iPhoneographer of the Day – Michelle Ballard | Mikkers

Miki is a talented iPhoneographer with a passion for capturing her everyday life. She examines herself as a girl with a boy, a dog, and a camera. Miki tells us that she is “a relative nobody” but has already made her mark among the iPhoneography medium by having a lens edition developed in her name.

iPhoneogenic is very pleased to bring to you an interview with the wonderful Mikkers herself…

(Tug of War)

Q: Where are you from? Tell me about yourself?
A: I am 24 years old and a native of North Carolina, but am currently living in Great Mills, MD. I moved here two years ago after graduating from Virginia Tech University with a degree in Public Relations that got me a job in technical writing.  My free time is spent knitting, reading science fiction and mystery novels, rock climbing, taking photos of *everything*, and balancing strange objects on the head of my 1-year old boxer dog, Maxie.

Q: How did you get into iPhoneography?
A: I always wonder why I didn’t stumble into iPhoneography sooner.  I owned the 3G and then the 3GS without really taking advantage of the built-in camera until earlier this year. That’s when I finally synced up my iTunes account to a credit card and discovered the Photography section of the App Store. I am sure my bank balance regrets that discovery but it was the beginning of the end for me. After that I started to look for camera app reviews online and through the power of Google discovered an active iPhoneography community and my two favorite iPhoneography blogs: Life in LOFI and iPhoneography.com.

Q: Can you recall the first iPhoto you took that made you go WOW I really got something here!?
A: The first photo I took on my iPhone that made me really see the device’s potential was “One Last Bit of Day” which I took on a snowboarding trip in Virginia. It was a sunset photo over the ski lifts with a quick run through Camerabag and it turned out pretty nice for a small camera with no flash on it.

(One Last Bit of Day)

Q: What does iPhoneography mean to you?
A: To me, iPhoneography represents a new genre of photography in which we focus not on the equipment that you use (how expensive it was, how much you have, etc), but on the person behind the lens. The limitations of the iPhone force the photographer to be more selective and critical with their shots. iPhoneography is about being mobile. The camera is always with you, so you don’t lose a photo opportunity. You can shoot, edit, and upload a photo within minutes which I feel is half the battle when it comes to photography. So many times I have taken a photo on my dSLR only to have it sit on my desk afterwards because I was too lazy to find the connecting cord or to boot up a photo editor and go through a backlog of photos.

Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: No. I’ve always been meaning to take a course in photography, but thanks to the Internet there is a wealth of free information if you only know where to look. I believe the best training though is practice, so I try to shoot photos everyday.

(Pink in the Summer)

Q: How cool is to have ClassicTOY develop a lens after you! What was your reaction to the “Mikkers! Edition” and did you know it was being developed or was it a total surprise?
A: It was a big surprise! I first learned about it on Twitter when the developer, Misskiwi, posted a screenshot of the new lens and at first I thought it was a joke because ClassicTOY is an awesome app and having a lens named after me (a relative nobody) was incredible. Seriously though, it was a real honor to me as Misskiwi (http://misskiwi.com/classic/), is a great developer who I have found to be very responsive and dedicated to improving the quality of her apps.

Q: Who or what are your artistic influences?
A: I’m inspired a lot by the iPhoneographic community, especially my flickr contacts such as: Sion Fullana, Matt Burrows, Gladly Beyond, Stephanie Chappe, Sascha Unger, Dominque Jost, Gusbano, star.rush360, and Misho Baranovic (to name a few!).

(Through the Fence)

Q: What has been the some of the challenges of using the iPhone as a camera?
A:  One of them is the lack of a proper zoom. While the iPhone 4 does have a nice digital zoom, nothing can replace have the ability to actually telescope your lens out like in a regular point and shoot camera or a dSLR. Without a zoom, I end up missing a lot of details.

Q: Has your work been published before, if so, where? Did you ever expect your work to be noticed by the iPhoneography community?
A: I haven’t been published yet, but I only started to seriously take photos on my iPhone in February of this year. Since then, I have met some amazing iPhoneographers and the mobile photography community has been really supportive and inclusive.

(Rocket Lights)

Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction from people to your iPhotographs?
A: The most predictable response is of disbelief that the photo they are seeing came from my iPhone. People have this mind-set that the camera quality makes the photographer, hence if you don’t have an expensive camera, you aren’t going to get nice photos. It’s great to be able to change that. However, I’ve also come across people who see the quality, but don’t really value it and dismiss the iPhone as a gimicky tool. I’ve also found that people tend to think my apps do all the work too, which is a bit insulting.

Q: What’s in your iPhone camera bag (apps)? Which one do you currently use the most often?
A: I am an app junkie and buy way too many! I like to try them all out and support the developers who make quality products. I have 30 apps on my iPhone right now, but the ones I currently use the most are: Hipstamatic, Camera+, Photogene, Perfectly Clear, Plastic Bullet, Picture Show, ClassicTOY, ClassicINSTA, and Camerabag.

(Summer Wishes)

Q: Miki, I absolutely love your work, would you mind doing a workflow of a recent/favorite photo of yours for our readers?
A: Here is a workflow for one of my favorite photos.

STEP 1: Here are three shots of an evening sunset taken from a few different angles as I traveled down the road. I captured them using the native camera app. My next step is to run it through Photogene and use the auto levels correction to quickly brighten the colors. As you can see they are okay photos, but not anything really amazing. Let’s see if we can change that.

STEP 2: Everyone loves sunsets and I feel that the silhouettes are nice, but they are really uneven and obscure some of the color in the sky. I want to combine them together, so I open up Backgroundz which is a multiple exposure/image layering app similar to the more popular BlendCamera or DXP. I like Backgroundz because it’s the only app that saves at full resolution (so far). I drop in all three images and use the “Overlay” option.

One of the original three sunset photos was a plain blue and weak on its own, but combined with the strong oranges of the other two now balances out the photo.  Combining the photos has also turned the sparse tree line into a lush forest. The staggering heights of the trees also forms a nice “V” that draws the eye towards the sunset.

STEP 3: Earlier in the day I tried to take a photo using the Hipstamatic app, an app that mimics a plastic toy camera complete with light leaks and color filters. Unfortunately, I had a shutter lag and got a streaky, blurred photo of a coffee shop. Unusable, or so I thought. However, the bright orange streaks remind me of the sunset photo I just made. I save the sunset photo as a separate file. Still using the Backgroundz app, I combine the sunset photo and the blurry Hipstamatic Photo. (workflow 3)

STEP 4: Here is the (almost) finished image. The streaky Hipstamatic photo has added a lovely Aurora Borealis effect and intensified the colors. The rough border of the Hipstamatic app has also added texture, nice!

But the effect is a little too strong. Simply switching which layer is on top and which layer is on the bottom fixes this nicely. Now the Hipstamatic app is a blue instead of green, streaks are softer, and the trees are more dominant. We’re finished!

Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: Thanks so much for letting me be apart of your iPhoneographer interviews, it’s an honor :)

For more on Miki check out these links:

Tumblr: mikkers

Flicker: paranee

Twitter: @thismiki

Thank you Miki for participating in this feature here on iPhoneogenic.tumblr.com and the iPhoneogenic Facebook Page. I am honored to have you on my blog.

Thank You!

All images shown here are copyrighted property of Michelle Ballard, please contact Michelle for copyright privileges.

© 2010 iPhoneogenic

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