Apps Uncovered 17 January 2014

Selected by Nicki Fitz-Gerald

iPhoneographyCentral welcomes another collection of fine art and photography created on an iPhone in this week’s Apps Uncovered gallery. Maybe it’s something to do with the weather changes around the world or the new year beginning but the stunning images in this week’s gallery seemed to be particularly emotive, evoking powerful emotions from some very strong landscape photography. Cary Larrabee’s “Singular Nature” stole the Apps Uncovered show this week with his beautifully crafted singular wintry tree. Cary uses apps to emphasize what he feels about this scene, the almost hand-drawn effect introduces a slight hardness and frostiness to the limp branches of the tree but retains the natural feel of the tree. In my view, this is exactly how apps should be used to emphasize or express a feeling in the image and help to tell the story. Cary has done this beautifully. Please check out his Flickr stream for more beautifully executed work. There is more exquisite work from Apps Uncovered newbie Minghua Nie who, like Cary, uses apps to draw out what she feels from an image “..capturing the emotion or spirit embodied in a scene rather than simply making a literal presentation”. David DeNagel closes our gallery with his sensitively edited and beautifully depicted “winter afternoon” and an interesting description of how he came to create such a beautiful image. Please enjoy the rest of this week’s gallery and thank you all for sharing your wonderful work on our Flickr group.

If you’d like to have your images considered for selection to our weekly Apps Uncovered feature, be sure to list the apps you used to create your image when you upload it to the iPhoneographyCentral Flickr group. (And as an added bonus to other members who would love to learn from your successes, consider adding the “Backstory” describing the creative process that led you to capture and process the image as you did.

Singular Nature

Singular Nature by Cary Larrabee

Apps used:
Distressed FX
Tangled FX

I’ve been waiting for snow to fall on a Saturday morning when I have time away from work to get out and shoot some wintery photos. With a forecast for snow on the Saturday this photo was taken, I planned ahead of time where I wanted to go shoot. This was my only shot in black and white out of about 60 photos from different locations visited, and was the first photo I took on this day. I love trees, each one has it’s own personality, and in a bath of snow and gray, with this tree, my primary focus was to convey a sense of bare, cold aloneness. This shot had been in my mind for a while, having some free time coincide with snowy weather worked out to finally get a real image to work with. I used Filterstorm to work on this image quite a bit before adding textures with DistressedFX and Mextures. Some added painterly effects with Tangled FX and Superimpose complete the image before finalizing any tweaks back in Filterstorm.

Snowy Fields in Winter Fog

Snowy Fields in Winter Fog by Lazare

Here are the technical details of the photo. It was taken with an iPhone 4S using the Hipstamatic app and the Lowy Lens, Robusta Film combination. There was no post-processing done.

As to the background to the image, I live in Ann Arbor, MI, a college town surrounded by farmland. I grew up in NY state where there is an abundance of mountains, rivers and forests – lots of dramatic beauty. The beauty in Southeastern Michigan tends to be more quiet and subtle, which I try to represent with my landscapes. Winter presents a real challenge to Michigan landscapes since the skies are gray and dull most of the time. Given the bleakness of the winters here, I tend to head out with my camera almost anytime when there is a change in weather that will lead to interesting shots. This time it was early morning fog.

Last week, we suffered from lots of snow and the effects of the polar vortex, leading to temperatures as low as -17. Last weekend the temperatures warmed to above freezing, which led to there being lots of fog in the morning. I drove to some farm back roads outside of Ann Arbor, and this is one of the images I captured. The back roads were covered in sheets of thick ice, so the driving was pretty scary.

I used Hipstamatic on my iPhone 4S to capture this (and other photos,) using the Lowy Lens and Robusta Film combination. When I shoot with Hipstamatic, I tend to do little, to no post-processing of the images. My goal in using Hipstamatic is to choose the right lens/film combination so that I can use the image exactly as it comes out of the camera.



