Interview: Christina Nørdam Andersen @cirkeline

This week’s profile is with Danish photographer Christina Nørdam Andersen (@cirkeline). While she’s a relative new-comer to the world of photography, her keen eye for subject and intense contrasts have made her an Instagram phenom with over 45k followers in just a matter of months. 

When you’re not doing photography, you are…

Job hunting, seeking inspiration, taking long walks (which might involve photography), running and spending time with friends.

How did you originally get into photography? What was your first camera?

I got into photography when I downloaded the app Instagram on my new iPhone last autumn and until now I exclusively photograph with the iPhone camera. I find the iPhone camera handy and discreet, which is very appropriate for street photography.

Which other photographers have influenced your work (IG or other)?

Being new to photography I embrace all the inspiration I can get whether it be from following other IGers work or researching famous photographers such as the master of candid photography Henri Bresson-Cartier and the newly discovered street photographer Vivian Maier. I admire the work of Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi, who is known for his poetic low-key portraits.

IG is a constant source of inspiration in itself and there are an incredible number of talented photographers on there. Recently I found the amazing works of

  • Brandon Barr @texturl
  • Dominique Jost @nique88888
  • Giovanni Savino @magneticart
  • Tony @kungfuroll
  • JongSun Park @adl2enaline
  • Akbar Makrati @shutdagizm
  • Greg Briggs @gregbriggs
  • Dimitris Karathanos @dimitriskarathanos
  • Dan Cristea @konstruktivist
  • Koci Hernandez @koci
  • Prio @priotography

…to mention a few. Since the beginning of my photographical journey I am particularly inspired by Thomas Ka @thomas_k, Eros Sana @eros_sana, Gary Bebout @clayking and Jason @jasfran.

How would you describe your style in three words?

Focused, subtle, candid

If your portfolio had a soundtrack, it would be…

Perhaps Yann Tiersen’s Amélie Original Soundtrack which displays a subtlety. I like to portray what I see on the street through my emotions.

How many photos do you shoot on an average day? 

It varies greatly. I can go days without shooting a photo although I tend to think in photographic terms all the time. On average I guess I shoot about 5-10 photos a day.

What is a photo technique or rule that your regularly follow (or constantly break)

“Whatever works.”

What’s the one iPhone photo app you can’t live without?

Noir app, which I use for converting my photos into high definition black and white.

What else is in your camera bag?

Numerous apps, but the ones that I tend to use the most are in random order: Photo Fx, almost DSLR, Iris, Camera+, Focusoid, Lo-Mob, Filterstorm, Scratchcam and CrossProcess.

What aspects of photography are challenging for you?

For me photography is all about capturing the natural light and living in Copenhagen, Denmark the sunshiny days are quite rare. On the plus side when the light is here it is beautiful and casts long shadows. Other challenges are to keep rediscovering my surroundings through my lens and to remind myself that photography is about having fun and playing with it.

How do you pick your subjects?

I pay attention to the little things in everyday life, which is what I find the most beautiful.  It could be a shadow that an object casts or the way a sunray falls on a street scene. Also I like to play with scale.

Within Reach by @cirkeline (c)

Pick one of your favorites from your portfolio and tell us the backstory.  

My photo “Within reach” was one of my first photos, I was stunned by the tree’s shadow on the wall. I walk past here every single day and observe how the changing seasons alter the scene. I look forward to shooting it with snow.

If you could shoot any other locale in the world, where would it be, and why?

As I adore street photography, I would love to go New York City to observe and shoot. I have an idea that I would like to carry out; to portray stillness and quiet contrasting a busy city.

If someone told you, “I want to take photos like @cirkeline,” how would you respond? What tips would you give them if they wanted to emulate  your style?

I would like to quote J.R.R. Tolkien “ There is nothing like looking if you want to find something”. It’s all in the observation and to pay attention to detail whatever it is that catches your eye.

On a practical level keep your camera ready to shoot when walking down the street.

Any other secret talents we should know about?

I can type really fast.

Pick an IG’er with fewer than 500 followers that you think deserves a look from the community.

Check out the talented Bobby Anwar @bobbyanwar, whose stream is diverse and includes some wonderful street photography into which he has clearly put his heart.

Thanks Christina! (and thanks for turning us on to the Amélie soundtrack - it's a peach :-)

Exclusive: The Lost Instagram filters

The latest Instagram release packs several great features, including a bunch of new filters. “Rise” “Amaro” and “Valencia” are already big hits among IG’s nearly 10 million users.

On the other hand, there’s been a lot of chatter about why some filters have disappeared or changed, while others remain:  What happened to “Gothic” and “Apollo”? Why did they change “Early Bird”? And perhaps the most perplexing:

Why keep “Lord Kelvin”?

