Tag Archive: Photography

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Photography

A photo of the moon and Saturn

Shot with an iPhone through the viewfinder of a 12″ domestic telescope!

iPhone Moon / Saturn

Well worth looking through the rest of his Flickr.

Via Kier Alexander

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Photography

June fog in Chicago

An incredible set of images from Michael Salisbury on Flickr. Everyone loves a foggy photo right?

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All images © Michael Salisbury

Worth seeing the whole set.

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Geek Photography

Lightroom for iPad

Now I’m not sure if this has ever been on my wish list as a feature but it’s pretty good to see Adobe come out with an iOS version that syncs with Lightroom. It’s not a self contained version but a companion app to the full Lightroom which you need to have on your PC/Mac. You also need to be running version 5.4 and have a Creative Cloud account which I’m a massive fan of. At £8.50 a month for Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge I’m happy to pay for legal software.

Anyway to use it you download your shots to your host machine. Create a collection and right click and choose sync with Lightroom mobile.

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Then pop over to your iPad and see the photos appear in the app. They’re not the actual photos but enough data to render a decent sized preview and some metadata which gets synced back to your host machine. You have the usual grid of images which is fairly familiar to work with.

LightroomHome

Tapping on an image takes you to a larger view where you can flick up to pick and down to reject. This is the first part of my editing process so it’s nice to be able to do this bit from the sofa before heading back to the machine to do more in depth edits. Having done my picks you can then sort by this to then go in and do a bit more work.

Whilst you’d never really want to do colour accurate work on an iPad it’s nice to be able to flick through and have a rough edit at exposure and white balance.

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It’s also possible to do crops, add clarity and contrast and most of the basic edits and the overlaid histogram helps. The interface for the white balance presets is pretty intuitive and the previews are nice for those who are less familiar with white balance adjustment. There are also presets but these are the stock ones not any you’ve built yourself. I’m sure these will come soon though.

My iPad mini wasn’t entirely up to rendering my X100 files, or previews of, overly quickly but I guess this is aimed at a new iPad air which has far better graphics. Still it’s nothing that would stop me working, just at a slightly more leisurely pace perhaps.

When I got back to the Mac my work had all synced and I went in and did a little more and fine tuned a few. 80& of what I had done was good though. I did some brush work on a few to bring out some detail which clearly couldn’t be done on the iPad at this stage although the touch screen would make this very intuitive.

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The last part of this process was to add my shots to the map which I sometimes do. I noticed that it was still syncing back to the cloud and after a while it crashed.

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Unfortunately this meant killing the sync and starting again. My data had made it all one way though so I’m not too bothered about this.

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Obviously this has only just been released so I’m not going to be too critical but it’s pretty promising stuff. I wish there was a way to edit my main Lightroom catalog with my laptop from the sofa without VNC or separate catalogues though. Great to see Adobe doing this kind of development and including it for Creative Cloud subscribers. Judging by the comments on the App Store others aren’t as keen.

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Photography Web

Another trip to Explore

I wrote a little while back about how one of my photos went a little bit crazy on Flickr. It was a misty iPhone shot and it got over 9000 views in a day. I thought that was pretty good at the time. I also commented at the time about how it was almost inconceivable a few years back for me that an iPhone shot would be uploaded to Flickr by me.

Now it’s not me saying I’m amazing, I’m not, and this was just a shot of some mist and being there at the right time. What does surprise me is that quality of the camera in the iPhone and how much I didn’t actually miss my proper camera.

So since that I’d had another shot be quite popular – another snap I’d taken whilst waiting at a set of traffic lights in the car – with the handbrake on obviously and not breaking the law for a photo.

Westway

It was reasonably popular on Instagram so popped it onto Flickr whilst bored in the post office queue or something. It’s the same kind of thing – iPhone + VSCO + right time = popular photo. That got 60+ favourites and 9000+ views.

So again I was bored and thought I’d add something to my Flickr page. There’s a need to keep it fresh and I hadn’t sat down to edit any photos for a while. So I chucked this one up and went to bed.

I mean this really is a snap in every sense of the word. When I uploaded the square version of this to Instagram I cropped out my friend from the left. It’s also quite badly composed.

Infinity

I didn’t add to any groups or try and draw any traffic to it at all. It then went stupidly crazy. As of checking now it’s had of 71,000 views and 270 favourites! It went to the top of explore and stayed there all day which is completely bonkers. Just to re-iterate my original point, I’m not blowing my own trumpet. This is a very average shot I’m just intrigued by what is popular on any given day and how things rise up in Flickr’s Explore page.

This is my stats graph for the day after it got into Explore.

