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Showing posts from August, 2011

Serious photography on the iPad: Comparative review of Snapseed and Photoforge2

Summary: Serious photo processing is possible on the iPad 2, and you have lots of apps to choose from. I tried two: Photoforge2 and Snapseed. Found Photoforge2 to be a very good app and Snapseed a great one.
Freshness warning: This post was published 8/31/11 and to my knowledge the info in it was correct on that date. But I am quite confident that things will change in the future. You shouldn't take what I say here too seriously if you read this post while it's still fresh. Don't let me do your thinking for you! But if you read it six months or a year later, by all means, skim it quickly, then go find out how the apps I mention here have improved.

The experiment
I don't generally experiment when people are paying me. I don't use new equipment at weddings, I don't (usually) try new techniques when shooting portraits. So when do I try new things? All the time. But my favorite time to learn new things and test new equipment is when I travel. Last year (summer 2010),…

What's up with Facebook? It's getting worse

In response to the threat posed by Google+, Facebook seems to have decided to get WORSE rather than better. Seems like a risky strategy to me.

I uploaded some photos today to my personal Facebook page, my "wall". (That's a term I've never understood.) The first problem is that the photos looked awful in Facebook. I uploaded them directly from within Lightroom 3.5. Perhaps it's necessary to adjust the photos to some particular resolution before uploading — but I don't have to do that with any of the other photo sharing sites I use or have used (Zenfolio, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, etc.). I have read that Facebook is the largest photo sharing site in the world. Amazing then that it's so awful in this regard.

So I deleted the album on Facebook, and uploaded the photos instead to Picasa Web Albums. Then I went back to Facebook to create a post letting my friends know where I'd moved the photos. There used to be a button labeled something like "Add a li…

The A77 is coming — and a note on why I shoot Sony now

Sony yesterday announced the Alpha A77 "SLT" (single-lens translucent) camera. This is the successor to the A700 as Sony's top-of-the line APS-C camera and at the same time the successor to the A55 and A33, the first SLT cameras released last year. The best discussion of the A77 available right now, as far as I can tell, is over at Luminous Landscape.

This matters to me. I shoot Sony. When I abandoned Pentax a year ago, instead of going with either of the safe choices (Nikon or Canon) I decided to go with Sony. Why? No doubt partly because I'm a contrarian. It was also partly because Nikon and Canon DSLRs don't have image stabilization built into the body, which strikes me as, well, a big disadvantage of the Nikon and Canon systems. But I chose Sony mainly because it is clear to me that digital cameras are now primarily electronic devices and Sony knows more about electronics than Nikon and Canon combined. While Nikon, Canon and Pentax are trying and to a great ex…

Traveling light, revisited one year later

I usually take a couple vacation trips each year with my wife and daughters and of course I take photos on those trips. For years I took my best cameras (my digital SLRs) with me, on the theory that the best cameras would give me the best pictures. And then last year, I decided to question that theory. When we traveled to Yellowstone in summer 2010, I left my DSLRs at home and instead took a couple of fixed-lens cameras with me, the Panasonic LX3 (for wide and normal shots) and the Panasonic FZ35 "superzoom" (for shooting wildlife). The results were generally pretty satisfying and I blogged about the experiment when I got back ("Traveling Light: The Post-Mortem").

It's now August 2011, a year later. When we started planning our recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I thought I'd "travel light" again, either with the same two cameras I used last year or perhaps with the new Sony Cybershot HX100V, which is similar to the Panasonic FZ35 but, we…

World's largest stop-motion animated short, shot with camera phone

I have long been a fan of Nick Park and Aardman Studios in London. They're famous particularly but not exclusively for the Wallace & Gromit movies. Now Aardman has gained a little more notoriety by doing shooting the world's "largest" animated short using, well, it's certainly not the world's smallest camera but it might be the smallest camera ever used for stop-motion animation: a Nokia N8 cell phone. You can see the short here:

Unless you really are a connoisseur of animation, that might not knock your socks off, because you may simply not understand what you're seeing, so be sure to watch the (much longer) companion piece which explains how the movie was made.

Great stuff, creative people having fun.

Now, my comment. It's great public relations for Nokia and I grant that it's a technical tour de force — I mean, shooting a movie like this on a cell phone. But it doesn't prove as much as you …

The "golden hour" (with the Sony HX100V)

One of my clients at the Dallas Arboretum on Fathers Day asked me about "the golden hour." He'd heard the phrase but wasn't sure what it meant. It's the first hour after dawn or the last hour before sunset, when the sun is low in the sky and its light tends to be particularly, well, "golden."

About 7:30 this evening I decided to run over to the spillway at White Rock Lake. I thought it would be a great time to take some test shots with the Sony HX100V because I knew that there'd be birds in the spillway and that the light would be favorable — that is, the sun would be behind me as I looked east towards the spillway (and the lake behind it). I was hoping for the light to give me that golden glow. Here's a panoramic view of what I saw, taken with the HX100V's sweep panorama feature:

You can catch a bit of the yellow light off to the right of the island of trees in the middle.

Now, do you see the great white egret right in the middle of the photo?…