Category Archives: musings

Are Smartphones “real” Cameras?

Is it real or wannabe?

What really defines a real camera? The size or the number of lenses it can use? What about the weight or the technology used? In my world, a “real” camera is any camera that can take a picture I’m happy with. If the end result is an image that meets my needs, then it’s a real camera and not a toy.

When you understand the basics of photography and you understand your equipment, then that real camera can be as simple as a cardboard box with a pinhole in it and a piece of film on the back. But I digress from my real subject at hand.

This post is really about smartphones and the perception that they are not real cameras. I have heard the comment so many times of “oh, it’s just a cellphone” that I cannot help but laugh. I’ve actually taken advantage of that bias to get shots that would normally be very difficult or even impossible with a DSLR or even a pocket camera. People have been trained that cellphone cameras take really crappy pictures so there is no threat in someone taking a cellphone picture of a building, a person or a stage show. If I show up at a park with my DSLR and start taking pictures, I will be approached by some do-gooder threatening to call the cops on me. This has actually happened while taking pictures of my own kids. However, I’ve never had anyone say that threat while I’m running around the park with my iPhone.

The shot below was taken with my iphone while on a morning run. Instead of carrying a 5lb DSLR, I had my smartphone and I think it did a bang up job, dont you?

Apple iPhone Smartphone Pano

 

Think about this in another way. It is not about the camera. Nobody looks at your picture and says “well, if only you took this with a Nikon ABC, it would be a real picture”. No, they will say something like “what an awesome picture!!” And it doesnt matter what you took the picture with.  In the early days of photography, you did not have a real camera unless you had 30 pounds of glass plates, a gallon of emulsion and the 8×10 view camera. Kodak released some cameras in the 50s that look like toys by today’s standards. Quite simply, they were a box with a lens and a place to put film. No more. Then came the medium format cameras, the 35mm cameras, the 110s and so on. I remember it went from “real” cameras where you had to adjust the shutter and f stop to instamatics which were the cellphone camera of the day. Small, cheap and portable but with very crappy pictures except in very controlled circumstances.  In 1999 is when I bought my first digital camera and for a few years I shot digital for fun and film for important events. But digital got better, the software got better, the cameras got better.  The “real” camera wars started up again with the adevent of cropped sensors vs full frame sensors. Now we have smartphones vs DSLRs and mirrorless. The funny thing is that the smartphone camera is heads and shoulders better than what our parents/grand-parents shot with. An image from an Kodak instamatic or 110 doesnt hold a candle to a average iPhone picture quality wise. So which is the “real” camera?

What else can you do?

Since the smartphone is a real camera AND a real computer, not only can you take pictures, you can edit them while standing in lines and upload them to social media or to the grand parents on the fly. Not only that but you can stream in real time using periscope or other software so the party that could not come can still be part of the day. Try that with your canon or Sony or Nikon.

 

Here is a shot i took at Disneyland and edited while having one of many snacks 🙂

Disneyland Castle 60th taken with Smartphone

 

Helping Hand for the Smartphone

As good as the iPhone or most smartphones are, there are times they can use a bit of help just like a real camera 🙂  In the image below, I used a 18mm Moment lens for a very wide angle to get this shot of the space shuttle, Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Even my Nikon DSLR with a 24mm lens could not get the entire shuttle in the frame. This is a case of playing with to strengths of the camera. In this case, most smart phones have a pretty wide view and my Moment lens agumented that to get the entire shuttle in a single frame. The cost of the lens was about 50 dollars. A lens for the Nikon to get the same view is several hundred dollars.  I’d say that a smartphone which can outshoot a DSLR is a real camera in anyone’s book.

Space Shuttle Endeavor taken with Apple iPhone Smartphone

 

Today’s smartphones are a real camera, just wrapped in a slightly different package and a powerful computer included.