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Two days worth of 50k+ views on that picture and the rest of my stream. That’s nuts. I had to turn notifications off as my phone was buzzing all the time. And to prove it all here’s it’s position on the Explore page and what else was interesting. The other thing is that my three most viewed photos are now all iPhone shots which again is madness in my mind considering what I used to think of phone shots.

explore-bath-uni

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Photography

Warhol, Burroughs & Lynch

Last Sunday Emma and I went for a bit of a wander in town, poked our heads in a few shops, grabbed a coffee and headed up to the Photographers Gallery. I took my camera with me but due to it being cold the battery died. So this is the only shot I got all day which was pretty annoying.

Legs

I was a little disappointed with the Photographers Gallery overall. The entrance sequence is very strange and you end up piling on top of people as you enter due to the tiny area to buy tickets. Then you have to turn around and cross back over those same people to get to the stair which is very cramped.

The first floor exhibition was the Warhol images. Some were interesting but most had very little meaning to me. Nothing of any real value in my mind. It was rammed too and you felt like you were on a badly design conveyor belt.

Next up was the Burroughs floor. Nope, sorry, he may have been a wonderful writer but these were just snaps and a series on a filing cabinet. Even worse was the text that went with the images that aimed to overlay an implied sense of meaning to something ordinary over 40 years later. Not at all engaging at all to my mind.

Just when I thought all was lost we got to the top floor to see the David Lynch exhibition. For some reason it felt more spacious which was probably helped by less people cramming in to see it. There was less of a conveyor belt feeling too and the prints were bigger and had more impact which also helped. Lynch also chose a soundtrack for his images which further enhanced the impact of his work although its very subtle. It’s dark and brooding but somehow avoids the ruin porn cliche. Well worth seeing, just avoid the first two floors. Your mileage may vary obviously. The four quid price of entry is a bargain for the Lynch exhibition.

Here’s a couple of the Lynch Photos. The exhibition is on until the 30th March.

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Unknown 2

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Family & friends Photography

Brean Down & false memory

A few weekends back I went back to the West Country to see my Mum, some friends, ride a bike and go to the dentist – the same one I’ve been going to for the last 25 years. On Sat I headed down the M5 to see my Aunty who lives in Brent Knoll near West-Super-Mare. My mum and my Dad are both from that area.

One of the things we used to do when we were younger was go and explore the now derelict fort on Brean Down. Brean Down is a rocky outcrop poking out into the Bristol Channel just west of Weston and overlooked by Uphill. It’s had various incarnations of a fort on the outer reaches of the land mass over time with the latter being of second world war origin.

The site has a long history, because of its prominent position. The earliest recorded settlement is from the Early to Middle Bronze Age.

The current buildings were constructed in the 1860s as one of the Palmerston Forts to provide protection to the ports of the Bristol Channel, and was decommissioned in 1901. During World War II it was rearmed and used for experimental weapons testing.

Burnham on Sea

But what interested me so much about it is that I had memories of the fort and walks around it as a child. When I thought back to it they seemed completely vivid and still strong in my mind. Yet when we walked up the stairs to the top of the hill it all seemed entirely new to me.

Upwards

The idea of memory is a fascinating idea to me and I think about it a lot, especially in relation to photography and imagery. I was somehow shocked that something could be so utterly different. I don’t seem to remember the long walk in or the compact nature of the site or the general form or arrangement of it. I also think that certain areas had been closed off and made safe since the National Trust had taken it over but even so I was till confused and at points not sure I had referenced the right place in my mind. This further makes you question what memory is and how the mind overlays its own additions in later years.

Ascent

Regardless of relation back to childhood memory I was really blown away, quite literally in places, by the area. The sense of exposure, the wind, the height and the views over Weston, Burnham-on-Se and the Bristol Channel were incredible. It was sunny just long enough for us to get to the Fort and back before it closed in and started raining.

Outlook

We had a look around the end and I clambered over some rocks at which point I realised how exposed I was and how rough the sea looked beneath me.

Brean Down
Rocks

We also had a poke around the old gun emplacement which had a strong stench of sheep poo. Looking down we could see why, it was everywhere.

Stubs
Concrete

The mixture of the weathered concrete against the colours of the sea and the rocky outcrop made for a few nice snaps. I’d love to spend a few days there with a tripod though. So many photo opportunities! After that we made our way back along the lower path which was far less exposed and back to the van.

Path
Flyer

It really is a stunning place and well worth a visit if you’re ever in that part of the world. The Guardian even lists it as one of the best 10 walks in the UK.

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Photography

Westway shadows

Pleased with this little shot whilst sat in the car on the way to Oxford. I’ve always admired the shadows that form on this little underpass. I might wander down there with a tripod and the proper camera soon.

