Yesterday as part of our relaxing Bank Holiday weekend, we went for a drive to the other side of Strangford Lough down towards the Mournes and ended up staring out at the beach in Newcastle.
After a surreal experience at the Slieve Donard, where there was an Antiques Fair, we went back into the town, parked up and went for a walk down the Promenade. I'd wanted to walk down the sea-front to get some shots on my iPhone of the beach and the sea.
Taken using Camera+ (a much better option that the built-in camera on the iPhone 5) I was able to set my exposure and focal points separately. I found a mid-range area to expose the image with and focussed on the beach itself.
The result was a fairly pleasing little shot, but I knew that this was not the end as I planned to sit down when I went home and work on it some more on my iPad.
So, how did I get from this.....
Well for starters, why did I take it? What was it that really stood out to me? I love the tonal quality of the sky, the depth of contrast within the clouds and then also the sea had a very definite look to it and I wanted to exploit that.
At this point I would like to say another word of thanks to Skip (Paul Brown) of Skipology as I've found his tutorials extremely helpful in exploring various apps and of course, I've bought a few apps in the process, as I am always looking for new information and possibilities for my own iPhoneography / Smartphoneography Workshops. (See here for more details)
One thing I keep repeating is that it is YOUR vision that makes the image. That and being able to translate that into a form that others can see and appreciate. All the apps in the world are worthless if you don't know what you want to do or even what you like! Skip's tutorial based on a seascape he did some time ago, basically opened my eyes to some different ways to look at things. I did some things as he did but since my image was different in some ways, I came up with some other ways to interpret the shot that suited me better.
I opened the image in Snapseed to straighten it but found that it was pretty darned near perfect as it was. That was easy eh? Since I was working with a colour image (Skip's image started off shot in black & white in Hipstamatic) I already had the colour I wanted and so went to Phototoaster and applied the Clarify filter, which just lifted the detail a little on the beach. I normally would use "Detail" on Snapseed for this followed by "Drama" but I liked the subtle treatment that Toaster gave the image. After each stage, I saved the shot.
Then it was into Distressed FX (a new app to me!) and it was a really cool app to work with. I loved the textures and effects options that it gave me. I added some birds and used the Charm filter in it. I saved the image then went to Trey Ratcliff's 100CamerasIn1 and as per Skip's suggestion, I added the "It seemed like a good plan" filter, but instead of setting to minimum, I chose to crank it to about 30% as I didn't like the loss of colour.
That was pretty much it. The big revelation for me was Distressed FX and the beautiful texturing. You know, one thing that being given the opportunity to teach workshops does for you is it makes you very aware of how much you have to learn and it makes you hungry to learn more. I can't pass on what I don't know and so this whole process for me has been a real pleasure.
If you haven't already taken a look at my iPhoneography page, click here and have a look. Also feel free to share the beach image in today's blog post. Don't forget, if you'd free on the afternoon of 19th March at 3.30pm, I'll be running the 2nd workshop at Dungannon Library on Smartphone Photography in conjunction withLibrariesNI,. To book your place, contact the Library directly on 028 8772 2952. Look forward to seeing you there!