11 posts

Bursting the Straight Out of the Camera Bubble

A movement has grown in recent years amongst digital photographers called Straight Out of the Camera, or SOOC. Please note, this commentary relates only to digital photography; film is a different animal.

The idea behind the movement is to spend more time actually taking pictures and less time editing pictures. The general idea is laudable. We would all love to spend more time in the field than behind a computer screen. Unfortunately, the broader mindset behind the movement is utter nonsense.

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Shoot the Moon!

Go grab some snacks and your preferred beverage because this one will be somewhat lengthy.

In the digital era of photography, interest in astrophotography has really gone <ahem> sky high. The relative ease of capturing and processing hundreds of photos to create compelling star trail images and dynamic shots of the Milky Way has helped propel interest in the genre. Nightscapes are very popular and are beautiful to look at. Darkness only exists in our minds. There is plenty of light at night and lots of great photos to be made.

In this article, I’m going to concentrate specifically on the Moon.

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Open Letter to Satya Nadella – Surface Phone

Mr. Nadella,

As a ‘creative’, I have long known the false beliefs perpetuated by some that “Apple is for creatives” and “Windows is for accountants” is just so much falderal. The two platforms do, essentially, the same things, just in different ways.

That said, the release of the first Windows-based Nokia smartphones a few years ago incorporating the PureView sensor technology was intriguing. So much so that when the 1020 was announced, I made plans to get one. The idea of the large sensor, and ‘lossless zoom’, combined with the ability to capture in RAW mode was very appealing to this photographer. I am not a ‘photography snob’ and as such recognise that very compelling imagery can be made with any type of camera. Continue reading

Workflow – What is it good for?

If you read the musings here you’ll know that I like to co-opt song titles and lyrics. So, with a nod to Edwin Starr we’re going to talk about the idea of ‘workflow’.

What is workflow? It’s a term used a lot in photography but is it a term that people generally know what it means? Continue reading

An Open Letter to Samsung

Late in 2014, an announcement was made by Google that the new ‘Android L’ mobile operating system, later dubbed Lollipop, would include a new camera API (Application Programming Interface – the building blocks of the camera software and what third-party app developers use in creating their companion apps). That new camera API would allow for the capture of true RAW images, using the Adobe DNG specification, by mobile devices. Continue reading

The RAW Goods – Nokia 1020 Raw Capture

If you read my write-up on the camera in the Nokia 1020 from back in November, you’ll know that I found a number of shortcomings with it.  At that time, I noted that there would be a firmware update coming that would give RAW capture to the phone in the form of DNG.  It was called the Lumia Black update. Continue reading

Photo Basics – White Balance

Do you want your whites their whitest?  Use Tidy Det…. no, wait, wrong commercial.  Do you want your whites their whitest?  Use White Balance.  That’s better.  OK, I’ll stop with the bad humour now.

In this instalment of the ongoing Photo Basics series, we’re going to look at a camera control that can be confusing but really shouldn’t be:  White Balance.  In very simple terms, white balance is used to keep white things white.  Or grey things grey.  And all other colours their ‘proper’ colour too.  Note that I’ve highlighted the word ‘proper’.  We’ll come back to that later in the article.  Essentially white balance is used to maintain a ‘neutral’ colour balance.  Continue reading

Book Review – Practical HDRI, 2nd Ed by Jack Howard

I’ve had an interest in HDR photography for several years. It’s a wonderful innovation for the art of photography but I’ve felt that it could have some terrific application in commercial photography. And it has. An increasing number of photographers have been adding HDR to their arsenal; particularly in the architectural/real estate area. Continue reading

Photo Basics – Filters

So far in the series, we’ve looked at the three components that make up exposure:  the shutter; the aperture; and the ISO setting.  I call this the Exposure Triumvirate.  We’ve also looked at what information a histogram conveys and how reading a histogram needs to be done in context with the image.  And we’ve looked at exposure meters, what they do and how the can be fooled.

In this instalment, we’ll take a look at filters.  We’ll look at some of the different types available, discuss what they do and how they can be used.  Now, there are literally hundreds of different filters available on the market.  Some are special effects filters that, for example, create starbursts out of specular highlights.  Some are filters that create a vignette in the image.  We’re not going to delve into these.  Similarly we’re not going to discuss filters that are used in conjunction with flash or other studio lights.  We’re going to discuss the major types of photographic filters that are (or were) some of the more commonly used and that most photographers will have in their kit bag if they have filters at all.  I say ‘were’ because some of the filters we’ll talk about are colour contrast filters that are used primarily with film; although they can be used with digital as well. Continue reading

(Yet Another) The Power of RAW

There are countless articles available extolling the virtues of RAW capture.  Despite that, one more can’t hurt.

All DSLR cameras are able to capture in a RAW format.  Many advanced compact digital cameras can as well.  More basic point & shoot style compacts only allow for creating images in JPEG format. Continue reading

Organising your Photos

I had several questions during the workshop I taught last fall about organising photos. Not surprisingly, some of the attendees were having trouble finding particular images or in developing a good organisational structure for their photos. Some who’d been shooting only in low rez JPEG at the time had never moved their images off the memory card. They had literally hundreds of images sitting on the card. Continue reading