Cell Phones, HDR and Panoramas

Hi Folks:

This started out as an idea for a blog post, evolved into a one-hour presentation for our local camera group, and now I’ll try to compress that into a blog post. We’ll see how it goes.

There are several questions to begin with, the first of which is… why do this? The answer is to extend or expand the capabilities of your camera, no matter the camera. There are at least five different reasons that I know of to combine multiple exposures into one image. These are two of them. The second question is, why cell phones? This post doesn’t only involve cell phones, but cell phones are ubiquitous. Some people only make images with their phones, despite the technical challenges, but the bottom line is that it depends on how you’re planning to use your images.

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An HDR Comparison

Hi Folks:

When you mention the term HDR, many people’s thoughts automatically jump to tonemapping and the results that can produce. That’s not what this post is about. If you don’t understand what HDR is all about or why you might want to use it in your photography, I suggest starting here: Why Use HDR? I’ll wait…

Okay, welcome back. I recently acquired a Sony A7R III and one of the features of this camera is that it has a very wide dynamic range – 12 to 14 stops are claimed. To that end, HDR capture with this camera isn’t often necessary. However, a friend of mine and I were out at Victoria’s famous Butchart Gardens last weekend and I wanted to try bracketing a few exposures just to see. Now, when it comes to the question of how many exposures to make and at what EV levels, there’s really only one answer: it depends. It depends on the scene and it also depends on the camera you’re using and what capabilities it has. For my experiment I decided to shoot 5 bracketed exposures at -4/-2/0/+2/+4 EV. Here’s an example of one of those combined images after having been pushed around a bit in Lr.

Water Dragon
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Photo of the Month – January

Hi Folks:

Well, my first photo of the month post for 2012, and also my first image posted here that was processed with Lightroom 4 Beta.  Marcia and I were ‘up island’ briefly in Campbell River this past month, and took the opportunity to go for a short walk along the shore at Willow Point.  The tide was out and some of the rocks that were revealed were incredible.  I liked this one in particular.  This is an HDR image, 3 exposures at -1/0/+1, shot hand-held and joined together with Autopano Pro then finished off in Lightroom.  I trust you like it!!

Rocky Shore

Now go out and make some photographs!

Mike.

Photo of the Month – October

Hi Folks:

End of the month again, and while Hallowe’en is tomorrow, I’m not going to post pictures of zombies, ghouls, ghosts or other Hallowe’en characters.  I thought I’d mention something else entirely: serendipity.  Roughly defined as a ‘happy accident’, serendipity from a photographer’s perspective often comes about from having a camera at just the right moment, to capture something you might otherwise have missed.  Most of my photography is landscape work, and while I do go out on photographic expeditions, I usually have a camera with me wherever I go – even if it’s just the camera in my cell phone. Continue Reading →

Using the LR/Enfuse plugin for Lightroom

Hi Folks:

There was a question on Twitter today asking people about their favourite Lightroom plugin.  While I have a few that I use (including Jeffrey Friedl’s export plugin for Flickr), one of the plugins I use the most is the LR/Enfuse plugin from Timothy Armes.  In essence the LR/Enfuse plugin allows you to combine multiple exposures into one image, and I use it in three different ways: Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month – Discoveries

Hi Folks:

April’s ‘Photo of the Month’ is a little late, but bear with me…  Although I do have a bus pass, I also walk around town – a lot – and in the process I’m always making new discoveries.  A couple of weeks ago I was walking around the Fairfield area when I saw a faded beauty partially protected by an overhang… looked to have been there a long time (30+ years, anyway).  It was something I’d never seen before, but a little research confirmed a 1952 Humber Super Snipe.  For all you non-biologist types, a snipe is a small woodland bird (its use for Quidditch was replaced by the golden snitch in Harry Potter fame but that’s another story). Continue Reading →

Photographing Moving Water – Revisited

Hi Folks:

Last month I did a blog post on a technique I’ve been playing with for ‘Photographing Moving Water‘.  I’m not going to reiterate that technique here so if you’d like to read that other post first, I’ll wait…

…welcome back!

Now, I’ve used this idea on several photos and it generally works pretty well, but I’d only used it on wave action down at the shore of the ocean.  I’d been wondering how well it would work on a stream, waterfall or other moving water, so I went out yesterday to make some more images.  This is my second ‘winter’ here on the island and I’m still not quite used to the idea of using ‘January’ and ‘spring’ in the same sentence, but the skunk cabbage leaves were already starting to unfurl when I was out…  Anyway, I digress. Continue Reading →

Why Use HDR?

Hi Folks:

I was at an informal gathering of photographers recently where we were sharing and discussing our work.  I displayed a sunset image that I had made (this one)

Seeing the Light

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Cell Phone Cameras

Hi Folks:

One of the gifts Mrs. Claus gave me for Christmas was a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant GT-i9000M Android-enabled cell phone.  The name is actually longer than the phone itself; I’m not sure who comes up with this stuff!  The GPS feature combined with Google Maps makes navigating the sleigh a lot simpler, but that’s another story.  The phone also has a 5MP digital camera, and that’s the topic for today’s blog post.  BTW, I checked the Apple Canada site and the iPhone 4 also has a 5MP camera, so I’m assuming they’re in the same ball park as far as comparisons go.

The reasons for this post are two-fold.  For one, up until now I’ve never really had the chance to experience making photographs with a cell phone camera.  For the second, there have been a couple of posts on Mike Johnston’s ‘The Online Photographer‘ blog recently that say that the sales of ‘point and shoot’ cameras have been steadily falling.  His suggestion is that point and shoot cameras are single-use devices while cell phones with cameras are multifunctional… so more people are simply using their cell phone cameras rather than purchasing a separate camera as well. Continue Reading →

Photographing Moving Water

Hi Folks:

As a landscape photographer,  I’ve always been captivated by images of moving water.  By varying the shutter speed one can create many different effects.  A very high shutter speed can ‘freeze’ the moment…

Shuswap Lake Bubbles

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