 

Also posted in Articles, iPhone

Sand Soccer Team Pictures

Shooting soccer is a lot of fun since it’s a fast paced game and often times, a lot of action. With kids, the action slows down a bit but they are no less serious about their games and just as enjoyable to shoot. There is a different subgroup called “sand soccer” where the teams play on the beach. It’s very intense play on a smaller pitch than normal soccer.

Sand Soccer collage 1

A few things I’ve learned in shooting on the sand, is that you need to get a few neutral density filters if you want to run a reasonably shallow depth of field. If you have one, a circular polarizer filter is even better to be able to knock back some of the glare. Shooting at ISO 200, F 6.3 will be pushing the shutter speed upwards of 1/4000 on a cloudy day. Also remember to add minus one ( -1) compensation to your exposure to help make up for the extreme reflection coming off the sand which acts just like snow and will throw off your metering. I don’t really like shooting with spot metering for this type of image. The spot is promised to be on the wrong spot half the time. I use center-weighted which gives me some forgiveness if I am not aimed exactly where I need to be. The camera is set to continuously focus and also to shoot release+focus. In this mode, the camera won’t wait for the first time to sharp focus but will get it for the second. This keeps me from missing key shots while the camera tries to decide who and what is in focus.

Both of these sets of images were taken with a Nikon D700 and using a 70-200mm F2.8 lens. I’ve tested in both manual and aperture priority modes and honestly, AP mode works just fine and can help with the fine tuning if the lighting is changing a lot like with cloud cover. I try to keep the shutter speeds about 1/1200 to /2000. The slightly lower speed still gives a sharp image but will let the feet/ball blur slightly. It is a balancing act to be sure.

Sand Soccer 2

Post processing will vary quite a bit depending on the lighting but on a cloudy day before prepared to add some black and a touch of red plus crank the daylight balance up a notch. All of this does assume you are shooting in RAW which is highly recommended in order to take advantage of recovering bright highlights even when the exposure is set correctly.

DO NOT shoot this type of game without a sealed camera. The sand will get into the normal consumer camera and destroy it. Do NOT even think about changing lenses out on the beach. You can bag the camera using a zip lock baggie and some rubber bands but the best tip would be to rent the gear and then return it when you are done.

Also posted in Articles, editing, event photography, photography, sports, Travel Tagged , , , , |

Gorgeous Utah

For the last year my wife has been after me to take the family on something more like a family vacation instead of the “stay-cations” we have done since the girls were very small. So we tried a short trip up to Monterey Bay to see how we would all do in a small van for three days and to my surprise we survived. We even managed to have some fun and hit a few missions for Sara’s homework assignment.

That small success lead to our major trip this past year to the Zion Mountain Ranch in Utah. For those that do know about Zion, you are missing one of the true wonders of the west. It has spectacular scenery and you can easily fill dozens of flashcards with pictures. ZMR is at the border of Zion and is a working buffalo ranch.

Utah sky using HDR and iPhone

The accommodations are really small lodges with privacy and amazing views. Ours was a family sized lodge and had two levels with a bedroom plus bath upstairs with our own cast-iron room heater. The downstairs had the kitchen living room, bathroom and another bedroom.

Zion Moonrise

When we looked outside on the first morning, we had a herd of deer wandering through the front yard  and at night, the skies were so clear I felt I could reach and touch the stars. The kids had a ball running around and stalking the deer. Then they discovered the buffalo. The ranch feeds them and so they would come up to the fence. Let me tell you, you don’t understand how massive one buffalo is until you are next to it.

Reflections of Buffalo

We all went a trail ride on horseback which was a tremendous amount of fun. This was not a “pony ride” but a full featured trail ride along the rim of a canyon and through the scrub brush.

