Recent Mobile photography Articles

Election Day Special: POTUS Barack Obama’s Favorites From Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle

First Lady Michelle Obama prefer’s Fran’s dark chocolate salted caramels. POTUS Barack Obama prefers the milk chocolate salted caramels from Fran’s.

November 6, 2012 is Election Day in the United States. In the spirit of patriotism, this post is dedicated to the POTUS’s favorite chocolates, which are the smoked salt caramels from Fran’s chocolates in Seattle. Fran’s is a gorgeous little jewel box of a store located in the lobby of the Four Seasons Seattle which has a dazzling array of artisanal chocolate goodness. Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States is rumored to slightly prefer the gray salt caramels which are dipped in the 64% dark chocolate and sprinkled with gray sea salt harvest off the coast of Brittany.

In the name of research, I felt the need to taste both on my recent trip to Seattle. Both are delectable, but I had to side with the Commander in Chief on this one. Perhaps it’s the Halen Mon sea salt that has been smoked over Welsh oak that put me over the top on this pressing decision.


On my next trip I hope to try Fran’s single malt whiskey truffles, which combine distilled barrel-aged single malt whiskey and a yummy dark ganache, dipped in dark chocolate.

If you’re not going to be in the Emerald State any time soon, Fran’s Chocolates can be ordered online and are perfect for holiday gifting. A 7 piece assortment of gray and smoked salt caramels costs $12.50 making it a bit of a budget luxury. Why not order a box and cast your vote? You don’t have to be 18 or a US citizen to enjoy Fran’s.

Fran’s Chocolates is located in the sublime yet subtle lobby of the Four Seasons Seattle.

Sick of political spin? Then skip the salted caramels and go for the truffles. Oolong tea, hazelnut crunch and pure bittersweet are just a few of Fran’s truffle flavors.


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The Big Sur Mobile Photography Experiment

Big Sur Sunset (shot when the light was sweetest, per Dan Berman’s advice)

Editor’s Note: On my recent California pet-friendly road trip, I took on a mobile photography experiment. Since shooting landscapes isn’t my strong suit, I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone by asking a few of my friends for a mobile photography tip or two in an attempt to up my landscape game. Featured in this post are some of the images that I got using some of their tips. – Jen

I got a lot of great tips, and really got over my general fear and dislike of HDR (I use TrueHDR) which works really well for clouds. In fact, I’m pretty sure the HDR on my iPhone works better than my Canon DSLR. Another simple tip I got from Shirley Drevich (who can be found on instagram as luckyeye)  is “square format is more forgiving than rectangle.”

From my pal Andy Royston (who can be found on EyeEm as @andyroyston and on instagram as ftlauderdalesun), who shoots beachscapes every morning, and is also a daily feed visit for me :

A few tips really, and some might be common photographic sense…

Always shoot form the shade, looking to to put something between you and the sun – be it a leaf, an cloud, a post – whether shooting at the sun or not. focus on the best lit contrasting element and take the shot on the darker side.

I use Camera+ to adjust the image, using a touch of the ‘HDR’ filter (10/15%) if there are things hidden in darkness that need a little help.

Then hold I down the ‘save’ button and hit the ‘commit edit’ option in the pop-up menu. From that point there are a few landscape-friendly filters; a touch of ‘sun-kissed’ (fade it back from the full effect as its a little strong) or ‘faded’ and ‘silver gelatin’ filters are nice too.

In Iris I aim for a touch of Dynamic Range, which defines colors, then maybe a touch of polarizer too. Sharpen and straighten that horizon…

I love Hipstamatic . Try the Jimmy lens and Jolly flash (hold still after the shutter for that as its got a delay on the flash).

One more – If its clear that there’s too bright a sky for the foreground to show ProHDR really is good. I use road signs or walls to hold it super-steady if I can. Sometimes I’ll work on the darker of the two pics that ProHDR takes, then use blender to knock the image back a bit if the HDR mix is too silly.

The image of a redwood tree I took using Andy’s tips, using the Blender app to blend down the HDR version. I also used my friend, Jaime Ferreyros’s tip to play up the vastness of the tree and how small it made me.

