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

NBGW

NBGW

Memorial to the project architect of the Great Glasshouse

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Plants in the Glasshouse – Absorbed in iPhonography

I was absorbed in taking the photos and absorbed by the look of the plants but I made a mistake, one I make too often! I forgot to get all the information I would want about the things I was photographing – information I would want when writing this post.

I would like to be able to tell you what these fascinating and exotic plants are but all I can say is that they are in the Great Glasshouse in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. I can also tell you that the first photograph was taken in JPEG format (see yesterdays post for info on formats), and the second in TIFF.

Unfortunately that probably doesn’t give you information that you really want whether you are interested in photography or not, so I must apologise for the omission of this information and ask if anyone knows what they are, to post it in the comments. Thank you.

NBGW

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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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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Winter Woodland Features

Forres Fern

Forres Needles

Forres Lichen

Forres Lichen

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 Woodland Walk” which features woods in Forres, North East Scotland. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Architectural Scale – Is Perspective Real?

I like this photo largely for its composition and the perspective of the buildings,  both real and apparent. I say real and apparent because the buildings themselves are in fact taller than each other going from foreground to background – it’s not just the effect of perspective. I must make a point of taking a photo from the opposite end of the beach and see how they appear in perspective when the most distant building is the tallest!

The photos I have been posting this week were all taken on my iPhone. I seem to be doing this more often now but whether my iphonography is improving is another matter. It is a very convenient way to record observations (and sounds when I don’t have my kit with me) but in order to get effective images with the phone, you have to look at things differently. Angle of shot is probably the most important point . . . but that could be said for DSLR photography as well, I guess!

The photo below would have been grainy anyway, given the time of day and the fading light but there is a tendency for the iPhone camera to over expose when the light is dim. The image you see below is the result of post processing. Unlike a DSLR camera, you have pretty limited options in these circumstances when it comes to telling the camera what to do.

Update – Thanks to  and his iPhone Photography School, I have discovered the PureShot app which allows much more flexibility in shooting from the phone.

Meridian TowerThe buildings are on Swansea seafront – all apartment buildings, the closest being Meridian Tower. The lights in the background are those of the Swansea / Cork Ferry.

A Comparison of Stones and Shells in Time

A couple of weeks ago I posted photos from a similar position to the image you see below – Keeping Things in Perspective

Now, following the crazy weather and high tides that we have had in the south and west of the UK (to say nothing of the rest of the country), the landscape has been changed. The coast has seen massive stacks and arches disappear. Here in Swansea, the scene on the beach perhaps bears no comparison to those fallen stacks, but it is still notably different to that which I photographed a fortnight ago.

Hundreds of tons of stones now sit at the bottom of these steps where before there was a water filled trench. The solitary shell I photographed in the sand two weeks ago now has hundreds of companions.

Swansea Bay Stones

Swansea Bay ShellsSorry to those who expect it but there is no featured StillWalks video this week. It will be back next week.

It was a wild and windy day . . .

. . . and it had been a dark and stormy night! But it wasn’t actually rainy when I finally went for a much needed walk around Hemlington Lake in Middlesbrough on New Year’s Day. I did two circuits because one was just not enough and was lucky to get back to my inlaws’ house in the nick of time without getting wet.

I had brought my cameras with me but had not taken them out on the walk and so relied on my iPhone 5c yet again. Watch this week’s featured StillWalks video below to see what the place is like in better weather (albeit Winter).

Hemlington Lake

Hemlington Lake

This week’s featured StillWalks video is from Middlesbrough. Although the production for “Suburban Lakeside Walk” was done in the Winter, it was clearly much better weather than is evident in the iPhone photos I took around the lake this winter.

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 – “Suburban Lakeside Walk” which features Hemlington Lake in Middlesbrough. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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