Instagram filters

Been goin’ kinda nutso on Instagram lately. I’d had the app on my iPhone for ages, but never really used it until recently because we’re upping our involvement with it at work. Now I’ve finally signed on, I’ve been subjecting whatever usable photos I have to Lo-Fi, Hefe, Valencia, and other filters while I get the hang of it.

Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam mean 
et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.
” At St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.

After some experimenting, I decided to lay the Kelvin filter over the original image, which has a much cooler (and what one friend called a “magical”) quality. I like that the sunlight in the windows glows blue both before and after.

The unfinished brushstroke-like quality of Kelvin’s frame is appealing, but the filter itself is often too yellow for the pics I have. However, it worked wonders with the bluish St. Peter’s photo above and this photo below of sunset on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, taken years ago with a Kodak Advantix and scanned from a print. The original resolution wasn’t great, but that’s what I’m finding makes the softer filters so handy. Plus it transformed a pretty great sunset into a spectacular one, all flame and lavender.

The Nashville filter softened up this next shot of me eyeing a rhinoceros beetle munching on sugarcane in Costa Rica. The contact-sheet quality of the frame is fun. And of course, um, I like what the filter does for my complexion.

That is one big bug.

Sierra’s an apt filter for a wildlife shot, especially a bright morning one
with contrasting shadows. The pictured brush rabbit (aka bush bunny)
paused just long enough for me to capture the image before it
scampered away on this Bay Area hiking trail.

Sierra also turned this tonnarelli cacio e pepe at Salumeria Roscioli
in Rome into a drool-worthy memory. 

So far, though, nothing beats Lo-Fi for its ability to juice up colors and play up contrast. Makes its images almost hyper-real. Exhibit A sans frame, with iPhone close-up (no zoom):

Tsukemen, Shoki Ramen House, Sacramento.
Noodles that are chewy without being pasty, and a clear broth.

Thanks to Lo-Fi, with frame this time, the colors of the following painting just pop. (Pun intended. I couldn’t help myself.)

Wayne ThiebaudBoston Cremes, 1962. Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.

Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne

I still count Canova’s Cupid et Psyche in the Louvre as my all-time favorite sculpture, but Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne sculpture in the Galleria Borghese cuts a close second (if not a tie). The way the light filters down so that the marble glows, and how you can walk around the elevated sculpture to peer at it from different angles, is so amazing.

(video via Rick Steves; FF to about 2:20 to see the sculpture)

Walking Rome by Katie Parla

Because I’m pretty much a fool for Italy travel—particularly reading about all the ways I can enjoy it like a local—I’m super-excited to check out Katie Parla’s new National Geographic guidebook Walking RomeIt drops today and I’m planning to add it to the collection of books and apps I read on Italy, just as a form of escapism.

Katie’s an opinionated, discerning writer, so it’ll be great to see how she brings the capital as she’s come to know it to life. She recently profiled Rome for Nat Geo Traveler’s excellent “I Heart My City” series, which you can check out here; her Rome for Foodies app for iPhone and Android is essential reading for anybody who wants to eat well there and avoid the disappointment of mediocre restaurants with tourist menus (and ripoffs!). Plus she gave a pointed rebuttal for Anthony Bourdain’s episode of The Layover in Rome that you’ll want to pay attention to if you’re headed to the Eternal City.