My beach shots I like using tilt to exaggerate even more the immensity between ocean and men. 
 I like to sharpen my images using PhotoForge , then I take my image to Camera+ and if needed, apply the “Clarity” filter for some drama.  I’m not really the warm and fuzzy type of iphoneographer, but do like to create my own “Landscape,” my own “World”.

What I took from Jaime’s advice is to not let rules dictate my style or my world. I don’t really go for realism or perfection, so there is no reason I need to go there with my landscapes. My goal was really to convey my feelings or emotions about the visuals, not to shoot a postcard.

Above image: using Andy’s tip about putting something in the foreground, I thought that this wildflower was a nice detail to add to the vast Pacific ocean and the morning fog clinging to the PCH.

Daniel Berman, founder of the Mobile Photo Awards, gave me two really simple tips.

My #1 piece of advice would be really simple – make sure to shoot when the light is sweetest, end of the day of course. As for an app, try messing around with the grad filters in PhotoFX for some funky sky action.

My fellow Southern Calfornia mobile shooter Roger Clay (can be found on Instagram as Rogered and on EyeEm as @boltamania) has an incredibly unique style. I really liked his tip because it was soooo unusual, and produced some of the best results of the trip.

“As far as Hipstamatic goes try their new W Mag pack . The Wonder Lens and the W40 film combo colors are really nice when the sun is out and really makes clouds pop.

Below are some of my favorite mobile photography shot of the trip, using Roger’s Hipsta tip W Mag Pack combo.

Above: These images were shot along the banks of the Big Sur River behind the Big Sur River Inn . I chose to put my boot tips in the foreground of the shot on the right for some additional interest.

Scarlet along the banks of the Big Sur River, shot with ProCamera.

(shot when the light was sweetest, per Dan Berman's advice)

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#FriFotos: Frank Gehry’s Curves at Seattle’s EMP Museum

 EMP and Space Needle

EMP and The Space Needle

On my recent trip to Seattle I went to visit one of my favorite museums in the country, The EMP Museum, which is a wavy, curvy architectural masterpiece. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the EMP Museum building was inspired by the fluidity of music and the multicolored parts of a guitar. Some people say it looks like a smashed guitar when you view it from above. I can’t say that I saw the resemblance, but it still looks a ridiculously cool and fun.

 EMP view from Space Needle Elevator

EMP view from Space Needle Elevator

The EMP was originally built as a musically inspired passion project by Microsoft gazillionaire Paul Allen, who wanted to create an homage to the one of Seattle’s original musical pioneers, Jimi Hendrix.

Housed within the multicolored curvy Gehry exterior, the EMP has really fantastic exhibits on music, pop culture.

There is also a really cool, curvy 3 story high sculpture built from guitars and other instruments, and a wrap-around Sky Church Theater inspired by Hendrix and is a fantastic and fun place to spend a few hours.

Guitar sculpture Guitar Sculpture

A 3 story high Guitar Sculpture in the EMP Atrium

The exhibit that blew me away was Nirvana: Taking Punk To The Masses. Besides the incredible collection of memorabilia from the band, it was fascinating to see the hand written note about the iconic naked baby in the pool cover image of the Nevermind album, “if anyone has a problem with the penis we can remove it.” Let’s be grateful no one had a problem with that nudity issue.

Nirvana Exhibit at the EMP

Nirvana Exhibit at the EMP

There’s a Science Fiction Hall of Fame, where I geeked out massively because I got to see some of the tribbles from my all-time favorite episode of Star Trek, “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

Tribbles from Star Trek

Tribbles from Star Trek

Bradbury plaque

Even the gift shop is packed with curvy fun. Did you know you can buy Lady Gaga paper dolls?

If you get to Seattle, check out the EMP Museum. It’s located on the campus of Seattle Center and is easily combined with a visit to the Space Needle. And for even more fun, you can ride a monorail right through the curves of the building and take a quick ride right back to your hotel (I’d highly recommend the Four Seasons Seattle).

