Thursday, August 2, 2012

Magic, letterboxing, & cinemagraphs

I’ve already posted about my love of magic in the world.  Some of you have also commented on the animated images that I often put up along with my posts – another thing I find magical and like to include – these are called cinemagraphs.  Essentially, they’re just animated gifs, which are just animated pictures that are pretty much as old as the internet. Unfortunately, they mostly look like this:
When, really, you can make them look like this:

I fell in love with the subtle style of it, like something was magically hidden within the image. Almost what you’d expect Harry Potter to see whilst traipsing through the halls of Hogwarts. But this feeling is not unlike how I feel about finding letterboxes; once I learned about letterboxing, it felt like there was magic hidden down every park trail.

So, I started posting some of my favourite cinemagraphs with my posts, always sort of sad that I couldn’t make my own – particularly of my letterboxing trips as a continuation of the magic in the woods.

Then one day while reading some blog post about the best iPhone camera apps to have, one came up that solved this problem for me, called Cinemagram. The review of it looked promising, so I bought it and had it with me for my last Guelph letterboxing adventure.

Near Blair's Sheaves Tower Letterbox.
Notice how the water goes out than reverses.
Now it can loop and go out only.
The app worked great to create these images on the fly (as in, literally, right on the trail walking back to my car) and I started using them in my posts as of that time. My only complaint was that the gifs made by that version of the app was that the images were looped by playing the video forwards, then backwards, then forwards again and so on.

Luckily, they updated the app almost the next day which included a toggle to switch that so that you could go forwards then loop right back to the beginning to start over in the animation.  To the right is an image from that day of letterboxing where you can see that problem.  At the bottom of the post is a more recent cinamagraph from when I checked up on one of my own letterboxes.

Anyways, I’m loving being able to make my own cinamagraphs. It's the perfect accompaniment to my travels and they are certainly something I intend to continue adding to my posts in the future.

The Rouge River on route to A Touch of Voodoo letterbox

Happy trails!


  1. Wow . . . I wish I was so clever . . . awesome cinemagraphs.

    1. Uh, Ms. Pam, you are frightfully clever. No need to use up your wishes.

  2. Thanks Bumble. I just downloaded the free app. I hope I get great results like you have. FYI, a friend told me about Appsgonefree for iPhone and iPad users. It's a daily alert of top rated apps that have gone free
    -- R.

    1. Ooo - you got it free? Very nice! I'll keep that website in mind for future apps :) Good to know you use iPhone, too. I actually saw either sillychick or mmmtika on the trail with an iPad in Guelph... we're not alone!

    2. Bumble, what's your secret for keeping the phone steady while you take a cinemagram photo?

  3. For me, the key is to actually put the phone down on something, or lean the side of it up against a tree. My photography prof at Mohawk taught us that - and I think it's just about the only thing I learned ;) don't trust yourself to stay steady, let the environment do it for you.