Everyday Life: Mother & Son Crossing Masonic at Haight


Good Evening:

An old but very true saying: “The best camera in the world is the one you have in your hand.” The camera I had in my hand on that Sunday afternoon was my iPhone 4, and I had maybe 3 seconds to get set to capture what I knew could become a good shot of a mother on skates and her son on a push scooter crossing the street. Here was the result:

Woman and Son Crossing Masonic at Haight Street on a Sunday Afternoon, 9 September 2012

I did get lucky enough to capture a good composition (look at the triange formed by her head, her right foot and his left foot) that depicts an interesting scene and a contrast between light and dark, but let’s face it–I jiggled the camera. It’s a bad carpenter who blames his tools, and I won’t blame my phone. But as I have written before, it’s easy to take a bad photo these days, but even easier to make it look decent. So I present to you now the results of my experiments with various photo editing programs.

Color Splash Studio IMG_2523, 9 Sept 2012

Color Splash Studio performs one trick very, very well. It will turn every part of a color photo into B&W except the areas you want. Worked pretty well here.

Flare Daguerrotype IMG_2523

I chose the Daguerrotype setting in Flare, a program that will make your photograph look like a daguerrotype, vintage Kodachrome, or other old-tyme photos.

Sketcher Watercolor IMG_2523 72-100-100-40 Watercolor Paper 091612

Sketcher, a program that will turn photos into a variety of paintings, created this “watercolor” effect. It has four settings for adjusting your picture that you can adjust from 0-100, hence the “72-100-100-40” notation. I might want to use that setting again someday.

FX Photo Studo Pro IMG_2523 Edited 2

FX Studio Pro is a more sophisticated version of Flare, with a lot more options and settings. Here I chose Pastel, and added a sort of stippling effect.

Finally, just for fun I uploaded IMG_2523 to my telephone and edited it with a few graphics programs there. First is a fun little one-trick pony called Popsicolor, which basically posterizes your picture with 1-2 colors.

Popsicolor, “Mint” and “Cotton Candy” Settings

I used the “Mint” and “Cotton Candy” (light blue) settings. Finally, something called Grungetastic, with a setting that had a particularly psychadelic effect called “Bleached 7.”

Grungetastic, Bleached 7 Setting

Of course you won’t read any silly and extravagant claims here that any of these “works of art” are masterpieces. Nonetheless, I hope this inspires you to take another look at some of your allegedly less successful photos. Perhaps you’ll see some means of salvaging a decent work of art.

Now before I conclude, be honest with me here: how many of you read the phrase “uploaded IMG_2523 to my telephone and edited it with a few graphics programs” and failed to realize just how shocking that phrase is? Think about it: I uploaded a photograph to a telephone to edit it with software found only on said telephone. Do you realize that only a few years ago, that phrase was impossible?!

Vonn Scott Bair


7 responses »

      • Aah, OK. It looks like there’s a filter on it. The app has nice effects, especially the watercolor. It looks natural.

        I’m still using my iPhone 3G…for now. Getting ready for 5!

      • S.B.: I’m thinking about upgrading myself. Sketcher is a good app for converting photos into watercolors, and pretty reasonably priced, too. However, in looking at the original picture again, I realize that you spotted something. I had forgotten that I had cropped the picture in iPhoto, which had the side effect of blowing it up. So in addition to my own movement, the edits also contributed to the blur. Good catch.

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