Accounting for the Rejects

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be posting a selection of images that didn’t make it into some recent StillWalks videos.

I have recently been working on a series of StillWalks videos around Lower Lliw Reservoir near Swansea, South Wales. During a production day I will take between 300 and 800 photographs. On average, only 10% of these will actually make it into the finished videos, around 50 – 60 images.

I use Adobe Lightroom to review and filter out the images I want to keep or reject and this can sometimes be a difficult process. Post processing individual images is not done until the penultimate stage of selection when the decisions become harder to make.

Overall the images need to tell the story of the walk. Along with the field recording, they need to show progression. The image below was left out of the Summer evening video because the photo was taken facing backwards on the walk and the fence is therefore on the wrong side and not in keeping with the rest of the sequence.

rusty fence

rusty fence

The Great Glasshouse – Contrast in iPhonography

More photos from my iPhone using both the phone’s Camera app and PureShot.

Controlling exposure and white balance can be difficult in certain situations, most especially when there is significant contrast in light within the frame. One way to adjust this with the Camera app is to try out different angles and points of focus until you find a reasonable compromise and then make further adjustment to shadows and highlights in post processing with an app like Adobe Photoshop (the phone version) or Lightroom on your computer.

PureShot allows easy adjustment on screen of the area within the frame that is sensitive to the light when taking your shot. This means that it is much easier to use the angle and composition that you want with little compromise to white balance and contrast. And of course further tweaking is possible in post production. I like the mobile Photoshop app for post production on the phone but another good app I use is SnapSeed.

The first photo (of The Great Glasshouse at NBGW) was taken with the Camera app. Although there was significant contrast between the light coming through the glass roof and the “landscape” inside, it was easy to adjust the angle satisfactorily to allow a good distribution of light or white balance.

The second and third shots were both taken with PureShot as TIFFs, with its exposure control making it possible to handle the contrast between sky and land and inside the glasshouse, “table” and darker plants surrounding it. For detailed info on using either app, I refer people to Emil Pakarklis’ iPhone Photography School.

Botanic Gardens



Memorial to the project architect of the Great Glasshouse

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Winter Lakeside Walk” which features Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Carmartheshire. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Blown in the Wind

I love this tree! Blown in the wind and standing at one end of the “Show Field” by the marshes near Pontarddulais in South Wales, it is on the route of one of my regular and much loved walks.

Hendy is in the background, just across the other side of the Loughor Estuary. From another angle you could see Graig Fawr but the tree would not have this shape. To see the view of this landscape from Graig Fawr, visit the post from a few days ago – “Looking Over the Landscape”.

The photos were taken and edited on my iPhone using PhotoShop Express with some final adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. Click the images to enlarge.

Pontarddulais Tree

wind blown Tree

Wind blown tree - blue

This week’s featured StillWalks video started out as an experiment to see if I could produce an acceptable video using only my iPhone 4s to take the photos and record the sound. Here is the result – Forest Walk – Summer”

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Forest Walk – Summer” which is at Fforest, Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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White Balance in Phone Photography

Continuing with the idea of producing a StillWalks video entirely from photos and sound recorded on my iPhone, one of the difficulties with doing this is the lack of control you have of white balance with the phone camera.

It is possible to get some degree of balance of  light by trying different angles for a shot and avoiding, where possible, extreme differences of light. Other than that, you have to take pretty much what you get and do what you can in post processing. Zooming can help in some circumstances but I try not to use this much as it loses what crispness there is in a shot as the zoom is digital rather than optical.

You can buy all sorts of add-ons for phone cameras these days, such as zoom or macro lenses, tripods, etc., but my aim is to find out how, if at all practical it is to produce a StillWalks video with the basic iPhone and free apps.

Having said that, I am using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to make the adjustments necessary for video production. The images below are the same shot but with  different adjustments made but I am not going to go into the details of this now – I am keeping that for another day (or blog).

Suffice it to say that there is more work involved in the post processing of images taken on my phone than there is for those taken on my camera, so what I have saved in not having to lug heavy kit around with me, I have lost in the time needed afterwards in preparing the images for use. Hopefully this may be less the case with the sound recording!

Forest Walk, Fforest

Forest Walk, Fforest