Showing posts from 2016

Best way to copy from a smartphone?

Sometimes you simply need a photo of a price tag or remember where you parked your car, images that will be deleted he phone in a brief time. But now there are apps to make better copies of contracts, posters, and old family prints. Keepers! Enabling you to pull up family and friends pictures taken at those memorable events.

Google introduced in November PhotoScan app which takes out reflections by shooting four images and stitching it together. It is also a larger image that what you'd take with a single photo.

As a former newspaper photographer, I have always been interested capturing the moment, to show/preserve a moment in history. Remember the moment! Often families only remember what they see in the photo.

I have been scanning negatives, and prints to digital images. Saving the files on DVD discs, external hard-drives and the cloud. Google is also trying to help share the images digitally, but keep it simple.

Using your smartphone PhotoScan app starts with a full frame shot…

Tis the season and there are gifts for all smartphones

We have new smartphones coming on the market offering better ways to capture events, but there's now added accessories for smartphone owners to improve their shooting. "Be professional" as the endcap display in Best Buy promotes.

Well, holding the camera steady is good. Not sure this makes you a professional.

Last year it seemed that everything was for iPhone only, now that extra lens, external mic, tripod mount, short table-top tripod, filters will fit on any smartphone.

Lots of little items and now the problem is how to keep them with you and find them when you want to use it.

A Domke Wrap does it! The camera bag for a smartphone Pro.

This material began some 35 years ago as a replacement to the lens pouch, it was a lot easier and safer to get the lens wrapped than having to try to fit in into a sock or small sack. Photographers discovered this "wrap" could also cover a view camera lens!

It wasn't just for wrapping either. It could be an envelop to drop a…

Mobile Apps Buyer’s Guide

Finally  guide to find apps and get in control of shooting with your smartphone! this is for the professional

Mobile Apps Buyer’s Guide

The camera sees you.

Article in Wall Street Journal, Selfies Proves a tool for IDs, tells of how a Russian start-up NTechlab offered photos of people showing them at a big electronic music festival. "they didn't have to bring a camera or even their phones."

Just send them a "selfie" and they'd find you at the concert!

Founder Alexander Kabakov says, "simply owning a smartphone means you can't opt out of surveillance. There is no private life."

Ntechlab beat Alphabet in 2015 identifying celebrities in one million photos at University of Washington's Megaface Challenge.

Readers have made some interesting comments online, suggesting we watch Tom Cruise in his movie Minority Report and/or we all need to start wearing a burqa!

Moto Z gives you a choice

New Moto Z offers a range of clip on features, want to listen to music the get the JBL Soundboost, and get a zoom lens for your pocket smartphone with the Hasselblad True Zoom!

Moto as in Motorola was sold to Lenovo, a Chinese company and who the largest computer maker in the world.

They should be showing up in stores this fall! About time

Talking and snapping with the iPhone

New Apple iPhone has two lens, a wide angle and a telephone. Now get optical lens rather than simply enlarging, digital lens, and cropping into the image. Who'd of thunk?

The smartphone does it all!

But I missed getting a photo this morning. Going on my morning walk I saw a lady wearing  big hat and leading her two dogs, one large the other tiny, the sun was just coming over the trees and highlighting the path. Looked like a nice moment, lets take a photo. First, need to get my smartphone, sign in, push the camera app walk closer to get a better angle and look up. She's walked out of the bright sun, and I missed the shot.

Sure, it's nice always to have a camera with me, but maybe if I had my mirrorless DSLR camera I could have captured the moment. Maybe not, I still would have to turn it on and would lose a few seconds. Street photography is hard in the digital age. With the old mechanical film camera, I just had to raise the camera up and click. Hopefully, and most probab…

Gosh it sounded like such a great idea - - -RIP Google Ara

I was waiting to buy it, the modular phone that would let me customize the smartphone for video and let others customize their phone for medical needs, or music, or extended battery, whatever. A great idea. But it has been terminated. Why?

Is it simply the accountants fault? Trying to rein in expenses and balance the books. I like the Single Lens Reflex, but most amateurs go for the less bulky point-and-shoot. The modular android phone would be bigger and bulkier.

Maybe it is simply the fact that Google saw Lenovo and LG Electronics releasing such devices, so who needs another.  I'm guessing there is also a problem with patents. Google launched the modular phone idea when it owned Motorola, but then sold the cellphone line to Lenovo.

Question now is whether enough consumers care about getting a modular phone to customize it for improve VR viewing, have better sound, better camera, etc.

Okay it's possible, but isn't it easier to simply buy a camera that is focused on takin…

Smartphone is always with you, but you need to change lenses

Technology marches on and amazing pictures are captured everyday. Thanks to the smart phone. But as an old-timer, use to changing lens. Seeing a need for a telephone to isolate the subject, get in tight and remove distracting elements, the one lens smart phone meant missing some shots.