While I did bring along my D700 camera and good glass, I also brought along my Mamiya 1000S medium format film camera. But I took the majority of the photos with my iPhone. I wanted to have a vacation and not be dragging along 20 lbs of gear everywhere I went. The iPhone works surprisingly well for a travel camera and did exactly what I wanted it to do. It caught family moments with the least amount of fuss and bother. And yes, even “Flat Stanley” got into the act 🙂

Family at Bryce Canyon High Point

 

So one thing I learned was to let the wife do some driving while I happily shot pictures through and out the window of the van while we drove around.  My window tint as it turns out is a really good neutral density filter on the economy size. I shot this image coming back from Bryce Canyon with snow blowing into the windshield. I had a lot of fun with impromptu shots like this of the scenery and the family. Now that we are home, the girls are still talking about trip and they want to go back. So I think I should put another mini vacation together to hit Canyonlands and Arches National Park 🙂

Snow fall on the road

 

One of the best things about letting someone else drive is I could work on a slide show on my iPad while zooming across the desert in the passenger seat. I created this slide show using my iPad Air and a cool app called Photo Slideshow Director Pro. If you ever get a chance to visit the state of Utah, you really want to make time to see Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. The Bryce Canyon Lodge is a great place to grab lunch and soak up the atmosphere of Bryce.

Also posted in Articles, iPhone, photography, Travel Tagged , , |

Size Does Matter with Art

Animated Size of prints over fireplace

 

Years ago, people used to hang very large pieces of art on their walls as symbols of wealth and status.  In much of Europe, the art served to show off family, show status and to cover a portion of the ugly stone walls that made up their homes. Even in other countries that didn’t have stone castles as homes, large pieces of art were considered to be sign of status and prestige.

Over the decades, we have moved away from hanging large pieces of art in our homes. We have lost the perspective of what “large” really means up on the wall. When we order pictures, the “large” print in the typical package is an 8×10. This is what most people call “large” in today’s age of digital screens . Where my clients run into trouble is that they have trouble visualizing how big or just how small a piece of art will look against their wall or next to their furniture. When you are used to calling an 8×10 large, it is very difficult to comprehend how big a 16×20 or a 30×40 is when compared to an empty wall.

I will grant you that often times there are constraints to what size you can put up but even then, there are options available by using collections of smaller images to wrap around something or to make the art look bigger.

A benefit I have over many photographers is that I have digital tools where I can go onsite to my clients home or place of business and by using my iPad, take a picture of where they want the image then drop their pictures into the scene in real time on the iPad. The client can see right away how sizing looks and even how the print might look against the wall. This is a real benefit when there is some questions about how well the print would look in the actual environment it will be displayed in

To help my clients with deciding just how large of a print they should be looking at for their wall, I have created images with different sized art all hanging together to show the differences. This helps my clients visualize what the sizes really mean when compared to a normal wall or next to furniture.

Printed Image Size Comparison

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Also posted in Art, Articles, portraits

You Need Wall Art

Bride in red bedroom
Often times when I’m showing images to clients, I find myself having to educate my client that there is whole brave new world out here for printed images. The old days of getting a couple of 8x10s and calling it an order are over. Modern technology and printing methods let us do things with our images that even five years ago we could not imagine.

This is a basic canvas portrait hanging in a bedroom
Bride Portrait in bedroom

Along with the standard printed image on a flat piece of photo paper, we have aluminum plate, metallic paper, wood, cloth, canvas, clothing, wall clings and more. In fact, there are so many choices it can be overwhelming to my clients. I choose just to show a few items to pick from but one thing that I love do is show off HOW the print can look in their home, business or office. I have a couple of ways I can do this. I use my iPad and a custom app that lets me take a photograph of the exact space then drop in the images or images in a template form that overlays on the real image. Pretty cool huh? I also have some images that I put together that show off size comparisons of the normal 8×10 to other size prints over a piece of furniture. This can really help my clients visualize the look they want on the wall. I also have prints of clusters of prints or “collections” where you can mix up many pictures or take one picture and “cut it apart” in a very artistic manner for wall art.

