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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Apps You’ll Love For Nature Photography

Oh, the images you’ll make with these little software gems!

Labels: Gear

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Families all over the country give the classic Dr. Seuss story Oh, The Places You’ll Go! to their kids when they graduate from high school. If the good doctor were alive today, he might well have rewritten it for all those graduating from a normal phone to an iPhone:

Today is your day.
You’ve bought a new iPhone,
Hurrah and hurray!

The iPhone has a decent 3-megapixel camera, nothing to write home about. But it has apps! More than a thousand small programs for photographers (most costing from 99 cents to $5) that transform this smartphone into a mini-Photoshop capable of making all kinds of extraordinary images.

My wife Lynette and I have been playing around with the iPhone for the last two years. Had so much fun, we even started a website featuring just our iPhone photos (www.digitaldivadigitaldude.com).

The iPhone has become our visual sketchpad, always with us, always ready to help us tweak an image from ordinary to extraordinary.

Lynette just checked her iPhone and found she has 98 photographic apps! Perhaps that’s a little excessive, I only have 79. The reason, besides the fact that they keep making new apps and we’re rather addicted, is that most of these apps only do one thing (or set of things). There’s no all-encompassing program like Photoshop to do almost everything.

So to save you the time and expense of sorting through all these apps, here’s our “Favorites” list by category. Grab one from each category, and you’ll be ready for more fun than you’ve had in an age.

Probably the most popular photo app on the iPhone is Photogene ($1.99). It’s as close to a mini-Photoshop as you can get and handles all the basic darkroom manipulations. You can straighten, crop, sharpen, run Levels, change the color balance, exposure or saturation, and frame your results. Truly, an excellent app.

PhotoForge ($2.99) is another winner that has most of the tools of Photogene, plus many of its own. My favorite is Simulated HDR, which can produce wonderful photorealistic effects.

For someone who just wants to keep it simple, try Perfectly Clear ($2.99). With one click, you can take a stab at all the digital darkroom parameters. Most of the time the results are so good, that’s all you need (and you can always go back and re-tweak them individually).


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