Tag Archives: iPhoneography

Olloclip Macro Lens and Quick Clip Case for iPhone Review

Macro, close-up photography via smartphone opens a whole new world of detail and interesting possibilities for mobile photographers.

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case.

And for the more committed practitioners, I definitely recommend stepping up to the Olloclip macro lens.

I happened upon Olloclip’s booth at the SXSW trade show recently, and after a hands-on look at the lens and accompanying Quick Flip case (impressive engineering in its own right), I bought one on the spot thanks to the show special of getting a free case with a lens purchase. Gotta’ love trade shows.

The whole outfit is deliberately and intelligently engineered. The system is everything an accessory lens should be: easy, convenient, strong, affordable; and the case is really what sold me, since it solves for my major gripe of having to otherwise remove a case or deal with a less desirable alternative (such as an adhesive magnet, or just manually holding the lens to the iPhone). I also dig the futuristic, sleek design of the case — it has almost a cyborg-esque feel and even allows for tripod attachment.

Here’s a video review of the case itself:

And here’s a look at my first project with the Olloclip Macro lens:

Macro Budding Cactus Flower

“Budding Time”
This is a close look at a budding cactus from my kitchen with a little extra lens flare. What’s extra cool to me is that some of the flare spots happened organically, and so that inspired me to add a little more via the LensFlare app. I did some post-processing with Dynamic Light, and voila: surrealism macro magic.

Feather at Regular and Macro View:

feather macro

Here’s a feather from a pillow on my kitchen table at regular view, then at 21x via the Olloclip lens, with no post-processing. You can actually count the individual barbules. Also, I’m excited to use the word “barbules” in a blog post.

These results speak for themselves. While there are a number of macro lenses available for smartphones, Olloclip has gotten it right at every level.

I’ve long been a fan of my previous macro lens made by Olloclip’s competitor, Photojojo, and at $20, it’s still one heckuva deal — a great way to get familiar with the possibilities of macro photography via smartphone. But for a bit more up front ($70 for the Olloclip macro lens), you get much more overall. Pair it with the Quick Flip case, and you’ll be set for some serious macro fun for a long time to come.

What do you think? Ever used an accessory lens for smartphone photography? Or for traditional camera photography? What’s a discovery you’ve treated yourself to lately? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Instagram Alternatives: A Guest Post by Me

If you’re into Instagram or are curious about alternatives, see this guest post I wrote for Inkifi, a print maker of Instagram images. I cover five decent alternatives in detail (for bonus points, add me as rsmithing if you’re already on ‘em: 1,2,3,4,5). And please take a moment to comment at the Inkifi post if you can — thanks!

Instagram Alternatives

5 Excellent Image Sharing and Discovery Tools

Over the past few years of exploring art and developing my own creations through Instagram and smartphone apps like Hipstamatic and Dynamic Light, I’ve come to appreciate the merits of different websites for purposes of expression and curation. Here’s a look at my top 5.

On each of these sites I house some variation of images I make, and I also explore them daily for inspiration. Following is my take on what makes each special and how I get the most from them with their unique characteristics:

500px: The Premiere Gallery

Check me out on 500pxI use 500px.com exclusively to house all my photomontage art. It has the fastest, cleanest, and overall best display, where the focus is on the art with the community and everything else coming after that. There’s a simple mechanism for favoriting, liking and commenting if that’s what you’re into, but primarily the site is about experiencing the art, and there’s generally more refined content than other image-sharing websites. http://500px.com/rsmithing

Pinterest: Mass Consumption Imagery

Check me out on PinterestPinterest is where I tap into a huge image-appreciating community, sharing my montages and other creations that happen along the way on a board called “My Creations.” Not everything there is totally fleshed out, but it’s decent enough to be on display, and interesting enough to repin and share across other boards. lt’s more transient and fleeting than other venues, but feedback in the form of repins and likes helps keep me interested. Plus, I follow a ton of cool boards there along the likes of what I produce, so it’s great visual candy for when the mood to browse strikes, or if I just want to curate some dreamy images or other photomontageshttp://pinterest.com/rsmithing/my-creations

