Apps Uncovered 18 July 2014

(Selected by Bob Weil)

This week’s Apps Uncovered, as usual, includes a broad array of subjects and creative approaches. We’re proud to feature work this week from Jerzy Jachym, Richard Smith, Ludwig Wagner (a member of my online iPhoneography video training course), Susan Blase, Paula Gardener (a contributor to our book), Sandra Nykerk, Tracy Mitchell Griggs, Karin Wolina (another course participant), Diana Nicholette Jeon, Tania_konnerth, Dasha Riley, えんぞうaka enzo, Aylin Argun, Todd S., Vanessa Vox and Mike Bowers.

The first image by Jerzy Jachym steals the show – in an eerie take on your morning coffee, someone (or something) is staring back at you from the depths of your cup of joe.

Each of the remaining shots is exceptional in how it conveys a mood, concept, moment or stunning real life contemplative aside – we hope you enjoy them!

And if you’d like to see your images in the running 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.

Dark side

Dark Side by Jerzy Jachym

Apps used: Union, Alien Sky, Handy Photo and Stackables, using the iPhone and iPad

Backstory: Dark Side updates the surreal vision of space: black eye and incoming meteorites.

Officially Official

Officially Official by Richard Smith

Apps used: Photoforge 2 and Union

Backstory: An antique clock, chair from a hotel room and a dramatic cloud-obscured sun work together in a somewhat symmetrical, moody blend as a comment on the rolling nature of each passing moment… no matter how dramatic, particularly when contrasted with the inevitable, inexorable ruling authority: time itself. This piece is called “Officially Official” and is a solid representation of my approach to photomontage.

What you see in this composition begins with a photo of a chair in a hotel room where I was staying for a business trip. It happened to be ideally placed between two windows with some curtains which I saw immediately and thought would make for a good photomontage background. On the same trip, while wandering through and antiques store, I noticed this antique clock. The classical style of the typeface of the numbers was intriguing to me, and the jewel embellishment added a nice detail. I snapped a photo knowing it would also find its way into a later creation. Upon returning home, one afternoon the sun made for a dramatic effect, with rays shining from behind some rising thunderclouds. I snapped that photo from my car (not while in motion), and set about blending these three images together.

My technique involves mixing layers, blending modes, and selective masking all used to emphasize highlights, contrasts, shadows, and ambience for an overall atmospheric effect. Although I primarily use a discontinued app, Photoforge2, its functionality exists in others, such as Union, or other types of blending-themed apps.

The main thing happening in this piece is is giving proper treatment to the clouds in front of the chair while fading the rest to the edge of the frame. The trickiest part of the blending process was highlighting and emphasizing just the contours of the clouds along with the edges of the chair and the folds of the curtains. I did all this with selective layer masking and layer mode manipulation. Finally, I arrived at the title, “Officially Official,” after considering how ultimate the concept of time rolling on.

Nothing is more official than time, with its measured precision and inevitability. And here in this austere setting atop a chair while seemingly floating with authority among a look at the heavens, the term “official” seems appropriate. Considering that level of serious contemplation, the entire composition felt very official, hence the title “Officially Official.”

Once any composition is complete, I’ll then apply an overall sharpening or light adjustment using an app like Noir, which is great for lighting adjustments of black and white images. Sometimes I’ll also add a border using TTV PS or other sources.

Finally, I add a small copyright and signature in the corner using the Phonto app with my handle, “rsmithing,” since that’s where I am on the web on Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. If you see me elsewhere, please check out my stuff, say hi, and follow if you like. And please have a visit at my dedicated art site, RSMITHINGS.com.

In a general sense, my approach to my artwork is this:

My process is like carving a sculpture, with the edges of my fingers forming lines to define shapes and reveal serendipitous relationships — not unlike physically placing individual elements as in a paper collage — except I do this through masking, blending and mimicking established photographic techniques like solarization or vignetting. Each piece is meticulously crafted with these and other ingredients, using direct touch to form a hierarchy of narrative. A final composition is the culmination of fusing disparate elements into a kind of empyreal abstract union, revealing multiple levels of metaphor.

