I'm Testing Out the 645 PRO Mk III iPhone Camera App

click image to enlarge

I'm just testing out the 645 PRO Mk III iPhone camera app. The experience is as close to using a non-phone camera as I've found. This app has, among other things:

  • manual exposure control and automatic exposure with a choice of spot or matrix metering
  • semi-automatic shutter priority and ISO priority, both of which include ±3 exposure value compensation
  • automatic white balance, a selection of white balance presets, and the ability to create and save a custom white balance
  • manual focus override and focus-peaking
  • real-time exposure metering, ISO and shutter-speed readings, exposure values, GPS data, and a choice of histograms
  • shutter release button behaviour configuration
  • shoot unprocessed or in Film Mode, which are modes inspired by film stock from the 1960s to present day
  • 7 size formats
  • images can be saved as high-quality jpegs or as TIFFs

Here's what it looks like when you're shooting:

645 PRO Mk III interface

645 PRO Mk III interface

So far, with my limited experimentation, I'm liking it. Just click on the kitty photo to enlarge it and take a look at the clarity of Onion's ear hair! You never knew you'd want to marvel at the clarity of ear hair, but you do.

I think this is going to be my go-to camera for the next while so I can have a chance to play with more of its abilities. It's definitely worth the $4.59 price on it. Whee!


Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a blogger, designer and consultant, and speaker who blogs and works from schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through the graceinsmallthings.com social network, celebrates quality blogging with the canblogawards.com, and speaks all over. She has been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman's Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

10 Things I Liked Enough to Show You: 26 September – 2 October 2015


by Victor Bezrukov [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

by Victor Bezrukov [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Joshua Ostroff's "Stop Being Scared, You Live In The Safest Time In Human History" at The Huffington Post:

People will attach much more significance to things that are easy to remember versus things that are not easy to remember. A big event will be easier to remember [than] many small events. So we worry a lot more about terrorism than we do about car crashes even though we're way more likely to die from car crashes.


Courtney Demone's "Do I have boobs now?" at Mashable is a trans woman's look at femininity, misogyny, and loss of safety:

Prior to coming out as a woman, I probably felt legitimately threatened or disrespected a handful of times in my life. Now, it happens almost every time I leave the house.



Zachary M. Seward's "Your phone’s homescreen is dead" at Quartz:

The battle for the homescreen is over.

An evolution to the next era of mobile is still in progress. I wouldn’t yet suggest that everyone clear out their homescreens, but it’s a great way to get a sense of where the iPhone and mobile computing are headed. With iOS 9, it finally seems possible to realize some of the major trends identified last year, like "invisible apps" that recede into the operating system and notifications as a primary interface.


Alex Cooke's "Why the iPhone Fashion Shoot Is So Important" at Fstoppers:

If someone is making great images with an iPhone, that puts all the more pressure on those of us with more advanced gear to put out stellar images. It takes away the scapegoat that is gear.


Amina Mucciolo's Instagram feed is delightful:



Molly Redden's "The War On Women Is Over — And Women Lost" at Mother Jones:

"Every day is just frightening," Chelian said. "I think things are bad, and then they get worse somewhere else. And you go, 'Oh my God, it could be worse.' And I go to sleep with that. I wake up with that."


"Photographer Edward Honaker Documents His Own Depression" at Ignant:

"…When I was in the worst parts of depression, the most helpful thing anyone could have done was to just listen to me - not judging, not trying to find a solution, just listen. I’m hoping that these images will help open up conversation about mental health issues. Everyone is or will be affected by them one way or another, and ignoring them doesn’t make things better."


Almost nothing makes sense in Bonnie Tyler's 1983 "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video, but it has more of the 1980s jammed into it than you'd think possible:


Olga Khazan's "Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s" at The Atlantic:

They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.

Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a blogger, designer and consultant, and speaker who blogs and works from schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through the graceinsmallthings.com social network, celebrates quality blogging with the canblogawards.com, and speaks all over. She has been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman's Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

My Acne, a Good Pharmacist, and Learning to Love My Own Skin

In case you don't want to read the whole novella I've written below, because sometimes I do go on, you can click these links to jump to different sections:

My Early Life as a Zit PitYou Can Ask Your Pharmacist!Happy Ending

My Early Life as a Zit Pit

I'm going to start off this blog post on a truly exciting note, so sit down, take a few deep breaths, and calm yourself by scrolling slowly over these soothing flowers.

Are you ready?

I've had acne almost continually since I was eight years old.

