Posts Tagged: mobile photography

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.

Lumia Conversations Interviews Ms. Jen in ‘Out of this World’

The Moon, as shot through my telescope using my Nokia Lumia 1020

Microsoft’s Lumia Conversations interviewed me this last week about my love of mobile photography and my quest to take photos of the Moon, planets, and some stars with my camera phone in an article entitled ‘Out of this world: Meet Jenifer Hanen, astrophotographer‘.

This upcoming week, Lumia Conversations will publish my camera phone astrophotography tutorial, so that you, too, with every little gear and some gumption can go out and take photos of the luminaries with your mobile phone.

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For folks who want a little data on how I shot the Moon photo above:
Telescope: Celestron Astromaster 130eq (who knows what year, my Dad bought it used)
Telescope eyepiece: Celestron 15mm
Nokia Lumia 1020’s Nokia Pro Camera app set to 200 ISO, 1/100th shutter speed, EV -1.0, WB to fluorescent, and focus set to infinity.

I took the photo about 30 minutes before sunset, as the moon would not be so luminous / glowing. It took about 12 test shots to get the camera settings and the angle of holding of the camera phone over the telescope’s eyepiece right. ;o)

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 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!

Photos from Social Media Week LA

Hanging out with Tejal, Challey, Ms. Jen, Claire, and Josephina at Bar Pinxto
Jason Harris making announcements before my Mobile Photography Master Class Al, the best model for a mobile photography class Sylvia and a besuited gentlemen at the AT&T store class Mary and Alex at the Nokia happy hour Wonderful color and light at Tinga The lovely Mary & Joseph at the Nokia happy hour Pablo Tin ceiling at Tinga Jeb being silly Jason sniffing the shots to determine which is tequila and which is water Leah, Jason, and Josephina at Tinga Josephina, Henrik, and Tejal The entry archway at Tinga The Gentlemen: George, Sam, Jason, and Timi Al at Bar Pinxto, note the fabulous pants and shirt George and Tejal SMW's Eric and Tejal Sam and I, note how darned tall Sam is - or short I am... ;o) Tejal, George, and I

Photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia Lumia 1020

Thurs 09.26.13 – Yesterday’s Social Media Week LA was a wonderful day and evening. I truly enjoyed presenting both the Mobile Photography Master Class at the SMWLA ROC venue and at the beginning session at the Santa Monica AT&T store.
After the AT&T store presentation, Nokia sponsored a SMWLA Happy Hour at Tinga’s bar. After that, a group of us went to stand up dinner at Bar Pintxo, where in George Salecedo, Sam Sabri, Timi Cantisano and others joined us. The conversations about mobile, photography, social, and the joy there of were delightful.
The most amusing part of the evening is when Tejal and I went outside to try taking night low light photos when a tall purple hair fellow stumbled out of the bar next door and WANTED TO TALK to us about the Nokia Lumia 1020. He was both entranced by the idea of such a great camera phone but then wanted to know if we had climbed up on roofs to take spying photo with the Lumia 1020?
The amusing part to me was his perception that the Lumia 1020 was a spy camera and this worried him, then he pulled out his brand spanking new iPhone 5s and bragged about the TouchID fingerprint reader. He didn’t sense the disconnect as he jovially said goodbye and stumbled down the street to his next engagement. Blessings.
Thank you to everyone who attended one or both of the Mobile Photography presentations that I gave at SMWLA 2013. I hope you are inspired to go and take more photos with your own camera phone.

Slides from my Mobile Photography session at Social Media Week Los Angeles

Wed 09.25.13 – Here are the slides from my Social Media Week LA presentation on Mobile Photography.
Master Class: Mobile Photography–Tips, Tools, and Future Opportunities

With the explosion of mobile devices worldwide, there is a connected camera phone in nearly every pocket, purse, or hand leading to billions of mobile photos taken in each year and over a billion images shared on Instagram.
Whether the mobile device is a 2 megapixel feature phone or a 41 megapixel smart camera phone, how do we improve our image taking for greatest impact? What tools are we using to share and connect with our photos right now? And what are the the opportunities and challenges to change the future with mobile photography?
This session will examine how to improve our mobile photography, the current tools, and the future opportunities for social media, creatives, brands, and developers.

I am Speaking at Social Media Week LA on Mobile Photography, Come Join us!

I am Speaking at Social Media Week Los Angeles

This Wednesday, Sept. 25th, I am speaking twice on Mobile Photography at Social Media Week LA in Santa Monica. Please come join us! It is free to register, click through on the session titles to register, and both venues are within walking distance of each other:
Master Class: Mobile Photography–Tips, Tools, and Future Opportunities
Wed Sept 25th, 2:00pm – 2:30pm at SMWLA HQ at ROC Santa Monica

With the explosion of mobile devices worldwide, there is a connected camera phone in nearly every pocket, purse, or hand leading to billions of mobile photos taken in each year and over a billion images shared on Instagram.
Whether the mobile device is a 2 megapixel feature phone or a 41 megapixel smart camera phone, how do we improve our image taking for greatest impact? What tools are we using to share and connect with our photos right now? And what are the the opportunities and challenges to change the future with mobile photography?
This session will examine how to improve our mobile photography, the current tools, and the future opportunities for social media, creatives, brands, and developers.

And THEN Happy Hour and a photowalk with a few mobile photo tips:
How To Get The Perfect Photo: Use The Tools + Happy Hour
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm at the AT&T Store

Using a mobile phone to capture a fantastic photograph isn’t rocket science. Join Jenifer Hanen as she breaks down how to use basic techniques to make sure your photo turns out right, every time.
All are welcome! Join us at the AT&T Store for a photo walk and happy hour afterwards as Nokia is hosting!

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