My favorite art is the kind that gets viewers to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding encounter. It can happen through words, music, visuals, or just keenly noticing what’s right in front of us at any moment. And it’s a wonderful feeling, both to experience and create.

The Road of Life Triptych I

The Road of Life Triptych I by Ludwig Wagner

Apps used: Touch Retouch, Superimpose

Backstory: A series of work where I am reflecting on my life’s journey. Created with original photographs shot with an iPhone 4S & edited with an iPhone 5S using Leonardo, Superimpose, Filterstorm, Snapseed, Retouch, Photoshop Touch, Phonto & Picfx. Completed on 10th July 2014.

Created as a project while working through Bob Weil’s course on iPhone Photo Art Composition. www.iPhonePhotoArtist.com

I have been using my iPhone as primary photographic source and experimenting with iPhoneography for a few years now, but it’s only been since discovering Bob Weil’s course on iPhone Photo Art Composition that something clicked and I decided to go back to the very beginning and look at my work and back catalogue of photos with fresh eyes. I realized that there was a clear theme in my work, and so I set out to tell the story of my life’s journey through my work. Most of my photographs somehow reflect where I am in my life and my state of mind.

All the elements in the triptych (the groynes, man, dog etc) were shot with an iPhone4S on West Wittering Beach, near Chichester in England and were initially to be combined into one image, but somehow I just couldn’t make it work, it felt too cluttered and just didn’t convey my primary message – I’ve been on this road a long time now – an unattributed quote which resonated with me when I came across it recently. I used Retouch and Superimpose extensively in creating this image and added some depth to the sky by adding clouds and a sunset from landscapes I photographed in Northern Ireland.

Here are the source images that were combined to create the final triptych: https://www.flickr.com/photos/leospice/14505051949/

Reminds Me Of.....

Reminds Me Of . . . by Susan Blase

Apps used: Tadaa, Mextures, Vintique and Afterlight on the iPhone

Backstory: This photo started off looking pretty “normal”. When I blurred focus a bit in Tadaa it steered me in direction I wanted to go. I added some heavy texture with Mextures and Afterlight as well as tried to get palette I was aiming for. The idea was to get it to look like a pattern on bedding I had as a little girl. Very retro and colors that represent a very happy summer day in my mind. This is why I named it as such. Using Vintique was perfect for getting it to the vivid tones I was aiming for. I pondered trying to tone down the sun but now I find it’s my favorite part of this piece which once it was complete, after much tweaking I finally got vibe right. This one took forever!!

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #515 - 'Afternoon strolls I Flickr - Photo Sharing!' - www_flickr_com_photos_jahsharn_photography_14627697684_in_pool-iphoneographycentral_Afternoon strolls

Afternoon Strolls by Paula Gardener

Apps used: I captured this image using VSCOcam, I edited the image further in Snapseed. Adding a filter from the Retrolux menu.

Backstory: My mother has been unwell so life has been rather stressful of late. On the way to one of my mother’s hospital appointments we passed this beautiful Lavender field in full bloom. The smell was sublime, it was morning so the lavender had dew all over them.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #518 - 'Summer Meadow in Yellowstone I Flickr - Photo Sharing!' - www_flickr_com_photos_sandranykerk_14644210175_in_pool-iphoneographycentral_lightbox

Summer Meadow in Yellowstone by Sandra Nykerk

Apps used: Hipstamatic, Snapseed and Stackables

Backstory: The meadows in Yellowstone National Park have been incredibly beautiful this summer. I have been shooting quite a bit the past month with Hipstamatic with the Sergio lens and I loved the dreamy effect it added to the flower filled meadows. I then used Snapseed to balance the color and white balance, as well as added structure and sharpening. Then to Stackables, where I added several layers of textures, and finally, back to Snapseed for Selective Adjust to desaturate some of the purple in the foreground.

