Slow Shutter Effects – iPhonography

My day to day photography is often done using my iPhone and lately I have been experimenting with one or two different camera apps. The set of images below were taken using Slow Shutter Cam which, if you can be sure to keep the phone steady is nifty little app.

Fountains

The problem with long exposures being used to achieve that misty / ghostly effect or smoothness in flowing water, is that everything else gets the same length of exposure. There are various ways of dealing with this but the Slow Shutter app simply uses thevideo setting on the phone camera rather than the stills setting. It is, however, a still image that is saved.

It is a clever answer to the exposure issue and there are options to take images up to the full resolution of the camera (8 megapixels). I have had a few issues with the handling of colour which can be seen above but I suspect this is something that I will be able to manage better with time and practice. These images have had some post production adjustments applied but the main issue in taking them was that I did not have a tripod with me and had to rely on keeping the camera steady with the aid of the railings round the fountains.

The fountains are in the centre of Middlesbrough in the NE of England which is, according to some, one of the ugliest towns in Britain – I disagree and suggest they take another look, this time with their eyes open and no prejudicial blinkers!

 

Far and Near – A Look at the Land

Here is a view of a place I have not seen from this angle before – looking over Hendy from one of my evening walks. I have done the walk many times but never ventured quite so far into the field on the hill. The 11 arched railway bridge over the River Loughor can be seen from other vantage points but none of them have the same green landscape in the foreground – buildings and telegraph lines tend to get in the way.

Snapped on my iPhone, I made the mistake of zooming in – just slightly, but it was still a mistake. Always crop afterwards if need be, but don’t use the zoom function as it is digital, not optical and the effect is a blurred image. I’ve done my best with it.

I did not use the zoom function in the close up of a thistle in the field – I didn’t need to. There were loads of them, the tallest I have seen!

View over Hendy

Thistle

Light is Everything – Calibration of Meridian Tower Swansea

Which of these three colour adjustments do you prefer?

I have photographed this building in Swansea on a number of occasions and every time, as you would expect, it is different. Whether it be the time of day, the angle viewed, the weather conditions or the camera settings, the appearance of the photos taken will always produce dramatically different images.

All of these things combined are what makes the difference of course. On this occasion the tower viewed from this angle in the early evening light of a semi overcast hazy day was what gave me this image.

However, there is one other point that can severely affect how you see an image – the calibration of your computer screen. The first image here is a compromise necessitated by the differences between my two ageing monitors which have become impossible to match in calibration.  I have become familiar with these monitors and am able to make adjustments to give me images I am happy with when seen on other people’s computers (most of the time). There are so many variables with this that I make a point of collaborating closely with the printer whenever I am not printing the image myself.

My final check for colour adjustment at the moment is my iPhone – if it look alright on that (colour wise), then the chances are it will look OK on other screens.

Meridian Tower

Meridian Tower

Meridian Tower

White Bluebells or Blue Bluebells

Spring is the only season left for me to produce a video from Lower Lliw Reservoir. I am hoping that now that the bluebells are coming out in our garden, there may also be some showing themselves at the reservoir.

I wonder if they will be white bluebells or blue bluebells?

Photos were taken on my iPhone 5c.

Bluebells WhiteBluebells Blue

 

 

Architecture – In the Abstract

The Senedd by Richard Rogers – The National Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff was opened in 2006 but until recently I had only viewed it from the outside. There have been many photographs taken of it, most of them showing the exterior or the mushroom like ceiling of the interior. The photos below are mine.

Different Events – The architecture I have featured this week has all been different as have the events that have taken me to the various venues. The event at the Senedd was the launch of a community solar PV co-operative by friends – www.egni.coop – and are looking for people to invest. We already enjoy reduced bills as a result of solar PV panels on our roof.

Eyes and ears open – I said at the beginning of the week that I always try to have my eyes and ears open for potential StillWalks locations. In fact a StillWalks video could be produced for any location, but because I am looking and listening to the things around me with this potential in mind, I feel I am able to see and hear better than I would otherwise. Using the camera (DSLR, compact or iPhone) helps me to focus in on different aspects of my surroundings and in time you begin to do this anyway. It is the same with sound – listening through headphone helps you focus your hearing and in time I believe you become more perceptive. Now I just need to prove it lol!

