This Black Friday, Zoom in on Photo Deals Your Smartphone Can’t Deliver

A few months ago, Samsung issued a birth announcement of sorts: They would soon be the proud new parents of the first ever smartphone with 10x optical zoom capability. Samsung’s writers called it “revolutionary.” They said it fulfilled their goal of a single instrument that could dual as smartphone and high-end camera. They fell just shy of calling it manna from heaven. The whole thing gave one the impression that they were about to blow up the photography world.

Really? Continue reading

A Documented Life

Some images belong on big screens and in museums. Others belong in our homes in our DVD players and photo books. But really, nearly every photographed or video-recorded image is on some level art and/or documentary, isn’t it? Our cameras allow us all to tap into our inner artists and hold the reins on how we want the world and our experience in it remembered.

video yourself 1 second a day

Have you heard of the 1 Second Every Day app? Currently available only on iPhones (but coming soon to Androids, according to the manufacturer’s website), it’s a way to document your life as a series of 1-second clips, one for each day from the time you begin using the app. You can even retroactively add clips from your phone taken before you bought the app.

The 1-second app immediately made me think of recent viral videos showing a picture per year, or in some cases per several months, of babies growing up into teenagers and beyond. The rapid age progression is kind of mesmerizing. What I think is interesting about them is that they don’t just document changes in physical appearance. They capture something of the children’s essence, and how their personalities blossom over time. How are we to know when we push play on that bald baby with dimples that he’s going to end up with a bleach-striped waterfall haircut and a little gleam of mischief in his eyes? It’s really an interesting blended use of photography and video, a wonderful rethinking of time-lapse videography.

Of course, time lapse is nothing new to videographers. It has long required significant patience, the careful selection and situating of equipment and lots of waiting, checking, and careful synthesizing. Things like the 1 Second Every Day app and the time-lapse YouTube videos are sort of the other end of the spectrum, the easy end of quickly observing evolutions in our lives. The app documents these more as collage, making me think of what the dying must see when they say their lives “flash before their eyes.” The pic-a-year videos document more of a straight-line progression. Either way, I think they open an exciting new can of worms for camera-owners everywhere. Have you tried your hand? What were the results? Our staff would love to see them!

Miniaturize It: Fun with Tilt-Shift Photography

It’s a big, big world—but you can make it look downright tiny with the right photography tools and techniques. Miniaturization of scenes using tilt-shift focus is one of those special photography effects we don’t see in our shop that often, probably because it’s a bit whimsical and not something you can do (or want to do) with just any subject. It always makes us do a double-take, making life-sized subjects appear to be small replicas of the real deal. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell if it’s a miniature or not.

Thanks to photo-editing software and apps, you don’t even need to use a tilt-shift lens to get the job done. You just need to photograph your subject from a fair distance (think top of a mountain, second story of a home, or across a river). The image below was taken by an amateur photographer using her Android camera. It was such a ho-hum photo, with a wall intruding on the left, that she was just going to delete it:

Tilt Shift Photography

Before

Then she realized that, because it was taken at some distance, it might make for a good tilt-shift photograph. So, she edited the image in the free Snapseed app, using the app’s Tilt-Shift filter:

Tilt Shift Photography

After

Kind of cute, no? A boost in brightness, contrast, and color saturation tends to exaggerate the dollhouse effect and make the image seem more fantastical. (The ability to fiddle with all of those things is built right into the Tilt-Shift filter on Snapseed.)

If you have any not-so-awesome photos sitting around on your SD card or computer, why not take a look and see if you could breathe new life into them with a little tilt-shift treatment?  We’d love to see what you create!

 

 

iPhone App Turns Phone Into Light Meter

Rather than complain about how smart phones are “ruining” photography (they aren’t), or pan them as “not-capable cameras” (they are), we are finding ways the iPhone and other smart phones can help you become a better photographer. And we’ve found another app, a camera accessory, which allows you to use your phone to help with your “old fashioned” camera!

Cinemeter

Cine Meter is a professional film/video/photo application for your iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch®, using the built-in camera to provide a shutter-priority reflected light meter, an RGB waveform monitor, and a false-color picture mode. Cine Meter works on any iDevice with a camera running iOS 5.0 or higher.

It’s called “Cine Meter”. Working on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch it functions as a light meter, waveform monitor and has a false-color picture mode. It checks white balance and color temperature. It will also show you hot spots and shadows on the green screen. You can calibrate Cine Meter to match your other meters to a tenth of a stop. The waveform monitor shows how light levels vary within a scene. The false-color picture lets you see which shadows will be underexposed and which highlights will be gone forever.

Think about that for a second – before you even turn your camera on, this app will help you light your set and solve problems.

Interested? Learn more about it here.

Now, get out there with your camera and have a good time!

It’s Not a Photograph Until It’s Printed

This wonderful photograph is titled "Winter in Missouri" and was taken by Sherri Nicholas then uploaded to our Facebook page

This wonderful photograph is titled “Winter in Missouri” and was taken by Sherri Nicholas then uploaded to our Facebook page

I know there will be some disagreement with this…there could even be some angry comments. I do welcome them! But, this is a belief I have always had and will never change.

With the digital age and camera phones, I am willing to bet some of you reading this right now have a few hundred photos sitting on the phone photo album or on the camera digital card. You may download them to the computer and there they will live.

And stay there.

While digital photography has certainly made it easier and cheaper to take photos, multiple shots of the same scene or event, and it allows photographers to be choosier about what is printed, most of you who aren’t professional photographers tend to just leave those images in the digital world and don’t consider the next step.

These are memories. You take photos of vacations, children, Christmas or graduations for one reason: capturing memories. And while you can go back to the phone or the computer and plug it into a TV and run the slide show for all to see, those aren’t pictures yet. There is no physical proof of that memory.

Remember all the photo albums your parents or grandparents had? They would pull them out and cry about the memories, or embarrass you in front of guests. These are memories.

This is life.

I really urge all of you to consider printing some of those memories so they can become real photos. We can help you here at Lawrence Camera. We have some great printing services and can help turn some of those digital images into truly spectacular photos. This way, your memories will live forever for others to enjoy!