Monday, August 29, 2011

The best apps for your iPhone

Your shot
Here are your shots taken on a phone! Thanks to those who submitted :)

by Anita Sthankiya

by Anita Sthankiya
by Maddy Burgess

by Erika Vasey
I am reaching out to all you iPhone users - and if you don't have an iPhone, I am still reaching out to all readers with a camera in their phone! You can still participate! Please send me your best photos taken on your phone, and by Sunday Sept. 4, I will be publishing some of my favourites!

If you are wondering how to take better photos with your iPhone, look no further! Here are three of the best (in my opinion) iPhone apps to take better pictures. Just so you are all aware, I have the iPhone 3Gs which does not have a flash, and I am still amazed at what great photos come out of this little phone. Of course, you'll get some before and afters here to show just how using the standard camera isn't sufficient enough!

This was the first app I added to my phone. It is pretty cool for taking pictures with a rustic feel. Your phone will literally convert to an old camera and you can choose the lens, flash and film to get different "old fashioned" looking photos. If you'd like, you can also switch effects like the border to get the look you're going for. I like this simple tan border :)

This app is really fun because you simply select a photo and TiltShiftFocus creates a new look to your picture. You are able to change your focus area either in a linear, bi-linear, circular or zoom fashion. The contrast is also heightened to really make your photo pop! I really love this app!

As you can see here in the before and after, only the paddlers are in focus, as well, the contrast really darkens and brightens different areas of the photo. I really never get sick of using TiltShift, with the soft focus in play, it leaves so much up to the imagination!

Finally, Camera+ is an all around life saver to have on your phone. I use it so frequently because it generally does it all. You can rotate, crop, add a border, but most of all, apply different effects to your photos. It is like a mini-photoshop that is so easy to use. What's more, it also has an HDR effect - so fun!

I took two different pictures here and edited to second one with Camera+. I like both versions, but everything about the second picture changes with a couple clicks >Flash>FX Effects>Cross Process (to be exact)

Do you have any photos or tips you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send me your best photo taken on your phone! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Happy happy days in the Philippines. Not only was it the last stop in Asia, it was also the most relaxing and laid back! A whole ten days were spent lounging, soaking up the sun and getting involved in some fun water sports! High on the list was scuba diving, where I finally overcame of fear of clearing my mask and became certified! Thanks to Calypso Diving who made this experience so memorable and exciting for me! A special thank you to Chris!

The first 5 days were spent in Boracay (a highlight of the 6-week vacation). Not only is this island super easy to get to, it is packed with activities to keep you occupied for a year if you were to stay that long! The people in the Philippines were the nicest you could ever imagine, so warm and friendly, and willing to help you in any case of trouble - like a monkey bite! Ouch! 

We later embarked on a flight to Palawan, which if you have time, we were told to check out the north, El Nido. We stopped to take a look at the Underground River in Puerto Princesa. The river is nominated as one of the NEW 7 Wonders of the World

However, after thinking about how we should spend the last three days of our Asian Adventure, our love for Boracay took us back! When in Boracay, here are some MUSTS you absolutely MUST do:
(just some) 
1. Diving 
2. Sun set sail on the blue Philippine boats
3. Get a burger from Nigi Nigi's
4. Watch "The Boss"
5. Do these everyday, on repeat.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Singapore was a wonderful place! With China Town at your door step and being amongst all the high sky scrapers, it sure was a place of beauty! In two days I used two feet and a heart beat to see as much as the city as I could, all without getting overheated from the sun. Singapore was not cheap and can easily put a dent in the budget traveler's wallet. (I am speaking in comparison to other Southeast Asian countries here) but it offered so much to do in such a short amount of time that it was hard to pass up visiting.

Check out the beauty of this amazing place:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Add this to your bag of tricks!

This summer was a nice way to learn how to capture the moment as its happening! I saw and did so much in Asia and wanted to get everything as it was seen! You are not always given the right lighting, but there are a couple tricks into getting a great shot that I wanted to share with you!

Lets take a look at how to get the perfect waterfall shot! This one wasn't easy, but after lots of practice, I was able to finally nail it! And after you take one, you get better, and one turns into many.

Here are the specs:

Focal length:18mm
ISO: 100
F stops: 22
Shutter speed: 1/4
Tripod: No. Balanced on a fence, yes.

Here's what that means in English: The lighting was bright, so the first thing I did was change my ISO so it was as low as it goes. This gave me a really clear picture with less grain. I then turned my dial so the F stop was as high as is goes. I opened my shutter speed at 1/4 so as it opens longer (a quarter of a second) it is able to catch the movement of the waterfall.

Here is another one:

Here are the specs:

Focal length: 50mm
ISO: 400
F stops: 2.5
Shutter speed: 1/5
Tripod: No. 

Again I really wanted to capture the movement of the fire and the performer. I needed a bit more light in this situation because it was night time and the only light around me was from my subject. I increased my  ISO to 400, and my F stop was lowered to 2.5, giving the blurry effect you see in the background. Finally, my shutter was open for one fifth of a second. I held my camera very still, well actually, I squatted like a big nerd, elbows down and didn't move!

I absolutely love the eeriness of this photo! It reminds me of Halloween with the red colors, the moon, and the old tree right in front. This was a free hand shot. The key to doing a free hand shot with no tripod is to get in a really steady position, which usually looks really awkward and uncomfortable, but  gives you great shots! I always bring my shoulders up high, elbows down until they are kissing and make sure no one is around to bump into me. Even in a busy walkway, you can move to the side and be out of the way. 

Here is one last one:

Focal length: 50mm
ISO: 1600
F stops: 2.5
Shutter speed: 1/15
Tripod: No.

The only light around me in this night shot was from a tiny lamp coming from the left of me, and a faded street lamp to the right of my subject. This little boy was standing so still as my subject, but I still needed to increase my ISO because it was so dark! In all fairness, it was about 11pm. It really took a lot of playing around with my settings to get what I was looking for. I would recommend you get to know your camera and how to adjust the settings quickly and easily so you are able to capture the moment! Shooting in manual is much more fun than automatic!