I know, right? Continually. Blackheads started running amok across my chin decades ago, and they just never stopped. During my teens, I hung onto assurances that it was just my hormones and that the whole mess was temporary. I watched those cosmetics ads with glowing, youthful faces and longed for the future when mine would glow back at me from the mirror like that. When the class photographer offered to overexpose my student photo a bit "to help hide aberrations", I was mortified but grateful.


Once, when I was about 16, my paternal grandfather cupped my chin in his hands, looked into my eyes, and said, "One day, your skin is going to clear up, and some young man will see how beautiful you really are." Looking back, I kind of want to smack him, but that day those words felt like a ray of damn hope. One day, I might not have to feel like I should hide my face. One day, someone could look at my face like it was nice to see.

A couple of months later, I was no closer to being lovable, as far as I was concerned. One entire side of my face had become so infected with pimples that I woke up in pain if I rolled over while I was sleeping. Panicked, I went to the doctor, a young woman who must have only been about 10 years older than me. She grasped my hand in hers when I pulled back my curtain of hair to show her my purple left cheek.

"Who did this to you?" she said.


She lowered her voice and looked me in the eyes. "Was it a boyfriend?"

My pimples had bruised my face bad enough that a medical doctor thought I had been beaten up.

"What? NO. This is acne. It's gone all crazy."

When I told her that, she looked closer to see the zits through the bruising, and then she said the least reassuring thing I had ever heard from a doctor up to that point: "I have never seen anything like this."

She gave me a prescription for heavy antibiotics and a topical ointment that smelled like burnt match heads, wished me the best, and told me that there was nothing beyond this she could do without a specialist for acne vulgaris. That's right. I had acne vulgaris. It was literally vulgar, and my doctor didn't say it should get better within two weeks. She didn't say this is the first line of defense, and we'll try something else next time. She said things like who hurt you and good luck.

I spent the next two weeks nauseous from the antibiotics and smelling like hellfire, but it was worth it. Despite that doctor's noticeable horror and consternation, my face started to heal, and, thankfully, it never got quite that bad again. Phew.

This is where you might expect the story to take a positive turn. Now she's going to tell us she finally got that youthful glow! you're thinking. Sorry about that, but no. No can do. The breakouts never truly went away the way health pamphlets and well-meaning friends and family assured me they would.

As much as my skin issues have gotten better since I was 17, I have had only one or two days since elementary school when I did not have at least one zit somewhere on my face, but it's something I've adjusted to and learned to cover decently well when necessary. I even have phases during which I largely accept the skin I'm in and take little notice of my cycles of breakouts.

I still get those purple, angry cystic ones now and again, though, and when those take hold I know I've got to go to a doctor so I can beat them back with antibiotics. I do this about once a year, and it's the only thing that does the trick.

(I have to stop here for a very important aside. Please don't tell me about tea tree oil, witch hazel, birth control pills, crushed aspirin paste, benzoyl peroxide gel, salicylic acid cream, sulfur soap, toothpaste, green tea extract, detox diets, allergies, menstrual cycles, Retin-A, oil vs soap washes, etc., etc., etc. I'm 42. I've investigated all of it and I've done all of that. I'm good. I'm fine. I'm healthy. I just always have a zit or ten. I'M GOOD.)

I hate actually going to the doctor, though, because I end up having to sit in a mediclinic waiting room full of diseases, so I was thrilled to find out that you don't necessarily need to see your doctor for every little ailment.

You Can Ask Your Pharmacist!

My acne started getting a little out of control again a few weeks ago (cue sulfur soap and benzoyl peroxide for containment, amen), but it wasn't clearing up. I should have gone to the doctor much earlier, but I didn't relish sitting in that aforementioned mediclinic waiting room, so I put up with my face getting bumpier and more infected until I found out about the pharmacist thing.

If you live in Saskatchewan or Manitoba, pharmacists can help you with minor ailments, which can save you from having to visit the doctor if it's not truly necessary. This information made me a very happy camper, because I'd much rather talk to an expert at the pharmacy counter at Shoppers Drug Mart for stuff like this than make doctor's appointments.

Although it's probably not exhaustive, here's a short list of things a pharmacist can help you with:

Treatment Options for Minor Ailments

This list covers most of the stuff that happens to me, and it's much smarter to talk to the pharmacist than ask Dr. Google, which has been my usual go-to. The last time I asked Google for help with my acne I ended up with 3 bars of sulfur soap that branded my towels and several shirts with a terminal fart scent. 

