saving your picture, LensFlareHD reduces it a bit from 3264x2448 to 3072x2304 but you can easily get your original resolution back. Load any photo that has original size on the left side in Blender, then load the version you created with LensFlareHD on the right side. Pull the slider all to the right in "normal" blend mode and save your picture. If you check it with apps such as ExifWizardPro or the free PhotoSize you will see that it is back to original resolution.
ProHDR - I did some photo sets with BracketMode but in the end I disliked the outcome of the HDR picture as I put them together in ProHDR so I used only the overexposed version for this photo.
A+Signature - for the usual copyright watermarks. I also use it to mark my Hipstamatic shots with lens/film combo so I don't need to repeat this again and again when posting the photos to various Facebook groups.

The day before yesterday I felt for making some new pics of my bike, especially because it now has the Metzler Me880 Marathon tires mounted and because it had a different derby cover for a while. Usually it wears the Willie G. Skull derby cover but mine had been scratched so I wanted a new one but that one needed some time to arrive so I used the cover with the big bad Nr.1 on it. It's nice, but I like the skull cover much more. Yesterday I finally changed the cover and I made some more pics.

This is the b/w version I created using Snapseed. 
No filter but 25% of grain. I like that!

The photo from yesterday, with the Willie G. Skull derby cover. Photo made with the 645pro camera app. This time I was finally able to snap about a dozen shots before the damn app crashed again. I guess it's having a memory problem. If you close all apps that ran in the background, then reboot your iPhone the 645pro runs fine, until a given moment when it crashes again. And that's when the memory is filled up. I hope the developers will get that problem solved soon.

 Hipstamatic photo with the Bad Nr.1 derby cover

 Hipstamatic photo with the Willie G. Skull derby cover

Hipstamatic photo of the Willie G. Skull derby cover in detail.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tiny Aliens

Camera Apps: Hipstamatic, CCD,
Extras: Ollo Clip 3in1 Lens System, Macro Lens

Additional Apps used for post processing:
PhotoForge2 - for the usual High Pass versions needed for re-sharpening the photos.
PhotoWizard - for the Emboss effect needed to work out the structure in the main picture. I was blending the embossed version 4x with the previous version in Blender to get the structure effect that you can see in the main picture (top)
Photo fx Ultra - for various enhancements and cropping operations. but especially for the Day for Night effect.
Blender - for many blending operations.
ArtistaSketch HD - for clean sketches of the photos needed to blend in Blender to bring out details in the picture. Pencil sketches are very useful to enhance the outlining in pictures. I usually blend them in either Multiply mode or Overlay mode. You must play around with it and see for yourself what works for your picture. I cannot provide you a basic recipe here. What works for one picture does not necessarily work for another picture as well. That's the experience I made.
TouchRetouch HD - for touch-ups. Strangely there had been some ugly spots left on the drawings created with ArtistaSketch so I removed them before using the sketch version in Blender.
Laminar - for it's great light system used in the picture where the mother plant deploys an egg from one of the cocoons.
iPhoto - for local softening. I love iPhoto for it's "brushes" that can be used locally in pictures. If you want to apply an effect on the whole picture you can choose that option in the brush settings.
LensFlare HD - for the light effects in the blue pictures. Sadly, working with LensFlare is a pain in the ass because it has no undo function which is very annoying to me, but in the end I managed to obtain some useful results nevertheless.
Pixlromatic - for some of the frames.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermarks

Well.... two days ago I looked at one of my wife's flower pots purely by chance which let me discover a beautiful miniature "forest" of some strange little plant I never saw before. So I decided to photograph it. I made over 200 photos, but only few had been really useful. First I shot with the 645pro - the camera app that currently provides you the very best picture quality available on the iPhone. But the 645pro pissed me off once more because it ruined a countless number of really good shots as it crashed again and again. It might provide the best picture quality, but that's useless if the app is crashing that often. So I switched to CCD, which is the other app that saves dRAWs in TIFF format. It's a pure and rather simple camera app without all the fancy camera-simulator-wannabe-pro stuff that comes with the 645pro, but at least it works reliably. It never crashed.