Falling To Earth

Falling To Earth by Susan Blase

Apps used: Tadaa, AlienSky, Mextures and Pixlromatic on iPhone

Backstory: This one was taken at tail end of me chasing a rainbow, literally. The rainbow was gone and as I was going home I snapped this last picture as sun was going down. I didn’t know what to do with the shot until I made it very blurry with Tadaa then decided to make it a bit surreal using AlienSky. The other apps used just to make minor tweaks to satisfy my minds eye, and I had another version not as hazy, but in large view this one felt right. Being a night owl, and a bit of a stargazer, this to me represents when things are just starting to heat up and it’s my favorite time to shoot.


Untitled by Tracy Mitchell Griggs

Apps used: Procamera, Camera+, PhotoWizard, PhotoPower, PhotoToaster, Snapseed, Mextures, VSCOCam

Backstory: Living in rural Maryland has provided no lack of agricultural architecture as subjects. This particular out building and silo is part of an abandoned property whose main barn burned down last year. I have learned that if one sees something to photograph – don’t wait. Landscapes are ever changing.

I recently have been mining older and “orphaned” images in my camera roll to re-edit- I have added a few more editing skills and a lot more apps to the tool belt in the last year. The apps listed here are among those I currently use in most of my landscape workflow. I’d like a call out to Chris Harland, Chris Harland and Wayne Greer, who have provided dialog and inspiration for my own landscape work in recent months.

I look forward each week to iphoneographycentral’s showcase as a source of skill and creative development.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #519 - 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever_ Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness_ (John Keats, Endymion) I Flickr - P_' - www_flickr_com_photos_71030045@N0

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness (John Keats) by Karin Wollina

Apps used: Snapseed, Leonardo, MasterFX, Stackables, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

Backstory: I started with photo manipulation really this year, at the beginning of June. I was fascinated, like so many others with the possibilities, the iPhone apps give. I would have started earlier, but I never understood Photoshop. But the Apps, that was not easy, but easier. Then I discovered that there are challenges issued at Instagram and I started in earnest. So, the photo is not by me, it is by Johan du Toit (@jvdt) for applifam07jul. I really liked the simple beauty of the vase and the one leaf that reaches out to the left. And the Proteas has a very geometrical feel to it that speaks to me.

As always I first put it through Snapseed, where I mostly use Detail, to give it more sharpness and clarity. I decided against the 1×1 format, even though I like it more and more, because that format would have cut some of the flower or the vase. Then I used and experimented with Leonardo, which I just began to understand better, thanks to the Videos I watched in your online course. I wanted to have a clear, slightly rough background and decided after some trials on a white one, like a white cement wall. I am not sure which texture I used, but it was one of the free ones through the course. I wanted to put something dynamic in the picture, so I used a winding road from MasterFx, and put it in the empty corner under the leaf. It was a little bit too hard in the beginning, but in the long run it is getting less visible. The idea with the writing is one that I embraced wholeheartedly, so I put an old letter in the upper right corner. In the end I put two different versions of the photo together in Leonardo and used stackables, which is really one of my favorite layering apps, for the painterly effect. The quote is from the App Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

At Edgartown Harbor

At Edgartown Harbor by Diana Nicholette Jeon

Apps used: iPhone 5s native camera, Mextures, Procreate, Oggl, Distressed FX, Image Blender

Backstory: Even though I live in Hawaii, a place that most would consider as paradise, the island of Martha’s Vineyard has utterly and permanently stolen a piece of my heart.

Since the late 1970’s, my mother owned several weeks in a timeshare property in Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard. Although I had sometimes borrowed a unit to use with my own family for a trade, I had never vacationed there. Then, in the summer of 2013, my son and I traveled from HI to MA to visit my mother. We also spent a week in one of the timeshare units. I ventured everywhere and took, literally, 6000 pictures.

Recently, my mother passed away, and I inherited the units. I was staying in MA for several weeks for the funeral and then working on cleaning out my mother’s belonging, and one of the weeks overlapped with that. So I took a few days off from my tasks to rejuvenate at the Vineyard. This time, I was alone, and sad, due to the circumstances. I decided I would use those 3 days as self-created artist’s retreat. I traveled all over the island, taking shots as I saw them, some artistic landscapes, some pure street photo. I also shot quite a bit video for a longer term project on being legally blind on which I am working.

