Snapseed To The Rescue – Monticello


I played around in Snapseed for iPad last night, and came up with another example of how Snapseed can dramatically change the look of an image into something more interesting.  

How many times have you been somewhere with your camera in your bag, or turned off, and hanging around your neck? I can’t count the number of times that something happened, and in a rush to get a shot I neglect to check my camera settings. I shoot a lot of professional baseball for fun, and stadium lighting can be very changeable. The shadow from a cloud on an otherwise sunny day can take your shutter speed from 1/1600 to 1/800 fast. Throw an improper metering setting in, and you can end up with your subject either over or underexposed. For that reason I tend to shoot using center weighted metering which is the closest my Canon 50D comes to spot metering. I have been burned many times by forgetting which metering mode my 50D is set on, and I end up with the wrong exposure.

The example I am using here is a shot I took while on Vacation a few years back. I took a shot of Thomas Jefferson’s house at Monticello. It was midday sun which is hard to shoot in for starters. It was also very hot, and I found my desire to capture a good shot was overtaken by my desire for a cold drink, and some air conditioning. I didn’t pay much attention to any settings, my resulting image was very flat. However I had enough data in the image that I was able to chip away in Snapseed until I found something more interesting. Don’t forget that you still need to have a decent exposure to begin with. I lucked out with this shot as I had enough pixels across the various levels to be able to lighten and darken without strange color shifts or introduction of too much noise in areas that were too dark. Software can only do so much.

I realize this image isn’t going to win any photography contests. However the ability to rescue a flat image to help you remember a fun event is a prize itself. For this image the first thing I did in Snapseed were selective adjustments. I lightened the house up, darkened the grass, and increased saturation. I also darkened the sky, and boosted saturation a bit before adding some drama effects, and increasing structure. Snapseed is so much fun to use because it has such a simple interface.

I think touch based editing adds a feel to creating art that you may not have experienced since grade school finger painting. Perhaps collectively as photographers we haven’t had something quite like this since cavemen painted on walls. The ability to see a direct effect from touching spurs creativity, and I think allows you to more quickly try out artistic avenues that may have been buried under menus and palette options. I look forward to seeing tablet based editing’s evolution.

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