Well, that was exciting—Zander (who now often spells his name "Xander") broke his wrist in two places while snowboarding. I had to go on an odyssey in the night to fetch him from the Ski Patrol hut at the local ski hill, way out in the country, where they had splinted his arm using corrugated cardboard. He now has a brand new bright blue cast on his arm—and can no longer play video games. What will the boy do with his days?
I said, "That's really too bad. Now you can't go snowboarding any more."
He said, "Theoretically."
On the way home from the Apple Store.
Photo taken one-handed with my newest camera by Xander.
Today, we braved the crowds and went to the local Apple Store to get his Christmas present—an iPhone 4S. His father also got one, out of self-preservation more than anything else. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I honestly never knew how to use my old phone—I was just a half-step and a soft shoe shuffle away from total incompetence. (It didn't really matter, since the thing hardly got reception anywhere anyway.) My idea was that I'd get a phone identical to Zander's—sorry, Xander's—so he could teach me how to use it. I already know more about how to use the iPhone than I ever knew about the old phone.
I'm pleased to report I just sent my first-ever "text." I wrote "Just testing texting," and Xander texted back, "Didn't work." Damn! Back to the drawing board.
So does anyone want to recommend any photo-related apps for the iPhone that I might enjoy? I don't know how to download apps yet, but I'm fairly certain that it's something even I can learn.
I guess this also means I have yet another new camera. But this one wasn't purchased as such, so it doesn't officially count. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
Finally, a favorite new joke, courtesy of my longtime friend Jim, who with his family left to return to Vermont this morning:
Skeleton walks into a bar. Bartender says, "What'll it be?" Skeleton says, "a beer and a mop."
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Ctein: "Dear Mike, Xander may be amused by the following. I fractured my wrist in a motorcycle accident when I was 23. It didn't heal properly, so eventually they had to do a bone graft (which has worked fine ever since)—transplant a plug of healthy bone into the fracture so new bone can grow into it. The doctor said they could take the plug either from my upper arm, which would mean immobilizing the entire arm in a cast, or from my hip bone, which would leave a more noticeable scar but I'd be walking in just a couple of days. Obviously I opted for the latter. I have gotten much amusement from it ever since. My first day back at work, people immediately noticed I was limping and they asked why. My reply? 'I broke my wrist.' 'What does that have to do with limping?' 'They had to do surgery on it.' I still get mileage out of this. Occasionally a new partner will notice the fairly obvious scar over my hip bone and ask what happened. I still reply, 'I broke my wrist.' Sometimes I will embellish it with, 'I was limping for quite a while.' People who love me have to put up with a lot. Or so I'm told. Once a smartass, always a smartass."
Featured Comment by William Baker: "My go-to iPhone photography apps are 6x6 and/or 6x7 (both vastly superior to the baked-in camera app), Snapseed (fantastic image editing from Nik software), Instagram and/or Hipstamatic (faux retro stylings and social sharing), and Big Lens (fake depth-of-field/bokeh masking)."
Featured Comment by Giovanni Maggiora: "Hi Mike and thanks for the countless tips thoughts analyses and general musings you provide us with every day. You just got yourself the most addictive revolutionary camera concept on the market today, much improved from its previous iteration. Still, my standard use of the non-camera in my pocket involves skipping its excellent image taking ability and jumping straight into the haphazard world of Hipstamatic shoots, with my current favorite lens/film combination: John's / Ina 1969. As opposed, for example, to the Instagram app, you relinquish control outright, and are left with the joy of the unexpected surprise. I sometimes wish I could reprocess the same way some existing 'regular' image, but then again, that would leave me with too much control on which image to treat how. For total control, stick to your other cameras and Lightroom! Have a great 2012 with your new toy!"
Featured Comment by Len Salem: "I like 6x6. It produces a square image which differentiates it nicely from my other 3:2 and 4:3 cameras and produces a neat white border around the image. It does not have tricksy effects other than being able to do B&W at a touch of an onscreen slider. You can also touch the screen at your preferred point of focus and exposure and this works very well at optimising those parameters at that point.
"My phone is a 3GS, the one before yours. I'm told yours has the better camera but for me the impulse of the moment is more important than tryng to achieve high quality. In fact I prefer it not to look like the result from a DSLR but to have its own look."
Featured Comment by Ruud van Ruitenbeek: "The app that I would recommend is The Photographer's Ephemeris. It 'is a program to assist the planning of outdoor photography.' It shows you the exact times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, azimuth, altitude and many more things. A bit geeky, but really useful for outdoor activities. Not free, but at $8.99 it's very good value. The PC or Mac version is free so you can have a look and see if it is worth $8.99 to you."
