How to Capture ACTION with your iPhone Camera

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I absolutely love this feature.

I remember (years and years) ago buying a digital camera specifically because it had this ability so that I could “catch” action shots at my son’s sporting events. And now, here it is, always available right in our pocket!

I’m guessing you might not know that you have this feature …. but once you do, you’ll be using it to get that PERFECT shot.

So how do you capture action with your iPhone?

Simply bring up your camera on your iPhone.

Aim, and HOLD DOWN THE CAPTURE BUTTON. Your iPhone will snap photos quickly. A Photo Burst.

From Skitch-13

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How to Enjoy a Slideshow on your iPad: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

Over the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular.

Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old (but updated!) “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog.

* Occasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series.

Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.*

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.54.04 AMRemember the digital picture frames that were so popular several years ago? If you have an iPad, you may choose to leave that digital frame in the drawer because your iPad is an awesome picture frame. Better, probably, than the dedicated version you have (had) and a LOT more fun.

When you first take your iPad out of the box, one of the Apps you will see on the home screen is called Photos and it shows on your screen as a daisy with colorful petals. We are going to make our slideshow with this native App (although there are lots of others available in the App Store).

Once you have about a dozen photos on your iPad, you are ready to enjoy the show. We will get it started, and look at several options along the way.

Touch the photos app to open it. Now tap any photo, from any collection. (Once you understand how to make a slideshow, you can group your photos accordingly.)

Look down at the bottom left of the screen. You’ll see a box with an arrow pointing up. This is your “action” box.

Tap on this action box, and you’ll be presented with several choices of “actions.” One of these choices will be: Slideshow.

From Skitch

Select “slideshow” and you will get a new menu with several choices.

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Touch “transitions” and you will get several options: dissolve, cube, ripple, wipe across, wipe down and origami. Choose any one of these for now, you can come back and change it later.

Your next option is “Play Music”. Slide this to “on”. When you touch “music” you will be presented with all the music that you have on your iPad. Select something that you would like to listen to while you watch your pictures.

Once you have made these choices, touch “Start Slideshow” and sit back to enjoy the show. At any point if you want to stop it, just tap the screen.

But you’re not done yet! There are a few other tweaks that you can do. Open Settings > Photos. Notice there are several setting choices for your slideshow. You can change the number of seconds that each slide stays on the screen, choose to repeat photographs, and opt to have the photos shuffled as they are viewed.

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How to Save Web Images to your iPhone or iPad

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.13.26 PMOver the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular.

Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog.

Perhaps you’re wandering around the internet on your iPhone or on your iPad and you see a photo you would like to keep. Maybe you’ve just stumbled on a photo of a sailboat that is on your dream list, or a picture of an awesome cake that inspires you to bake and decorate.

How to Save a Web Image to your iPhone or iPad:

If you see a picture that you would like to keep, just touch the picture and wait a moment. A menu will appear with the option to SAVE the image. Touch SAVE.

You’re done. Yep. That’s all there is.

The image is now in your camera roll. To find it, go to your Photos app. Choose camera roll, and take a look at the last picture. There is your cake (or boat :) )

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From Skitch

Another great way to grab what you see is to take a screenshot. This means that you will actually take a picture of the whole screen. Just put one finger on the on/off button, and your other finger on the home button. Push them both at once. Hold for just a second and then let go. Click! A picture of the screen is now in your camera roll. Now go to the Photos app > camera roll. You’ll find your screenshot waiting for you as the last picture in the camera roll.

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Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 is …….

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 6.56.12 PMWhat is the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year (WOTY)?
The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word, or expression, that we can see has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Every year, candidates for Word of the Year are debated and one is eventually chosen that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.
(Oxford Dictionaries.com)

And so, this year’s Word of the Year was recently announced, and the winner is …….. drum roll, please ……. “selfie.”

Yes, that’s it. The International Word of the Year.