Westway

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Photography Web

A worthy replacement for Everpix

Unfortunately my favourite photo service, Everpix, shutdown recently. They kind of mucked up their business model and couldn’t get enough revenue in to keep the lights on. There was plenty of discussion of why they got it wrong, their business model and why Apple didn’t buy them. Anyway, they closed and I stopped getting my favourite daily email with photos from the past.

Fortunately a service called Picturelife has sprung up to fill the void. They spent a long time by the looks of it on sweating the little details as Mathew wrote about recently.

Picturelife 1. Thanks

This gives a really nice impression when you install, create an account and start uploading your first pics. It’s then easy to configure a daily or weekly email digest and it seems a little smarter than Everpix in picking out faces to show you. The iPhone / iPad app will also send you a push notification each day if you want but I prefer the email. This is the kind of email I get each day. It’s nice to have a little blast from the past although I really need to tidy up my photos as those little snaps of receipts and the odd screenshot clutter the whole thing up.

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There’s lots of other features which i haven’t explored. A lot of them allow you to share photos privately instead of Facebook etc but I’ve not really investigated it yet. I normally print out photos on Photobox and post them to people instead. The web interface is nice and subtle too.

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And the downsides? Well apparently it chews up a load of HD space through a cache issue which will hopefully be fixed soon.

Update three: WOAH! Spent a panicked few moments after clicking the above Backup button trying to figure out why my machine was bleeding disk space. I watched 6GB trickle away as Scratch Disk Almost Full message popped up all over the place before a friend (Ta Tim) at 54B helped discover that Picturelife creates a full image cache of your iPhone image library in User/Library/Picturelife/Storage/Images.

That and I don’t like the non-standard buttons. But on the whole it’s a great replacement and their business model seems to have more legs to it – i.e. paid.

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Flickr Photography

Everyone loves a misty tree photo

Well everyone on Flickr that is. It seems that a little bit of rising mist in the woods with some sun behind it is a bit of a winner.

I shot this whilst out riding at Swinley a few days ago. Bizarrely enough I took my ‘proper camera’ but forgot it and left it in the van. We got there early and the frost was being warmed up by the rising sun and then beautifully back lit. Hence the effect you get below. I shot it with the iPhone and then processed it with VSCO Cam before sticking it on Instagram where it proved to be my most popular photo to date.

Sunlight through the trees [Explored]

I thought I’d stick the full version on Flickr. I added it to a few groups and got on with whatever I was doing. Then an hour or so later the phone started buzzing with notifications. It didn’t stop for two days. Whilst some people, like Finn, are used to this I’m certainly not.

So my account trundles along at 500 – 1000 hits a day generally, nothing special but there’s the occasional traffic spike. This on the other hand is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

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Now it’s not me saying I’m amazing, I’m not, and this was just a shot of some mist and being there at the right time. What does surprise me is that quality of the camera in the iPhone and how much I didn’t actually miss my proper camera. The second thing is how the explore page can drive traffic to your photos. If something gets a few hits it starts to hit the bottom end of Explore (popular page in Flickr language) and then it can rapidly climb from there once the views and favourites start piling in. If you look at the explore page it does generally seem to be sunsets and mist so I guess this one hit the spot.

It now sits as my most popular photo with over 8000 views and 180+ favourites, so far. I’m amused to see that my most popular shot is a mobile phone shot which I never thought would have happened just a few years back. I guess those camera makers are in real trouble as they’re only going to get better. The link to this article I found yesterday was entitled “Cameras will die with an iPhone 6s in our pockets” and reference this quote from the article.

After two and a half years, the GF1 was replaced by the slightly improved Panasonic GX1, which I brought on the six-day Kumano Kodo hike in October. During the trip, I alternated between shooting with it and an iPhone 5. After importing the results into Lightroom, Adobe’s photo-development software, it was difficult to distinguish the GX1’s photos from the iPhone 5’s. (That’s not even the latest iPhone; Austin Mann’s superlative results make it clear that the iPhone 5S operates on an even higher level.) Of course, zooming in and poking around the photos revealed differences: the iPhone 5 doesn’t capture as much highlight detail as the GX1, or handle low light as well, or withstand intense editing, such as drastic changes in exposure. But it seems clear that in a couple of years, with an iPhone 6S in our pockets, it will be nearly impossible to justify taking a dedicated camera on trips like the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage.

Convergence is going to continue to be a real killer for a lot of companies.

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Photography

Crossing Paths, buy this book

You should buy this book whilst you still can. There’s only 500 copies of this print run and I’m sure it’s going to sell out fast. It’s beautifully printed and edited and so many great characters to see inside. I really enjoyed an afternoon going through this the other day.

Don’t know what it’s all about? These two previous posts help explain.

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