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

Continue Reading →

Panoramic Photography and Stitching “Errors”

Hi Folks:

In a previous post I rambled on a bit about panoramic photography – basically a system where one combines several images into one using software designed for that purpose.  One can also take several images of the same scene at different exposures and combine them into one HDR image using the same software.  Mostly I use Autopano Pro for stitching, although I’ve also used Hugin, and since I work extensively in Lightroom I’ve been playing a bit with Photoshop CS5‘s HDR Pro and panorama tools as well.  To create a stitched image the software looks for the same points in two or more images and assigns them as ‘control points’.  The combined image is then mapped around those control points.  Usually this works very well, but in my previous post I talked a bit about parallax errors and things like that, and sometimes these images don’t get mapped together perfectly.  This can create situations like this: Continue Reading →

Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:

It’s been a busy month of writing and blogging and other things, but I have managed to sneak out with my camera for a time or two!  This month I thought I’d make the focus (pun intended) of my ‘photo of the month’ page an HDR image.  The image below is a combination of nine photographs made at different exposures.  Now most photographers today are at least somewhat similar with HDR, but in my experience most people associate it with the grungy, grainy look that HDR is most famous for.  It has its place, but in my experience it’s overused.  Besides, HDR stands simply for ‘High Dynamic Range’ and is quite useful as a technique for expanding the dyanic range (the number of tones, from white to black) in an image where the tonal range of the scene is beyond the camera’s ability to capture it.  There’s an excellent article on HDR by Alexandre Buisse here.

That’s certainly the case with this image.  It was made in a local park called ‘Christmas Hill‘, and it’s one of my favourite places in this area to make photographs.  Capturing the detail in the shadow areas without blowing out the highlights where the sun strikes the moss was beyond the camera’s sensor.  I uploaded the images into Lightroom, and then used Timothy Armes’ LR/Enfuse plugin to combine them into one blended image.  Post processing included the usual (white balance, black point, white point, etc.) as well as some graduated filters to highlight the sun spot.

Click on image to see a larger version

So, that’s it for now.  Go out and make some photographs!

Mike.

P.S.  I came across this great tutorial yesterday by R.C. Concepcion on using Shadowbox JS to integrate a Lightroom web gallery into a WordPress blog.  Maybe next month…

P.S. II, the Sequel: You can find more of our posts on photography and Lightroom tutorials here, and you can find links to over 200 other sites that have Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos here.