The Photographic Time-Space Continuum

I’ve had many questions posed to me lately: what’s the difference between Hipstamatic and Instagram? Which photo apps do you use? How do you decide which to use? This blog entry is to hopefully make this a bit clearer.

I think of my photographic world as a continuum. A time-space continuum, if you will. I decide which app to use based on two factors: how much time I have (time, obviously) and how much the object I’m photographing is moving (the space, if you will.) Here’s a brief intro into the continuum.

If I have a TON of time, and the object is doing whatever it wants to do (sports, dogs, kids, flora, fauna, etc) – then I go for my trusty Nikon D-50. (Hey. No judging.)


If I have some time, and the object is stationary to moving a little bit, then i use Hipstamatic.


If I am pressed for time and I have a slightly more movable object, but I still want to use a bit of post-processing flair, then I use Instagram.


If I have NO time and the object is not cooperating, but I want to capture the moment and do post processing in either Instagram or Photo Toaster, then I just use the basic default camera on my phone and hope for the best!

20120716-215639.jpg 20120716-215710.jpg

Basically, all that can be summarized on this handy dandy chart:

As explained further below, here’s the PTSC chart. As I was extremely short on time… can you guess what I used to take this photo? The answer is…. the default Camera Phone app.

You can see that as time increases on the left and space increases on the bottom, then the photo app that I use changes.  The highlights around the photo app indicate how wide of a range of applicability they have in regards to time and space. (In my world, anyway!)


Anatomy of a Photo

In this post, I am going to show the process I go through when I’m using my cell phone to take an artistic photo.

I use two apps to take my photos, if I know I’m going to be trying to take an artistic shot and if I have the luxury of time. (Some photos I’d like to capture are split-second, so I don’t use this full process.  But, if I have my druthers, this is what I do.)  The first app I use is the regular Camera app on my iPhone.  This lets me quickly take the picture, check the composition, do any tweaking with still lives / location if necessary, and basically arrange my photo.   The second app I use is, of course, Hipstamatic.

Today’s photo journey is sponsored by Happy Hour at my local martini bar, the beautiful early summer weather, and their outdoor patio.

First, here is where I was:

Just a plain shot of the location.

Then, I tried a few shots to get a more pleasing composition:

Composition attempt #1

Composition attempt #2

Now that I know I like playing with the angle of the fence and the reflection in the martini, I use Hipstamatic to fine to the shot:

Option 1 and 2 use the Adler 9009 lens, which creates lovely washed out photos. I tried two different films: Salvador and Ina’s 1969, but they still look too light to me.

Final Shot: Option 3.  Libatique 73 burns the shadows in the photo more strongly, which I like, and Ina’s 1969 film keeps the colors in a pleasing range. The fence forms a strong lead-line down to the other beer bottles and the hanging flower pot. Overall, it just feels the most balanced (to me) and has the color contrast I was going for.

The final shot – lights and darks have great contrast, the fence gives a nice lead line, the martini shines against the shadows. All in all, I’m pleased!