Thursday, February 16, 2012

Planting the seed...

So I'm starting a new blog--one of the estimated 175,000 created every day...why?

Because I couldn't find one out there that specialized in what this blog is going to feature: 'snapseeded' photos. (See disclaimer at bottom of page.)

Since getting the snapseed app a couple of months ago, I've been continuously amazed at the creative possibilities of photo-editing on my iPhone--at home, on the go, on my lunch-hour, or even while taking a stretching-break during a trail-run--I literally have a digital darkroom in the palm of my hand! And instead of being a one-trick wonder, snapseed allows the iPhoneographer/iPhotographer to play with a whole range of powerful, creative editing.

I spent a good portion of last summer abroad, and I ended up with hundreds of snapshots on my iPhone--almost as many, in fact, as I took with my 'real' camera...As soon as I downloaded snapseed, I began to experiment with those travel photos...and then after a few weeks I began to e-mail some 'regular' photos, including old, scanned pics, to my iPhone just so that I would be able to edit them with snapseed.

Whether I'm traveling elsewhere, or just in my home city, I'm always on the lookout for details and a sense of place. Proust's well-known statement, "the real voyage of discovery consists not [necessarily] in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes," is often in the back of my mind as I look around...and so I include a paraphrase of his quote in this blog's title.

A few snapseeded scenes, then, to get started, from Arizona and beyond:
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(for larger views, simply click on any of the photos)

close-up of an agave in AZ; I love the 'x-ray' imprint of the leaves...
taken on iPhone, converted to b&w with snapseed,
then used the 'center focus' and 'drama' filters

on an evening hike in Sabino Canyon, on the NE edge of Tucson, AZ
the sun had already set behind the ridge, and the photo
would otherwise have been too dark;
with a few finger swipes--the exposure and lighting corrected

this panorama of downtown St. Louis, MO stitched with the AutoStitch app,
then 'miniaturized' for a toy model effect
using the 'tilt&shift' filter on snapseed

this scene in Le√≥n, Nicaragua, is a 'transplanted' photo--
taken, pre-iPhone era, when my wife and I lived in Central America;
I e-mailed it to my phone so that I could edit it with snapseed,
using various configurations of the 'tilt&shift' and 'center focus' filters
in order to isolate the one girl looking back

another 'transplant,' this one of an old scanned photo,
a view of Paris from the south bell tower of Notre Dame cathedral,
converting to sepia tone and using the 'tilt&shift' and 'center focus'
to focus on the cityscape in the middle distance

back to a 'completely iphoneographic' snapshot,
this detail of a wall in the Bukchon neighborhood in Seoul, S. Korea,
using one of the 'grunge' filters


and another 'transplanted photo'--an overview of central Seoul,
'tilt-shifted' with Gwanghwamun Plaza,
and the blue-tile-roofed Cheongwadae (the Presidential Mansion),
taken from a high-rise, zooming northward towards the
flanks of Mt. Bugak-san


and finally, a photo I took earlier tonight,
showing the almost 'macro'-possibilities of iphoneography
along with the 'center-focus' snapseed filter,
the 'title photo' for the blog--
my 'signature-chop' ('toh-jahng' in Korean)...

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With snapseed so ideal for travel-photos, for capturing and playing with a sense of place,
this description of travel, by writer Rebecca Solnit, comes to mind:

"Perhaps people travel for pleasure because the visual is much more memorable than the tangible, the seen than the felt.  At the time, traveling may be nothing more than a series of discomforts in magnificent settings:  running for the train to paradise in a heat wave, carrying an ever heavier pack in alpine splendor, seeing sublime ruins with stomach trouble. Yet it is the field of images and not the body of sensations that lingers.  My mother once remarked that if women remembered what childbirth felt like, no one would have more than one child.  And so I, third child of a third child, owe my existence to forgetting and my taste for travels to the dominance of the eye..."

"The field of images...the dominance of the eye..."
     ...all to be played with in the palm of one's hand...         

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