The night scene of that little jungle of alien plants... I really love that miniature world in that flower pot! The night effect had been created with the "Day for Night" effect in Photo fx Ultra. The rays of light had been added with LensFlare HD. The frame was added in Pixlromatic.

Alien Mother deploys an egg from one of the cocoons... Donno what strange little plant that is but isn't it fascinating how it grows in sort of a miniature jungle and how it multiplies itself? Other plants use the wind to distribute their seeds in the world, or use even living animals to carry the seeds to a location far from the mother plant. But this little plant deploys the seeds from cocoons it carries underneath. I only discovered this as I did some shots with the macro lens of the Ollo Clip. Here the iPhone plaid out it's big advantage of being slim and small, compared to other cameras, because there was only little space left in the flower pot to put the camera down enough for shooting from the ant view low over ground. The light effects had been created with Laminar first, then with LensFlare HD.

Hipstamatic shot of the tiny jungle. Combo used was John S lens with Ina's 1982 film

Another Hipstamatic shot made with the Ollo Clip Macro Lens. Combo John S / Ina's 1982.

The original CCD photo used to create the main picture on this page. I cropped it to 1:1 format using Squaready.

The flower pot, where that tiny little alien plant grows... Photo made with CCD, cropped and framed with Pixlromatic.

I'm sorry for not being able to provide you in depth step-by-step instructions about the making of of the pictures on this page but I really plaid around a lot with many different apps until I obtained satisfying results. But don't hesitate to contact me in case you got questions. I'll be happy to assist you with anything you want to know.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Causing Scandal

Camera App: 645pro

Additional Apps used for post processing:
Superimpose - to blend the b/w picture with the color picture in Multiply mode. I set the 645pro to picture format 645 and H5 b/w film as I took this photo. Like I have set it to save also the dRAW version of my photo I also got the colored RAW version in TIFF format. In Superimpose I was blending both versions, which enhanced color contrast nicely. Usually Picture Blender is my preferred app for blending, but in this case the result I got from Blender did not satisfy me. Also a disadvantage of Blender is that it cannot handle TIFF file format. But Superimpose can handle it so it was no problem to blend the colored sRAW TIFF with the b/w JPG.
SimplyHDR - I was loading using SimplyHDR to create two HDR versions from the blended result in Superimpose and the original b/w JPG file. I created two versions, a normal one and one with brightness and contrast sliders pulled fully to the left = 0. Then I was loading both versions in SimplyHDR again to create an HDR picture from it, which worked just fine.
Ripped HD - for the ripped frame.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark

This morning at work as I was on the way to my vehicle, which was electrical railcar Z2201, I came along the old shed #2 where I discovered good old 1816, "decorated" with some shitty Graffiti. It looks good, in some way, but on the other hand I must say I hate it to see how respectless people disgrace such old engines that served us well for more than five decades. The first Diesel engine of the 1800 series got delivered to our railroad company in 1964. I drove that type too, from the early 1990s 'til the early 2000s. I must say I hated the noise of the V16 two-stroke Diesel engine sometimes, but on the other hand I also enjoyed hauling freight trains with it. Now, as there are only 3 engines of this type left running in active service and the official good-bye ride beeing made last week-end, the type will soon vanish from our railroad network forever. One will be kept for museum rides, but the remaining rest is meant to be sold to an country unknown to me. Donno what 1816 was at the workshops today. I did some interesting testing of the new ETCS train safety system today with Z2201. As soon as the remaining problems are solved, all of our Z2200 series railcars will be equipped with the modern European Train Control System ETCS.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Steam Radio

Camera Apps used:
- for the main picture on this page (above) as well as the b/w version of it (below).
Hipstamatic and Hipstamatic D-Series - for all other pictures.

Accessories: Ollo Clip 3in1 lens system, Macro lens.