We caught up with Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, who assured us that a copious amount of behind-the-scenes testing goes on to see which filters strike the right chord with users. He told us that for every filter that makes the cut, thousands are left on the cutting room floor. After some serious arm-twisting (we bought him coffee) he offered to share a handful of those that just barely missed making the cut for the 2.1 release. Here they are…

1) Dirty Bird

2) Smeagol

3) Flounder

4) Hoff

5) Crumpet

6) Smurf

7) Lichen

8) Selleck

9) Matlock

Will these filters ever see the light of day? Systrom insists the team will “give them the consideration they deserve.”   We can only hope…

Mars in your backyard: Fun with TrueHDR

War of the Worlds by @keepsy

In this post, we’re going to walk through a process to give your everyday neighborhood shots a bit of an… otherwordly look.

To create this image, we’ll use: TrueHDR, Camera+, PicGrunger, and finally LensLight.

1) Using TrueHDR

When Apple announced HDR (High Dynamic Range) as part of the features for iPhone4, I was very excited to see how well it performed. (If you’re not familiar with HDR, check out Trey Ratcliff’s excellent blog ‘Stuck in Customs‘ for some impressive samples).

While Apple’s built-in HDR probably slightly better than the regular camera in tricky light situations, there are other apps that get much better results — my favorite is TrueHDR. Here’s a quick comparison of results:

Really not a fair contest. Moreover, you get some really nice editing features in True HDR:

In particular, we like being able to adjust the warmth and contrast, since these are elements that seem to get lost or mis-translated when shooting HDR. Probably the only drawback of TrueHDR is that you have to hold really still while the app takes its 3 photos to make the composite image. This can take a few seconds, so if you have any movement in the frame you can get some artifacts and strange blurs. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but that’s for another tutorial…

2) Shape up in Camera+

Our next step is to open the saved pic in Camera+ to crop and apply the “Redscale” effect.

3) PicGrunger brings the noise

The pic is starting to look a bit more Martian. Still feels a bit too much like home, so I’d like to add some noise to the image to shake things up a bit. My favorite app for adding a bit of age without going overboard on the grunge is PicGrunger. Here We’ve selected the “Aged” effect, and dialed-down the strength a bit.

4) LensLight for artificial lighting effects

Finally, to give the setting a more alien look, we want to play with the light source. How about adding some artificial lens flare,  a moon or even some lightning? LensLight is a great cheat application for playing with alternative light sources, and has some very fine tuned controls that allow you to tap and pinch your way into some great results. For our Martian landscape, we’ve simply added a morning sun, but combined with the HDR effect tricks the eye into believing there are two light sources (i.e. how could the foreground be lit, but the water tower in silhouette?)

And there you have it. Would H.G. Wells approve? I’m having too much fun to care!

War of the Worlds by @keepsy

Interview: Anthony Danielle @takinyerphoto

With over 55,000 Instagram followers, Anthony Danielle (aka @takinyerphoto) is a tour-de-force of street photography. His shots of fellow New Yorkers are candid, stylish and fun. We caught up with Anthony recently to learn a bit more about his style and philosophies of shooting on the street.

So Anthony, when you’re not doing photography, you are…

One of three things: working, perusing the internet, or kickin’ it.

How did you originally get into photography? What was your first camera?

[I] first got into photography in high school around 2004. My first film camera was a Minolta Maxxum 3 that I bought from eBay, at about the same time I entered the digital world with a Canon Powershot and upgraded to a Rebel XT probably around 2007.

How would you describe your style in three words?

Street. Style. Now.

If your portfolio had a soundtrack, it would be…

Probably The Beatles, given time I could probably come up with a caption from lyrics or quotes for every picture.

How many photos do you shoot on an average day?

Depending on the time I get to shoot, anywhere between 30-50 pictures a day of which i probably keep around 10-15.

What is a photo technique or rule that your regularly follow (or constantly break)

I love the rule of thirds.

What’s the one iPhone photo app you can’t live without?

Camera+ no doubt. if IG didn’t exist, I’d probably do anything photo-related with Camera+

What else is in your camera bag?

Ha ha – I actually don’t have one. I use my backpack which usually houses my Mophie battery case, headphones, and Ray Ban case.

So, let’s talk about Street Photography a bit. What inspires you to do street photography? What aspects make it challenging for you?

It started out with other people doing street photography and now it’s just people in general. The concept that you never see the same person twice makes it challenging, everyday is like a blank canvas.

And how do you pick your subjects?

Such a good question. I don’t really pick them, we cross paths and I just happen to keep my camera ready enough to capture the moment. Certain people walk with a certain swagger that I can’t help but take a picture of, some people dress really well and I can’t help but take a picture of that, it’s just one of those things that I chalk up to the universe.