This is the first panorama I shot with the panorama feature on my new iPhone 5. I think I still prefer Autostitch

This is the first panorama I shot with the panorama feature on my new iPhone 5. I think I still prefer Autostitch

Current exhibitions at the EMP:

Worn to Be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket

The Rolling Stones

Icons of Science Fiction

Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film

Nirvana: Taking Punk To The Masses

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California Pet Friendly Road Trip Day 2: Big Sur Getaway Review

Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a series about about our Pet Friendly California road trip from Los Angeles to Big Sur. – Jen

After overnighting in Pismo Beach, we woke up to start the drive from Pismo Beach to Big Sur, California. The morning was foggy but the we were thrilled with the Big Sur Getaway once we arrived.

The morning drive from Pismo Beach to Big Sur was foggy, once you reach the stretch of Highway One from Hearst Castle to Big Sur you see why California is called the Golden State. The view is simply stunning, when you can see it.

 Morning fog on the drive from Pismo to Big Sur

Morning fog on the drive from Pismo to Big Sur (mobile photography).

I swear, the Pacific is there somewhere beyond the fog

I swear, the Pacific ocean is there somewhere beyond the fog. Still, this stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway is all about stopping and checking out the view.

 When the fog began to lift on the drive to Big Sur

When the fog began to lift on the drive to Big Sur (mobile photography, PhotoSynth)

We arrived at the Big Sur Getaway by following the owner, Caroline’s excellent directions.

Caroline, the owner/proprietress, is very cool and friendly and hails from Berlin. She has restored three vintage trailers: an Airstream, a 1974 Avion (where we stayed) and a Tradewind.  All the vintage trailers are located on private grounds, making for an intimate little glamping resort located off a well-maintained gravel road that is gated and requires a security code for entering.

Caroline had the trailer stocked with cooking utensils and wine glasses, and a binder full of interesting handouts and brochures from around the area. She even gave us the directions to reaching the tricky turnoff to pet friendly Pfeiffer Beach, and brought us a round of her homemade mojitos.

The Avion was pet-friendly (and available) and a lot of fun for all three of us. Scarlet very much enjoyed sniffing around the woods, and special touches like a stove and BBQ make the property a fun and funky accommodation choice in the area. Rates for the Big Sur Getaway’s Avion start at $175 per night with a two night minimum. You can find more info about the rates for all three vintage trailers here.

Stunning Sky above the Avion

Stunning Sky above the Big Sur Getaway’s Vintage 1974 Avion.

The Vintage 1974 Avion

The Vintage 1974 Avion at the Big Sur Getaway.

The Avion The Avion plants

The Avion came complete with nice touches like garden-like landscaping, succulents, lawn chairs, and hammocks, and a picnic table. Two space heaters inside kept us nice and toasty at night.


Scarlet very much enjoyed the Big Sur Getaway. Here she is chilling on the bench at the outdoor picnic table.

Happy Camper

Sniffing around the woods at Big Sur

Sniffing around the woods at Big Sur.

Jeff and Scarlet

Jeff and Scarlet, enjoying the outdoor stove and BBQ area.

While the property lacks ocean views, it is close to Andrew Molera State Park which has beach access and hiking trails. While the Avion did not have internet access, the location is close to the Big Sur River Inn, which has a restaurant (with free wifi) and shops.  And backs up against the gorgeous, if slightly creek-like, Big Sur River.

Big Sur River

The nearby Big Sur River has a great pet-friendly lawn.


Giant Redwood trees in Big Sur near the Big Sur Getaway.

The flora on the property of the Big Sur Getaway.

Big Sur Woods

More giant trees in Big Sur. It’s really one of  my favorite escapes in California. I’m thrilled Scarlet approves of it, too.

I made a time lapse on my iPhone using the TimeLapse app on my iPhone 4s.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, a Big Sur Mobile Photography Experiment.

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The Full Index for The TIME Magazine #TIMEwireless Instagram Identification Username Project

While this TIME Magazine The Wireless Issue Instagram Username Identification project was time intensive and involved a lot of research, the feedback the My Life’s A Trip team has been incredibly rewarding and validating. Since the first post on Friday, we’ve gotten thanks you notes, tweets, emails, and comments from the USA, South Africa, Singapore, Congo, Argentina, Portugal, Trinidad and Tobago, and Switzerland (among other countries) all from contributors to the #TIMEwireless project who didn’t know they had their instagram (or instagrams) on the cover until we told them.