Additional apps used for post processing:
PhotoForge2 - for the usual High Pass filter
ArtistaSketch - for a clean sketch to enhance the outlines in the picture a bit.
Blender - to blend High Pass version with the original photo for smart sharpening. Later, Blender was used again to blend in the sketch version to enhance the outlines. Setting was very low to avoid overdoing the effect.
SimplyHDR - for a slight HDR effect with a smooth result.
Photo fx Ultra - to enhance the picture further. Filters used: Polarizer and Fog.
Pixlromatic - for the Janine film effect and later for the Dim frame.
Photo fx Ultra - I loaded the picture again to apply the Day for Night filter. I used only slight settings to tone down the colors a bit with a dark blue overlay.
PhotoToaster - for the vignetting. I love PhotoToaster for vignetting because it allows precise control of the effect.
TouchRetouch - for some minor touchups plus removing the actual date stamp in two of the Hipstamatic photos made with the BlacKeys B+W film.
A+Signature - for the usual copyright watermarks plus insertion of new dates in the previously mentioned Hipstamatic photos.

The main picture of this article shows four of the glass tubes that work in an old radio. It's a Loewe Opta Venus-Stereo Type 4771W build from 1959-1960. My set is still working fine, although its case would need some good restoration work to be done because it's in quite a bad condition. But the electrics still work fine. I thoroughly cleaned the interior before snapping my photos and I was amazed of the brilliant sound quality once more as I switched the radio on again after such a long time - WOW!

You can get additional information about this radio type at the RADIO MUSEUM.

This is the original manual, photographed with the Hipstamatic on top of the radio.

I enjoy experimenting and I love the Hipstamatic so I tried a lot of combos and D-Series types. But I made the main picture with the 645pro attached to my tripod because I used it in low light condition to get the light effect from the glowing tubes and the light bulbs inside of the radio. I was setting the 645pro to night mode and I used the timer to avoid touching the iPhone. You can see some more Hipstamatic pictures below:

This is the version that I shared on Instagram. No post processing. Just a straight Hipstamatic shot.
Combo: MattyALN+BigUp

Hipstamatic D-Series, Dreamy. 
The transformer is behind the tubes.

Hipstamatic D-Series, Dreamy. 
The turn-able ferrit antenna was used to eliminate disturbing parasite noises when listening to long wave and .medium wave stations.

Hipstamatic D-Series, Dreamy. 
The electric current selector. You had to set the tension manually by loosening the screw and moving the little metal arm to the correct position. The circuit was protected by a little melting fuse of  0.6 Ampere also shown in this picture. The big tube partly visible on the far left reads "Made in Germany". Sadly, in our modern times everything's made in China, or other Asian countries now. The tubes had been manufactured by Telefunken in Germany.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
This picture show one of the resistors. This one has a value of 2 Kilo-Ohm with a tolerance of 10% up and down.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
The external antenna connector, slightly damaged.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
Detail of the ferrit antenna. Copper winding around an iron core.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
Detail of another resistor above some diodes.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
The top of one of the tubes.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
Detail of the middle part of one of the tubes, glowing.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
Detail of the lower part of one of the tubes.

Hipstamatic with Loftus/DC combo + Ollo Clip macro lens.
Another detail shot of a tube.

Hipstamatic D-Series BlacKeys44.
I love that camera!

Hipstamatic D-Series BlacKeys44.
Details of the wires on top of the transformer.

Hipstamatic D-Series BlacKeys44.
A b/w shot of the complete ferrit antenna unit. Note the strings running on pulleys to turn the antenna when you turn on the radio knob.

Hipstamatic D-Series BlacKeys44.
The tubes with the transformer and one of the stereo speakers.

Hipstamatic D-Series BlacKeys44.
Tubes, ferrit antenna and the connectors for an external antenna (left) as well as for a tape recorder (right).

645pro for the original photo, but the b/w version was made from the finished color version using Pixlromatic. I applied two b/w effects here: Agatha and Joyce. Used the Clip frame.

If you got questions about my pictures please don't hesitate to contact me. Additionally you may find me on Facebook as well as on Instagram. Just search for "quaffit" :o).