Got Notion?

Light-Imagery - Through The Fog Of TreesI do. Got a notion to keep this going. Keep this tree of notions growing. We have met the notion and it is us. If we don’t do it, who will? There are many things need writing about. Truth and injustice, life and death and everything else in between. That pretty much covers it.

So, right now I’m serving notion that this is alive and will do some kicking. Let’s celebrate what’s right with the world as we deal with all the things that are not. Otherwise, how will we survive with happiness while being aware that there is some misery.

What is your joy? Love, family, friends? Those are most precious. What do you do to pass the time together and bring a smile to your faces? Music, art, stories? Sharing those experiences is easier now than ever thanks to many genius folks who lived their dreams to bring the world closer together through wonderful technologies that have turned impossibilities into reality. Even when those were close to are not near.

Sounds, words, images, movies, face to face or preserved for time, it’s all there for the taking. And the giving. Anyone can do it. Imagination. That is the limit.

Everything new is old again. And the other way around. The hope of the world is bringing us together with our similar differences. Musical philosopher Billy Joe Shaver said “the one thing in common is we all are different, we’re supposed to be that way“. Makes sense to me. We still all need a place to sleep, to eat and to take care of those we care about. Wherever we are.

Maybe your notion is my notion. We shall see.


New Blog – Mobile Image World

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. So said John Lennon and that is what seems to have happend to this blog. Some serious family health issues have put a lot of less pressing things in life on hold. I had just started another blog, Mobile Image World and was going to both when our lives changed.

Recently I was motivated to restart Mobile Image World due to a momentous event taking place, the LA Mobile Arts Festival. It is the biggest event of its kind to date. It has been quite creatively put together by the founders of and is taking place now in Santa Monica, California. I invite you to join me at Mobile Image World where I am blogging about this and other topics related to mobile photography and art.

As time allows it would be great to restart this blog. I hope that happens.

Chris Nielsen – Notion Tree


Yesterday's MemoriesMy first story “Yesterday’s Memories” on Cowbird was included on in a featured collection “Found Photographs” on the front page of today. This poem, photo and story was also published here at Notion Tree.

For those unfamiliar with, it is an interesting and different concept of collecting and curating meaningful content. I find it refreshing because it is different than the fast paced momentary gratification that is Twitter, Facebook, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just that there are ways to use the resources of the internet for more permanent curating of creative content. Our books, magazines and letters of the modern tech age. In a way, the internet is still in it’s infancy with a lot of room for growth and direction. Blogs, photo and music sites as well as other avenues of communications are opening up and are encouraging a new age of writers and creative people by providing a platform in the clouds of opportunity.

Not that this so new, but there are ideas and concepts, like Cowbird, yet to be built and explored. Tech startups are growing like weeds. This is a time of opportunity. Some of the weeds will fall by the wayside. Some will become flourishing and thriving growth for our future.

Just some rambling thoughts for the day…

Chris Nielsen – Notion Tree


iPhoneography, what is it? Simply put, it is photography made using an iPhone. Specifically iPhoneography is making, editing and creating images all on your iPhone. There are hundreds, make that thousands, of photo editing apps for iPhone. There are apps for taking photos, editing photos, creating and recreating images in a multitude of artistic ways. It is thoroughly amazing the images that can be created using a handheld device. We are limited only by our own imagination.

There are numerous websites dedicated to iPhoneography. These sites have news, tips, app reviews, and more.

Here are a few of the top sites:

There are are many other sites and would really like to hear about more of them if anyone has recommendations.

One of my favorite sites is the previously mentioned . IPA is much more than a typical iPhoneography website. It is a community of talented artists creating and displaying high quality iPhoneography photos and artwork. This community also provides user forums for tips, reviews, critiques, and so much more. This is the go to place for hands on help from friendly, helpful, experienced and knowledgeable people of all skill levels. IPA will be covered here in a post of its own in the future.

Of course, Instagram is a huge community of iPhoneographers with so many images posted daily it would be humanly impossible to see them all. Soon the Instagram app will come to Android phone users as well. Wonder what they will call their form of photography. Androidography? We shall see. There are also Flickr groups and other iPhoneography related groups and communities around the net.

iPhoneography is a phenomenon that is here to stay. It is my current primary form of photography. My iPhone camera is the one that is always with me!

Post Note: Photos included are examples of my iPhoneography. They can be viewed with further details and apps used here:

Chris Nielsen – Notion Tree

iPhone Foto Art

Still having fun with my new to me iPhone 3GS and as a photographer the handy always with me iPhone camera is getting a lot of use. The aspect of having a camera that fits in my pocket with onboard photo editing apps and connectivity is thrilling. Shoot, edit and upload from anywhere. That is why the iPhone camera is my camera of choice right now.
Check out my iPhone Foto Art gallery on Google+/Picasa. All photos were made with the iPhone 3GS. All but the first few were edited on the iPhone. My iPhone has about ten photo editing apps onboard. Snapseed and PhotoForge2 with PopCam are the two I use the most. Between the two, they have many if not most of the features photographers are accustomed to using with Photoshop or other high power/high$ photo editing apps on their laptop or desktop. For about $10, the cost of my two main apps, the level of control and capability is amazing.

