Tag Archives: iphone

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.

Posted in Articles, iPhone, musings, photography, Travel Also 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.

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  • 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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Super Amazing Smartphone Tricks

Trick 1

Reflections

Reflectors are just a way to toss a bit more light onto your subject. In spite of the marketing hype in the photography world, there is nothing magical about a reflector. It can be anything that reflects light ranging from a simple piece of white paper or tin foil to a concrete wall. There is something to be said about the use of white vs. color and white vs. something highly reflective like tin foil. The reflected light will carry with the color cast of what you use so with yellow or gold, you can “warm” up a subject by way of a yellow light. Tin foil adds a sparkle and edge to the light which some folks like and some do not.

reflector in use

Trick 2

Light up small objects

Something that a smartphone like the iPhone excels at is shooting small items for sale on sites like eBay. The trick for this type of photography is using a lightbox that will evenly illuminate the item from all sides. You can buy a light tent or do a DIY version using a cardboard box with panels cut out and covered with a diffusion material like tracing paper. You cut out the panels and then position some lights at each panel. I use three 85 watt CFLs that are daylight balanced. I had them for another project and reused them for this project. You can use the cheap worklights but they put out a lot of heat. The CFLs are much cooler and can be color corrected by gelling or in post processing.

Trick 3

Diffuse Your Light

Diffusion is the opposite of reflecting in a sense. You are not adding light but evening it out by subtracting the brightest parts. You can accomplish this several ways ranging from making your own diffuser from a cheap canvas frame with the canvas cutout and replaced by something along the lines of Roscos Opal diffuser material, a piece of thin white ripstop nylon, tracing paper, cheap shower curtain or any other semi opaque material. In my case, I made a diffusor (or Scrim) from the canvas frame so I could clamp it in my C Stands. But you do not have to have that stiff of a frame. You can use a cheap white “shoot-through” umbrella which will cost about 10 dollars from various online stores.

Diffuser made from canvas and wooden stretcher art frame
DIY DiffuserHow does a diffuser work

How does a diffuser work

The left side doesn’t have the diffuser overhead and right side is using DIY diffuser overhead

diffuser in action

Trick 4

Increase Your Density

When you take pictures in bright daylight, the typical smartphone will lower the ISO and crank up the shutter speed to get a good exposure since the aperture is locked to something like 2.2 or 2.4. On the surface this sounds fine and in most cases this perfectly fine until you want to make a better picture than a snapshot. When you take a picture of something with motion, you need to show that motion and a fast shutter speed is not the way to do it. So how can we reduce the shutter speed when we really cannot control it from our smartphone? We fake the camera into thinking it’s darker than what it is by way of neutral density filters. We are playing off the camera’s programming that it will reduce shutter speed before it raises ISO speed. Sometimes it’s easier to show someone something. So here is a shot taken high high noon at Disneyland. Normally the water would have been stopped like it was frozen. But when I tape a ND filter of two stops over the camera lens of my iPhone, the phone thinks it’s darker than what it is and lets the shutter slow down. This bit of slowing is enough to let the water blur but still keep the submarine motionless. The moving water adds visual tension to the image which the brain likes to see. It shows motion which it expects to see.

IMG_8230

Trick 5

Light Up the World

You can spend a whole lot of money on lighting or you can be cheap. The good news is smartphones do not require expensive lighting. You can do amazing work with a 60 dollar video light. Since there is not any real way to connect and synchronize strobes to the smartphone, continuous lighting is really your best way to illuminate your subject. A common use is to supplement other lighting but you can also use it by itself.

Trick 6

Be crafty with your smartphone

When you go to anywhere that you will be shooting through glass like an aquarium, make yourself a foam gasket to seal the smartphone against the glass. Why? because the gasket will prevent reflections and absorb vibrations while giving you a way to steady the camera. The black foamie material is available for virtually any craft shop for a few dollars for enough to make several gaskets. When you get up close and personal to the glass, you can easily get shots like this taken at the Montery Bay Aquarium using my iPhone 4S.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
sea anemone

Trick 7

Use latex gloves

This trick is a bit of an odd duck. When you are carrying around your fancy glass encased iPhone or other smooth smartphone and it is a bit damp, the phone gets slippery. This is generally a bad thing but putting on a uber cheap throw away latex glove can give you much needed “stickiness” to keep a good grip on the smartphone. I’ve used this trick with my iPhone while at the best or out whale watching. Even when it’s really hot and my hands are constantly sweaty. Yes, I could use a case but I am always adding some type of filter over my lens or using a third party lens so cases become a real pain point and as a result, my iPhone tends to be naked most of the time.

