Why I love the Lens Distortions app

I’ve already mentioned (probably more than once) how much I love Snapseed for mobile photography, but last week I dicovered a new favourite app – Lens Distortions.

While Snapseed is better for more natural edits, like brightness and saturation, to perk up photos, Lens Distortions is much more about artistic effects. I’m not talking the cheesy effects of yore, like trying to sketch your photo in pencil crayon, I’m talking dreamy sunbursts and twinkly lights the likes of which you could never capture with a phone.

Here are two photos where I tried to capture some kind of sunburst and my phone just wasn’t up to the task, and the effects I managed to achieve with the Lens Distortions app.

The app doesn’t just do sunbursts, you can also make some pretty boring photos look much more interesting with random flecks of light and lens flare.

There’s also fog effects which I’ve not tried yet, I’m saving those til later in the year – right now I’m all about the sun and blue skies!

Not only does the Lens Distortions app produce really realistic effects which really take your photos to the next level, here’s the best part – it’s free! I’m in photography heaven, thank you Lens Distortions!

Niagara Falls – the good part!

You’d be forgiven for thinking, after reading my ‘first impressions’ post, that Niagara Falls is just one big disappointment, so let me disabuse you of that idea. It’s definitely not, but I was super unhappy with my first impressions and I’m disappointed that the local council (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is) hasn’t realised that it needs to do more.

Anyway, mini rant over – you can look at that ‘first impressions’ post if you want to read more of it – now onto the important stuff!

Once you get past the totally abandoned outskirts of the town, it becomes just a town the same as any other, with petrol stations, retirement homes, and anything else you’d expect to find. Keep heading towards where you think the Falls are, and suddenly heyyyyy world, here I ammmmmm! It’s like Blackpool, but Blackpool on speed. It’s filled to the brim with tourist traps like waxwork museums and haunted houses and it’s just all so tacky! I’m not a great fan of tack (except souvenirs) or massive crowds of people, but I suppose it’s better than feeling like you’ve stepped into a ghost town. Although there was a shop completely dedicated to Coke, which made me ridiculously happy.

They also have a big wheel, which everyone knows is essential to go on when you’re on holiday…

…though I did discover that when it’s rainy and foggy, you can’t actually see the Falls from up there!

You can’t fail to be awed by the sight of Niagara Falls, unless you have a heart of stone. There are some moments in life when you just have to stop and marvel at the majesty of this planet, and visiting Niagara Falls is one of them. Go, and spend a minute thanking whatever science or divine being you believe created this world, for giving us such beauty.

I also discovered that going on a boat ride to the Falls is exceptionally wet, and I’m eternally thankful that I had a filter on my lens which stopped the water getting into it. Although  my camera ended up out of action anyway, because there was so much water on the filter that the camera couldn’t focus any more, and I was too wet head to toe to find anything dry enough to wipe the filter off with!

Here’s the last photo I got before my camera gave up…

I’m guessing most people probably start off looking at them from the top, and then go down and do the boat tour, so it’s not until you go up close to them that you realise how darn big they actually are!

Despite my job being writing and my hobby being photography, no words or photos could do justice to what being at Niagara Falls is like. If you have the opportunity to go, definitely go! (Just don’t arrive by Greyhound! πŸ˜…)

And I have to give a mention to The Keg (at Embassy Suites), because it was just ugh πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜ Cheesy garlic bread of dreams, and mashed potato which I could eat til I die, and I don’t even like mash. And, of course, the view is literally the view of dreams!!! (Pro tip: go for dinner, not tea, because there’ll be less people and you’re more likely to get a window seat πŸ˜Ž )

Despite rather inauspicious beginnings, I actually loved being in Niagara, and I’m absolutely craving going back when it’s fine weather so I can just sit for hours watching and listening…heaven.

Toronto street art

In case it hasn’t become clear by now, I freakin’ love street art. (If it wasn’t clear, you’d better catch up with my Brick Lane and Amsterdam posts!)

When I found out that Toronto had a ‘Graffiti Alley’, you can betcha I was all over that, even if it was really hard to find without being able to access Google Maps.

Like Brick Lane, it was just this huge mass of colours and styles all coexisting quite happily together, and there were a bunch of different alleys so it covers a bigger area than you’d expect.

Anyway, the important thing is the art, not my words, so here goes…

Bonus pic:

Yes, for some reason, Nemesis from Resident Evil is on the wall of one of the alleyways. Someone on Twitter told me that part of the film was shot in Toronto, so maybe that’s why. I definitely had a bit of a fangirl moment when I saw itΒ πŸ˜‚