Are your subjects aware you’re taking their photos? Do you ask for permission or do you just try to be as candid as possible?

I’d have to imagine some of them know what I’m doing but I’d say a majority doesn’t, you’d have to ask them to find out for sure. I asked a handful of people while shooting Fashion’s Night Out if I could take some pictures, it was definitely different. I’d love to try and do that more often but the spontaneity of the candid is just too good to stop.

Pick one of your favorite photos from your portfolio and tell us the backstory.

I was up in Newport, Rhode Island shooting the Newport Folk Festival which takes place in a Fort and one of our blogging companions was hanging out in this window and he was so small compared to this massive wall of brick I couldn’t help myself.

You do most of your photography in New York City. If you could shoot any other locale in the world, where would it be, and why?

From what I understand Milan is really fashionable, I’d love to check that out. Also on my bucket list is Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam in no particular order.

If someone told you, “I want to take photos like @takinyerphoto,” how would you respond?

Find the busiest part of your town and start shooting.

Any other secret talents we should know about?

I can whistle dixie.

Ok it’s shout-out time: Pick an IG’er with fewer than 300 followers that you think deserves a look from the community.

Fewer than 300… tough one. after going through my followers list it’s gotta be @lizmcbride. I met her at Newport (thanks Instagram!) and she’s really talented when it comes to snapping pictures.

Thanks Anthony!

Santa Cruz Photo Walk

Last Sunday we had an outstanding turn-out at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk — meeting lots of old friends and making some new ones, too. Some really outstanding photos from this batch, so please take a look.

Thanks to everyone that made it such a great day!

"Frozen in Time" - @keepsy

If you’ve ever thought of setting up a photo walk for your area — Do it!  Here are some tips on how to set up your own instawalk.

Instagram Tips: “Flying High” with high contrast

Do you find yourself looking at a photos on Instagram and wondering, “How the heck did they do that?”

One of the great things about ‘IG’ is that the built-in filters give you a quick and easy way to add some post-processing flair to your pics. It’s fun to thumb back-and-forth between “Earlybird” and “Gotham” to see how different the results can be. But if you’re taking a lot of photos, you’ll soon find yourself wanting to do more.

For example, how do you go…

1. Camera+

If my iPhone was stuck on a desert island, the one application it would choose to augment IG would be Camera+. This app has a number of great features and is easy to use.  While I generally prefer the native iPhone camera app for taking shots (it’s faster), I almost always open shots in Camera+ afterwards just to crop square and see how lighting changes and filters might help improve the effect I’m after.

The original photo above is a fairly average shot from the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California. But rather than post as-is, there are some aspects I’d like to emphasize. For example:

  1. the lines of the chains connecting the swings to the main carousel
  2. the details on the underside of the carousel.

So let’s fire this pic up in Camera+ and see if we can tease these out a bit:

Opening my photo in Camera+

2. Camera+ Filter: “Ansel”

First, I’m going to apply Camera+’s most contrast-intensive black-white filter, known as “Ansel”. This will make the lines pop out a bit and help me concentrate on increasing the contrast even more.

Applying the Ansel filter in Camera+

3. Camera+ : Cropping for IG

My next step is to crop the image to square so that I know the composition is going to work in Instagram. I generally do this early in the process so that I know I’m not editing something that won’t work when I get ready to finally post.

Cropping my photo in Camera+

4. Camera+: Clarity scene

Once my image is cropped, I’m ready to see if I can coax out some of the detail from the underside of the carousel that is completely under-exposed. The “Clarity” effect under “Scenes” is a wonderful one-step process for applying an HDR-esque effect without having multiple versions of the original to work with. The effect can sometimes be overpowering, but in this pic, it gives me nice details that  would otherwise be hidden:

Applying the "Clarity" scene to my photo in Camera+

5. Noir: More contrast!

I like how this is beginning to look, but the clouds are still a bit distracting. So, my next step is to save the Camera+ edits to my photo album and then open the latest version of the pic in “Noir“.  Noir — as the name implies — let’s you control the contrast, as well as the exposure inside and outside a circle that you can define as you pinch and tap on your screen. In this case, I’ve cranked the dials in opposite directions to gain the maximum over-exposure, without blowing out the fine lines of the chains:

Using the iPhone app "Noir" to bring out more contrast

6. Ready to post!

After saving from Noir to my album library, I’m ready to post.  I apply IG’s native “Gotham” filter to help zap some more of the remaining clouds to get a result that is ultra-contrasty with a lot of fine detail exposed.

And there you have it. Total editing time was about 5 minutes.

Is there  a photographer on IG that you’d like to learn more about? A photo edit you’d like to see broken down? Drop us a line and let us know! (support ( at ) keepsy (dot) com