Super High Resolution images with your iPhone

CortexCam app click to go to website

HydraCam app click to go to website







This article is about two camera apps that I have purchased and actually use on my Apple iPhone 6s+.  I am not being reimbursed or paid by either company for this review.  It is my personal view about each, shared with my readers for their own consideration.  I use both apps on my iPhone. 

Okay, Seem to have a recurring problem.  The images are not opening up to full size when clicked.  Have had this problem with WordPress before.  Sometimes. it works, some times it doesn’t.   You can do a right click and load the image in a different tab or window but while larger it is still at a reduced size.  They probably want me to upgrade my account type.    

Most if not all cell phones today come complete with a camera built-in.  These cameras range from very basic poor quality to very advanced high quality.  While none of them can compete quality or detail wise with a good dedicated camera, they are more than adequate for family and vacation photos in most cases.  However, sometimes people will want an image that is “improved” over the default cell phone image.  Some cell phone cameras can save the image as a RAW, TIFF or DNG file.

With a normal cell phone camera, the photos are processed internally according the cameras programming to produce a JPEG file which is what most people see.  The advantage of JPEG is small file sizes that do not take up a lot of memory.  The short-coming is that. once the cell phones software processes the image, any data not used for the processed image is discarded to keep file sizes small.

However some camera apps may be able to do more than produce a “default” JPEG file from high end cell phone cameras.   I have two apps that I used to create High Resolution cell phone files, as well as for other purposes, and am sharing my personal thoughts opinions about them in case they are helpful to others.

CORTEX CAM does one thing which is to create high resolution files with great detail and tonal characteristics.   CortexCam is available for both Apple iOS and Google or other Android phones.   Continue reading

Walkabout for Exercise and photoshoot 4.

Well I’ll keep the commentary short today.  Day 4 of my photo walkabout and weight loss exercise  program. I started with a theme of wheels, but that didn’t last long though you will find several “wheel” photos.   Guessing about 5 kilometers today but it was hot, humid and a bit dusty due to traffic.  I’m no longer uploading full size images because of the data limit on my WordPress account for now.  Maybe one day I can afford to upgrade.

Now if you’re feeling real wealthy and want to help me out or just buy me a cup of coffee, my PayPal is 

All photos are Tarlac City, Tarlac Province, Philippines.  My current temporary residence.  My official home is still Denver, Colorado for legal and financial purposes.  The camera used is the Panasonic FZ1000, a super-zoom with a 1″ sensor.  Great camera when diverse focal lengths are needed.

On the road again, riding the trike again.

Trikes and more trikes

Not exactly a wheel but close enough

Guess which is the most popular soda in the Philippines.

Walking for Exercise and Street Photography 2

Well I went out today again for some walking exercise.  This time I planned it a little better and took along my Olympus OMD-EM5-II camera.  Since my arrival in the Philippines 3 years ago, I have. lost 45 lbs (20 kilos).  But recently due to not enough activity I gained back 5 lbs. (2.3 kilos). Thing is I need to be losing more for my health.   Well that is a good excuse to get out for some street photography again.

While many trikes have sidecars for passengers, some are used as delivery vehicles. Hence the delivery trike.

Continue reading

Walking for exercise but grabbed a few photos.

Well, seems I gained back a few of the pounds I had lost so decide to get in a good long walk today to burn off some calories.  It was hot and humid but I still managed to walk several kilometers.  Didn’t have my good cameras with me so shot a few with my iPhone.  I used the ProCamera app, set to shoot RAW instead. of JPEG.  It means more time post processing but more detail in the highlights and shadows.  Images processed in Lightroom.   Enjoy.

Traffic on MacArthur Highway

Traffic on MacArthur Highway

They have traffic lanes on the roads, but they don’t get a lot of use. Pretty much go whichever way you need to get through the traffic.

Motorcycles are a primary method of transportation so Motorcycle parts and repair can be found just about everywhere. Brightly wrapped new motorcycle tires.

Gasoline prices have really gone. up in the past 3 years. Nearly Double what they used to be That. is the. price per liter. in pesos. On average. about 50-54. Philippine pesos to 1 US dollar. 1 US Gallon is about 3.78 liters.  So that works out to about $3.25 a gallon for the 93 octane.

Getting Jeepney photos are easy, they are everywhere along major roads. The most colorful ones are found in the NCR (National Capital Region, a collection of 16 tightly packed cities including Manila).

Walked severa Kilometers. in the humidity and heat. Good. exercise but I was tired. The shy young man in front,  leaning against the wall was my Trike driver home. Very quiet but very polite and fair on his charge for the ride.

Street Walking: iPhone 6s+ Tarlac City, Philippines.

Went to the SM Mall in Tarlac City today. Afterwards realizing I hadn’t been out much recently I decided to do some street walking with my iPhone 6s+.  No its now one of the latest.  Been banged up a few times and had to have 2 screens replaced.  The touch screen gets a little flakey now and then, but it still takes some decent photos on occasion.  Normally I would street-walk with either my Olympus OMD-EM5-II or Panasonic  FZ1000 cameras, but this was a spur of the moment impulse walk just to get some exercise.  I always say the only good camera is the one you have with you, and I always have my iPhone with me. Using a variety of apps it does a pretty good job most of the time. So enough typing, here are some photos.

Bamboo Furniture store. Tarlac City, Philippines.  Photo taken using the ProHDR-X app for IOS. The street side was brightly lit, but the interior was very dark.  The app allowed an HDR (High Dynamic Range) approach to capture more detail in the dark areas without blowing out there foreground.