This is my Foot Prints collection showing off how several images can be clustered together.
Footprints Wall Art Collection

This type of wall art is heirloom quality and not printed at a big box store like Walmart. From the archival pigment inks to the high quality wood used in the stretcher frames of the canvas prints, everything speaks of quality. These prints are the types of gifts that you give when you want to give the best to someone. After all, you do not give a Casio watch to someone for a heirloom, you give the Rolex and for good reason. It will last a life time for the recipient of your gift. Or your life time if you wish to gift yourself. Everyone deserves quality in their life and since your pictures are for preserving a memory, shouldn’t you have the best?

Also posted in Art, photography, prints Tagged , , , |

My review of the iPhone 6

  • iphone 6

    We now have the iPhone 6 and 6Plus to choose from along with the iPhone 5S. I must say I was reluctant to get an iPhone 6 since I find the camera sticking out the back of the phone to be crappy engineering or as Steve Jobs would say “Absolute SHIT!!”. Even after using it, I will still call it a crap design. That lens takes a lot of punishment unless you spend money to put the phone into a case of some kind.

    iPhone 6 back view

    For those of us with “older eyes” the bigger screen is a real treat. I shot with the 6 along with my Samsung S5 and the two were very comparable in overall size and general feel. The iPhone has a nicer feel and heft to it while the S5 feels a bit more “plastic”. I found the colors on the iPhone screen more true to what I uploaded to the computer.

    I actually did a color test of the screen using a Munsell color checker and photoshop. The iPhone screen is a true sRGB and comes very close out of the box to being on the money based on the Munsell color chart

    The feel of the screen is very good and I love that the rounded edges are back in fashion with Apple. I was never a fan of the harsh square angles of the 4, 4x and 5s. I was worried that I would have issues trying to use the phone one-handed but that has been an unfounded fear. The iPhone 6 is just narrow enough where I can use my thumb like I did on the 5S.

    I’m not a fan of the new side lock button, I find it awkward to use and still prefer it being on the top. And I stand by what I say from the beginning when they moved the earphone jack to the bottom of the phone. STUPID IDEA Apple..  when I pull the phone out of my pocket with the ear buds plugged in, I have to flip the damn phone over to use it. Stupid idea..I don’t care if it saved you a mm of room.

    My battery life has been very good, a bit better than my 5S actually. For the most part, iOS 8 has been pretty reliable on my 6. The email client has frozen a few times but over the past few months and few patches, it has not happened.

    I’ve dragged the iPhone 6 around to Disneyland a few times and all over town on various trips. It’s been pretty reliable on the ATT network. I had a Sprint iPhone 6 which lasted four weeks with me. The coverage of sprint was so bad that I gave the phone back. Often times I would have LTE coverage on my ATT phone and + or 1 bar of 3G on the sprint phone. And the phone itself was unreliable on wifi. I don’t know if that was sprint or not, but the ATT phone has not had the issues with 801.x authentication on my corporate wifi that the Sprint version did. Both are on the same iOS and the same patch level so draw your own conclusions.

    My Amazon basics lighting cable still work fine with the new 6 and are half the price of the Apple cable. Not to mention three times as long if I wanted and I did. It’s nice to have a very long cable at times.