SELFIE

What is it? Here is the Oxford definition:

selfie:
noun, informal
(also selfy; plural selfies)
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website

The word Selfie can be traced back to an Australian online forum wayyy back in 2002.

Do you use this word? (I haven’t)

Do you take selfies? (I have, a few times when traveling, and quickly deleted the result. Clearly selfies are not a friendly form of photography for folks-of-a-certain-age :shock:)

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Amazing Cat Face: Photoshopped? or NOT?

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I just couldn’t help myself. I had to show you these pictures. And since this blog has a “tech” theme, I stretched the title with the “photoshopped” tease…… :)

But I do think this fellow’s face looks, well, fake. The line down the middle is just so straight!!!!

He is a feral kitten (no lectures, please) and he just showed up at my back door on Saturday. I tapped the window and when he looked up I used my iPhone to take his picture.

Have you ever seen such an amazing face?

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Doodle on Photos with Photo Editor-

Image-1Early last year I recommended Skitch as a great app to use for drawing on photos. I used it often and was excited about sharing it. Recently they “upgraded” it and have rendered it almost useless. I assume they will fix it again, but in the meantime, I needed another easy-to-use photo editor. And I found a great one! Yay!

So now I’m enjoying this new (to me) photo-editing app, called Photo Editor-. It is free, although you can buy extra tweeks. So far, I have bought nothing, and I’m very happy with the functionality of the app exactly the way it is (w/o extras). I can crop, enhance, eliminate red eye, and do many other common photo-things.

AND …..With this app you can also easily add text, change the color of the text, resize the text and place it anywhere on the photo.

AND…… You also have the ability to draw on a photo, changing the thickness of your line and the color, as well.

AND … for extra fun, they have “stickers”. A beginner “pack” is included with the free version. I grabbed a plain picture of the Simpsons off of the internet, and had fun adding all kinds of little extras on them. I added the speech bubble and text, Bart’s hat, Maggie’s Groucho face, Marge’s glasses, Homer’s tie and 3D glasses and Lisa’s sombrero. Imagine the fun with your own family photos. (I almost used my own family for this post, but I thought better of it. :shock: )

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Once you finish editing your photo, you are given many options of what to do with your masterpiece. You can email it, tweet it, facebook it, or save it.

I’m delighted to have a good draw-on-it photo app again.

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 7.12.12 PMPhoto Editor- is free in the iTunes store.

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Macro Photography on your iPhone: How to Lock the Focus

Photo Skitch Document-5Although the iPhone isn’t a replacement for a “real” camera, it can take excellent photos.

In addition to general photography, it can do an amazing job on close-up (macro) photos.

Just hold the iPhone about 4 inches from your subject, and you will be surprised at the detail you can capture.

However, while you are trying to get your subject into focus, you may be frustrated because every time you move a bit to recompose the shot, (even ever so slightly), the iPhone camera adjusts and refocuses. Argh!

There is a way to “lock” the focus in place and solve this problem, but the feature is a little hard to find.

Here is how to lock your macro focus on your iPhone:

Move your iPhone to within about 4 inches from your subject.

Put your finger on the screen on top of the subject of your photo.

You will see a square appear under your finger. Hold your finger in place against the screen and the square will start pulsating. Take your finger off the screen.

As you lift your finger, you will see the words “AE/AF Lock” appear at the bottom of the screen. This means that the focus is now locked and you can make your small adjustments to the photographic composition without the camera shifting out of focus, again.

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The lock is ‘released’ after you take a shot, so if you are going to take more photos, you will have to put your finger on the screen each time to enable the lock.

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Tiny Bit of Tech at the Philly Flower Show

Screen shot 2013-03-07 at 8.43.40 AM The Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest indoor flower show (longest running, too) and a glorious extravaganza that I look forward to every year. Not only does it signal the entrance of Spring, but in its own right, it fills the Convention Center with sights and smells and displays and artistic design beyond the imagination. Each year is built around a theme, and this year the theme is “Brilliant” with exhibits focusing on the landscapes, culture and beauty of Great Britain.