The Ocean Trio - II

Ocean Trio II – the ocean in me by Minghua Nie


Capturing the emotion or spirit embodied in a scene rather than simply making a literal presentation of it has been my interest and goal in photography. SlowShutter has become my main tool as it allows one to turn a camera into a paintbrush. As I drove along the Pacific one afternoon, the clouds above the ocean caught my attention. I decided to stop and compose a few shots. This time, I experimented with SlowShutter using extremely long exposures (as far as a hand held iPhone is concerned) and pushed to its limit of 15 seconds. The slight movement of camera, clouds, and ocean waves created the “painterly” effect I sought to achieve. The original photo was further refined using the Snapseed App, which I used to adjust contrast and add slight texture with the Grunge filter. In the end, an ocean that speaks to me about gentle melancholy and tranquility emerged. This is my favorite among the Ocean Trio.

Camera: iPhone 5
Apps Used: SlowShutter (15 seconds exposure), Snapseed



The Ocean Trio - I

Ocean Trio I – the stormy ocean by Minghua Nie


As with the Ocean Trio II, this image was captured with the SlowShutter App using the same exposure settings. Taken only seconds apart, and highlighting its ephemeral nature, this ocean presented a very different atmosphere. One of the reason I like this App is the long exposure times freeze both movement and time, allowing one to view the landscape with a totally different perspective than from what our eyes see directly. As a photographer, capturing the emotion or spirit embodied within a scene, rather than simply making a literal presentation, has been my interest and goal. In this case, the movement of clouds and waves emphasizes the stormy and turbulent nature of the ocean. The original photo was processed using filters in the Instagram App to further enhance the mood.

Camera: iPhone 5
Apps Used: SlowShutter (15 seconds exposure), Instagram



Untitled by Erika Brothers

I took the pic during a Christmas vacation family reunion. For the first shot I used ProCamera, Snapseed to make the adjustments to black and white and the center focus option to accent the flowers and hands, and blur the image background. I used Mextures to do the final touch up and blending the shades of greyish green general tones.




Anticipation. by Urban Muser

Backstory: There is not much of a story behind the image except to say that after going 8 months of pregnancy without taking any self-portraits I knew I needed to get on it before it was too late–that I would regret it if I didn’t have any selfies with my belly. As with most of my work, there wasn’t a lot of planning that went into this–other than finding a dress that fitted me 🙂 The rest just comes organically as I begin to edit.
Apps used: Image shot with Camera+, then edited with Snapseed, Distressed Fx, Mextures and Superimpose.



Roasted chestnut seller

Roasted chestnut seller by M_A_N_E

This is a night shot. During a cold Christmas season night I went to a special light and music presentation with my family in one of the most famous squares in Lisbon. At the end of the presentation when the square became empty, in one corner there was a group of people surrounded by an ethereal smoke and a fantastic smell of roasted chestnuts wafted past me. There were two old couples of sellers and under each seller’s umbrella there was a light, which compensated for the poor response to low light in my iPhone 4S. This particular seller had such a special and deep expression in his face that I knew I had to get the shot.
I believe that the skill of cropping an image is quite an art, and as with my usual editing procedure, I cropped the image to give a dramatic intensity. I always shoot in color with Camera+, and for B&W I like to use the combination of two different APP’s ; Pure Carbon, for the first tweak, and Dramatic B&W for adding drama and to intensify the blacks. I like it when the black is a real black, and the contrast with light gives a depth to the final image.


The Business of Beauty

The Business of Beauty by Geri Centonze

Backstory: I was at the hair salon sitting under a hair dryer like this myself. As I looked around from chair to chair it really struck me how much time and effort we devote to styling the hair on our heads and the whole Business of Beauty. I am captivated by human faces and was very pleased when I saw the somber look on this woman’s face that was captured in the photograph. It’s fascinating to see what we will endure for the sake of looking our best.

Apps used: I used Hipstamatic for the actual shot, Snapseed to crop off the frame and adjust slightly and Tadaa to blur the background (I love their masking tool).