  • 10802894_771966789543646_771489160_n-c58.jpgA_3D_scan_then_made_into_led_lighting_hanging_free-c99..jpgA_Flo_Christmas_tree__disneyland__msmedia__iphoneography__flo-c95.jpgA_kiss_for_Aladdin__disneyland__aladdin__msmedia__stage__show__iphoneography-c35.jpgA_new_keyboard_for_Christmas-c3._We_will_see_who_has_the_interest_for_the_keyboard.__keyboard__msmedia__iphoneography.jpgAnother_gold_album_by_Flo_and_the_Motoramas__msmedia__iphone__iphoneography__disneyland__dca.jpgBreakfast_for_my_littlest_princess_on_her_birthday__msmedia__iphoneography__food__breakfast-c48.jpgChristmas_shapes__msmedia__christmas__mextures__iphoneography-c40.jpgContemplation_in_China__China__msmedia__manual__iphoneography__iphone6-c72.jpgContrail__iphoneography__skies__blue__msmedia-c66.jpgDisney_castle_with_my_daughters-c51._Taken_using_Manual_camera_app_and_the_built_in_flash.__msmedia__iphoneography__disneyland__castle.jpgDisney_go-juice__coffee__msmedia__disneyland__iphoneography-c66.jpgDisney_starbucks_on_thanksgiving_day__msmedia__iphone__starbucks__snacks-c89.jpgEvening_horse_play__msmedia__iphoneography__horse__hipstamatic-c10.jpgHahahaha-c36.__Fooled_you___The_cast_of_Aladdin_bows_out__iphoneography__aladdin__disneyland__stage__Hyperion.jpgHappy_drone_pilot_Olivia__with_new_hero_jersey____msmedia__drone__realmadrid__7__renaldo__iphoneography-c53.jpgInfinity__msmedia__iphoneography__fleet__sandiego-c74.jpgJazz_Kitchen_rocking_it__jazz__msmedia__iphoneography__disneyland__music-c75.jpgJust_another_Disney_day____iphoneography__hdr__disneyland-c9.jpgLeading_lines__msmedia__iphoneography__snapseed__manual-c84.jpgMusician_in_China__China__musician__msmedia__iphoneography__manual-c82.jpgMy_birthday_cake_at_paradise_pier_hotel____msmedia__birthday__iphoneography__chocolate__disneyland-c24.jpgOur_training_arena_and_stables-c47._I_was_amusing_myself_while_the_kids_were_having_their_lessons__horse__msmedia__stables__iphoneography__mextures.jpgPlaying_at_the_pet_store-c23._iPhone_using_Manual_focus_and_Pixlrexpress_for_post._DOF_was_set_in_camera__not_a_filter__msmedia__frog__iphoneography__manual__pixlrexpress.jpgPlaying_with_waterlogue_today____msmedia___paradise__iphoneography.jpgPrince_Ali_showing_off__aladdin__msmedia__disneyland__iphoneography-c42.jpgRainy_days_at_Disney__msmedia__disneyland__rain__night__iphoneography-c98.jpgSea_shell_by_the_sea_shore__shell__msmedia__iphoneography-c58.jpgSisters__msmedia__horse__msmedia__iphoneography-c16.jpgSo_December_13_and_we_are_playing_in_the_pool_and_sun_at_paradise_pier___we_have_the_entire_pool_and_slide_to_ourselves____pool__disneyland__msmedia__iphoneography__slide-c21.jpgSoccer_practice_using_the_iPhone__msmedia__soccer__iphoneography-c82.jpgSome_vintage_signage__msmedia__snapseed-c38.jpgSunrise_over_California_adventure__iphoneography__msmedia__sunrise__California__dca__disneyland-c73.jpgThe_entire_cast____aristocats__iphoneography__msmedia__stage-c30.jpgThis_is_what_California_Screaming_looks_like_underneath_while_screaming_past_my_iPhone__-c14.__msmedia__iphoneography__disneyland__Californiascreaming__dca.jpgWall_art_at_Paradise_Pier__art__disneyland__paradise__drawing__sketch__msmedia__iphoneography-c79.jpgWatching_the_kids_performing_Aristocats__iphoneography__play__aristocats__stage.jpgWhat_was_waiting_for_us_at_the_room_tonight__disneyland__paradise__msmedia__cookie-c84.jpg

  • Along with the iPhone 6, I use a selection of apps over and over again.Here is a partial list of my “go to” apps I use with iOS8 and my iPhone 6.

    • Instagram
    • Manual
    • Mextures
    • Snapseed
    • Squaresize
    • Manual Cam
    • Image Blender

    Each of these apps have their place and each need to be learned to get the most out of them. You cannot just load up the app expect to get awesome pictures, you need to practice with them to learn how they work, what they do best and what they cannot do.