And yes. There was Tech. No escaping that. Tech crops up everywhere, even when it’s time to stop and smell the roses. :) (More on that, later)

But first…. let’s look around.

The entrance gates ….

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The grand centerpiece, Big Ben …

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Of course there were acres of displays, and fields of flowers …

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But with all of that, I find that some of the “other” entries really astound me. For example, the miniatures. The miniatures are presented in a wall with rows of little windows, each with an incredible miniature version of a scene, complete with appropriate plants. I took photos of every miniature, and there were many beauties … cityscapes and countrysides. The details are extraordinary. Choosing one to share here was difficult, so I picked a grand prize winner: The Herbology Greenhouse at Hogwarts. (There are 25 varieties of plants in this one, and I have the list if anyone is particularly interested, just email me through the contact link.) Click on the photo to enlarge it and enjoy the detail.

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Another entry which astounds me is the Pressed Plant Art.

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Just look at these amazing pictures, all made with flowers and plants.

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So where was the tech?

Apps, of course. Always apps. This sign showed up everywhere around the floor:

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And then there is the “Tech” of Big Ben.

Every hour, on the hour, the clock face alters and becomes a video screen (on all four sides), with a potpourri of British goodness. I did not film this, but turning to YouTube, I found many people had uploaded their videos. And so I just picked one to share here.

Presenting the Techy Centerpiece of the Philadelphia Flower Show: :)

iPhone (smartphone) or Camera?

I love having a camera (disguised as a mobile phone) with me all of the time. It’s such fun to be able to ‘catch’ moments that you used to say “I wish I had my camera with me.”

Here is my dog, sitting in my lap. iPhone handy, always ready.

A moment later, I caught her in the middle of a silly tongue lap:

My backyard cutie. He won’t stay at the door for long. iPhone in my pocket.. caught him!

A crazy bug landed for a moment (what is it!? and I hope it doesn’t come back! )

Those are all examples of the unplanned pics, the ones you are happy to have a ‘camera in your pocket’ to grab.

But what about for travel?

Last time I took a trip, I used my iPhone, only. No camera. I enjoyed having one less thing to cart around. I think the pictures turned out pretty good, and I never regretted not bringing a camera:

BUT

I am now planning a new travel adventure, and I’m not sure the iPhone will suit. My first concern is memory space. With a camera you have removable memory storage so that you never run out of space. Although the iPhone holds a LOT of pictures, what if I shoot too many? I don’t want to have to worry about that.

Perhaps you have a REAL camera, and that makes all your photography extra special. I know that many of the bloggers that I visit are taking some awesome photos. For you, the camera itself is important.

But what about the point-and-shooters?

What do you do? Have you abandoned your camera in favor of your smartphone for travel? Or do you break out the camera for the trip?

Death in a Graveyard (and it’s all Sandy’s fault)

I know this is a tech blog, and I always try to stay on topic, but this storm continues to pull us all in so many directions ….

As I ventured out today, I brought my iPhone, and so (it’s a stretch :) ) all pics are iPhone-pics, and iPhone pics = blog material. Right? Right!

I decided to “escape” and go for a walk in one of my favorite spots in the Fall…. a cemetery that is hilly with many old stately trees. Colorful and gorgeous.

I expected some damage, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw: death in the graveyard (I’ll explain at the end of this post)

Of course, Sandy didn’t leave anyplace untouched. I counted 8 glorious trees crashed to the ground. Many trees broken and torn. How sad.

And as I walked, I was TOTALLY startled to see this:

Around the downed treetop were dozens of dead crows! Look around the headstones in the picture, above. Do you see all those crows?

What?
How?
Were they nesting in the tree?
When the storm blew the tree down, couldn’t the crows just fly away?
Why did they all die when it fell?
Can anyone explain this to me?

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