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!

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!


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!

What Camera Should I Buy?

I was reading a blog a little bit ago by a professional photographer about buying a camera and the blogger asked the right questions!  I wanted to share them with you and expound on it a little more.

How often will you use the camera?

What type of photography will you do?

What is your budget?

With camera phones taking over and most people thinking that’s all they need, these questions will play a larger role for photographers who know that their camera phones are great for quick, everyday shots but not for creating lasting memories for themselves or for others.

If you are planning on using a camera everyday to just capture quick moments, your camera phone will be just fine. But, it’s important to remember that even with all those “cool” apps that have filters and such, you won’t be able to take a shot you love, blow it up and maybe make it into something bigger. While camera phones are getting larger pixel sizes, taking a photo like this and making it into a wall sized framed piece wouldn’t work.

Sedona Arizona, Red Rock!

The “Red Rocks” of Sedona are the main attraction, and a photographer’s dream! (Photo Courtesy: Charlotte Deleste)

Now, if you are going to attempt to take pictures like that one every day, you will want to consider a DSLR. This leads to the next question: what kinds of photography are you looking to do?

That picture of Sedona was taken with a Nikon D5100 by an amateur photographer who only uses her camera on vacations or special occasions; holidays, birthdays, etc. This isn’t an everyday use camera unless you are a professional photographer. I don’t know of many amateurs that are walking around daily with their camera and lenses and such. There may be. Let me know if you do!

A smaller point and shoot might be perfect for you if you want better photos than your camera phone and you plan on taking everyday photos as you go through your day. And, you can then work on those photos later on; if you want to use your camera software on your computer to enhance or change the shot, etc.

Now, how much do you want to spend? If you are seriously considering photography as more than just a hobby and want to learn more about the hundreds of features a DSLR offers, then you will be looking at spending more than a few hundred dollars…you might be in the thousands. Don’t get scared off by that price, though. The photos you see in travel magazines or the photos taken of your family by a professional photographer are not taken on cheap gear.

I mentioned the features of the DSLR. The worst part about buying one of these expensive cameras is that you buy it, probably online or at a big box tech store and you try to read the directions and get confused. We are proud here at Lawrence Camera to offer classes where we will show you how to use all those features properly, making sure your investment is used properly for the rest of its life.

You’re a Photographer?

camera of old! Polaroid

The irony is not lost on us! Do you still have a Polaroid?

We read a blog a few days ago from Photographer Thomas Hawk that asked a valid question in the title: “Do You Even Have to Own a Camera to Be a Photographer Anymore?”  The question itself leads to more soul-searching in terms of what does it mean to be a photographer. Continue reading