Instagram: Keeping Things Fun

Check me out on InstagramIt’s funny; Instagram is what got me started on this journey of creation and exploration, yet it’s not the ultimate destination for me that it once was. Don’t get me wrong; I find and enjoy many great creations there, but I don’t share my most refined stuff there. The site has so quickly become so saturated, complete with spam and terms of service issues, leading me to keep a certain kind of profile there, and that’s fine. I’ll occasionally post a fully completed photomontage, but I tend to keep it light and more experimental on Instagram. http://instagram.com/rsmithing

Flickr: The Mother Lode

Check me out on FlickrFor me, Flickr has truly evolved into a fantastic tool and a force to be reckoned with. My photostream there is a hodgepodge of montages, original source material, experiments, and a running log of stuff that may or may not fall into any of these categories or even see the light of day. I’ve had a Flickr account for many years, but have only recently delved into the full experience it offers – chiefly because it’s such an excellent tool to share Instagram images on Pinterest and other sites like Tumblr. Plus, you can’t beat its sets/galleries/collections organization, curated groups, favorites browsing and full-size resolution viewing options. http://flickr.com/rsmithing

Tumblr: A Curated Garden

Check me out on TumblrAnd finally, there’s Tumblr, the place where I highlight everything I like, pin and favorite on all these sites, mainly through automation and RSS feeds via ifttt.com, but also through the occasional upload and reblogging of something cool I come across there. It’s taken me a while to get into Tumblr, but I’ve found a ton of great stuff there and have managed to be featured at some cool Tumblr-based blogs like Lensblr and Minus Manhattan, which is always a great feeling, reaching folks with an interest in the kind of art I like to make. http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

What do you think? Do you employ different websites along the same reasons but for different executions? Are you on any image sharing websites? Have you heard of these already, and what’s your experience been like on them? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Dream Theater After Uelsmann: Learning From The Masters

So I thought it would be fun to do another photomontage along the lines of my favorite visual artist, the amazing Jerry Uelsmann. Here’s my version of one of his works:

Dream Theater After Uelsmann

“Dream Theater After Uelsmann”
Click to view in high-resolution (way more interesting than the size shown here)

Here’s the original by Jerry Uelsmann:

Dream Theater by Jerry Uelsmann

Dream Theater by Jerry Uelsmann, 2004.

And here are my source images, all photographed by me over the last few years, with links to the full-size versions:

Originals for Dream Theater After Uelsmann

Original photos by me. Click for full size view.

Uelsmann is The Man

I hope to make it abundantly clear that the inspiration and vision for this image is 100% Uelsmann — I take no credit for the origination of the composition, and I’ve made efforts to make this clear in a number of places. My effort here is strictly a study of technique and a visual challenge, with full respect and homage to someone who inspires me. It was fun to do, and I’m pleased with the result.

What do you think? Have you ever photographed, drawn or painted after one of the masters or someone who inspires you? What was the outcome? Where do you go for inspiration? How does that take shape? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Single Image Sundays: Secrets In The Trees

Look at all those vines. Shot with Hipstamatic, edited with Rays and Photoforge2. Check out more like this at my Tumblr site.

Minus Manhattan Artwork Feature

Big thanks to Minus Manhattan for featuring my artwork today!

Minus Manhattan


My photomontage, “Light Electric,” featured at the Minus Manhattan site.
For more like this, check out my creations at Flickr, 500px, or Pinterest.

Readers of rsmithing.com would likely enjoy this well-curated and prolific visual blog by Chase Turner, with a huge selection of “links and stories on photography, art, politics, design, advertising, technology, music, and culture.” The site has been featured on The Daily WhatGizmodoJezebelAmerican Photo MagazineThe Village VoiceBoing BoingBlackBook, and Buzzfeed.

Thanks again to Minus Manhattan for the feature!