Breaking a Lens

Twiggy decided on a dip in the river before the storm started

Twiggy decided on a dip in the river before the storm started

This evening, I slipped out with Tisen in a hurry to get him out and back in before it started to rain.  A storm was promising to break lose at any moment–the smell of rain hanging in the air as if the deluge was over instead of yet to begin.  Whether it was the tickle of electricity forming far away in the clouds or the accumulating energy evidenced by the swirling winds, Tisen and I both had extra spring in our steps.

We didn’t make it very far before we ran into some neighbors–everyone was out with their dogs.  Tisen made a couple of new friends and caught up with several old ones.  Then, Twiggy and her daddy arrived on the scene.  Tisen was beside himself.

I let Tisen follow Twiggy, his favorite trail leader.  We meandered along and followed the dogs.  Distracted by Twiggy’s feminine wiles, Tisen was suddenly oblivious to the impending storm.

Tisen looking worried after the first clap of thunder

Tisen looking worried after the first clap of thunder

When a loud clap of thunder sounded, he became momentarily airborne and immediately started looking for shelter.  I had trouble keeping him out from under Twiggy’s daddy’s feet as underneath our friend seemed to be the best shelter Tisen could find.

We made our way back, but not in time to avoid a good soaking.  I was prepared with my rain jacket, but it rained so hard, my pants were dripping and my sandals were soaked by the time we made it back to the building.  Tisen was soaked through.

But I was smiling–it was our first summer storm.

The image that caused me to play with the positioning of my lens

The image that caused me to play with the positioning of my lens

When Pat came home, we sat on the balcony for a bit, watching the clouds and the rain, listening to the sound of gallons of water falling from the sky in a giant curtain of water hitting the pavement below.  I had the sudden urge to take a fisheye photo of the sky and the rain and the distant ridge.

The fisheye lens for the iPhone attaches purely by magnetism.  I made the mistake of fumbling while trying to get the lens centered around the phone lens.  The lens popped loose and we watched in slow motion, our mouths opening, sound forming, and a long, “Ohhhhhh . . .” coming out of mine as the tiny lens tumbled to the floor of the balcony, landing at my feet, and rolled.  It rolled for what seemed like 10 minutes while I stood frozen in place, still forming the word “Ohhh” and watched it roll right off the edge of the balcony and fall, and fall some more.

The bent rim of the lens after its fall

The bent rim of the lens after its fall

Still in slow motion, I leaned over the balcony and watched for another 10 minutes as the lens fell 7 stories to the patio below, and suddenly, the one piece became at least 2.  I sighed and reminded myself it was a $20 lens, not a $2000 lens, but really, I haven’t gotten $20 worth of fun out of it yet.

I was able to retrieve the pieces and it may even be repairable–we’ll see.

The pieces of my broken lens

The pieces of my broken lens

Fishing Along the Riverfront

Tisen looks so happy rolling in the grass

Tisen looks so happy rolling in the grass

If I am guilty of getting carried away with my new fisheye lens for my iPhone camera, please forgive me.  It’s pretty darn fun.  And combining fisheye with Hipstamatic is particularly fun–the square format works well with the round shape of the image created by the fisheye attachment.  However, I do like the increased bulging effect of the fisheye lens in the rectangular format.

Tisen rolling Hipstamatic Tintype Style

Tisen rolling Hipstamatic Tintype Style

The biggest problem with the rectangular format is that the lens must be perfectly centered over the built-in lens or I get uneven roundness and even wide black edges in some cases when the fisheye attachment gets bumped off center (which seems to happen frequently).

This problem is compounded by the inability to see the screen to tell that the lens attachment isn’t centered.  This results in images like this one:

Oops--the fisheye adapter got bumped

Oops–the fisheye adapter got bumped

By comparison, the Hipstamatic version (which is really the equivalent of a cropped image) is zoomed in far enough that the curved edges do not show.  Even when the lens is well off-center like the one above:

Same shot with Hipstamatic

Same shot with Hipstamatic

Of course, cropping the first image would eliminate the issue. For some reason, I just really like the bubble effect.  I guess if I’m going to go fisheye, I want it to be obvious.

I really like the fisheye effect for putting Tisen into an image that includes local landmarks across the horizon.  While I had fun with this in the images posted yesterday, I especially like the images of Tisen rolling in the grass in the foreground with the Market Street Bridge (and glimpses of Walnut Street Bridge) in the background.