Featured Comment by ycl: "Ya gotta get the Light Meter app—it's free, and works as well as any spot meter I've ever used. And you have to admit, it's pretty cool to use the iPhone as a lightmeter while out and about photographin' with a 1950s-era Rolleiflex...."
Featured Comment by Edie Howe: "Avoid Instagram. Word floating on the inter webs is that the TOS contains a rights grab of any images you post with it. I use Camera+ and am very pleased with it. Also, The Photographer's Ephemeris is a hands-down must have app, IMO. Filterstorm rocks.
"Now for some not so obvious recommendations: Flashlight by John Haney software makes for really nice light painting, with colors! It can also help you find your dropped car keys in a dark parking lot.
"Padport and Foliobook are slick portfolio apps, but to be frank, too complex and finicky to really be worth the money. The photo app that ships with the iPhone works fine, in my opinion.
"Visimoon can help you track the moon's progression against the night sky, helpful if you want to know where and when the moon will be at any given time and location. I prefer using The Photographer's Ephemeris, though.
"Get Goodreader, because there are lots of ebooks being released in PDF format, from collections of gorgeous images to location guides, to instruction manuals. Bill Neill released one of his photo books as a PDF, and I had to pester him how to read it on my iPad for the review! Search out camera user manuals in PDF form, and you will always have it on hand in the field.
"Michael Frye has released his Photographer's Guide to Yosemite through the App Store, and should you ever plan to visit and I'm not available to show you around, it rocks. Heck, even if I am available, get it and read up on the Mecca of Landscape photography.
"As for Z/Xander, it's normal to reinvent yourself periodically. At least it's not 'Zoolander.' He's young, and bones heal fast at this time of his life. This will slow him down enough to take the time to teach you how to use your new toy. Think of it as a chance to bond with his new persona. Or your iPhone! ;-)
"P.S. yes, you can even process your iPhone images to look like they were taken with a Holga. Camera+ has that ability. Please don't."
Featured Comment by Peter Vagt: "DOFMaster, price $1.99, is my recommendation for must-have photo app. It is very useful for controlling depth of field in this day of lenses without the f-stop focus guides on the lens barrel. If the iPhone was a consolation gift for Xander's theoretical loss of a snowboarding season, we, your readership, are the beneficiaries. (We are sorry Xander, but thanks!) [It wasn't—it was his Christmas present, already planned. —MJ.] What a great resource this is turning out to be—a list of photography apps from your worldwide list of readers. A gift to us all, Mike!"
Mike replies: And to me too, from readers!
Featured Comment by John Amberg: "If you ever liked comic books, get Halftone."
Featured Comment by Patrick Dodds: "Don't have an iPhone but do have an iPad and would definitely recommend Snapseed, though I sense in a few years I may look back at the pictures I've 'worked' on and think 'hmm, very 2011.'"
Featured Comment by Steve E Miller: "Snapseed for the win! I use it all the time!"
Featured Comment by Jim Hart: "Harrumph! Telephones should be black with round dials, made out of Bakelite plastic tempered hard enough to break walnuts with the handset, and tethered to a building or booth so that folks who can barely drive and listen to AM radio simultaneously cannot text while driving automobiles. I used to think that the most dangerous thing on the planet was an 18-year-old American male carrying an M16 rifle. I now think it's a 16-year-old American female with a cell phone and a driver's license.
"Condolences to Xander on the broken wrist, and if you're looking for votes I prefer his new spelling of his name. Has he considered dropping the last name, à la Ctein and Cher?"
Featured Comment by m3photo: "In my usual rebellious vein I recommend no photo related apps at all—if, and only if, you are like many photographers who already have all the tools necessary for post-processing already on a much larger computer with a far more comfortable screen with which to work and not strain eyesight yet more. I understand the need for these little programmes (apps) for all those not yet proficient or lacking in PP skills and the market generated by all the possibilities inherent in the so-called smart-phone niche. I would most heartedly recommend using the rest of the phone/camera as an audiobook companion for which there are also apps aplenty. Bah Humbug to all!"
Featured Comment by Jim Richardson: "Well, Xander has my sympathy because I have broken both wrists, each from separate photo incidents. One came when I was jumping down from a farm truck during wheat harvest and my boot wouldn't come out of the side panels. Odd feeling as I rotated in gradually in mid air to the head-down, fateful position and attempted to slow my demise by sticking my hand out. The other came as I backpedaled through the snow and slush on the Kansas State University campus in front of President Ford as he made his way to a speech. Down I went backward, again breaking my fall with the outstretched hand (the one without the Nikon in it) and broke the other wrist. Ford graciously stopped long enough to ask if I was all right (No!) and the attendant Secret Service agent called for an ambulance, I think by speaking up his sleeve. (Cool, I thought.) Keep it up Xander."