    I’ve been having fun playing with Moju which is a cool app that gives almost a 3D effect to images. You take a dozen or so and then as you tilt the phone, the images are automatically blended side to side to give that animated 3D lo

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Christmas Photography Tips

Its soon time to end shooting the Christmas lights for the season. So get out for the next week and grab a few shots of your favorite lights to enjoy over the next year. Do not settle for the average under blacked out pictures or the really over -exposed shots where the Christmas lights are burned out blobs. With a few simple tricks, you can nail some pretty good images. Now, with as much of a fan I am about shooting with my iPhone, this is one time I would recommend a DSLR or micro-four-thirds for the best results. You can beat the smartphone into submission but you really need to be able to adjust all aspects plus be able to use a real flash with some gels. I use Rosco for my gels and you can use other brands but that is who I stick with.

Here are a few tips and tricks for getting the “Oh WOW” shots during the holidays:

  1.  So unless you have a full frame (FX) rig, embrace the grain and shoot at a high ISO. These images were shot at ISO 2000 or higher and I used Noiseware afterwards in post to clean them up.
  2. Read the manual and learn how to shoot on a custom white balance. My D300 shoots nicely at 3000K and while this worked for the normal light bulbs, the LEDs were all over the map as are some of the small lights. So be prepared in post to work it out.
  3. Gel your flash. I cannot stress this enough. You need to color balance the “daylight” flash to something closer to the Christmas lights or you WILL get that vampire look. I used a 1/4 cut CTO (color Temperature Orange) but I should have used 1/2 cut CTO. The 1/4 cut and 1/2 cut refers to the density of the color on the gel sheet. 1/4 is lighter than 1/2.
  4. Shoot with a stablized lens or use a Pentex with a stablized body 🙂 I shoot Nikon so it’s VR lenses for my. The new Olympus for example, has 5 axis stabilization. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with it at night by hand.
  5. You want to drag the shutter a bit when using the flash to get the pretty background lighting.
  6. Dont forget to shoot wide and get some details. Some folks really put in the effort on their lights and it shows in the details.
  7. Be ready for the unexpected shot. I had “Santa” come cruising by on his motorcycle as part of the visiting crowd.
  8. Shooting manual is where it’s at to get the best shots. Very little about shooting Christmas lights at night is considered a “normal” photography so most camera automatic settings are wrong. For much of the time I will shooting at ISO 2000, 1/40 second and 5.6 aperture. The flash power would vary from 1/128 to 1/32. This strikes a nice balance between depth of field, shallow depth of field, higher shutter speed to combat shake and noise at the higher ISOs. Newer camera or FX cameras can shoot from ISO 6400 to 50,000 without much noise now.
  9. Get pictures of the faces. The expressions on the kids faces are priceless and are the money shots from something like this.
  10. I dont have to contend with snow but snow works like a giant reflector. You will need to really pay attention to your settings when popping off the flash to avoid blowing out the image.

I have some shots here from around my own neighborhood. Enjoy the holiday and Merry Christmas from us to you.

Lights, Lights and more Lights

We dont need no stink'n snow

Adoration

Window Lights

Impromtu Carolers

Blue Lights

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Recovering iOS iPhoto Albums and Journals from iOS 8 Upgrades

So Apple says they will not support iPhoto anymore under Yosemite or iOS 8. Now, for the desktop world, people are scrambling to export out images, edits, books and other projects. But on the iPhone, Apple was strangely quiet about this. Oh, they gave you a way to “migrate” your edited images from iPhoto to the camera roll but you lost ALL of your book projects, Web Journals and meta data.  While iPhoto was a average editor, the DAM (digital asset management) side was excellent and I used it to manage over 5,000 images on my iPhone.