Me, myself and...

Me, myself and… by Natali Prosvetova


Me, Myself and…”
This girl is one of my favorite and graceful subjects for shooting. I would not say that children do not feature in my work in general. I find it [photographing children] a a pretty complex process, requiring serious psychological knowledge. However, I loved this girl, at first sight. This is my sweet 11 year old niece whose name is Nicki. I must confess that for a long time I was unhappy with my photos of Nicki. As a child she allowed herself too much ape. I mean, she played around acting like an adult female and I didn’t like it , thinking it vulgar and unattractive.
One day I was fortunate to be photographing with a russian director, who is one of the best at working with children in the movie industry (which is main profession). I chatted with him, asking him a lot of questions and watched him work finally making a lot of conclusions and discovering a few secrets about how to work well with children. Since then my shooting with Nicki has been great fun, filled with new discoveries and positive emotions.

Apps used: native camera iP5S
Snapseed (for improving and enhancing the photo)
CameraBag – one of my latest Top 5




Subzero by Susan Blase

This self portrait was taken during record breaking cold temps due to the “Polar Vortex” that hit parts of the United States. I could not resist snapping a couple shots out in the bitter winter air as a photographic memento. A very simple snap using Hipstamatic app, I liked the way the light hit my masked face and a single strand of now pink tresses was peeking out from under my hoodie. I used Oggl to chose the best lens/film combo to capture just how freezing cold it was at the time it was taken, and felt the title best summed it all up.

Apps used: Hipstamatic/Oggl on iPhone



A Tale of Two Signs Episode 2 - The Conversation. Comic Strip Version

A Tale of Two Signs Episode 2 – The Conversation. Comic Strip Version by Ferguscat1

The apps I used were Snapseed, Juxtaposer, Diptic, Painteresque, Strip Designer, Title FX, Pixlromatic. This piece is the second in a series. I liked the idea of the two toilet signs being the main characters in a story. As they are signs, they can only speak in ‘sign language’ to each other. It’s through theses signs that we get to know them and their story.



winter afternoon

winter afternoon by David DeNagel

We had just experienced a severe and heavy snowstorm. After two days of journeying out in the weather to take pictures, I also wanted to document the winter’s effect on the inside, so to speak. The afternoon light from the snow covered outdoors,coming through the bedroom window, reflected a quiet and soft stillness into the room. A small,decorative bonnet and flower ornament hanging on the wall gave the whole image a demure tenderness. In fact, for me,it seemed to suggest the presence of a woman.
I wanted a faintly subdued, cool treatment. So,I used Hipstamatic Classic and chose the combo of Adler 9009 lens/Blanko 1 film/Cadet Blue Gel Flash. No other apps were used in processing.

Nicki Fitz-Gerald

Co-author of The Art of iPhoneographyCentral. Founder of iPhoneographyCentral.com


  1. urban muser said:

    Thanks for including me in this week’s showcase. I look forward to reading about the other artists’ process and stories!

  2. Liz Traynor said:

    It’s so inspiring and motivating to read about how each of these amazing images was produced and the story behind them. I also love seeing the different apps that people are using. It makes me want to go experimenting straight away. Thank you so much for including my comic strip in this week’s selection. I really is such an honour to be part of this showcase. Thanks again, Liz

    • Nicki Fitz-GeraldNicki Fitz-Gerald said:

      I agree Scott. The gallery came together so effortlessly this week with such beautiful harmonious images and some wonderful creativity, I was really inspired!

  3. Cary Larrabee said:

    Thanks for the inclusion this week, love all the featured work, very inspiring to see what other beautiful work is being created!

  4. Geri Centonze said:

    What an honor to be included in this amazing array of photographs. After seeing them I am inspired. In particular after seeing David DeNagel’s image, I need to devote more attention to Hipstamatic. Hopefully I have the equipment mentioned in his commentary!