Trick 8

Making a Case for a Case

This is not cheap trick but it is a very worthwhile accessory to invest in. There are a few different underwater cases for the iPhone and some for various droids but I will be talking about the iPhone since that is what I own. I would highly recommend that you get a GOOD case which means spending a fair bit of money. The Watershot underwater case I have cost close to 90 dollars but offers quite a few features for the money. You get a shock mount for the iPhone, waterproof to 140 feet, a safety clasp to prevent it from opening underwater, seals for the lens and a custom app to let you shoot and preview the images underwater. It’s not perfect but man is it fun to have in the pool or on casual diving. It is also the case to have in any adverse enviroment like high dust desert or in muddy situations ( think monster truck mud races). This is also a cool case for water soak amusement park rides. Some of the cases have threads so you can add filters or even a different lens.

Under the Sea with an iPhone

Trick 9

Join the Group

One problem we all face is that we want to take a selfie or we want a group shot and we have to either be out of the picture since we are taking it or we have to hand our phone to some stranger and hope they dont run off with it. With the iPhone and Android phones, there a a few different ways to trigger the shutter remotely. With the iPhone, you can use the much maligned earbuds to trigger the shutter by way of the volume controls. You can also use a bluetooth remote trigger or even a bluetooth remote keyboard (the volume controls). Some of the better units support many popular third party camera apps. The cheaper ones are bit more challenging to use

Posted in Articles, DIY, equipment, iPhone, photography, technique Also tagged , , , , |

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

Posted in Articles, iPhone, musings Also tagged , , |

Moment Lens for the iPhone

Moment Lenses for the your iPhone!! The kickstarter project delivered my set just the other day and man am I excited about it.

Moment Lenses

These new Moment iPhone lenses really do work as advertised. One lens is a 18mm wide angle that is wide and shoots pretty flat rather than normal bubbled or fisheye look. And there is a 60mm telephoto lens that really works well and is sharp. The 60mm even provides decent blurred background when you use it as a portrait lens. In the following image, I used the 60mm telephoto lens as a portrait lens with nice results including a pleasant softening of the background.

60mm telephoto portrait

You really need to use a camera app like ProCamera 7 to keep the focus point where it needs to be. With the telephoto, the iPhone will hunt a bit for focus so you need to be able to lock it down for the best results.

The wide-angle lens is a thing of beauty to use. It has nice heft to it and it does not have very much distortion at the edges or the “bubble” effect of many “wide-angle” iPhone lenses. It does have a bit of fringing when you shoot into high contrast light.
18mm Wide angle

With the telephoto, you can now get the “zoom” you want and still have the ability to crop it down 50% without destroying the image which is what I did with this image. This beats “pinch zooming” which just ruins your images due to the heavy cropping that the “zoom” really does.

This is a 60mm telephoto shot that is uncropped width wise.
60mm Telephoto uncropped

And this image is the same framing but cut down 50%

50% crop of same framing

These wonders come from Moment Lens which was a Kickstarter project that I bought into several months ago. The lens we’re designed from the ground up to be a top multi element lens design to work with the iPhone lens as an element. They are big and heavy due to real glass and a lot of it in front of the iPhone lens. They use a twist lock mount that is pretty solid.

Moment certainly understands their market with a very sexy black box and high quality packaging. The feel of the lens itself is one of heft and solidness. The mounting ring is a stick-on plate and I was a bit concerned as to the weight of the lens pulling the mounting plate away from the camera body but with two full days of leaving one of the two lenses on the camera while going around Disneyland has not loosened it up that I can tell.

The downside to all this metal goodness is that the lenses are not cheap. But then these lenses are not for the casual iPhone photographer. These are for the enthusiast iPhoneographer who loves to push the limit of what the iPhone can do with photography. Even as heavy as they are, the lenses are considerably lighter than a DSLR lens and they still fit into a shirt pocket though it is a bit chunky. When I shoot with them, I naturally cup the lens with a finger to help keep all the weight from pulling down on the mounting plate.

