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Archive for March, 2010

The kids love this. Spaceballs quotes aside, in my quest for more and more iPhone photography app has led me to a great app by the people who bring us The Digital Photo Experience, a site everyone should visit daily. At any rate, I couldn’t turn down a free app, especially from such a trusted website I visit so regularly. What was amazing to me is how poor the ratings were for it.

One of the things that drives me nuts about the app review process is that anyone can simply rate an app upon deleting it. There is zero incentive to write anything out or give an app more than a one rating just because they want to be “that guy.” It’s so easy to to give a free app a one star rating just because you feel that your time was wasted. This is why I think that we can only take the ratings posted in the app store with a grain of salt and the best thing we can do is to download the app, especially if it’s free, or look for a review.

The DPE app is essentially an app version of their website, which is updated daily. Since there are no written reviews I can venture a guess that because the app is a condensed version of the website, that is the reason people are giving it poor reviews. I couldn’t disagree more (if that’s the case). I love the fact the app is essentially a condensed version of the DPE website because I try to avoid using safari if I don’t have to use it. In fact I find the DPE app is a more fluid version than their full site, and the full site is pretty sharp as well. The news feed posts on the app pretty close to when the full website updates, so you don’t have to worry about a lagging feed like other apps.

The app also features a section for the DPE podcasts which is  nice reference of their podcast library or sample an episode. You can stream the podcast, but for me, I already subscribe to it so the feature isn’t a deal breaker for me. Because I live in a lead box, my 3g signal isn’t the best. Thus I had a little trouble streaming through the app, but as I mentioned I already subscribe to the podcast so the ability to in-app stream is not a dealbreaker for me. DPE has a pretty extensive library of podcasts, therefore I would use the app to sample some of the ones that seem intriguing and then head over to itunes and download the full cast. I usually enjoy a good podcast and haven’t been disappointed with DPE yet.

Overall the app is not filled with gimmicks or glitz and glam, it’s simple information about photography at y our fingertips; and that’s all the app needs to be. While its a bummer that the App is only holding a 2-3 star rating right now I feel once its in the hands of people who appreciate the information legitimate reviews will be forthcoming. I think anyone whose into keeping up to date with photography trends and techniques will benefit from this app. It’s free, so you have no reason not to check it out.

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I’m obsessed with the  the Buffalo Central Terminal. If you’re unfamiliar with the Central Terminal, check out its history. The building is only eighty-one years old, but looking at it you’d think the building had been through a major war or ruins from the middle ages. The Central Terminal is a true testament on how we our society simply gives up on things we don’t like anymore. All this talk about high-speed rail in New York has brought a surge in discussion about restoring the central terminal to its old glory. Hypothetically, that would be great. It saddens me to see such a, once, prodominent structure simply rotting into the ground. Realistically though, the Central Terminal will not become a hub for hi-speed rail. That isn’t meant to be a dig at the great people and organizations trying to restore the structure, but its the sad truth.

Our neighborhoods, especially around the Central Terminal area, have been so neglected that there is no infrastructure in place to support it. Central Terminal now sits in the middle of a depressed residential neighborhood with one gas station and the occasional bodega. The streets are littered with pot-holes, homes are boarded up and the American dream abandoned. It’s easy for us to say that we can simply, with unlimited government funding, restore the Central Terminal and the surrounding area. Is it an achievable dream or just an idea that we’re floating around. The Central Terminal was being dismantled in the late 1960’s to save on cost, and in the 1980’s the terminal was placed on the State and National Historic Places registry, thus disallowing it to be torn down. So with all that, the Central Terminal sit.

While it seems unforeseeable that the terminal will see active rail transportation again, I think we should allow nature to continue to overtake the grounds. The Central Terminal now is a nesting place for several species of migrating birds and other small animals. Because humans have built and neglected magnificence, nature has found a way and embraced our poor decisions.

Here’s an example of what has become of the Central Terminal:

I feel that we had our chance to enjoy what we built. Our leaders in the past made a choice to allow this magnificent structure enter an era of decay. We allowed them to let it rot, much like other aspects of our society that we hand over to our leaders to ruin. While we can try to restore what we neglected, nature stepped in for us and is embracing our urban ruins. I think because nature found a way, we should allow it to thrive and perhaps that can be a model for tourism. The Central Terminal Urban Forest could be a future tourist attraction that the terminals governing body could capitalize on. I think because we live in a neglect, teardown and rebuild society, we over look opportunities to use what we have.

I, of course, hope for brighter days for the Central Terminal. Would it be glorious to see the terminal once again used for its original intention? Yes. But, unfortunately politics and hope for change and high-speed rail will plague the Central Terminal area as long as it’s being printed in the papers. Thus, we should embrace the terminal as is as a monument for our society, and perhaps a reminder to not let our treasures suffer the same fate.

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While traveling to New York City this week for a video shoot I found myself bored while waiting at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport so I explored the App stre for new apps. I generally try to use my iPhone for work related apps, but occasionally novelty apps such as lightsaber pokes its head in from time to time. At any rate, I was sifting through through the App store and came across a nifty little app called “Cross Process”.

I’m a huge nerd about cross processing and old film stocks. I love the vintage flat look with marvelous tints and vignettes. I had been looking or a way to do things like this on my iPhone but never really found an app that would accomodate the look I was going for.

“Cross Process” is a very easy to use cross process generating app fo r the iPhone. The user simply launches cross process and after a brief screengrab of instructions you’re on your way. The app allows the user to generate cross processed looks from their iPhones photo library. This is nice because as a photographer who keeps a version of his portfolio on his iPhone, I can quickly make a cross process version of a photograps; perhaps inspiring me to go home and redo some color correcting.

The other awesome feature of cross process is that the app also acts as a camera when you launch it. So you don’t have to worry about jumping from the iPhones native camera app and just use the “Cross Process” camera.

The actual cross processing has four settings in the info tab on the main page of the app. Users have the ability to turn on/off red, blue and green channels of processing along with a basic process on/off option. This allows for quite a diverse collection of cross process options from just one photo.  The “Cross Process” app also allows you to keep the original unprocessed photo in your camera roll which will allow you to go back another time to process it with a different color channel or even use the photo in another app.

So talk is talk, lets see what this app cranks out:

As you can see, the results from the Cross Process app are pretty stellar, if this is the look you’re looking for. Apps like “Cross Process” are a testament to what a simple phone camera and creativity of developers can put in the hands of people. I’m so impressed with “Cross Process” that after playing with it for a few hours that I moved it to my first page of apps. I knew I’d be using this app for all my gorilla photography and most likely will use it to take any type of photo. Even though a lot of people think this look is a fad, I consider it a throwback to some of the classic photography styles we were traditionally taught on (yes, I’m just old enough to know what film is and was even taught photography with it. Simply shocking.) For $1.99 skip your Tim Hortons Double Double and pick up this app. I love this app, and I’m pretty sure you will too. If not then just buy an extra double double to make up for buying it. Either way, you’re buying this great app and a double double, so all in all it’s a good day. Check out the developers website, he does some pretty amazing things: http://greyscalegorilla.com

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