Aviary – a few words on processing images on the go

As you may already know from previous posts, this summer vacation I went to Canada. Had a great time, took a ton of photos, but, after coming back home, I had very little time to deal with said photos. Sure, I copied them to the computer + backups, but, aside from that, I had little to no time to process them. One thing I could do, though, was to extract the jpegs from the raw images, and move those to my smartphone & tablet, one day’s worth of photos at a time, to review and process.

Then, when I have some time, I try and process a few pictures – either with Aviary or with Instagram, and post some of the resulting images on the blog or on Google plus. It’s not a perfect process, and I am quite limited in my options, but it is a beginning. First, I get to actually see the images (I have little time for chimping when taking photos as I prefer to look for the next image rather than looking at the tiny camera screen – all but the worst pictures look good on a small screen) and decide which are worth processing and which are complete trash.

Then, I get some end results that I can show people – “What? You’ve been to Canada for almost a month and you have no pictures to show?”. Third, and most important, the limited processing available forces me to take pictures that look decent straight out of the camera. Of course I can recover some shadows or blown highlights in Lightroom / Photoshop. But what good does this do me if I don’t have the time to use those programs?

Aviary is a great tool, it can crop and rotate an image, it knows how to enhance contrast, brightness & saturation, it sharpens (of course, if the image is too blurry there is little hope for it, no matter what software one uses), all the things you would expect of a image processing program. Heck, it even modifies the color temperature and can straighten an image (that is, finely rotate it – degree by degree and not in 90 degree steps).

Moreover, it comes with a bunch of filters that are fun to use and give a special look to the images, especially if you’re looking for a dated look like the images in this post. And, best of all, especially given the quality of the program, it is free.

Here are some more examples of images processed with Aviary on my Motorola Xoom:

An old barn. The image was taken from a car while moving so, although it is taken with a fast shutter speed, it isn’t as sharp as it could have been. However, the processing makes the imperfections less conspicuous.


Another barn, processed with a different filter


A church atop a rocky outcrop on the banks of St. Lawrence river – 1000 isles, on the Canadian side


The library – a small fortress in the middle of the St. Lawrence river


A railway line in the middle of the forest. Aviary did a great job recovering the details in the shadows without destroying the image
A view from the Sea-to-Sky Highway – hard to keep the eyes on the road with views like this. Good thing there are rest stops every few kilometers so one can safely enjoy the view.
Whistler-Blackcomb mountains – this is where some of the Olympic events in 2010 took place
Downtown Vancouver seen from Stanley Park
Vancouver skyline, also from Stanley park
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