The usual photo editing controls and adjustments are available with some variations between the two apps. Then there are many filters to give your photos a special look, feeling and pizzazz. Some of these filters would cost many extra dollars as add on plugins and filters for Photoshop on your full size computer.

There are so many photo apps out there with many different filters and features available. One of the most comprehensive and helpful guides on this subject is How Did I Do That? – Free Step by Step Instructions for Creative iPhone Photography. Much appreciation and my hat is off to the author Cynthia Louden for this thoughtful, creative and did I mention comprehensive tutorial.
Keep in mind when viewing my iPhone photos that my camera is only the 3GS. The iPhone 4 and 4S cameras have even more megapixels and features. Also, most of my current iPhone photos are in square format for posting to Instagram where you can find me @chris_nielsen .

It has been said that the best camera is the one you have with you. Take advantage of the camera you always have with you and have fun too. I would love to see your iPhone photos, so send us a link.

Speaking Of Flipboard

It’s official, Flipboard has me hooked. If you like to read quick, diverse, magazine style current events, news and articles of your choice in an attractive informative format, Flipboard can get you hooked too. Download this free social news reader magazine app today and see for yourself.

Being a constant hunter-gatherer of information, news and knowledge, Flipboard was made for me. I still start my day on the laptop with coffee and catching up with Google News, FB, G+, Twitter and email. Throughout the day when time allows Flipboard on the iPhone gets used to fill in reading time with articles of interest on a wide range of subjects and tidbits of knowledge adding more spice along the way. Convenient, responsive, mobile, I can use it anywhere my iPhone goes.

To help anyone just getting started or looking to expand their Flipboard experience here is Nine Ways That You, Too, Can be a Flipboard for iPhone Power User.

Flipboard also has a handy Help page too. Or you can access it in the Flipboard app by tapping the Settings gear, then About, there you will find Help.

After only a week with it on my iPhone, please call me a Flipboarder!

Chris Nielsen – Notion Tree

iPhone – Flipboard, Currents or Zite?

Magazines of the future are here today and reside in multiplicity in apps on your mobile device. The competition has heated up recently with several new entries in the field. All present news, current events and articles in a visual and attractive fashion. Each with their own modes of displaying, organizing, selecting and sharing your desired content that will help you decide which one fits your information flow best.

Flipboard started on the iPad and is now available for iPhone too. A model of visual functionality that is described perfectly by its name, Flipboard is very easy to learn to use. They get high marks for ease of use to set up your content choices and sources. Flipboard also makes it easy to tie into your social media accounts. Add Google Reader to your content stream as well. Flipboard is the benchmark right now.

Currents is Google’s brand new offering. To get started you sign in with your Google ID. You begin with standard free content sources, implying possible premium content may added later. Change your content sources and categories by navigating through the settings. You can also add your Google Reader sources, although I had to sign out and back in again for them to show up in my feed. Currents has plenty of choices for information, but I found the app to be less user friendly and straightforward to set up than Flipboard or Zite. My other complaint is that Currents spends a lot of time syncing, even with a decent wi-fi connection, and sometimes the pages get a bit sticky. A few times the app would completely stop for a few seconds before returning to normal operation. The app is not quite as stark to look at as some of the other Google apps and is pleasing visually without being over done.

Zite is extremely easy to set up, easy to navigate while using and pleasing to look at at too. Zite uses algorithms to train itself to cater to your desired content. This may give less direct control over desired content and I’ll pass judgement after more time with the app to see how well it performs. Zite can use your Twitter, Google and Read It Later accounts to help find content that interests you although it is not required. Zite is a pleasure to use and read content with. It is responsive and fairly snappy. Very easy to navigate to different categories with its top navigation bar or simply swiping side to side on the pages. Easy to share to social media or visit the originating website.

Content is king. In the long run the biggest fights between these competing apps are likely to be more in content sourcing than in app functionality. At this point Flipboard has the edge, but it has existed longer as an iPad app thereby giving them a head start in the information race. However, CNN purchased Zite so they obviously see an avenue of opportunity. Google certainly is already in the news and information game in a big way, so Currents fits right into their plan.

My hope would be for the majority of content sources to be available on multiple apps. That would allow users to choose the app that suits them best for most of their information flow. Eventually some sources will be exclusive or charge for premium content and then the user will have to use the app where that source is available. There are already examples of content available on one app, but not others. But, there are so many ways to obtain information beyond apps, and then again beyond mobile devices, it would make sense for app developers and content providers to keep that in mind.

These apps are so useful to grab some quick news and information at anytime, any day while on the go. They have become quite popular in a relatively short time and their usage growth continues to rise rapidly. So far Flipboard is my favorite for functionality, content and ease of use. It is more mature than the other two apps and is actually fun to use without being gimmicky. Zite is the easiest to navigate and is my second favorite. The down side for Zite is not enough direct control of content. Currents seems more complex than it needs to be at times. It is also has more performance issues than the other two. It does give provide good control, especially with Google Reader where you can select which individual Reader news sources will show up in your Currents feed. Bottom line, I’ll use Flipboard as first choice, but continue to read Zite and Currents as well to see how they all continue to develop.

Which reader is your favorite and why?

Chris Nielsen – Notion Tree