Since I was there before the summer season officially started, it wasn’t that crowded yet, and I spent a day in Edgartown and Chappaquiddick Island. By contrast, last year I only spent a few minutes there.) I saw many buildings that were old and interesting. This was one of them.

I took a photo of a store down past the docks in Edgartown. I ran it through a formula in Mextures, then I opened in Procreate and painted on it on a separate layer. I’m not very good with perspective drawing so the paint warped a bit from the original lines…then I ran another copy of the image through Distressed FX. I used Image Blender to merge all the three copies together to get the look I wanted for the image.

The painting layer removes the commercialness from the store, and the angle I shot at isolated the store from the rest of the town, so it looks like it is a sole building. It is a stand alone building, but off to both sides there are other businesses, you just can’t see them from the angle from which I shot.

Full of roses

Full of Roses by Tania_konnerth

Apps used: Hipstamatic, Blender, Iris

Backstory: This photo was made directly out of the great mood I was in after shooting all those beautiful roses in my garden. I was just breathing them in with all their beauty and colors. I combined a photo of those roses with a self-portrait I took some days before on I day I was totally myself in Blender and was delighted to see that the creation absolutely showed what I had intended to. Finally I just gave it a little polish with Iris and was just happy.

Self Portrait with Poofy Dress V

Self Portrait with Poofy Dress V by Diana Nicholette Jeon

Apps used: Mextures, Image Blender, Stackables, VSCO C1 preset

Backstory: Self Portrait with Poofy Dress V is part of an ongoing series of images I am taking in this costume.

For years and years, I have been envious of photographers who have access to people who would dress up in unusual clothes and allow themselves to be photographed.

Sometime during the past couple of months, I read something written by photographer Susan Tuttle. (I probably read it here, at iPhoneography Central, at that!) She, too, works with self portraiture quite frequently. She mentioned that’s he had a closet full of costumes that she used for her work. Once again, I felt some pangs of envy. I didn’t own anything like that…

While cleaning out my mother’s home after her passing, I found a crisp, poofy slip – something that looked like it was left over from the 1950’s. I put it on and I just KNEW that that was it! I was going to photograph myself in it! I crushed it into a quart sized Ziploc bag, fit it into my already full suitcase, and took it back home to HI with me.

One day, when my husband was at work and my son was out boogie boarding, I put it on. I set up a make shift photo studio and put my open laptop on the kitchen counter. I leaned my phone against the screen, using it as a tripod. I set the camera to video, and literally danced around in the skirt for about three minutes. It was sort of fun, so I’m definitely pulling out the skirt and working with it some more!

I opened the video in Snap Still, and went through it frame by frame and picked out the shots I thought were interesting and well composed. I set to work from there. Although I am creating a series, each one of the shots within it has been processed individually, rather than formulaically.

For this one, I opened it in Snapseed to crop it. I was interested in processing this image to take away the lines of the skirt, to blend it into the background so that you only see the lines of the skirt where it intersects with my hands and my legs. I then applied a self-created formula in Mextures to the image. I did this several times using different formulas. Then I took the one of those that I liked the best, and opened it in Stackables. I used my own variation of a preset formula, and once again, made several versions. I used Image Blender to combine all of these variations until I had only one image that was close to what I wanted. I still wanted the colors to look a bit different, so I opened it in VSCO Cam, found a preset I liked, and then tweaked it a bit more. I stopped there, as I had achieved the look I wanted.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #520 - 'iPhone5s - tachikawa - 3783 I Flickr - Photo Sharing!' - www_flickr_com_photos_enzo_iphoneography_14536307054_in_pool-iphoneographycentral_lightbox

iPhone5s – tachikawa – 3783 by えんぞう aka enzo

Apps used: Snapseed, Rainydaze, photofx, VSCOcam and Photofoege2

Backstory: It seems that the latest Tokyo began to be classified into the subtropical zone according to the influence of warming. I went to Tachikawa together with my wife. We encountered local severe rain on the return. It was the evening on a Sunday in June. The heavy rain was settled immediately. The road became like a mirror everywhere. Although abnormal weather is troubling, it is suitable material for a photograph.


Untitled by Aylin Argun

Apps used: Blender , Squaready (for the white frame),Magic Hour (ilford film filter) and Repix.


Untitled by Dasha Riley

Apps used: VSCO Cam (t1 preset), Noir and Camera+

Backstory: Basically, my main modality for planned shots is my Canon and photoshop CS6. However, I love iPhoneography for capturing moments I could have never planned. This happened with this shot. We were out in our garden, the light was beautiful, my daughter enjoyed the winter (southern hemisphere) sun warming her face, and the moment was beautiful. Perfect for mobile photography, because by the time you say “hold it, I’ll just get my camera” – it’s gone. This goes for standalone shots like this as well as reference photos that are going to be used in composites later on.

So I had the shot, and I could see the magic, but I used several apps to enhance what I could see and make it visible to (hopefully 🙂 everyone. I used mainly VSCOcam with t1 preset for the dreamy atmosphere, but also Noir to put more focus on her and less on the surroundings, and Camera+ for cropping.


Untitled by Erika Brothers

Apps used: Snapseed, Modern Grunge, Distressed FX, Stackables and Repix

Backstory: I never plan a form or subject for the piece that I am visualizing, what I do is create a story by mixing different shots that I have already taken. Once I experiment with the photo shot blends I start my next step of abstract combinations, hence my creations are of the moment and perception of what the art piece develops as I go.

Almost every time I transform a photograph I start working with Superimpose to add or remove items to my taste, as the idea starts to take form, I add color, light and contrasts with Snapseed then I combine different layers of texture with Modern Grunge, DistressedFX and Stackables for the desired result.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #521 - 'Seaside Drive N I Flickr - Photo Sharing!' - www_flickr_com_photos_oddamerican_14612348405_in_pool-iphoneographycentral

Seaside Drive N by Todd S

Apps used: Oggl, PhotoToaster, Glaze, SuperImpose and Snapseed

Backstory: I spend a lot of time at the beach, therefore I shoot a lot of pictures at the beach. I just love the explosion of colors and range of light. This image is a result of three different photos that were shot with Oggl and blended together in Superimpose. Each photo was (most likely?) processed in Snapseed (I usually add some saturation and sharpen them a bit) and given a light painterly effect in Glaze. Once the composition took shape, I ran the image through some random PhotoToaster filters and then I layered the PhotoToastered images in Superimpose. I have the tendency to over edit my pictures to death, but I was really pleased with the pulpy/comic book result.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #522 - 'Books sold by weight I Flickr - Photo Sharing!' - www_flickr_com_photos_vanessavox_14436627190_in_pool-iphoneographycentral_BOOKS_SOLD_BY_WEIGHT

Books Sold by Weight by Vanessa Vox

Apps used: Hipstamatic (Melodie Lens and C-Type Plate Film). This is my favorite Hipsta combi for the street photos in the old stone villages from the Drôme Provençale (France).

Backstory: In memory of Marquise de Sevigné who wrote over thousand letters during her lifetime the village of Grignan celebrates each July the “festival de la correspondance” with ancient books, readings and exhibitions. In a small alley I discovered this beautiful ‘Boîte à bouquins’, a book shop in a shell. A little world of words and wisdom in itself. All you need is there: a selection of old books, a vintage kitchen scale and the prices by weight written on an old slate.


Oasis by Mike Bowers

Apps used: Snapseed, ToonPAINT, Glaze, Superimpose

Bob Weil

Bob is the co-author of The Art of iPhone Photography (with Nicki Fitz-Gerald), published by Rocky Nook photography books and supports Nicki in managing iPhoneography Central and the associated Flickr group.


  1. Diana Jeon said:

    Some really great imagery this week. Thank you for including my work.

  2. kawolkawol said:

    Thanks so much for featuring my image, it is such an honour to be with such great artists