But getting back to the task at hand which is getting back my book projects that Apple so kindly refused to manage a export function for. They could have easily exported it out to the desktop iPhoto for now but no, Apple being Apple said we are done.. period.  That didn’t settle well with me and I set out to find a way to recover them. The first road block I hit was under iOS 8 it appears that Apple has changed the back up strategy of iTunes backing up iOS. You used to have versions and versions of your backups. This was pretty stupid since it chewed through a lot of disk space but it was nice to be able to back up a few months or even longer. Now, with IOS 8, I see ONE back up even though I had done it several times manually. Thank you God (Apple) for Time Machine. I was able to recover my iOS 7 backup from TM and copy it to the folder and rename it.

~/Library/Application Support/Mobilesync/Backup

You do need to identify which file is the one you want. If you have a single device, you can easily go by date. In my case, I have several devices attached to iTunes so go to iTunes/preferences and the select devices. Find the backup you want and then right click and choose “show in finder“. Just like magic you will be taken to the backup you need.

Make a note of this file or better yet, copy it out to a folder so you can easily find it.

I ended up using a couple of applications what was critical to recovery of my iPhoto files from my iPhone. The first one is called “iPhone Backup Extractor” and while it will cost you some money, it’s worth it for several reasons beyond this exercise. The biggest reason to use this application is that it can looks ANYWHERE for a backup file. Most will only use iCloud or the default locations of iTunes without any other choices. I had moved my user account/files off my SSD to cheaper storage so I needed an app that would let me tell it where to go to get the backup.

In this screen shot, I have selected my backup and files I want recovered. You need to use “expert mode” to be able to select the application data files.
iPhone Backup Extractor Expert Mode

Now you can select the iPhoto app data files.
iPhone Backup Extractor Selecting iPhoto files

Now iPhone Backup Extractor is extracting my files.
iPhone Backup Extractor

Now the hard part it done. I have all my data files but iPhoto uses a database and so the book files are pretty useless right now. The web journal is all HTML and easily reused now however you want.
iOS iPhoto data files

But I need to get these files onto my iOS 7 iPhone or iPad. And this is key, you have to have a second iPhone or iPad that still has iOS 7 on it. In my case, I had both and I did restore the files to both just to see if I could.

I used a second application called “iExplorer” which lets you treat the iPhone as a data drive. In this image, I have my 2nd iPhone plugged in and loaded into iExplorer. I need to click on the ALL button to see the apps.
iExplorer Start

This is what you get when you select All. I need to click on apps and find my iPhoto and then copy over the directories with the red arrows

iExplorer Apps

Files in iPhoto to Copy

The copy works just like any other copy. Go to the restored copies on your computer then drag the directories one at a time over to the root of the iPhoto app. It will ask if you want to overwrite the folder and say yes. It will take a few minutes to finish the copy. Once done, open up iPhoto and it will start rebuilding the database.

Now I have my files back

Restored iPhoto files

Also posted in Articles, iPhone Tagged , , , |

IF then DO something

Ah, memories, learning about IF trigger then DO something programming logic. No, I’m going to start talking about programming here but, there is a cool web service called IFTTT which lets you use “recipes” to accomplish stuff on the internet. For this post, I will talk about how IFTTT watches my Instagram stream every 15 minutes and IF it sees a new picture, it will copy the image to my dropbox account for safekeeping.
instagram
You could also post to Flickr and do quite a bit else. There is an app available for the iPhone here or for Android. You can do things like “if my phone goes to this geo-location” send text to my wife that I’m on my way home. Or send a text message to the caller that you will call them back later. And much more.

To get started, you need to set up an account at IFTTT.

Then you can start creating recipes here like this:
create recipe

Even though you don’t see the rest of the choices, there are many more below the four shown here such as triggers for Gmail, Evernote, Facebook, IOS location, Digg, ESPN, eBay and tons more. You take a trigger which is the “IF” and then you add the “DO THIS”. So in the case of mine recipe, I want to trigger on new pictures in my Instagram stream and then I want to copy them to my dropbox. The recipe looks like something like this

if then dropbox

 

This will run every 15 mins and check my Instagram stream and make a copy if it’s new. That is a pretty painless way to make sure I have a backup of my Instagram images.  You can sign up for a daily recipe which is cool way to see how and what other folks have come up with.

