this and that

I never even turned on my computer yesterday. I was so scattered, and I kept meaning to get to it and then I just never did. Do you have days like that? I did a lot of things, but in the end I didn't feel like I really accomplished much at all. I'm going to try and do better today, so first thing I'm doing is getting on my computer and writing this post, which will probably be random and scattered like my day was.

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The acorns on the California oaks around here are long and skinny. I have an app called FingerFace and now I think I will put little faces on everything. 

I shared the above photo on Instagram the other day. I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I've limited my Twitter use to blog posts and Instagram these days, I feel like tweeting is like walking into a big party and just shouting out something witty and hoping someone hears (and then RTs it). I don't really love big parties. I think I will stick to Instagram for now, I like looking at everyone's pretty pictures and it's making me be more creative with photography. 

I didn't mention in my book post that I listened to the Song of Ice and Fire series audiobooks recently as well. I came across this Tumblr blog and this re-imagined cover for A Game of Thrones made me laugh really hard. 

Have you seen this? Works of art, re-made. Some are literal, like this beautiful painting and photograph: 


And some are more interpretive. I especially liked this one (the pillow case tacked to the wall is an especially nice touch): 



I've been making a lot of soup lately, albondigas, this hot & sour cabbage soup, sausage and kale soup. I tried this green soup, but it came out kind of thin and watery, with not a lot of flavor. I need to expand my soup repertoire, does anyone have a favorite recipe to share? Preferably without grains or beans. Lots of vegetables are welcome, and I am not afraid to make my own broth. When I'm ready for a break from soup I think I'll try this artichoke, kale & ricotta pie, it looks so good.

I told you I was all scattered! 

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I had no intention of doing another app review so soon, but I discovered Percolator last night and I love it so much I had to share it Right Now.

Percolator is a fun photo app that turns your pictures into mosaic works of art. 

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You can really fine-tune the effects, and decide just how much of your original image you want to retain. I'm still figuring out what all the different settings do. I love this photo I took of my mother's friend on our last day in Africa, I'm not sure exactly what I did in Percolator, but it's just magical: 

A bowl of yarn becomes a riot of color:

I love the creativity of this app, it makes me feel so artistic, even though its ridiculously easy. Of course there is a flickr group, with lots of interesting work being done in combination with other apps too. 

The website shows the price is $2.99, but it's only $1.99 right now in the app store. I'm not sure how long that will last, so I'd get it quick! There's also an iPad version, which I can only imagine is downright amazing.

Percolator - Tinrocket, LLC


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band of the day

Time for an app review, don't you think? Once upon a time I used to be pretty hip when it came to music. I knew about lots of obscure bands and kept up with all the latest news. These days I barely listen to the radio, I might be getting a little too old for the mosh pit, and I'm lucky to buy three CDs in a year. Band of the Day to the rescue! This free app is a great way to learn about artists from all sorts of different music genres. 

Each day a different band or artist is in the spotlight, and you can read reviews, listen to full tracks and share your finds on twitter, facebook, and more. Peruse the calender on the opening screen to view any of the past artists as well. Of course there are also links to buy and download music right away via iTunes. 

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I love the design of the app, it's clean and modern and while the navigation takes a few minutes to figure out, it's really slick and easy to find your way around. I really like that I can discover a new band every day. Maybe I can still be hip in my 40's? Totally worth the price of FREE!

Band Of The Day - 955 Dreams


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Magic Hour

It's been awhile since I've seen a photo app that I've really liked, and that I think is really original and worth adding to my screen full of photo apps, but I recently discovered Magic Hour, and it's been my favorite app lately. I thought I'd better tell you about it pronto!

