Animate (Old) Still Images

Paris Plotagraph

Paris and the Seine

As a Social Media Manager I’m always on the lookout for new tools and software to create surprising graphics or videos that would get my followers hooked while scrolling through their social news feeds.

A relatively new tool I came across last week is Plotagraph, a software that can animate any single JPG and export the result as GIF or MP4. Naturally, I first signed up for the free membership to give it a try, which limits my tool set immensely (no brush, no feathering). Still, the results I can achieve just by setting a few animation and stabilizer points are rather convincing of the power of the tool.

Additionally, Plotagraph is very easy to use. I just had a look at a few edited stills in the software’s tutorial section and understood immediately how to use animation points. No need to watch complex videos or read endless tutorials before I was able to “breathe new life” into some of my old favorites.

Click on the photos below to see what kind of subtle movements you can create with this software.

Plotagraph is available for iPhone and iPad, as well as Mac, Windows and Linux. Waiting for Android!

The software developers also provide Plotagraph fans with a new social platform, which helps photographers exhibit and share their animation work. Now you might think that sharing on any other existing social network might do the trick — and it will — but Plotagraph’s developers were clever by gamifying their tool. The more followers a Plotagraph user gains, the more features they can unlock inside the program…

Did you try Plotagraph yet? Do you use the basic or paid version? Please share your image examples with me. I’m looking forward to getting inspired! :)

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Bastille Day 2017 In Photos

Weekend Wanderings: Annecy’s Old Town

Thanks to its great location between Europe’s cleanest lake — Lake Annecy — and the snow-capped French Alps, Annecy is a tourist mecca all year long. I visited the “Venice of the Alps” in April this year and followed the canals of the Thiou, one of the shortest rivers of France with a length of ~3.5 km, traversing the Old Town.

Here are some of my personal highlights…

If you like this post you might also like Weekend Wanderings: Coastal Walk In Biarritz, France

Lessons Learned From My First Color Run Photoshoot In Paris

The Color Run is a 5 km fun race, where the participants (and photographers) get sprinkled with a different color powder after each kilometer before ending at a giant party. The race is neither timed, nor do participants actually need to run. Everyone is free to walk, crawl, jump, etc. The aim of the Color Run is to promote health and fitness in a colorful way.

Since I fully support ideas that get people out of their houses and up on their legs, I had a closer look at this year’s Color Run in Paris (April 16, 2017), specifically at the pink color zone. Here is what I learned while looking at “the happiest 5K on the planet” through my camera lens.

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Wrap your cam

Sure, it is fun to be enveloped in 💙, 💚, 💛 and 💗 powder clouds while seeing bright smiles on all the faces around you. But if you don’t protect your camera, you will quickly turn from 😊 to 😢.

To prevent any gear damage, you actually don’t need any expensive equipment or camera cases. A couple of ziplock bags and tape will do. I ended up following more or less the instructions given in this video to wrap my Canon 60D and my 18-250 mm lens in a freezer bag, sealing it off with some gaffer tape.

While wrapping, keep in mind that you still need to be able to control your camera, including the change of settings and zooming in and out. You also want to keep your viewfinder and preview screen free for a quick photo check during the race. That being said, it will be easier to do all of this if you use a “plastic tunnel” in which you can also wrap your hands rather than choosing a plastic bag which is closed on one end.

To complete your protection, get yourself a cheap filter that you can place on your lens and use your lens hood.

It goes without saying that a waterproof case would be the best protection for your DSLR. I only have a waterproof case for my GoPro. So this one was my camera of choice when photographing among the runners and volunteers who threw the color in the air.

Wrap yourself

Now that you got your cam in the clear, protect yourself and your clothes. For obvious reasons, dress in an outfit that can get stained 👕. While the color thrown on runners is usually not hard to remove, I personally wouldn’t risk to ruin my latest shopping treasures 👗.

And if you plan to photograph the complete race in one of the color zones, right beside the volunteers throwing the color, consider wearing a face mask over nose and mouth to avoid breathing in too much of the colored powder over a longer time 😷.

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Me among the pros

Planning ahead and wrapping up

The participants of the Color Run will start the race without color. Forget the starting location for fun photos.

The first color zone is set up after kilometer 1. The second after kilometer 2, and so on. On the official Color Run website you can probably find details and a map to know in advance were the course leads and color zones are set up.

The finisher zone is for participants only. So if you really wanted to photograph there, you would need to buy a race ticket and run, walk, jump there.

I recommend the 4th color zone though. You should have easier access as photographer and the participants will have been sprinkled in at least 3 colors already. Since it’s no professional race, many participants are actually no longer running at this point, but they will stop to take selfies 🤳 or ask photographers nearby to take their group photo 📷. This happened to me several times, even though I wasn’t an official race photographer.

Normally I would also recommend to get in touch with the Color Run team on Social Media, but I was disappointed by the answer of the team behind the French account as they couldn’t give me good advice with regards to photo locations in Paris. Feel free to try anyway. You might get more lucky 🍀.

Once you got all the colorful shots you wanted, start spreading your images on Social Media immediately and over a course of 2 or 3 days after. Anything lasting longer will stay unnoticed. For a chance to get some extra exposure on the official Color Run accounts tag your content with #colorrun #colorrun[cityname] #colorrun[year] #happiest5k.

And now it’s time for some photos and a short video of my first Color Run 💗

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What’s New?

You might have noticed that I am blogging less often as I used to. It’s not that I have nothing to say or write about. And it’s definitely not that I don’t want to keep blogging. I do. Life is simply keeping me very busy these days.

But here are the good news: I keep on photographing. That’s why I recently updated most of my photo galleries on this site and you are welcome to have a look at what I’ve been up to in 2016 and at the beginning of this year.

I updated Landscapes, Weather, Nature, Animals, People and Urban to include photos from France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

We are planning to travel quite a bit in 2017. New and old destinations are on our list and I promise that you will be able to read about our adventures over here 🌋🏕️🏖️🏜️🏙️

Evident And Invisible At Once

The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.
~Joseph B. Wirthlin

Photo details (please click on the image for best quality):

Canon EOS 60D, 17mm, ISO 3200, F5.6, 1/160 sec.
Location: Notre Dame, Paris, France.

If you like this post please have a look at more Wise Words And Quotes In Images

Weekend Wanderings: Coastal Walk In Biarritz, France

Biarritz, queen of beaches, beach of kings. I fell in love with this cute town on day 1 of my visit. I even remember exactly when it happened: at the very moment when I stepped out of one of the town’s narrow alleys, overlooking a long stretch of sandy beach from above with hundreds of surfers paddling their boards towards a magical sunset above the mountains of the Spanish Basque country in the background.

Here is what I enjoyed most while walking along the French Atlantic coast between Pointe Saint-Martin (Lighthouse) and the Plage de la Côte des Basques.

If you like this post you might also like Weekend Wanderings: Sunset Hour At St Leu d’Esserent.