It is interesting how the challenge is to never miss a shot. So the first launch of theLight camera (claiming to be "world's first multi-aperature computational camera) moves closer to capturing what you see 24/7. It can always be with you! So when you see it you can capture the moment. Size of a smart phone it weaves images together to: produce a large hi-res image, build images to simulate different depth-of-field focus (f/2 to f/16), and it can be set to wide-angle, normal or telephone capture.

The first launch at $1600 has sold out, it is amazing camera for the photojournalist and street photographer who wants to be a "fly on the wall." It beats having to stick auxiliary lens over…

Portable Lighting Equipment

Portable Lighting Equipment

Make it look professional, here are some tips from Videomaker to help shoot better looking video with your smartphone. I'm going to check out the Coleman lantern mentioned at the end...

Infared security shuts down smartphone camera?

Recent report by PetaPixel on patent by Apple to use Infra Red transmitter to turnoff, disabling" camera and audio recording as a way to block bootlegging tunes.

Comments report that you need to turn your smartphone to airplane mode it you want to snap a photo. Other comments range from big brother taking control to who cares, the copies are going to be poor quality.

So how many people buy a tick to a movie and then film it on their smartphone hoping to earn money selling it on You Tube?

Another pro moves to shooting with smart phone

Coming back to the United States after working 20 years for Associated Press around the world, David Guttenfelder can't stop taking pictures. But not wanting to carry around a big camera, he uses his smartphone. One lens and the camera is always with you.

No need for telephoto lens to get the heart on the window with post-it notes, or show the all American strawberries his cousin decorated.

The smartphone is with you to capture the moment. He would take it with him to cover sports where a long telephoto captures the action and covering a war with just a smartphone wouldn't help him stand out as a press photographer.

With everyone using a smartphone, they take there photos and don't mind having others take pictures of them. And you can miss a shot if you have to st…

Professionals like the amartphone

Professional photographers who don't mind carrying the big and heavy DSLR also like their smartphones. So much so that David Kennerly has published a book of photos taken with his Apple iPhone.

Now native Kansan Jim Richardson who started as a newspaper photographer in Topeka and covered Highschool USA in the black and white film days, moved to shooting slide film at National Geographic tells his local paper how he likes taking photos with his iPhone.

“It produces a lot of good pictures in a different way,” he said. “The cameras are pretty extraordinary anymore. In one hand-held device, you have a camera, editing and processing abilities. You can transmit photos while in the field and get an almost immediate response.”
Photos are everywhere and professional photographers never stop looking. Seeing pictures, when the light is right and all the elements come together it is great to take the photo. They appreciate seeing the world around them, but it is like being a hunter. Shoot it,…

Speaking of light

Whatever camera you use, whether the smartphone or a DSLR, you need to see the light. Understand the effects and make some compensation.

Take this artisan my daughter knows, he wants to take photos of his jewelry. But it is hard to explain without having some pictures so I grabbed some jewelry and a white shirt hanging in my closet.

Went outside at 4pm when the sun was at a nice angle in the sky, it was on the right and I was looking south. I need some shadow to give the jewelry shape. But the bright sun is harsh.
Dark shadows, so I added a white board to reflect light back. Reduce some contrast, the coffee beans look better and opens up the shadow. But wait, I'm going to take the shirt off my back, a white shirt.
With the camera on a tripod, I can hold up my white shirt and soften the sunlight. Keeping some detail in the highlights, less contrast. I opened up two stops at ISO of 400. So this next shot is F/11 at 1/125 of a second. i was shooting close and needed as much depth of …

5 tips for shooting with a smartphone

Associate Professor Judd Slivka at the University oif Missouri School of Journalism posted to alumni five steps to shooting "better video on your smartphone." I've talked before on how audio is the base for tieing together wide, midlle range and close-up shots. But with the smartphone, the mic is poor and with Android phones you can't edit a "b-roll." You simply cut the shots and arrange them in various order. (Google does it automatically)

So what really counts is how you shoot it. Here is what Professor Slivka recommends:

1.) Hold the phone horizontally. Shoot sideways and fill the frame. Too many simply shoot vertically for a smaller image.

2.) Try not to shake, just let the subject move, not you. "Just because you're shooting a home movie doesn't mean you need to have the "home movie" look. This is where you can rest the smartphone on a chair, press up to a tree, arms close to your body and hold your breath.

3.) Zoom with your fee…

From 2D to 3D: Explore Earth from the comfort of your living room.