Here is the 18mm mounted on an iPhone 5S with the olloclip case. The case still works with the mounting plate and provides a way to keep from bashing the Moment mount and still swing out-of-the-way when you go to use it.

18mm Moment Lens mounted on iPhone

Posted in equipment, iPhone, lenses Also tagged , , |

Lightroom for iOS

Adobe has released Lightroom for iOS devices and I have to say it’s pretty cool. I was surprised with Lightroom on the iPad but the iPhone with its smaller screen was going to be “interesting. But the Adobe engineers really pulled off a coup with their release.

I’ve tried the major features and also the file syncing between the iPhone and my desktop version of Lightroom. Pretty slick!  I took a dozen shots today in a photography class and added them to Lightroom. Later I opened up Lightroom 5.5 on my Mac at home and like magic, the new images appeared in Lightroom.

In the coming days I plan to use it and abuse it then decide if I like enough to keep it on my phone. But, on the surface it’s impressive.  Everything works smoothly and so far I have not had any crashes of the app. I am using this on iOS 7 with an iPhone 5S so I do have top flight equipment. All bets are off with this working as smoothly on an iPhone 4S for example. You are going from 64 bit processor to 32 bit and you will take a hit. But I will be testing that also just to see. While iOS 7 runs on the iPhone 4S, it is not at it’s best. I suspect the same will be true for Lightroom Mobile.

You also need to have a Creative Cloud account such as the Photoshop Photography Program at 10 bucks a month. Any of the more expensive programs work too but I think many are using the 10 dollar program.  You will need to  have at least the 5.4 Lightroom update on your desktop/laptop version of Lightroom.

Lightroom Mobile is based on “Smart Previews” where the images are:

  • Built on the DNG format
  • 2560 pixels on the long side
  • You can make adjustments even without the original image available locally
  • These adjustments are applied when the original file is available

Here are screen shots for the iPhone 5S using Lightroom mobile

LIghtroom Mobile File Sync

No mess and no fuss. This is awesomeness at it’s best. You can see on the left the smart collection Lr mobile Adobe made and then created the iPhone  Photos folder.

OK.. thats cool but what does the interface actually look like? Exactly what you would expect if you have seen the iPad version. Just smaller 🙂

Settings for iOS Lightroom IMG_6882 IMG_6881 IMG_6883 IMG_6880 IMG_6876
IMG_6877 Photo Details in iOS Lightroom

Posted in iPhone, lightroom, photography Also tagged , |

Why use a real editor for smartphone images?

We all have heard the myth of why iPhone (or any smartphone) cannot take a good picture. By now you have seen in this blog, many images that are very respectable and if I had not said they were from an iPhone, you would have thought they were from a “real” camera. But, to really get the best out of your smartphone picture, you need a real desktop editor. Not an app on a very small screen. I use Lightroom and Photoshop by Adobe for a few reasons. One is that Lightroom is an asset management system and will let me keep track of ALL 80,000 of my images. It is also a kick butt editor that is very easy to get fast and smart results from. A bit of icing on the cake is you can buy it outright for about 150.00 dollars or you can pay 9.99 a month for it AND Photoshop CC. That’s right!! For about 2 dollars a week, you can have the defacto standard for editing and management. For this post, I will be showing what can be done with Photoshop since it does things like skin retouching better than Lightroom. Photoshop works really well at what I call “Heavy Lifting” editing. Lightroom does amazing work for very fast and general edits but when I need to replaces parts or have very fine control over the editing, I use Photoshop.

When I say all of this in my iPhone class, the next question is “Why”? Why do I need this? If you are just posting to Facebook or other social media, then you don’t. But, if the iPhone has turned into your main camera and you want some really nice pictures to print and hang, then you want to use the right tools to get there.

Here is a typical iPhone shot taken on the fly just before the Disneyland “Big Thunder” ride takes off. I liked the overall expression but I didn’t like the splash of bright light on her face or the background. I used PureShot on the MAX quality JPEG setting. This setting gives me over 3x the data to work with. The normal iOS image is about 1.5 Mb and the MAX is a bit over 5Mb in size.

