Posts Tagged ‘review’

iPad Apps

April 11, 2012 3 comments

It’s true that photographers love gadgets. And whether you are an Apple fan or an Android fan, there is no denying the presence of the tablet.


Nearly two years ago now, i was issued with a phone for work, (a blackberry curve – our IT dept restricted its use to text, work email and phone calls so it isn’t really a blackberry anymore), so I sold my beloved iPhone 3G. I had owned this phone for 18 months and still managed to sell it on eBay for £180! More photography kit funds thank you very much!


Ever since, I have missed the apple mobile experience but cannot justify signing up for a £35 per month contract for 2 years (£840!) for a second phone when the one i now have costs me nothing, except a bit of street cred.


Turning 30 was something i was dreading. I have hated getting older since i was about 23. Yes, i know some readers will be thinking ‘you are still young – wait till you hit 40/50/60 or whatever’. Sorry – I will be in senile by the time I hit these numbers!


Deciding against a party, and instead being selfish and buying something just for me, I thought, was a good way to make me forget about the number. Enter the iPad 2. Wow! What a genious piece of kit this is. This was designed for photographers and anyone with a love of imagery. It was designed for me.


Opting for the wifi only version in black i can connect to the internet knowing it isnt going to cost me any more than the initial purchase price. In fact, i could upgrade everytime a new one comes out and still have change in my pocket compared to buying another iPhone – almost. 😉 Not that I would because this was a present from my gorgeous wife.


The app store is a sea of crap with pockets of wonder hidden in its depths. I have tried and deleted many apps and kept a few which i consider to be gems. These are the apps i use all of the time. Anything i find just sitting there, i delete. I hate clutter.


After using the ipad since December 2011 (4 months now) what apps do i find useful?



Blogsy – this is a wonderful little app that lets you write your blog posts, save them for later, keyword, tag, categorise etc and publish to the blogsasphere when you are ready. So i can type my blog posts offline whilst on a train journey for example (guess where i am now) and publish when i reach an internet connection – home/work/coffee house etc.

The user interface (UI) is friendly and you can format your text to however you want. You can add images to your posts, grab pictures from the internet or your ipad photo library etc. It isnt a free app but well worth the money for any regular blogger.


Zite – this is an online magazine which is delivered to you in an exciting format each time you open the app. It is tailored to the subjects you like to read about. You can then say if you liked reading a particular article or not. If not, it wont send you any more like it. You can block certain sources. You can request more from a specific source. It really does try to give you what you want to read. This app is free and does require an internet connection – however, see below for my solution…

Read it later – this is a great little app which I use with Zite. As the name suggests it gives you the opportunity to store articles from Zite on your iPad so you can read them later. There is a free and a paid version. I use the free version. I love it.

iA Writer – I am currently testing this one but wanted to include it here because I am actually typing this blog post from the app. I intend to then copy and paste the post into Blogsy for key wording and categorising etc before posting to PepperArt. Why?, I hear you ask. Isn’t that a long way around to achieving what can be done in Blogsy alone? Yes! It is! However, the UI is clean, simple, and helps me to focus on what i am writing about. There are no distractions of formatting options or font styles etc.. Just plain old-fashioned text. Beautiful! 🙂 And the word count alone is worth all sixty-nine pennies.


So, those are all about browsing the internet, blogging and writing. What about photography related apps? Afterall, this is a photograopy blog isnt it (?).


Viewing images on iPad2 is a rewarding experience. Especially when it is your own work. I am sure iPad3 will be an even better one with its retina display.

500px – this is the popular website but suitably designed for the tablet user interface. You can access your account through the app and view your favourites, the people you follow…pretty much everything you can do with the web version. What’s more… Its free.

Flickstacker – for some reason, Flickr haven’t created an app tailored to the iPad. Instead you need a third party app. This is the one I have chosen. This app again lets you do all the things you can with the web version including commenting on others work, view your account and contacts etc. A pleasure to use. You can actually link your 500px account to this for a small fee. I don’t personally see the point when I have the 500px app. I am waiting for the app to be made. That will be an experience!


There are loads and loads of photo editing apps out there. The apps that have survived the various cuts on my iPad are as follows :

iPhoto – a native Apple app. This has some great basic editing features. I mainly use this for fun. I particularly love the fact it syncs with the built in photo app automatically. Apple app – so it is not free! Quality though, as you would expect.
Pixlromatic – this is a suite of effects! or ‘plug-ins’ if you will. Square crop, black and white, scratchy background, romantic.. Loads to choose from and lots of fun to play around with. I particularly like the vintage effect. I think I got this one for free.

PS Express – photoshop basic adjustments in a nifty little app. I know Photoshop have just released Photoshop Touch but i dont really envisage using the ipad to edit my proper photography. Just fun photos for social purposes. So i cant justify paying for it. The basic tools on this app such as blur, cropping, tint, black and white etc are quite handy. The UI is pretty cool too – swiping your finger across the screen to adjust the effect…sweeeet!

What apps would you recommend? Am i missing out on any?


Lowepro Vertex AW200

March 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Mini review

I have been after a new kit bag for some time now. I already own a couple of bags. I have one for walkabout shooting or shoots where I know I only need the camera and one lens, like photographing butterflies and damselflies – the Kata Ligh-tri 315 DL. My other bag has historically been for my landscape work or for storing all my kit in or for just going out and not really knowing what kit I will need.

My kit has built up significantly over the years though and the Kata DR 467 just isn’t big enough anymore. Ideally I need a bag that can hold all of my kit at any one time without it being a squash.

Having done some research online and asked around I finally went for the Lowepro Vertex AW200. I was a bit nervous at first of buying something that wasn’t from the Kata range. I now realise this was silly. This camera bag is a beast. It can hold all of my kit (except tripod which has its own padded bag anyway) and has a gazillion pockets. I even have room to grow into the bag – perhaps a dangerous thing because that will no doubt cost me more money!

The main sections are zipped off with weather proof zips and is padded to high heaven so I know my kit will be protected from accidental knocks. I have managed to fit my main camera body, two medium sized lenses and 3 other lenses and still have loads of room to spare. All of my filters are inside, as well as the usual stuff like spare memory cards, batteries, maps, etc etc.

Highly recommended.