Senedd Cardiff

Senedd Cardiff

Senedd Cardiff

Featured SillWalks Videos – I’m afraid this is going to be another week without a featured StillWalks video. I have a number of productions to complete and I look forward to adding these to the StillWalks collection. For now there is, as always, access to sample length videos is available through the Walks menus and you can always buy them at anytime for as little as £1.50.

Incredible Fungi in the Ghost Forest

The Ghost Forest is a permanent external exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales which features huge tree stumps and their roots from the rain forest.

The trees in the Ghost Forest, most of which fell naturally in storms and have their roots intact, are ‘ambassadors’ for rainforests worldwide,” said Ms Palmer. “The absence of their trunks is a metaphor for the absence of the planet’s lungs through deforestation.

It is clear from the exhibits how majestic the trees were when standing in their natural environment. Their contribution to a natural, sustainable environment, alongside those others in the rain forest, must have been as substantial as the trees themselves.

Hopefully, the attention that this exhibition attracts to the issue of tree felling in the rain forests and other woodlands around the world, will grow and spread like the fungi that has now appeared on the stumps in the exhibition. They are amazing objects, both trees and fungi and of course, one would not exist without the other.

These are my final iPhone photos this week from the Botanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire. The first shot was taken using the iPhone Camera app and the fungi shots were taken with PureShot. very little pst production adjustment was made to any of these photos.

NBGW Ghost Forest

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

NBGW Fungi

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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Witch Hazel – Keeping Information (Lossless and Lossy formats in iPhone Photography)

That new app I have on my iPhone (PureShot) allows HI_Quality and MAX_Quality  jpeg photos and also TIFF lossless photos. The TIFF format in this case is not only lossless but is dRAW which means there is no in-app post processing done and no compression applied.

For those of you unaware of the ins and out, ups and downs of formats in photography, suffice it to say that the JPEG format takes away information gathered by the camera to a greater or lesser extent, thus the photographic information is compressed. TIFF is a lossless format which, although giving bigger file sizes, means there is no loss of information and, therefore, greater control for the photographer over how the finished image looks as well as (theoretically) a higher quality of image (at least in terms of the number of pixels used).

The image of the Witch Hazel below was taken in TIFF dRAW format and the close up of another Witch Hazel in the Botanic Garden of Wales was taken in JPEG format. Obviously you cannot make a straight comparison between the two formats here because the images are different but one thing I would say about the PureShot app and the Apple Camera app is that whilst it may be true that PureShot allows more control at the shooting stage (and I was very pleased with the results I got with PureShot), the Camera app is also very good.

There are many things that need to be taken into consideration when taking photographs but as far as the kit and applications are concerned, having a decent lens is probably the single thing that makes the biggest difference. Apple (and I am sure other high end smart phones with which I have no experience) made the right decision when they installed a decent lens in the iPhone.

Witch Hazel at NBGW

Witch Hazel at NBGW

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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The Rough and the Smooth – iPhonography at the Botanic Gardens

Last week we had a walk at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW), taking advantage of free entry during January. It is easy to think that there is not so much to see in a place like the Botanic Gardens at this time of year but, of course, that is not true – it is just that things look different.

I had downloaded a new app for my iPhone 5c, namely PureShot, and I was keen to try it out. This camera app allows more control than the standard iPhone Camera app as well as having options to use TIFF images and different quality JPEGs. The photos below were both taken using PureShot and it gave good results. However, as will be seen through other shots I will be posting this week, it is not always the best app to use.

I discovered PureShot through the a post by Emil Pakarklis and the iPhone Photography School and would recommend his website as an excellent aid to anyone interested in improving their phone photography.

Another discovery I made when looking at images of Silver Birch bark was esdesigns – I liked the silver birch bracelet in particular!

Silver Birch Bark

NBGW Jan 2014-1

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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