Iphone image before Photoshop Editing

Here is the Photoshop edited version where I’ve used normal glamour retouching techniques to clean up the bright light, smoothed out skin tones, cropped it and tilted it slightly. I also used a slight blur on the overall image. I even removed myself from one of the sunglass lenses.
Edited iPhone Image using Photoshop

You can see that the iPhone image edits just as well as any other image from a “real” camera when using a real editor. The tips and tricks you know work the same. And just like any other JPEG, you need to edit with a gentle hand to avoid artifacts. For this edit, I use many layers and my Wacom tablet.

All this extra data really comes in handy when you want to pull down highlights or bring up shadows on an iPhone JPEG. Normally you cannot do either very well but with the MAX quality JPEG, it works pretty well.

None of this editing could have been done on the iPhone using an “app”. We do not have the apps and we do not have the fine control of a stylus needed on such a small screen. Even on the iPad, it would have been difficult at best.

Ultimately it is all about control and flexibility as to why use a real editor on your smartphone image. Again, this is wasted effort if all you are going to do is post to Facebook which destroys image quality anyways. But if you want really nice images, this is why.

Posted in editing, editing software, iPhone Also tagged , |

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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30 Days of Black and White iPhone Fun

I’m not much on things like 365 day projects and whatnot but a favorite group of mine on Google’s G+ called “Smartphone Photographers” is having a fun time with #30DaysBandW or 30 days Black and White. The deal is you shoot with your smartphone and post it as a black and white image. Thats right, no color, no fancy filters, no tints are allowed, just good old black and white images but we do allow traditional tinting like sepia toning, blue tones, duo tones and so on.

I find this really makes you think more about composition than you normally might. You always will find that you play with the tools more since a simple conversion to grey tones gets boring 🙂 You will rediscover that red, green, yellow and blue filter can really alter your tonal range in a B/W image. That grain is your friend much of the time. And that the iPhone (and others) very, very capable black and white shooting tools.

Personally, I’ve been doing a lot of concept shots, playing with processing, playing with textures and anything else I can think of. My go-to tool has been SnapSeed but I plan to use a few others before it’s all over. Here are several of my shots so far. All taken with an iPhone 4S and I’ve used Snapseed, Mextures, AfterFocus and Photoshop Express for the processing in various combinations. Something I’ve noticed is that with the iPhone, I tend to shoot much closer than I normally would think to do. The DOF is so much that I can be inches away and get a decent shot. None of this are using any third party lens, just the plain old iPhone lens.

Yes, I did a selfie as one of my shots but it’s a bit different than many. I tried to tell a bit of a story. What do you see as my story?
Mike Selfie iPhone 4S

I plan to try some landscapes and maybe some cool textures before it is all done. I also don’t think 30 days is going to be the end of it for me, I’m having way too much fun with this little challenge. And you know what? It carries over into my shooting with the D700 and other cameras. Practice is practice.

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iPhone Madness

Too many people are told that an iPhone or any other smartphone is “just a camera phone” and not capable of taking “real” pictures.  It’s not the camera, it’s the person taking the picture who creates the picture and breaks through the limits imposed by the hardware or themselves.

[blockquote_with_author author=”Orson Welles”] The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.[/blockquote_with_author]

I hope in seeing this gallery of  iPhone images, you can get  sense of what you can do with your own smart phone. Some of these images I’ve used in my iBook, but many of them are new. And I tried to include what I consider to be “average” pics. So the image might not be technically perfect or the image might have been an experiment. Many are from Disneyland which is my testing ground for many of my techniques since I am in a real world environment that many people are using their smart phones in.

All of these were taken with my Apple 4S smartphone and processed in a wide variety of apps. I’m not a purist for my post processing, I’ll use whatever application gets the job done whether the app is on the phone or installed on my desktop such as CS6. The one thing shooting with an iPhone has taught me above everything else is to be flexible. Embrace change, embrace the flaws, the defects, the limits and make them your own.

In many ways, being an iPhoneographer embraces Steve Jobs own views on misfits and rebels. I think his famous quote could easily be dedicated to the smartphone photographers who have embraced the sea change that the iPhone has brought to photography in spite of the denunciations of the so called professionals.
[blockquote_with_author author=”Steve Jobs”] Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.[/blockquote_with_author]

 

 

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