Tisen on the steps is also cute, but then, I have a hard time not loving any picture of Tisen.

Looking through the railing

Looking through the railing

For those of you who are Tisen fans, you may notice that he is not carrying any of his beloved toys in these images.  However, if you happen to look back at yesterday’s post very carefully, you might notice that Tisen has his armadillo/opossum toy with him in those images.  Those images were shot on the same walk as today’s.

Tisen on the steps old style

Tisen on the steps old style

This is a sign of SPRING!  Finally!

As the weather gets warmer, Tisen’s interest in walking around with a furry toy stuck to his tongue decreases.  He still insists on grabbing a toy before we go out the door, but by the time we get less than halfway through the walk, he’s ready for me to take over carrying it.

I, however, do not employ the same method of carrying his toy that he does.  I feel foolish enough walking around the park with a stuffed animal.  I’m fairly certain people who only see us in warm weather think I have some sort of phobia that causes me to carry stuffed animals everywhere I go–one more thing to blame on the dog.

No Tisen in this one, but I like the extra curve of the sculpture

No Tisen in this one, but I like the extra curve of the sculpture

Perhaps I should shoot Tisen’s toys with the fisheye?  Why do I suddenly see a future of retaking every shot I’ve ever taken with a fisheye lens now?

And, yes, I shot it with Hipstamatic as well

And, yes, I shot it with Hipstamatic as well

Fisheye

Multiplying the effects--Hipstamatic Tintype with Fisheye lens attachment!

Multiplying the effects–Hipstamatic Tintype with Fisheye lens attachment!

I have been on a new mission:  to learn how to get better photos out of my iPhone.  As those of you who visit my blog often have undoubtedly seen, this led to getting addicted to the Tintype-like settings in Hipstamatic followed by a shooting spree of many of the same landmarks I’ve already shot far too many times before.

Similar to first image, but shot with the Camera! app instead of Hipstamatic

Similar to first image, but shot with the Camera! app instead of Hipstamatic

Well, now I have a new toy.  So, I’m on a whole new spree.  I succumbed to the temptation of taking a simple, no-need-to-carry-anything-extra device for photography, and added stuff that complicates it and requires carrying more stuff.  However, this is the stuff:

The three-lens set

The three-lens set

Perhaps it’s not obvious from this image, but the size of these little lenses are about the diameter of a quarter.  One acts like a 2x teleconverter for the iPhone (or any smart phone) camera lens, making images appear 2x closer than they appear through the phone lens by itself.  A second provides both wide angle views and (by unscrewing part of it) macro capabilities.  The third creates a fisheye effect.

Fisheye Tisen using Camera! app on iPhone

Fisheye Tisen using Camera! app on iPhone

 

Nearly the same image but with Hipstamatic app and Tintype effects

Nearly the same image but with Hipstamatic app and Tintype effects

I have often wanted to try a fisheye lens.  There are just times when fisheye looks so darn cool.  However, no matter how much I wanted to give it a try, with prices ranging from $600-$1600, I just felt like it was more than I wanted to spend for something I wasn’t likely to use all that frequently.

In contrast, the fisheye attachment for the iPhone would have been $20 if I’d bought it by itself and was closer to $15 because I bought the 3-lens kit.  Now, of course, I’m not going to get the same quality of images shooting with an iPhone with a $15 attachment stuck over the lens, but playing with what fisheye will do allows me to find out whether it is something I will use regularly or not with very little expense.

Tisen heading down the path

Tisen heading down the path

The lens attaches to the phone by sticking a magnetized washer that fits around the built-in lens.  Once the magnet is adhered, the lens itself sticks to the magnet.  Or, it could be the other way around–the magnet might be in the lens.  In any case, it’s a simple but not foolproof way to attach the lens.  The magnet is not strong enough to keep the lens from moving around when bumped.  Because the screen is hard to see in bright sunlight, it’s hard to tell if the lens is no longer properly centered.  Other than that, it’s a pretty ingenious system.

I am really digging how much of the foreground and background can be fit into a single image with the fisheye effect.  I love being able to put Tisen in the foreground (at the end of a 4 ft leash) and still have the skyline in the background.  The only problem with the extreme wide angle of fisheye is the tendency to end up with your feet in the image.

Looking down into a courtyard

Looking down into a courtyard