Disneyland Explored

Disneyland explored.

Filtering by Category: Tech

Comparing PHOTO vs PORTRAIT Mode (iPhone photos)

I admit, the biggest reason why I upgraded to iPhone 7 Plus was to get access to the new iPhone camera feature, PORTRAIT. According to the Apple website, the Portrait mode is described as follows:

It's easy to take stunning portraits with your iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait mode uses the dual cameras on your iPhone 7 Plus to form a depth-of-field effect. This lets you compose a photo that keeps your subject sharp while creating a beautifully blurred background.

It does take some practice to figure out how to use the Portrait mode and what subject or objects are best photographed in this particular mode. Here are some photos to give you a better idea of what the difference is between photos captured in regular camera mode vs Portrait mode.

 Regular photo mode

Regular photo mode

In the following photo, shot in portrait mode, you can see how the background is blurred. But you can also see how the camera crudely blurs to closely crop to the subject that you are focused on. 

 Portrait mode. 

Portrait mode. 

Here is another more example so you to compare. Look carefully how blurring the background can affect the image that you want featured. 

 Photo mode. 

Photo mode. 

 Portrait mode. 

Portrait mode. 

 Photo Mode.

Photo Mode.

 Portrait Mode. 

Portrait Mode. 

One of the best uses for portrait mode is shooting photos of people. The following photo is one of my daughter. We needed to attach a photo to one of her applications so we went outside to take advantage of the natural light and I used the Portrait mode to capture her smile. 

I hardly ever carry a camera around anymore. I have my iPhone and it has a great camera that fits my needs and my amatuer photography skills. 

Thanks, Apple!


Scenes from Tomorrowland, Disneyland

Last week, Macsparky and I spent some time at Star Wars Launch Bay. We happened to be there around sunset and took these photos. These photos were taken with our current iPhones.

 Photo edited with Camera + App

Photo edited with Camera + App

 Photo edited with Camera + App

Photo edited with Camera + App

We spotted Stromtroopers on the ground.

Tomorrowland has all kinds of vegetation for landscaping. It is referred to as "agrifuture."

We went back during the evening and Macsparky took these photos. He has a Dx0 One that he connects to his iPhone in order to get some of these night shots.

The Autopia is changing sponsors (from Chevrolet to Honda) so looks like they are getting some remodeling done. The Tomorrowland Train station is hibernating behind the construction walls, too.

The weather has been great here the past two weeks. The good thing about the rain is that it clears the air and makes the skies pretty. Leaving you with a picture of Disneyland's Main Street USA.

Happy Friday!


CARROT = A Most Entertaining Weather App

The weather is big news everywhere, especially in Southern California. We joke here that when it rains, it is "STORMWATCH (insert year)" and it makes the headlines. This year it is most interesting because of the El Niño factor

I know there are lots of weather apps out there. I have several and like the local news weather apps since they seem to be the most reliable for me. However, I am most entertained by this weather app, CARROT. My husband, MacSparky, told me about it and this app makes you look forward to finding out what the forecast is. 

Here are a few screen shots from that last couple days to show you why it is a different kind of weather app.

There are even secret locations you can unlock and discover.

Looking at the weather forecast doesn't have to be boring. Check out CARROT and download for some weather fun. Turn on the sound every so often and listen to the app telling you the weather forecast is kind of entertaining too. 

Stay warm and dry!


Customized Disney Smart Phone Cases Available at D Street

D-Tech on Demand made its debut over at D Street at Downtown Disney (Disneyland). I was able to check out the kiosk and set-up. There are so many choices for both iPhones and select Android phones, too.

D Street at Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort will offer cases for the following phones – iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6/6+ as well as Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy 4, Samsung Galaxy 5 and Samsung Galaxy 6. (Disney Parks Blog)

There are about half a dozen kiosks available. It was pretty easy to navigate. There is not a search function so you will spend more time scrolling through the many, many choices.

You can choose to personalize your case or not. There are 5 icons on the top right that serve as themed categories to help you narrow you search.

  • The MICKEY/MINNIE HEADS represent case choices related to Disney characters.
  • The CASTLE has choices that are associated with Disney Parks like the Diamond Celebration artwork and attractions (eg. Haunted Mansion). 
  • The MOVIE CLAPBOARD gives you Disney films. My daughter was disappointed that there were no Princess and the Frog items.
  • The STAR icon offers choices related to Disney Vacation Club (DVC). 
  • The PAINT BRUSH has select artists that are featured at the WonderGround Gallery

It only takes about 15 minutes. The Cast Member there also let me know that they will continually add to the offerings, especially the WonderGround artist items.

There are many pre-packaged Disney-themed smart phone cases available at several Disney Parks stores other than D-Street. D-Tech on Demand is available to give you many more choices for your smart phone. Don't limit your personalization to just a given name, too. It would be fun to have a Disney-themed case with your blog name, website, nickname or company name on it, too.

Sending pixie dust your way,


On a Mission: App Camp For Girls

Hello from Portland!

I am volunteering at App Camp For Girls. This camp is a week long adventure for jr. high girls to learn about "designing and building apps while learning more about the business of software and being inspired by women mentors in the field." They refer to the participants as "developers" vs. "campers." By the end of this week, the young developers will have built a quiz test (app) and present their app to a panel for feedback (like 'guppy bowl' instead of 'shark tank').

It's a pretty great concept. Coding is only going to get bigger as more businesses will need and demand this skills from their workforce. Exposing girls to this software and tech world and showing them what opportunities are out there is a worth planting a seed to bloom in the future. I feel that it App Camp for Girls is such a fabulous and worthy program that I am volunteering this week so I can see how it all works in hopes to bring this program to Orange County (CA) by next summer.