So, last Wednesday afternoon, I went to my local Shoppers Drug Mart to talk to the pharmacist and show off a couple of hideous, purple monster zits that I had smuggled in under my scarf. I imagined that he was going to say I've got a prescription for that! and send me on my way zip zam bing, but it was not to be.

Apparently, if I just had the minor and most usual variety of acne on my face, he could have set me up with an antibiotic cream, but when acne moves down onto the thicker skin on the neck and warrants lines like "purple monster zits that I had smuggled in under my scarf", you have to call in heavier artillery, which only a doctor can prescribe.

You would think I was disappointed, because I still had to go sit in the mediclinic waiting room, but I wasn't. I tend be a somewhat paranoid, tinfoil hat type, and so when I found out that you could get prescriptions right from a pharmacist, I was worried that it would be easier than ever to get prescriptions for all manner of things without getting the doctor's care you might need, but it's not so. As much as I wanted to have that prescription already, I'd rather see a doctor if I might have something more serious going on.

The Shoppers pharmacist did help me out with finding a decent antihistamine and a nasal spray, though, and my sinuses are ever so thankful. I promise to stop going into denial about my seasonal allergies already.

Happy Ending

Well, I do have more of a happy-ish ending.

The happier part of this happy ending is that I got a prescription for heavier antibiotics from my doctor, thanks to the pharmacist's recommendation, and the ugliness on my neck is clearing up nicely. Yea, verily!

The happy-ish part is that, in spite of the strong antibiotics, I still have a couple of zits. I will still have them tomorrow. I will have their relatives hanging around three months from now. I joke that I look forward to my seventies, because my acne will likely have cleared up by then.

While I would love to be able to assure every teenager who feels as ugly as I did at sixteen that they will blossom into swans, I can't. Some people clear up altogether, some clear up but have sporadic breakouts, some clear up and then start breaking out again in their 30s or 40s (which are the second adolescence no on tells you about), and some people, like me, just keep being broken out to varying degrees. One way or the other, though, it gets better.

What no one told me when I was an insecure teenager who thought they'd never get that first real kiss because of their grotesque appearance — I was not truly grotesque, but I was truly dramatic — was that all the energy I was putting into blaming my insecurity on my acne was misdirected. I had reasons to be insecure, sure, but those reasons were a lot of different things that had no choice but to change over time. I hated my acne so much that I completely missed out on the other fixable stuff I had going on, like perms, lilac-coloured plastic glasses, braces, figuring out who the heck I was, and, at 13 and 14, multiple rat tails along the back of my neck threatening to mature into a mullet.

These photos of me at 12, 13, and 14 were taken back in the olden days of film photography, badly printed yearbooks, and my lack of self-awareness, so you can't make out the acne, braces, and purple glasses, but they were there, oh yes.

Note the rat tail I'm sporting in my middle picture.

As people get older, though, some of us manage to relax into ourselves a bit, and we luck into finding friends that will share their struggles with their appearance and make us feel less alone. One of the gems I found is Tanis Miller, a shameless and fantastic human being I met online about 9 years ago who is willing to share the details of her hotness far and wide:


Tanis pulls this morning bed face off better than I do. I go dramatic with an enter-my-terrordome look:


I never glowed flawlessly, I still occasionally have to hear the words acne vulgaris used to describe my condition, and sometimes I'm pretty sure I need to take this whole package back for a factory reset. That's how it works when you inhabit a body that changes over time. It keeps changing, and I try to keep up. 

Even though I'm not always 100% thrilled with the face I see looking back at me, I'm less at odds with it now. I'd even say that I've gone beyond the tired acceptance I once thought was as far as I could go. I've come to kind of love this face. It's my face. I've been wearing it long enough that nothing else would quite work the same way with the words I say and the things I do.

Elan Morgan

And I like knowing that I can chat with a pharmacist about my issues before I wait it out too long and hit the acne vulgaris stage again, because it's easy to say I love my face today when I'm down to six zits and a new, spontaneous freckle, but it's a lot harder on the days when I'm trying to figure out a new scarf-tying technique to hide a nasty breakout on my chin.

Yes, sometimes this face looks a little tired and marked up, but even then I like it. All the acne I've fought and given in to over the years can't take away the story my face tells people when it smiles the way I do. My brow furrows crazy deep when I'm worrying. My grin can be overblown and comical when I'm happy. It's the face that this guy loves:

Elan and Aidan Morgan

Who am I to tell him he wrong?

This is a sponsored post to educate the public about valuable pharmacy services that are available in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. There are no affiliate links, and all opinions are my own.