One thing leads to another, listening to WIRED magazine founder, Kevin Kelly chat with Tim Ferris and saying the future was with Virtual Reality. This is like the newspapers being told the future was the internet. Kelly goes along saying how we are going from the "internet of information to the internet of experience."

Thanks to VR and the internet you can visit the world, be there while staying at home sitting on the sofa.

This ties in with Google Daydream's Project Tango, which was demoed at the end of May at Google. Moving from the cardboard camera, Google sees smartphones linking to virtual reality goggles and hand controller. Getting away from 2D to 360 degree 3D.

To keep up on this he recommends the podcast. So I jump over and listen to Google's Andre Doronichev talk about how they are working to get it "widely adopted." So remembering the "flat photo" will be a thing of the past.

Already in New York City, professor Bob Sacha i…

From Polaroid to Instagram, we're all artists!

In the Wall Street Journal they run a review for a book about Polaroid by Prof. Peter Buse's new book The Camera Does the Rest. covering how Edwin Land was motivated to answer his 3-year-old daughter, Jennifer's question: why it took so long to view the photo. A three year old changed photography?

First we have to separate the snapshooter from the artist in the Wall Street Journal Patrick Cooke comments on how it made photography "fun in itself. You captured good views and good times, while the good times were still going on." okay for snapshooter, who before had to wait to finish the entire roll and then take it to the drugstore and wait for it to be printed.

But what about the professional and the artists. . .

For the professional it was a test shot to see if the strobe lights were set correctly, before shooting the film camera.

Land hired Ansel Adams in 1948 to promote the Polaroid and help evaluate the film. But as Buse says in an earlier paper "for Adams it was…

Smartphone is all you need

Business press loved the skyrocketing sales growth of GoPro, but sales are dropping. Is the smartphone stealing the market? For Dallas Morning News staff photographer Ron Baselice was fighting torn ligaments, corbel vein syndrome and pitched nerves. Maybe caused by years carrying a heavy SLR pro cameras and lenses.

He liked the new lighter microDSLR and the paper wanted video and stills. Panasonic's Lumix was a lot lighter than the professional Canon DSLR and Baselice made the deadline. But with layoffs the staff was reduced and the paper felt it was cheaper for them to simply furnish the equipment. Canon only!

For Baselice this was too heavy and they wouldn't pay using the Lumix microDSLR, but they encourage reporters to carry a smartphone and take photos to go along with their stories. So Baselice switched to an iPhone and you can't tell the difference!

He built his own rig to hold the iPhone steady and mounts a small external Sennheiser shotgun mic with adapter to his …

GoPro Extreme Challenge

Weird article on front page of the Wall Street Journal's Business Technology section on Tueday May 3 2016, about Go Pro losing it's place to the smartphone!?!?

Concluding the article quoting Charles Anderson, senior research analyst with Dougherty & Co, seeing if they sell just to outdoors athletes looking using the action-camera, "it would be a very unexciting public company, like Canon or Nikon."

The article sees how with the better data chips on smartphones that video on a smartphone is as good as the GoPro and slaes are dropping. Georgia Wells and Jack Nicas state, "The stakes are high: GoPro expects it's sales this year could fall by as much as 17%..."

The article got lots of comments online, some 35 by 10 a.m. with most not wanting to mount a smartphone on their motorcycle helmet, go sky diving or scuba diving. One reader tells how he had put his away in his closet for a long time, till his daughter asked to borrow it to go horseback riding. H…

Will Crocket Hybrid Photography

He wasn't interested in the newer digital cameras, Will Crockett was one of the leading corporate photographers in Chicago. Shooting executive portraits, annual reports, advertising professional photos on a film for the past 30+ years.

Seeing digital imaging kept getting better and better, and more people sharing on the internet. Crockett gave in and went digital in 2009. Seeing how all these new cameras were falling in prices that everyone could afford and how many were becoming "professional." 

How could be set himself apart?

Seeing all the features now on his new cameras with the addition of video to the still camera. Why not take advantage of this.

A short video could be like business card with the follow-up e-mail. Better and more personal than a printed business card. Especially since the smartphone, tablets and laptops were replacing address books and card files.

Seeing how professional digital cameras now offered still and motion he launched My eCard and promoted usi…

A different way of seeing

When I first saw the April 4 article posted at the New Yorker web site In The Future, We Will Photograph Everything and Look At Nothing, by tech writer Om Malik I thought he was talking about how we take too many photos.

No he goes off talking about how Google is giving away the Nik Collection for FREE, marked down from $149, which many photogs thought was a steal from the $500 we had to pay in 2012. So why is Google giving it away?