 

Pushing the iPhone Post Processing

The iPhone is really the most widely used “smartphone” on the planet. They are everywhere and some of us revel in pushing them far beyond what the Apple engineers dreamed we could do with them. One of the strongest features of the iPhone is also one of it’s weakest. Everyone loves the camera and apps of the iPhone. Those of us that know enough hate the JPEG processing currently used on the iPhone and iOS7. With iOS 6.x, the JPEG was somewhat loose on it’s processing and could easily handle being manipulated by apps and external software like Lightroom or Photoshop. But, with iOS 7, the processing of the JPEG was changed to a more highly compressed version and the end result is that the OEM JPEG cannot withstand nearly as much editing as it used to be able to.

This has lead me to work more with third party apps like ProCamera 7and PureShot. Both of these have excellent choices for saving files with uncompressed TIFF as an option. A difference is that PureShot offers a MAX JPEG that is very, very good with not too much post processing and quite a bit of data to work with. How much more? Well, the default Apple iOS camera app saves the 8 megapixel image as a 1-2 Mb JPEG file at 72 dpi. Pure on the other hand in MAX JPEG mode, saves about a 5Mb file at 300 dpi. The image dimensions have not changed, they are still 3264×2172 but the AMOUNT of data is significantly more going from 2 megs to 5 megs. This means you can really push the image around in post processing much more than with the standard Apple image. An added feature is you can embed your own copyright info into the metadata when the image is taken.

Pure Home iPhone 5S

Pure MaxJPEG screen iPhone5S

This image was taken in very bad conditions for the iPhone. In other words, extreme contrast in light going from very dark shadow to very bright light. Normally speaking, the iPhone (and most smartphones) doesnt have a prayer of getting a good shot. They just do not have the exposure latitude needed. But with PureShot, I knew if I got the highlights right and not blowout, I could pull up the shadows in post since I had so much data. Not only did I do that, I also applied a 25% crop which didn’t bother the image at all.

Sara dueling Darth Maul Disneyland Jedi School

With the standard iPhone app, you would get blocked out shadows and no hope to get them back or you would blow the highlights. I did the processing on Snapseed but in Lightroom, I could push it even harder. Lightroom excels at highlight recovery even if you cannot see them on the iPhone and has excellent shadow enhancement tools.

Here is the original image from Pure without any post processing
Sara vs Darth Maul Disneyland Jedi  untouched

And here is the same image cropped and retouched in Lightroom. You can see I could crop tighter, there is now details on Darth Maul’s outfit that didn’t show up in the Snapseed image and the Jedi sign is not looking like it melted. The post processing tool you use, makes a HUGE difference in the final outcome of your image. Don’t be married to the idea “I’m only going to use my iPhone”. You are cheating yourself doing that. The iPhone works very well but a real editor makes a difference.

Since I’m working with PureShot, even cropped as it is, I can still print an 8×10 without any issues if I wanted to. I was able to export out at 2500 pixels and 240 DPI without any issues

Sara vs Darth Maul Disneyland Jedi  Lightroom

This image shows that you can really push an iPhone image as long as you use the right tool to shoot with and the right tool to process with. I could push this image more to bring up some of the trooper’s white armor but I spent only 30 seconds in Lightroom to make a point.

I shot with PureShot but ProCamera 7 can produce the same results but using uncompressed TIFF files. Their JPEG is not quite as robust as Pure’s. I love the split focus and exposure of ProCamera but Pure shoots faster. So you decide which is more important to you and your style of shooting. I use both depending the situation.

*** edited 6-2-2014 to Pure screenshots ***

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