I’ve reached out to the TIME Magazine editor who wrote the call for entries via twitter, LinkedIn, and instagram but haven’t gotten a response, and I don’t think I will. At this point, I don’t think there is much more that I can do without being a pest. The goal of this project was always to give back to the mobile photography community that I have gotten so much from.

So in the event we don’t ever hear from TIME,  I’d like everyone whose image has been involved in this project to know that your work is good, and you can count yourselves among photographers such as Mark Seliger or any of the fab photographers featured on the TIME Magazine Cover Pinterest page. Yep, that is your image on the cover in the same row with President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

My Life’s a Trip is passionate about quality photography, mobile technology, and social media, and it’s global impact. We would appreciate it if you could help spread the word about this project via your social media platform of choice.
Below are a few of the touching tweets and comments that we’ve received, and they have all made this project worthwhile– they’ve all made the project so worthwhile.

Note: This post will be updated and revised if and when we discover more IGers whose images are included.

Here is the full list and cover position of all of identified Instagram usernames from this project. There are some amazing feeds and I recommend checking out at least  a few of them. I also hope some of these new blog readers enter The 2012 My Life’s A Trip Vacation Photo Contest, where we will be giving out fab prizes as well as photo credit!
Here is the fullin  and cover position of all of identified Instagram usernames from this project:

  1. 1I lax2nrt (Jen Pollack Bianco)
  2. 1N  arquitecta    (Patricia Vargas)
  3. 2B   barrosbarreto (Ronaldo)
  4. 2C   cronai    (Cora Ronai)
  5. 2G   jma423 (Jennifer Maxwell)
  6. 2H   vixcrane     (Victoria Crane)
  7. 2I    kaysha2201     (Kaysha)
  8. 2K   heidyelainne     (Heidy Elainne)
  9. 2L   isabellanin (Isabella Nin)
  10. 2N  velazquez (Carlito Velazquez)
  11. 2O  vix_toria (Victoria Tucker)
  12. 3B  verosaucedo (Veronica Saucedo)
  13. 3C  sashkow    (Aleksander Kostadinov)
  14. 3I   caro866 (Caroline Pernelle)
  15. 3K  chaukut (Chaukut Lam)
  16. 3M  adamzubin    (Adam Zubin)
  17. 4I  tseiell (Jussi Lindberg)
  18. 4K  visualhaze     (Richard Di Cesidio)
  19. 4L  prawindafitri (Prawinda Fitri)
  20. 4M goldie77 (Sylvia)
  21. 4N  uwa2000 (Uwa Scholz)
  22. 5G   _debbie_   (Debbie Leng)
  23. 5H  thelittlebean (Matteo Fagiolino)
  24. 5N  duppy_kankera (Duppy Kankera)
  25. 5N   duppy_kankera    (Duppy Kankera)
  26. 5O   sigvicious    (Sig Vicious)
  27. 6B   shagun (Shagun Seda)
  28. 6E   aljinc (Aljin Cagas)
  29. 6F   apriliafitri (Aprilia Fitri)
  30. 6F   ruttttt    (Giovana Maribel)
  31. 6H  m1i1k1e1 (Michael Salas)
  32. 6H  m1i1k1e1    (Michael Salas)
  33. 6J   donny_bajohr    (Donny Bajohr)
  34. 6K  arieltn (Ariel Nishri)
  35. 6K   arieltn    (Ariel Nishri)
  36. 6O   lax2nrt (Jen Pollack Bianco)
  37. 7C   kijisora (KIJISORA)
  38. 7H   bananas_mcgee (Joshua Carpentier)
  39. 7H   bananas_mcgee    (Joshua Carpentier)
  40. 7I     brzoska (Meg Brzoska)
  41. 7M   pickyin    (Pick Yin Chang)
  42. 8C    crjk_global
  43. 8D   beachstagram (Stefan Moone)
  44. 8E    nextstopvietnam  (Trinhi)
  45. 8J     pickyin    (Pick Yin Chang)
  46. 8K   abdulla667 (Abdullah(عبدالله)
  47. 8M gretwitta (Greta Sánchez)
  48. 8N   youbecouncil
  49. 😯   chanelaftercoco    (Leïla Boularbah)
  50. 9A   karensimas (Karen Simas)
  51. 9B   sigvicious    (Sig Vicious)
  52. 9C   stangstagram (Jeff Stanger)
  53. 9D   holland_pics    (Martijn Kleingeerts)
  54. 9G   deejaynamo    (Nnamdi Wakwe)
  55. 9H   oyvindbo    (Øyvind Bø)
  56. 9I    tundehundeyin    (Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin)
  57. 9K   dcamposeco    (Diego Camposeco)
  58. 9L   jessvosk  (Jessica Voskoboinikov)
  59. cmo2l    (Cassie O’Toole)
  60. 10M  tiagowho    (Tiago Claro)
  61. 11B  bi9lee    (Big Lee)
  62. 11I  tristwin (Tristan Winslow)
  63. 11L stillalin_ih (Alinda Kalalo)
  64. 12D  esposito13  (Udeshi Gurusinghe)
  65. 12E manowar75  (Björn)
  66. 12F  stoneysteiner     (Urs Steiner)
  67. 12I  ne_nzinga (Jose Zefu Kimpalou)
  68. 12L  bebelere_balon (Bulent Cinar)
  69. 12M  hessedabbisch   (Christian)
  70. 12M  hessedabbisch    (Christian)
  71. 12N  bebelere_balon (Bulent Cinar)
  72. 12O  sdgareth (Gareth Evans)
  73. 13C  landachka (Jane Landa)
  74. 13F  lax2nrt (Jen Pollack Bianco)
  75. 13G  lax2nrt (Jen Pollack Bianco)
  76. 13I  lax2nrt (Jen Pollack Bianco)
  77. 14A  gregersdohn    (Gregers Dohn)
  78. 14B  kijisora (KIJISORA)
  79. 14C  jlckcreative    (Joshua Lu)
  80. 14D  jlckcreative    (Joshua Lu)
  81. 14E  sunnyrb    (Robin Bengtson)
  82. 15A  actor34 (Gokhan Kocaoglu)
  83. 15B  stangstagram (Jeff Stanger)
  84. 15D  iheartcarl  (Yvonne Lafleur)
  85. 15K  mattcimaglia    (Matthew Cimaglia)
  86. 15M  jakezen
  87. 16B  paoo4 (Pao Ortega)
  88. 16C  nathparis (Gueret Nathalie)
  89. 16G  philipmostert31 (Philip Mostert)
  90. 16H  misvincent (Melissa Vincent)
  91. 16L   mischiru (Kevin Lau)
  92. 16M  kaitlinyap    (Kaitlin Yap)
  93. 17A   nurnenn (Anna)
  94. 17B   mattrubin    (Matt Rubin)
  95. 17E   detrichpix    (Allan Detrich)
  96. 17G   njcarron    (Nicholas Carron)
  97. 17I    adrenajeanne (Adrena Mohtadi)
  98. 17J   Gretchen (Gretchen McHale)
  99. 17J   Gretchen    (Gretchen McHale)
  100. 17L   kevindesoto    (Kevin DeSoto)
  101. 17M  elephant_shoes_photography    (Jodi Mae)
  102. 17N  segerstudio    (Susan Carroll-Seger)
  103. 18A   detrichpix    (Allan Detrich)
  104. 18G  holicker  (Richard Holicker)
  105. 18J   beckysmarsh (Becky)
  106. 18K  kengeiger (Ken Geiger)
  107. 18M  heatherlagarde    (Heather LaGarde)
  108. 18O  zevo  (Stephen Smith)
  109. 19D   reneeinlondon (Renee Lightner)
  110. 19E   adamngee    (Adam Gilpin)
  111. 19G   agusmakkie    (Agus Makkie)
  112. 19H  ilovecandylicious
  113. 19L  m0ym0y  (Que Xee)
  114. 19N  ghoshworld (Bobby Ghosh)
  115. 20J  egurney39 (Ethan Gurney)

I hope some of these amazing photographers enter the My Life’s A Trip Vacation Photo contest.If you’d like a copy of the high res scan please email anastasia[at]mylifesatrip[dot]com

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