Posts Tagged: mobile

Testing Nikon D850 -> Phone via Snapbridge

Sakura in Kensington Gardens from April 2018

Tues. 08.28.18 – Photo above is from my Nikon D850’s memory card from early April in Kensington Gardens. I used Snapbridge to transfer the photo via wifi to my phone, did a wee bit of editing on the phone, and am now posting it to this blog.

Currently Snapbridge only sees the first 20 photos on the card. Right now I have hundreds of photos on the card between April and August of 2018. I need to figure out how to see all the photos on the camer’s card and transfer the ones I want, aka the new bird photos I took today.

The Tale of Two Cameras, Part I

This was originally posted as Early Access at my Patreon account.

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Olympus Pen - The View From Palm Canyon

Feb. 12, 2018 – I am finding that the differences between the photos that my camera phone, the Lumia 950, and the new Olympus micro 4/3rds Pen E-PL8 mirrorless camera are both evident and very subtle.

As my previous post states, I had hoped to replace a camera phone photo practice with a very small mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. The transition is coming along in fits and starts.

The immediate difference between the two example photos taken yesterday while on a hike to Palm Canyon in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is the way that the cameras handle color. The Lumia 950 is rather famous for its yellow-tinted take on the world and the Olympus Pen E-PL8 for its lack of neon saturation.

My eyes have become so used to the vivid to neon saturation that most camera phones produce that the subtler colors and tones of the Olympus Pen appear almost desaturated (top photo) until I look at the Pen’s photo carefully – wherein a world of beautiful tones opens up – esp. at the dusty horizon.

Lumia 950 - The View From Palm Canyon

In the Lumia 950 photo (directly above), the sky, plants and rocks are much more cheerful in color and the horizon is just a few volcanic cones peeping up from the dusty, windy day.

For what the Lumia photo lacks in contrast and strong shadows, it makes up for in bright color. For what the Pen photo lacks in saturated color, it more than makes up for in mood, contrast, contour edges, and shadows.

What do you think?

From One Not-So-Great Photo, Three Good Photos – or How Astrophotography pushes me to up my Lightroom Skills

1. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way - The Original
2. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way - Warm Tones 3. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way - Cool Tones 4. The last of the Summer Section of the Milky Way in B&W

Sun 11.01.15 – Those of you who have read this blog and/or have spoken to me in person about photography know that I get my joy from the taking of the photos and the moment thereof, not in the post-processing activities that are such a part of digital photography. It is the drag and lack of joy of the processing of a digital photo that sent me squealing with joy into the arms of mobile photography in December 2004 – OMG – take the photo and post it to the internet directly from my phone – How Marvelous! No Photoshop! Thank all the minor deities ruling over silicon wafer chips and camera phones from Finland!

By and large in my current photography practice, I use Lightroom to organize, add metadata and titles, and to catalog all of the photos I take, be it with my mobile phone, my Nikon D800, or a real live film camera (negatives scanned to digital files). Other than a few tweaks to white balance or exposure or a crop here or there, I rarely spend much time in the post-processing of my photography. I prefer my photos to look as much as possible as what I and others would have seen at the scene.

The big exception to this workflow is my astrophotography photos that I take with my Nikon D800. While I follow many of the common best practices for how to best shoot my astronomy photos, I currently don’t have a working Equatorial Mount (the one I have is gimpy and makes me want to poke my eyeballs out), thus if I want to have my stars show up as pinpoints, which I do, and not trails I have to keep my exposures to under 15 seconds and on top of that, I prefer to keep my ISO set to 1600 or less to limit pictorial noise.

The short exposure times plus the lower ISO means that I do need to do some post-processing work, more than just exposure and white balance, on my astro photos to bring out the night sky and so artistic choices need to be made – of which the biggest is how much do I let the Nikon sensor do the talking (colors galore!) and how much do I desaturate the photos to make it look more like what my eye saw in the moment.

The human eye for reasons to do with biology sees the night sky in blacks, whites, grays, and occasional light pollution glow. The fantastic colors seen in most Milky Way and Nebula photos your eye will never see, but your camera’s sensor will esp. with filters. Through a telescope the Orion Nebula is in black and white to our vision, but in a photo with minimal through to maximal processing it is a riot of pinks, reds and a panoply of rainbow colors.

I find myself frustrated by the Milky Way photos that I see out and about as they look fantastical – a world my eyes will never see. So, when I am post-processing the astro photos I take, I find myself in a quandary to how much do I reveal what the camera’s sensor saw or do I spend more time at a process I don’t like to desaturate to get a photo that looks more like what I saw?

Most of the time, after working on a photo or two, I get completely overwhelmed and I just stop and tell myself I will come back later, which I rarely do. And so the vicious cycle starts again, the blackhole of my computer eats up my photography.

Last night after I returned from photographing the Milky Way and imported the photos into Lightroom and after working on a few photos, I found myself working on one of the more mediocre photos to see how much I could push it and I did. I created three versions of the photo and posted two to social media, one to flickr and the other to Instagram, leaving my preferred photo for here.

Instead of just posting the preferred photo to this space, I decided that I would post all four photos: 1. The original photo as it came out of the camera, 2. The photo I like best but feel it is still too ‘colorful’, 3. The blue tinged desaturated photo I posted to flickr, and finally, 4. The black and white rendition that I posted to Instagram.

All the same original not-so-great photo, but all processed differently and thus each turned into a pretty decent if not good photo of the Milky Way. It is the joy of the alchemy of this transformation that I can see how many people find their joy in the post-processing of their digital photos.

I still don’t think I will ever spend hours on one photo in Photoshop as I have seen some do, in fact, blasphemy ahead… I don’t have Photoshop installed on my machine right now, just Lightroom and Fireworks.

Gasp. Shock. Horror.

Don’t even talk to me about star stacking software. Gah.

How the Foursquare Pivot to Swarm Has Decreased my Mobile Usage, or Goodbye Foursquare – I loved You…

One Star Review for Swarm

Over the summer, Foursquare pivoted from a fun, game based location mobile app to a location based restaurant review app with the aim to compete with Yelp. To throw a bone to loyal users who loved checking in, they created a second location based mobile check in app called Swarm*.

Swarm has a lovely new UI, they pick the location for you, most of my Foursquare friends are there, what I am supposed to do with it other than see where my friends are is unclear, and… Swarm is dull. As in boring.

I can still check in, sort of. I can still see what friends are up to around the world. But all the fun is gone. No points with quirky reasons for gaining points. No more competition with Juha Ristlainen, aka @Riussi, jockeying for position on the top of the leader board. No more bizarre user created location names. No more joy in using Foursquare/Swarm. No fun.

Yes, Swarm, I know that Jason, Annette, and Charlene are 30 miles away in LA. That’s nice. It was also nice to know that Lane was in LA 9 weeks ago. Thanks.

The fun of the old Foursquare was the reward of seeing how many quirky or mundane points that I would receive if I pulled out my phone constantly to check in. It was the reward of seeing what odd or outrageously named check spots people had created (25,000 cow farts for Harris Ranch or the local man cave in Seal Beach that I took great joy in stealing the mayorship of, etc. etc.).

With no more quirky points or named places, no more competition with friends in different time zones, and no mayorships to win or rest away/back my phone is staying in my purse or pocket unless I want to take a photo or specifically contact someone.

Gone is the Foursquare check in, gone is the laugh or groan at the points, gone is then the temptation to check Twitter or Instagram and then stay on those apps to view or chat, and then keeping my mobile in my hand wherever I am to then play with more apps.

Now with no reward or joy in pulling out my phone to check in on Foursquare everywhere I go, my Twitter and other mobile app usage has decreased to just a few times a day. And other than taking photos or complete a necessary communication, my mobile is now staying in my purse or pocket.

Who knew that the old Foursquare was such a gateway to more mobile usage all the way around? I didn’t until it was gone.

Goodbye Foursquare, I loved you, you were fun.

Now both you and Swarm are deleted/uninstalled.

* I got got an email from Swarm earlier this week which called Swarm the new Lifeblogging app. REALLY?!?!?!? 10 years too late on using that name for a mobile app. I will now slink off to my non-mancave to grumble in private.

Sunday Tidbits: After a bit of a lull – Apple says Game On!, Sharanya, Mie, and Fusion!

A quick round of Sunday tidbits and links for you…

1) T’would appear that Apple is waking up from its rather sleepy mobile photo lull and is declaring game on to the newly minted Microsoft Mobile (entity formerly known as Nokia Device and Services) in two sweeps with the declaration of:

Apple Patent Shows Off Unique Use of OIS for “Super Resolution” Photos

and the defection of a certain Mr. Ari Partinen from the top ranks of the Nokia Camera team

Now it should get interesting. One wonders if a certain Mr. Alakarhu and a certain Ms. Björknäs will stay put at the newly signed building in Espoo? Will Google / Samsung up their mobile camera game or will we have round ___ of the Apple v. Microsoft tech brinkmanship?

2) The ever amazing Sharanya Manivannan has published a short story, “Sweet”, in the debut issue of The Affair and is interviewed in “A Q&A with Sharanya Manivannan on her story ‘Sweet’, published in the inaugural issue of ‘The Affair’

If you aren’t already following Sharanya on Twitter or reading her blog, go do it now.

3) In my searches for good recipes for various Japanese recipes, I have found myself at Cookpad and a bit baffled by the translations that Google gives me. Thus, when I read that Mie is now the North American office / staff member for Cookpad En, I was very excited. Not only for a great position for Mie, but also that means that Mie’s excellent abilities in blogging, cross cultural exchange, and blogging will mean the opening up and un-confusing a great wealth of contemporary Japanese foodways. So EXCITED. Go Mie, Go!

4) 3QuarksDaily asks: When are you Past Your Prime?

5) Charlie Stross has two great blog posts for thinking about technology, now, the future, and the world, read the comments:
a) The Snowden leaks; a meta-narrative – A call for the internet protocol to be rebuilt before it is too late:

The trouble is, the success of the internet protocols created a networking monoculture that the NSA themselves came to rely on for their internal infrastructure. The same security holes that the NSA relied on to gain access to your (or Osama bin Laden’s) email allowed gangsters to steal passwords and login credentials and credit card numbers. And ultimately these same baked-in security holes allowed Edward Snowden—who, let us remember, is merely one guy: a talented system administrator and programmer, but no Clark Kent—to rampage through their internal information systems.

b) The prospects of the Space and Freedom Party reconsidered in light of the crisis of 21st century capitalism – Given that the U.S. spent over $4 Trillion on the most recent Iraq War, what is a few fusion reactors at $100 billion a pop?

I’ve got two candidates for such investments: (a) commercial thermonuclear fusion reactors, and (b) colonizing Venus.

Fusion: we are not fifty years away any more. We’re about thirty years and $100Bn away. Or we’re about 8-10 years and $200Bn and a Manhattan Program level of urgency away—it depends on the political and legislative framework. However, building tokamak fusion reactors (like ITER) is never going to be cheap; to get 1Gw of electrical power out implies a 5Gw thermal reactor (and a third of its power is going to go into maintaining the fusion reaction). More realistically, tokamaks will come in 5Gw power output and larger sizes, making them an order of magnitude larger than today’s big-ass 1Gw PWR, AGR, and AP1000 reactors. We’re looking at startup costs of $25-50Bn per reactor, and a requirement for up to 1000 of the suckers if we want to roll it out globally as a major energy source.

So: it’s a project that will plausibly soak up $25-50Tn and take 10-30 years to roll out while needing 30-60 years to break even and start to provide a return on the capital investment. A good way of making the Koch brothers atone for their sins while preserving the illusion of their wealth, right?

Naah, that’s small beer

Go read, people, go read. Then comment.

Mobile: What is the best / most beautiful / most innovative / most creative use of a mobile phone recently?

Eight years ago, I conducted a survey on the creative use of mobile devices by creative professionals, which became the research base for my Masters thesis: Moleskine to Mobile.

But that was 8 whole years ago, which in mobile or technology time was practically before the dawn of Mammals. In the last few years, it seems many people have settled into the mobile version of humdrum suburbia: iPhone photos uploaded to Instagram, sharing updates to Facebook, making a video of one’s favorite pet/child/drunkfriend and uploading it to YouTube, or just letting others do it while one watches, etc.

Much like any supposed boring suburbia, there has got to be something interesting going on behind the facade of your mobile’s casing…

People! What is the best and/or most interesting, innovative, beautiful, creative use of a mobile that you have done, seen, heard of, have a link to in the last few months or year? Even if what you think is not really that interesting, but you haven’t told anyone else you are doing it, let me know.

Yes, you, photographer, artist, DJ, musician, banker, teacher, couch potato, maker, creator, builder, I am talking to you. Don’t be shy. If it isn’t you, then tell me about your creative friend. If it is you, share what you have been up to with your mobile. Doesn’t matter if it is a smartphone, feature phone, or super basic phone…

2014 – Let me know. Post the link to your or someone you know of’s creative/innovative activity with there mobile phone. Comment here or tweet a link to me @msjen.

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Nokia Connects has a fun program / award called MVC – Most Valued Connector (which really should be Most Valued Creative), wherein a group of us nominate folks who are doing cool and amazing things with their Nokia Lumia mobile phones or helping folks connect in some way thereof.

On top of wanting to see what y’all have been up to with any mobile phones, if you or a friend is doing some cool, creative stuffs with their Nokia Lumia phone, please send me the link so that I can recommend them for a nomination.

Y’all rock!

Mobile Photo Tips : Introduction

Due to the good to great reaction and feedback from my SMWLA Master Class in Mobile Photography, the Q&A Session at the AT&T store later, and answering questions at the various meet & greets that evening, I realized, also with a good poke from Sam Sabri, that I should add a Mobile Photo Tips section to my blog.
Thus, I will be a few times a week doing a small one tip per blog post with instructions, ideas, thoughts, images, and possibly a video or two to illustrate the concept.
I have already started a list of mobile photo tips and if you have questions or would like me to explain how to do something with the camera part of your mobile device, please ask in the Disqus comments below!
I will do my best to cover tips that will work on (almost) any camera phone, so that you can feel empowered to take great photos regardless of your device!