Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Autumn Collection

A tree in Kensington Gardens, London

It's that time of the year when nature goes out in a blaze of glory as the leaves fly south for winter and the countryside dons its white winter coat. Some of us will stay indoors raking through our photo collection for some pictures to upload, while others will risk the rain and the mist to make sure our autumn collection is as full as possible. The risk isn't so much to ourselves as to our expensive cameras. Today's mobile phones are still cheaper than a good DSLR and more weather-proof than most, and easier to slip out of a pocket for a quick snapshot in the wet weather.

Bridge in Morden Hall Park, Surrey

Purists may scoff at the capabilities of mobile phone cameras but sensors of 8 MP or more are sufficient to produce quality photos. They might scoff louder at the use of pre-built filters but apps such as Vignette for Android can give a look to your photos that can take a while to set up and use in your post-processing software. And with all of the filters and settings available in a good photo app you won't simply be producing clones of everyone else's photos. So long as you experiment with those filters and settings, that is.

A hut by the River Wandle in Surrey

Playing with Vignette, I came across a set of options that gave me a nice autumn look that I want to share with you. This photo of a tree in Kensington Gardens in London gives you an idea of that look. If you haven't got Vignette, you can either get it in the Android Play Store or you could try setting up another photo app with similar settings.

Fallen Autumn leaves

It's easy to set up, too. The first thing to do is set up a filter and a frame size. In Vignette, tap the menu button then the rightmost icon. Tap 'Filter' then 'Normal (Generic film effect)'.  If you want to emulate my square-ratio pictures, click 'Frame' then 'Square' then click 'Square' below it. Tap the Back button to return to Vignette's main screen.

A country path

Back on the main screen, tap the middle icon then White Balance, and select Cloudy-daylight. Press the Back key again to return to the main screen.

About to fall

These settings work nicely in Vignette to give you the kind of effect shown in these photos, but whether you can change the White Balance setting might depend on your phone, or your tablet. It's possible on my Samsung Galaxy S3 but the option just isn't there on my Nexus 7 tablet. Not that I'd be using my N7 to take photos in any case.

A willow hangs over a pond

I'd love to see any shots you take using these settings. Or if you emulate this look in another app, I'd be delighted to know how you did it, so please put the details in a comment to this post.

Autumn grasses

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