Street photo, Zamora Ave. Tarlac City, Philippines. Traffic was light for the time of day, I would shortly find out why. Most people were getting ready for a parade and festival in the Tarlac city center.

Kubo kubo bamboo huts commonly seen in the Philippines. There are many different sizes and styles. Some like these are suitable for picnics or outdoor meals. Larger ones may form actual homes for families.  The simplest will be poles with a thatch roof and a U-shaped bench.  Others like the ones pictured are for fancy, and some are large enough to become homes.

This is the  well-known San Roque Parish Church in Tarlac City, Philippines. This image was actually shot in panorama mode in order to catch most of the view.  The distortion is from the panorama swing over a wide area.  Note the wheel chair ramps on the outside, in addition to the stairs in front.   There are very few windows as it is mostly an open air church.

Now the remaining photos are of the preparations for the 3rd Annual Kaisa Youth Music Festival in Tarlac City, Tarlac Province, Philippines.  The festival kicks off with parade as you will see.  So with no further delay here are the remainder of my street walk photos.  A few little glitches here and there and it was becoming a cloudy day, but I got in a good long walk.  As my weak knee began to get tired, I had walked several kilometers, I finally ended my day by flagging down a trike near the Doctor’s Hospital and took a short but easier ride home.  I hope you enjoy this little window into life in the Philippines.  You should be able to click on photos to see a larger view.

These army vehicles were parked waiting to take place in the local  3rd annual Kaisa festival parade. Tarlac City, Philippines,  iPhone panorama mode.

A float getting ready for the local Kaisa festival parade. I think this is the Tarlac City Kaisa parade, but wasn’t able to find out for sure. Tarlac City, Philippines.

More motor cyclists getting ready to move out for the 3rd Annyual youth Kaisa Music , dancing, festival and parade. Tarlac City, Philippines. Jan 18, 2019.

Workers prepping a parade float for the Kaisa festival, Tarlac City, Philippines.

Motorcycle riders lined up to take part in the Kaisa Festival Parade outside the City Center. Tarlac City, Philippines.  This photos was also taken in Panorama mode with the iPhone.

Motorcycle police officers preparing for the Kaisa Youth Music Festival parade, Tarlac City, Philippines.

A long line of Tarlac City government vehicles are parked along a road near the provincial capital. Don’t know if they were to be part of the Kaisa Festival parade or were just just used to transfer people.



Photo Play: Makati Philippines at Night

Photo taken right after sunset. Makati, Philippines. 19 March 2015.   Olympus OMD-EM5-II, 12-40 F2.8 Pro lens.  1/2 second at ISO 200, hand-held while leaning out a window with arms outstretched.  

These two photos are actually from March 19, 2015 and April 6. 2015.   It was at the time I had made a 3 week trip to the Philippines to see if I really wanted to move there for retirement. I had worked there twice before, once for more than a year and this was just an “Am I sure I want to move and retire here” trip.

Makati Philippines at night, 6 April  2015.  Like the similar image from before, it was taken leaning out a window with arms fully outstretched with no support.  1/3 sec @ F2.8, ISO 1600.  

These two photos were taken from my hotel room.  What makes them unique is the circumstances.  My hotel window was recessed into the outer wall with a limited view, so to take these photos I literally had to lean out the window, over the top of the air conditioner with my arms fully outstretched.  The camera is my Olympus OMD-EM5-II with 12-40 F2.8 pro zoom.  When I say leaning out the window with my arms fully stretched out as far as possible I mean it.  Fortunately the Olympus has amazing image stabilization.  The first image was taken at the start of my trip, right after sunset.  The exposure was ISO 200, F2.8 @ 1/2 second, while leaning out a window and my arms fully extended.  The second image was at the end of my trip, late at night, same scenario, arms fully extended without any support, except the ISO was 1600, F2.8 @ 1/3 second.  In both cases, my balance and position was a little precarious.  I am still amazed at how well the Olympus Image stabilization enabled sharp photos even though I was less than steady.  And no, I didn’t have to take numerous shots to get 1 sharp one each time.  I took 2 shots each time and all 4 shots were sharp and clear.  The only difference was in exposure.

In late November 2015, I made my big move to the Philippines and never looked back.  It hasn’t always been easy, and due to hearing problems I am having difficulty learning the Tagalog language, but I have no regrets.  Fortunately most Filipinos speak at least a little English (it is taught in the schools)  and many speak it well.    For what ever reason, this feels like the place I need to be at this time in my life.

Photo Play: Black and White, Trike Drivers

Trike Drivers waiting at a Trike terminal for fares. Black & White with a touch of Sepia.

Trike Drivers at a Tarlac City terminal waiting for passengers.  Originally in color it looked okay but had no sense of presence, emotion or action.  I converted to black and white and added a touch of sepia.  Really feel that this gave the image a lot more feeling and emotion as the expressions and the actions of the drivers really stand out.

Photo Play: Line, Shape, Pattern, Light.

This photo is just a simple observation of something that for more than 2 years I did not notice.  These are the curtains in my bedroom. A dark gray with a simple pattern.  Nothing extraordinary about them until suddenly the other day I noticed the light streaming through and saw something that I had never noticed.  The pattern in the drapes are a very intricate pattern with exquisite detail that I had never seen.  Light streaming through the window silhouetted the headboard of my bed and revealed an intricacy I had not before noticed.  The weave patterns were extraordinary.  That is the purpose of the my “Photo Play”, to notice the uniqueness in those things that we take for granted and to see the greater depths and detail of the world around us.  Nothing special about this photo overall, but the truth is in the details.  Hopefully you should be able to click on the photo to see it larger.

Happy shooting!
~ David