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Like lots of photo editing apps, it comes with a bunch of filters that you can just tap to apply to any of your photos. There are two things that set it apart, however. First, you can create your own filters by adjusting and adding a bunch of different elements: curves, saturation, brightness, contrast, vignettes, textures, and frames. Second, you can save your filter and share it with all the other Magic Hour users in the Marketplace. Filters are free to download, so the possibilities are endless. I've made a few to share. The one above is called Sunny Fade (you can search for it in the Marketplace by name). It looks nice on photos with lots of pinks & greens. Another one I called Dutch Mastered, I like it for cool greens and blues. I think it's a nice, painterly look:

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This next one is really useful, I think. It's called Subtle Spotlight, and that's just what it is. It doesn't scream, "I put a filter on this photo to make it look cool!" It just adds a little something, and lightens a dim photo nicely (this one also has a little tilt-shift effect on it too, but that I added with Instagram): 

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I wanted a filter to turn a bright blue sky to a faded turquoise, so I made this one and called it County Fair. It's very green, so it works best over photos with lots of blue, I think: 

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The app also crops your photos square, so it works really nicely with Instagram when you don't want to use the same old filters when you share your photos there. Have you used Magic Hour? Do you have filters to share? Tell us in the comments! 

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a brief guide to iPhoneography, part II

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Are you ready for more iPhoneography stuff? I thought I'd tell you about some more apps and show you what you can do with them, and then at the end I'll share a few links to some iPhone photographers to get you inspired. 

You probably have the Hipstamatic app, right? I think it's a lot of fun and I get every new lens and film and flash as soon as they come out. The unpredictablitiy is part of its charm, and I like that. But. I think it can be over used. Seeing photo after photo with the same sort of greenish tinge gets boring. I tend to think of it as a second camera if I'm out and about and taking lots of pictures. I'll do mostly regular photos and then take a few with my Hipstamatic app, and every now and then I'll end up with something that I really love, like this picture of my family, watching a bike race last summer:

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I think it can also be used effectively for a series of related photos, although I haven't been organized to do anything like that yet :o) 

A couple Hipstamatic tips: if you shake your phone, the app will randomize your lens, film, and flash, which is a fun way to try out different combinations without any effort. Also, if you look through your album and find a photo that you particularly like, you can tap it and then, on the bar that appears across the bottom of the screen, tap the little camera with a gear icon and you can change the camera settings to match the ones used in that photo. The other nice thing is that you can order prints. I will get around to doing that one of these days and let you know how they are, I've heard good things!

The funny thing is, the same people made another app called Swankolab, and they seem to have forgotten about it, which is a little sad, because I love it. Swankolab is like a darkroom on your phone. You chose a photo from your camera roll, and then mix up the various chemicals and develop your picture. You can create formulas out of different chemical combinations and save them to re-use. And the order in which you mix the chemicals can make a difference! The picture at the top and the one below were both processed with Swankolab using a formula I came up with and call Crisp Sepia (if you want to try it out: Jerry's Developer, Grizzle Fix, Vinny's BL04 are the chemicals). 

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Not only do you end up with some really nice effects, the app itself is really well-designed, you can tell they put a lot of thought into it, with the bubbling chemical sound effects and the developer tray which you can shake and watch your photo slowly appear as it processes. Here's another formula I made, called Pale Antique (SwankoDev A19, Larry's Developer):

image from that brings me to another app, which is pretty new, called Diptic. I plan to use this regularly, I hope you don't mind. It's very simple, it's just a nice way to make little collages of related photos. It can save at high resolutions (the photo above was saved at 2592×2592), so I bet they would even print nicely and be great for scrapbooking. 

Okay, one last silly fun app that I need to play with some more: Tiny Planets! What does it do? It turns your picture into a tiny planet, of course! I don't have a good example, but there is a whole flickr group, so go there and look. 

Oh, and I did want to briefly mention Instagram, if you're using it, please feel free to follow me, and I'll follow you back (I'm heylucy, of course)! I didn't think I needed yet another social networking app, and I don't post a ton, but it really is a lot of fun, so join in! Just think, if you had been following me, you would have gotten to see a picture of my feet and other exciting happenings in my life (okay, I am really boring, maybe you should follow some other people instead). 

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 Okay, here are some iphoneography sites that I have bookmarked that I think are good for inspiration:

It's pretty amazing just what you can do with a camera on a phone, so get out there and take yourself some beautiful photos! 

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