Malik says, "my guess is that it wants to kill the software, but it(google) doesn't want the P.R. nightmare that would making the software free, the company can both ignore the product and avoid a backlash." Concluding that technology is doing to this software what digital did to the film camera.

Progress? I like the RAW file like using Levels and Curves in Photoshop, instead of the push button editing with Nik. Of course, I downloaded the Free software.

What I thought was going to be a critic of Google giving it away, Malik goes …

Liberate the viewfinder

Okay this is the time to get up a shout, lenses and viewfinders need to be separated. It's the 21st century and with the smartphones, WiFi, Bluetooth and digital mirrorless cameras. Separate and see more.

With the viewfinder, reflex, no attached to the lens you can try some unusual angles. Be unnoticed while taking photos. It's great.

To show you what I mean. Here are some shots of me shooting the shadows on the patio chair. Moving around: getting low, from the side and high.
 Down low I don't have the lie on the ground to see what the lens sees. (Viewfinder, the smartphone is in my left hand. Lens is in my right hand.)

Lower photo is looking down. Camera twisted, left, right, vertical or horizontal, while I study the image on the smartphone.

I'm able to get back and keep my shadow out of the photo and try different composition. Chose a wide-angle Olympus zoom lens, 9mm-18mm. Gave me in 35mm speak, something like 18mm to 36mm to capture the chair and early morning shado…

Pocket Full of Digital: Lens-Style cameras

It’s nice to always have the camera with you. Smartphones are winning, “but anyone who’s serious about photography knows there are moments that deserve more than a quick smartphone snap,” observes Nathan Olivarez-Giles in the weekend, March 12, 2016, edition of the Wall Street Journal.

He concludes, “you want a camera more capable --- but that’s still practical to carry.”
This is the niche I see for the new Olympus Air and Sony Lens-Style Not the Minox, Polaroid, Ricoh or Canon Powershot this article reviews.
It’s true Henri Cartier-Bresson didn’t worry about interchangeable lenses, feeling the “normal” fixed focal length 50mm lens on a 35mm camera was the eye of painter and the way the human eye sees the world. The smart phone camera lens is a bit too much a wide-angle. The biggest complaint for the smart phone is the smaller chip means loss of resolution for making a print, a large print to display on the wall. Especially when you crop in to eliminate distracting elements like telephon…

Journaling with a smartphone

Many feel that journaling, keeping a diary is therapeutic, but does it have to be words?

In an article, 52 Years and Counting: The Power of Daily Writing, on the front of the Wall Street Journal's Personal Journal section, they tell of Charley Kempthorne writing everyday and not letting anyone read it. Well, that's not true. He posts on his website,, for everyone to read! And, has been holding workshops in public libraries since 1976 promoting simply to get your thoughts down on paper. It's therapy!

But it doesn't have to be words, why not taking photos? With the smartphone or digital camera you can take easily take a photo everyday. Like writing a diary, it doesn't have to be great, only for you.

As Kempthorne says, "keep it private. If you show it to others, you might worry about what they will say and never start."

Why not document your life with pictures (and maybe some words)?

The smartphone is always with you, take a ph…

GoPro fighting off smartphones

Recent article in the Wall Street Journal  reporting on disappointing sales for GoPro Inc., over the holiday season surprised me when they sight the competition "facing competition from overseas manufactures and better smartphone cameras..." 

This GoPro "wearable camera" is facing competition from smartphones!

Look at all the accessories GoPro sells for attaching their cameras to surf boards, helmets, bikes, and even dogs. Do you want to mount your smartphone to a dog and see where it goes?

Probably not, but this opens up a market for smartphones to make more accessories for filming with the phones camera. There's a need for straps, mounts, clamps, like those for GoPro. The smartphone cameras can do it!

Let me hear the links to your favorite smartphone accessory. 

I'll start with the iOGRAPHER brackets that give you a better grip on iPhone or iPad. With the bracket you can mount the smartphone to a tripod, add extra light, a shotgun mic and mount other lenses. U…

2016 is here

Consumer Electronics Show has started and everyone sees the smartphone as the focus for electronics. Wall Street Journal reported that many are surprised that home robotics haven't been as popular as analysis hoped. 

What surprises me is how the camera in the phone takes on many forms. For some it is a note pad, an easy way to remember where you parked your car or what the price was for a winter coat. Others see it as art. Always with you so you can capture images that tell a story.

This blog is for the artist. 

I've been promoting the attachable cameras for Olympus and Sony. They are small and enable you to change lenses and get better quality. Using your smart phone as a viewfinder and transmission device. I like the WiFi capabilities for other reasons, it lets me put the camera in hard to get to places and see. Photogs could only guess, in the past, now we can see it and make adjustments to get the best images.

But for editing in your smartphone or tablet, the University of Mis…