If you are looking for more information, please visit the App Camp for Girls website. You can support them through donations, interest in their future camps, or volunteer your time to help at on of the future camps. You can also support them by downloading their App Camp Quiz Compendium. It has quizzes that were created by past camp project teams. It's only 99 cents in the App Store

Thanks for reading this particular post. If you know someone who should read this or is interested in App Camp For Girls as a donor, participant or volunteer, please feel free to share this post. 

Happy Thursday!




Dear Apple, Family Sharing was Painful.

 My decal (Etsy) on my laptop.

My decal (Etsy) on my laptop.

My husband, MacSparky, recently wrote about why we are quitting Family Sharing. For the last several months, Family Sharing has been a hassle. I felt like there were extra hoops to jump through to create and update my playlist. It not a seamless experience. Updating my Apps that I had purchased myself or Apps that were shared by family members were not successful. I haven't been able to update Apps such as Instagram for months. Personally, Family Sharing was simply PAINFUL.

So we are giving up on Family Sharing. It's just not the right fit for my family. Relief is in sight soon. We've all negotiated which devices we have chosen to link to one family account. One of the things I am simply looking forward to is being able to access the entire Sparks eclectic family music library. I missed my Christmas playlists. It's fun being able to browse the thousands of songs we all share. Music is a big part of our family life.

Hoping for some extra pixie dust,



Daily online journaling with Oh Life

I am an avid scrapbooker but it can be overwhelming. I love looking at the photos and writing the story behind it. The constant challenge is finding time for it, getting your stuff out, and then just getting it done. When Becky' Higgins Project Life was introduced, it solved it all for me and became my new system to help me document and capture those weekly life moments.

The first year I began Project Life, I kept a journal book where I would just quickly jot down some key activities or moments in that day. I had it organized by week that complimented the Project Life weekly layout. Then late last year, I discovered Oh Life

I've tried a couple apps but this one is really is as easy as it looks. Sometimes I would misplace my journal book or forget to write in. Oh Life solved a many things for me in my quest to capture my family moments. Here are things I like about Oh Life: 

  1. It's paperless which makes MacSparky happy.
  2. It's convenient since it works through your email. 
  3. No limits to journaling space. I can write as much or as little as I want. 
  4. It's timely. You can schedule your daily email reminder to journal your day so you don't forget and can capture things while fresh in your mind. 
  5. It's private. You'll need to create your account to archive your entires.
  6. It is easily accessible when you need it since it is housed in The Cloud. So when I am ready, to scrapbook my week, I can login and see what happened on particular days. 
  7. It's my family diary.

I've been pretty happy using Oh Life to document daily happenings in my family life and for my family members. I scheduled my Oh Life daily email at 10pm. If I don't get to it that night then it is there for me in the morning. Your reply to that email is your journal entry. It is easy to login and pull up certain days and then be able to translate that info into a weekly scrapbook entry using the Project Life templates. 

Check out Oh Life this week to capture some spring happenings. Use it for documenting a project or writing down your favorite quote of the day. We do a lot of thinking and wishing for this and that. Just do it and get some memories written. Oh Life makes it that easy to journal everyday. 

"The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today."

Let's Waterlogue Disneyland Photos

As promised, here are more photos that I edited in the Waterlogue app. I wanted to show you the actual Disneyland photo from and then what the photo looks like after the Waterlogue application.

Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland photo with Waterlogue

MacSparky Jr. with me posing in front of Floral Mickey & Main Street Train Station

Waterlogue photo with people.

A different photo and view of the Disneyland Main Street Train Station.

One of the things that I learned with this app is that not all photos should be 'waterlogued'. You have to take the right photo of a person from the right angle to get a good waterlogue photo. If you have any advice about photos with people and which to Waterlogue filter works best, let me know. 

The following photo was the best example of how you different Waterlogue filters can change your final image. It was fun to play with this photo and see different results.

Photo from @DisneylandToday



"It's Technical" filter


You can see the different looks that you can achieve using the different Waterlogue filters. Choosing the right photo to Waterlogue is also key. 

Now I am off to print these out on different papers to see what they look like. I am an avid scrapbooker so I want to print one out to put in my Project Life book.

Happy Wednesday! 


Watercolor your photos with this App

Waterlogue App

I love taking photos and altering them with photo apps. There are so many photo apps out there but this one was interesting. One of my Facebook friends shared Waterlogue, an app that allows you to take your photos and convert them into a watercolor image. 

Waterlogue was released last December so it is still fairly new. It is made only for the iPhone and iPad. It allows you to take a photo and alter it into a watercolor sketch. There are different sketch options that you can choose. 

When you open up the App, it asks if it can access your photos. Below is a photo I took of some pretty tulips at Disneyland.  They always have picture perfect landscaping. 

Original photo

From there, you select one of your photos and then choose which watercolor style you would like. Based on your photo, you can pick and choose which style is best suited for your particular photo. Click the images below if you want to see the larger images.  You can also view some of the style options. I can't remember which one I choose for this one but it's kinda of fun to see the 'watercoloring' in action. 

I've been playing mostly with flowers and other landscape photos. People as watercolor subjects have not resulted in attractive images. When selecting a photo to alter, just think, "this photo/subject would be pretty as a watercolor." Here is my final watercolor photo. 

Final Waterlogue image.

I have some more photos that I will share in the next post so you can get an idea of which photos might work best for this fun Waterlogue app.