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Animate up your travels with .gifs

Not much into shooting video to capture your trip abroad? Do Ken Burns slideshows bore you to tears? Lucky for you, animated .gifs (short for "graphic interchange format") are all the rage among on the social media circuit, and can be a fun way to document (and share) some of your travel action. Instead of sending a plane Jane video of that insane Hula Dancer you saw in Waikiki, why not remind your friends and family that you are ahead of the curve by sharing it as a fun animation?

The app for the job is .Gif Shop. It lets you create and share looping animation goodness directly from your iPhone and it couldn't be simpler. To start, you shoot a series of still images from within the app and then, after making a few critical decisions (like selecting the opacity as well as the resolution), your frames are ready to be stitched together into a fun animated package and shared on Tumblr, Twitter or via good old-fashioned email.

For a few animated examples, read on.

Lights, Camera, iPhone: iPhoneography for Travel Videos

Travel photos are great, but these days where viral video memes are the cultural norm a mere picture with the 900 pound Marlin you caught on vacation just doesn't cut it anymore. When it's all about the money shot, it's time to shoot video. Thanks to cool new technology and iPhone apps, you can be on vacation and in the director's chair at the same time.

There are apps that let you edit in the field (or stream) and slap it up on YouTube via your mobile device, all with the ease of a few finger swipes and a decent wifi connection. Just remember that your awesome iGadget has its limitations, particularly poor sound quality and a tendency for shakiness. So here's a rundown on a few Apps that can help you turn your potentially boring travel movies into bite sized tasty morsels of travel porn.

High Tech, Lo-Fi: 8mm Vintage Camera

Hipsters know the best thing about cool new technology is how easy and fun it is to make things look old and crappy! 8mm is the video capture App that shows just how right they are. This app is excellent for recording video and adding that veneer of nostalgia with a selection of filters. It even lets you insert a well-timed film snag, a manufactured glitch that adds to the charm of the finished piece. There is even an 8mm HD for iPad version, should you have some "vintage" video from your old Flip or other camera that you want to spruce up. A bonus asset is that the 8mm App has one of the highest quality recorded sound capabilities out there (as good as it gets within iPhone limitations). If it's windy or you find that you don't need dialogue, just replace your original soundtrack with sound effects, or music from your iPod.

iPhoneography: Make your iPhone travel pictures spectacular

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is particularly true when it comes to your travel snapshots. Whether you're back from a business trip or the family vacation from hell, you can regale your friends and family with stories of cool restaurants or the holiday romance you had... but everyone wants to see your pictures. With today's technology, you can't claim you didn't have a camera with you (assuming you have a smart phone) when you stumbled across that supermodel in the Galapagos. So what if your photography skills are non-existent? There are apps for that!

If you're reading this on Gadling, it's likely that you (or someone traveling with you) are going to have an iDevice with them. Truly, the iPhone/iPod Touch has the potential to become the must-have travel gadget. Its camera is so stealth and so versatile that you no longer have an excuse for your photos to be anything less than awesome, even if your vacation is a total bust.

If you haven't yet checked out the exploding world of iPhoneography, here are a few user-friendly apps that are worth investing in and playing with. Whether you work with one or all of them, it's not an exaggeration to say that these apps are pretty much guaranteed to improve your travel photos.

Camera + $0.99
If you're looking to improve your photo game in a single app, Camera+ is a great way to go. This is the app of choice for non-photographers or people who don't care about the technical side of shooting, but who want to make their images look better. Not only is it user friendly, it's intuitive and almost impossible to mess up -- and it also gives you control over the strength of its filters and effects.

From an operational standpoint, the interface on Camera + makes sense and the lingo they use is understandable while the icons are self-explanatory. One can use Camera+ for both image capture and editing, even if they've been shot directly on your iPhone's camera.

This app lets you shoot and be in the moment and fix any mistakes (exposure being the most common one) after the fact. You can download it now and even try to correct that shot you took long before you read this post. It's easy also easy to share your creations on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. As a warning: this app has a reputation for being addictive.

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