My Thoughts On Instagram 2.0

September 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Instagram 2.0 is out! I downloaded the new version today, and there are some things I really like and others that I have to think about.

First off, the things I like. Borders – The borders option is a huge plus. I refused to use certain filters because of their border, but now there is an option to turn it off.


New Filters – I am glad to see that there are more filters to choose, but I cannot give two thumbs up just yet (I’ll explain later).

Black & White Filter – Thank God they changed it! The old filter was good if you had no other option, and here is why. The filter was harsh to skin tones and reds. Eyes would darken and give a sick or sinister look to the person, and red cars would turn white. Now we have a true black and white filter. Off hand it looks comparable to my favorite editing app, Snapseed. We will see.

Image Rotation – I think this is an excellent addition to the editing process. It was frustrating when an image used was sideways. Correcting it meant taking it into another app.

Now for the things that did not excite me.

The filters (except b&w) – I think all the filters have been reengineered. They do not have stark changes between the original and altered images. It could be my eyes, but I don’t think so. I used an image to test from this morning, and I tested the 2.0 version. I can see some subtle changes, so the jury is still out.

Filter Toggle – It’s still new, but it was annoying me. I did not like the filters changing the image every time I moved the carousel. I did notice you could press a filter to move them, but it was still frustrating. Not Saving Images – Instagram 2.0 does not save the images to my picture folder! I like having that option. I have to jump through hoops if my wife wants to post an actual image to Facebook and use it as a profile picture. What happens if (God Forbid) Instagram ceases to exist or my account gets deleted? What will happen to all my images? I think they need to rethink that change. (*The images I tested did not save, but the follow up images did. Check your Instagram in Settings on you iPhone, iPad, or iPod, and make sure your options are correct.)

Overall I think there are good changes to Instagram. Most issues will probably be forgotten, but there will be many who will complain. I hope there is not too much of a noticeable difference between first and second generation images. I wonder if they would bring back the first generation filters as an option? Till then we will see.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, my handle is @josephferreira

Why You Should Not Throw Images Away

September 5th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I started going through some of my old images from two of my first digital cameras and my 35mm film to upload to Instagram and Google+.

The first digital camera was a camera/webcam that had no view screen to see the images, but I was use to that with 35mm.

A few years later we were given a 4 mega pixel Kodak point and shoot camera which we used quite a bit. I have recently gone through and posted them on Instagram, and they look great!


We get so wrapped up in mega pixels and glass that we forget that there are great images that have been lost or put away because they came from ‘inferior cameras’.

The truth is that the camera cannot take great images by themselves, and photographers are not limited by their equipment as much as they think they are. The myth that better equipment makes better images will frustrate many people. The greatest photographers from history created works of art from inferior equipment by our standards.

I think there are many photographers who need to put down their DSLRs and pick up a 3 or 4 mega pixel camera. Are you up for the challenge? I am.

If you want to follow my journey with my iPhone and point & shoot images, you can follow me on Instagram or twitter.

Instagram: @josephferreira Twitter: @ferreirajoseph

Combining Single Image HDR

August 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

High Dynamic Range (HDR) combines multiple images, of the same subject, into one to create an image that simulates what the human eye sees.

A Single Image HDR takes enhanced images from a single image and combines them for a HDR image.

I took pictures at a car show Saturday. It was overcast which turned the sky into a giant softbox. The image below of this old Hudson was taken with my iPhone. It is not a bad image, but it is lacking some depth.


I loaded the image info an iPhone app called Dynamic Light, and it created the HDR image below. This is still a great image, but HDR can give a cartoonish look to an image.


Another application I use is called Pro HDR. I combined the image above with the original one. By adjusting the levels, I created a base image (below) that will be darker than the HDR image.


Dark images have details light images do not and via versa. With Pro HDR, I combined the HDR image with the base image to add a little more realistic look to the image.

There may not be a whole lot of change, but all I wanted to do is add clarity and realism to the image.


Give Dynamic Light and Pro HDR a try, and you will find average images come to life.

Why I’m On Twitter…And Other Thoughts

August 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

For years I avoided Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. But first, let’s go back 12-15 years to when I avoided email, pagers, and cellphones.

When I was in high school, in the mid 90′s, pagers were very popular. Cellphones were in existence, but they were typically used by doctors and others who could afford that technology. Pagers were the cellular of the masses.

I remember everyone, my age, jumping onto the pager bandwagon, and I tried to avoid it. My parents forced me to carry one because I started working and they needed a way to get ahold of me. Pager code was a popular way of communicating (an art form in itself), and it birthed text messaging. People were finding new and easier ways to communicate, and today we can thank them for the innovations we have.

Why did I usually avoid these innovations? Mostly because I did not understand nor value them. Email was one of those innovations. Most people I knew did not have email, so why should I have one? Would it not be easier to pick up the phone and call them?

Today, I have more email addresses than I really want, and I would not know what to do if I did not have them. I find myself still avoiding trends that pop up mainly because I have not found the value that will benefit me and my time.

This year I got a Twitter account, but I was unsure on how to use it. I did not want to be like many who would broadcast every waking moment of their lives (simply because I did not care – example: what they were eating and what their stool looked like afterwards), so I decided to limit it to photography.

I first started searching for photographers who’s podcasts I followed. I would read their articles and thoughts, and if I thought they were good, I would retweet them. If they asked questions, I would try and participate. This is a great way to learn from the best and enter into their community.

The second thing I did was find a way to contribute to twitter. Many people tweet or retweet interesting articles, blogs, and tips, but I wanted to be original, not a Johnny-Come-Lately. I search articles (about 600-800) all day long for content that I am interested in, and what I think others would be interested in also. The title needs to catch my attention first before I read it, and if it is worthy I will tweet it.

My latest step is to create my own content. As I learn and participate, I find it easier to contribute. I do not want my feed to be The-Stool-Sampling-Broadcast, but I do want to have valuable news, tips, and information. And, hopefully I will find new innovations to avoid and talk about.

Bowater Line

July 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


I have been playing with my apps, and it has produced a few majorly processed images. This one looks like a photo from the 19th century when they use to color the monochrome prints.

Dynamic Light App

July 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

My previous post introduced a HDR application that combined two images into one. This can sometimes cause problems because it can take too long to photograph a scene. The other issue is movement either by you or the scene.

I downloaded an app, called Dynamic Light, that can create HDR images from a single photograph. Here is an image of the USS Yorktown with the Ashley River Bridge in the background.


As you can see, I post processed the image for the background and not the foreground. My goal was to direct the viewer to the bridge.

Dynamic Light took that image and created a HDR image.


I purposefully took the image to the extreme to show you the detail of the applications potential. A great HDR image should leave your audience wondering if it is HDR or not.

Dynamic Light is going to be one app that I will keep in my arsenal. I highly recommend this app.

How To Aviod Spam And Hackers

July 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

My blog gets spammed all the time, so I approve the comments before they are posted. Here are some simple tips to avoid being spammed or hacked, but first, let’s define what spamming and hacking is.

Spam is a term that is used to describe unsolicited email or comments. They are used to distribute hyperlinks of whatever they are selling or promoting to a large number of emails.

Hack is a term that is used to describe the action of someone or something that is trying to illegally break into a secured computer or account. The purpose is to steal personal information to sell, and or use the contact information to perpetuate the process throughout the contact list on the computer.

Hacking is very different than spamming because spam is usually not as destructive. Spam can be the vehicle that delivers the hacking software, but most are links to pharmaceutical or health products.

Who is being affected? Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Email, and other social media users. Let’s look at these for a minute.

I have seen many of my friends get hacked in their Facebook and email accounts. Facebook messages will be addressed to you as if they were specifically written for you, but you may not have spoken to your friend in a while and it seems out of the blue. The message will also seem a little too enthusiastic as if to try and catch you off guard.

Email is another medium that has been hacked. The symptoms usually include (no subject) in the subject line and one sentence accompanied by a hyperlink.

How do you avoid being hacked? Don’t click on links you are not familiar with! Before you click, (Facebook) check the senders wall. Did they only address you or did they send the same link to everyone on the planet?

If you are the victim (sender) of a hacker, the first thing you should do is change your login (if applicable) and password. The hacker has used that information to access your address book to spam others. The last option is to close the account.

Twitter and blogs are a little different. Twitter does not have email addresses that are hidden from view. Followers and those you follow are public knowledge. Most blogs do not have email lists contained in them unless they are sharing a database with a list messenger service.

I receive spam messages to my Twitter and blog accounts daily. You can view my Twitter messages (@ferreirajoseph) by searching the @ sign. The senders usually has no one following them and they are not following anyone. Their accounts are usually a couple hours old, and they already have sent hundreds of messages.

Most of what I am telling you is coming from experience. I personally have not been hacked, but I did have to clean up an account, that I was managing, who had. Use these simple suggestions and you can avoid being spammed and hacked.

Corona Silent Typewriter

July 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


Delightful Past

July 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


We took our daughter to the newly renovated Comporium Telephone Museum in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I work for Comporium, and I am proud to be a part of a company that gives back to it’s community.

My children will not know a day were the only form of telecommunications was a corded phone or payphone. I grew up with touchtone and rotary phones, but now my children have cordless (barely) and cellular phones. Gone are the days of party lines and operators who knew what everyone was saying on the telephone.

One day my children will look back and reminisce about iPhones and iPads. As for photography, I am planning on taking them through a similar journey.

Not only am I going to put a camera in their hand, but I am going to pass on my knowledge of the film process. New technologies will emerge, but the knowledge does not have to fall by the wayside. I look forward to that day.

What Are The Odds?

June 20th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

What Are The Odds?

Saturday was just the start of another day like all others. I am an amateur photographer, and everyday I try to go through hundreds of articles related to photography. This helps me personally so that I can learn, and I pass on information, that I feel is important, via Twitter and my blog.

One headline caught my attention, so I decided to read it. The photoessay was by a photographer, from the Netherlands, named Erikjan Koopmans. I usually do not go to articles that are about specific places, but this one about San Francisco was an exception. I was born in San Francisco, and it is one of my favorite places to visit when I go home to visit my family.

As I was scrolling down through the photo essay, I was pleasantly shocked to recognize two people I knew. It was my wife’s grandparents. I could not see there faces because they were shot from behind, but that did not stop me from fully recognizing them. I have often had to try and keep up with them whenever we were in the city.


I was the only one up that morning, so I sent my father-in-law an email and my sister-in-law a text with the link of the website. I did not tell them what I saw, but asked them to let me know what they saw. They both, along with my wife, recognized them right away.

What are the odds that a photographer, from the Netherlands, would photograph my family in San Francisco, and that I would find the site?

I decided to contact Erikjan, and let him know what I found. I explained who I was and who he had captured in his photograph. I asked him for permission to repost the photo on my blog along with this story, and he agreed.

Check out Erikjan’s work: