Pink Bloom

April 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

20120402-173637.jpgCamera: iPhone 3GS
Edit App: Snapseed

Photo Contest Entry

March 30th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

20120330-202357.jpgI do not enter photos in contests very often, but I decided to when my work started one. Most of my coworkers in my group know I am a photographer, but enterprise wide, this is an opportunity to put myself on the radar.

Camera: iPhone 3GS
Edit App: Snapseed, Squaready

iPhone Photography Discussion On Camera Campus

March 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I listen to many podcasts while I work during the day, and 90% are photography related. As you can tell, I love photography, so I choose to listen to as much as I can. This helps my day go quickly, and I learn more by listening to others and by staying up to date with the latest news.
20120322-181451.jpgOne of the podcasts I listen to is produced by Keith Tharp called Camera Campus. Keith is a New Hampshire photographer, and he also co-hosts two other podcasts called Tiny Shutter and The Lens Wipe with Marc Sadowski.

Check him out at

And, you can hear our conversation here:

Gray Cards

March 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

20120303-235205.jpgGray cards are an important tool in a photographers arsenal. They serve two purposes:

1. Exposure
2. White Balance

Ansel Adams helped develop the Zone System that consists of 10 stops of light from black to white. (You can google the Zone System for more information) Zone 5 is considered middle gray or 18% gray. Since cameras (as of yet) can only capture half the zones in an image, the photographer has to choose which zones that would give the best exposure.

Cameras and Light Meters (reflective) are programmed to meter a scene at 18% Gray, but not every scene or object has a gray to meter. The camera or light meter will try to give an approximate reading, but it can often be incorrect. The best choice in this scenario is to spot meter a gray card that is reflecting the light back at the camera or light meter.

20120304-001414.jpgHow do you use it? Let us use the image above as an example. I set a bowl against a dark background and had it sit under a 100 watt shop light using my iPhone camera. As you can see, my iPhone auto exposed the scene and blew out the bowl since the scene was mostly dark. The meters will lighten a dark scene and darken a light scene.

20120304-002221.jpgStart by placing the card in front of your subject. The light reflecting off the card will give a true reading of middle gray, and the photographer can choose the exposure needed.

20120304-002824.jpgI selected the X on the card, with my iPhone, because the focus requires contrasting elements to lock on to, and it was also one of the lightest parts of the card. A slr camera and light meter is different. The spot meter is aimed at the gray for a reading, and the photographer can focus on the X or remove the card and focus on the object.

20120304-003727.jpgRemove the card, and start taking pictures. You may need to adjust the card for better readings, but for the most part, your exposure should be correct.

As for the white balance, the gray card has also changed the color temperature to make the colors true. Tungsten, fluorescent, LED, sun, moon, and other types of light have their own color temperatures that can change the look of an image. White balance is different with each camera, so refer to your owners manual for more information.

Give the gray card a try, and you will be amazed at the differences that are made to you’re images.

Shadows And Light

March 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

20120303-105724.jpgShadows are a blessing and a curse in photography. A good photographer will use them to their advantage.

Camera – iPhone 3GS
Capture App – Native Camera

IG Exorcist

February 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Alright. For those of you who know, I am a huge Instagram fan, and I have many praises for it simplicity and usefulness. There are many things that I can write that I personally do not like, but I will feature one with a solution.

IG Ghosts. What are IG Ghosts? Instagram Ghosts are users who are there and not there at the same time. Meaning, Instagram users will friend you because they want to ‘follow’ as many people as possible. While they collect their next follow, they neglect to actually view or interact with the ones they already have.

Why would someone do that, you ask? They want to become ‘popular’. The likelihood that you get on the popular page increases when your following increases.

Lets use a 10% rule. If you ‘follow’ 10,000 users, then it is safe to say that 1000 (10%) will follow back. Out of that thousand, 100 (10%) will ‘like’ your crappy images. One hundred ‘likes’ will get you on the popular page. This line of thinking plagues teenagers and adults whose goal is to have their face, ‘wisdom’, or crappy images on the popular page.

So, what is the IG Exorcist? This is a site that accesses your IG account and looks through your followers for inactivity (ghosts). It was created by Michael Landers aka @mykel on Instagram. The site goes back 180, 120, 90, and 60 days and categorizes the ghosts into 4 separate reports for your viewing. Here is an example:

20120212-102836.jpg(this is an image of the people I follow because I already vanquished my ghosts)

How does it remove them? I contacted the developer and he told me that the program blocks and unblocks the ghosts to remove them from your account. He said that you can do it in the app yourself just that the program does it faster. I took some screenshots prior to and after the exorcism that you’ll see below:



This is an awesome solution to an annoying (not life threatening) problem. The process took about an hour because there were 76 users before me. I do not foresee this taking as long in the future as the number of users who use it plateaus, and I will probably do this every new year to maximize the process.

The site does ask to log into your account, so always take into consideration who or what you let have access. I was pleasantly surprised on how accurate and easy it was to vanquish my ghosts, so I highly recommend giving it a try.

You can check the site out and read more about it by going to:

The Other Popular Page

February 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I have really been ragging lately on Instagram’s popular page and for good reason. It’s like being stuck in a school with a bunch of teenagers. No offense to teenagers, but there are better things to do than listen to your problems and or philosophy (sometimes there is no distinguishing of the two) or look at feeds of your face or underwear.

But, lately I have found inspiration from an alternative to the popular page. There are two options at the top of the News page labeled Following/You. The ‘You’ page shows all the likes and messages you have received, while the ‘Following’ shows the likes and messages that are sent from the people you follow.


Following is the alternative popular page. Here is the method of my madness. The Popular Page give the user no control over what images populate the page. There is no criteria or delete measures, only ‘likes’. These ‘likes’ are given out recklessly by individuals because they want followers, and followers ‘likes’ are what propel you to the popular page.


Here’s the pièce de résistance. The Following page is populated by photographers you have chosen to follow. They have images that are excellent, and in turn, they are following other great photographers also. The images they ‘like’ can help you find inspiring images and photographers without being contaminated by the nonsense on the popular page.

Go there and check it out. You will be amazed by the quality, and hopefully be inspired at the same time.


The Photographers Best Friend

January 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

‘The Photographers Best Friend’ is a bold statement to make, but you may find some truth to it when this post is complete.


What am I talking about? The gray card. In 1999, I took a photography class in college. It was an introductory to photography course that took us into the darkroom where we used film and developed out images. Besides the film and camera, we were required to purchase a set of gray cards, and believe me, they were not cheap.

There were two 8×10 and one 4×5 cards in the set, but over the years I have lost both 8×10 cards. The camera I used in the class was the AE-1 Program camera, and it had a decent light meter built into the camera. In order to get the correct exposure reading, you needed to fill the frame with the gray card, but today’s cameras have the spot metering option which I use primarily.

Lets look at a couple reasons of why you need a gray card. First, our cameras are programmed to meter a scene at 18% or middle gray, but not every scene is balanced enough, between the highlights and the shadows, to capture the correct exposure. Second, each and every scene has a light source that gives off a different color balance that can effect the lighting of the image.

The gray card is rated at 18% or middle gray, and our cameras have a reflective metering system. So, with the correct metering, we can establish the correct exposure for or subject or scene.

Here is how you use the gray card:


Place the card in front of your subject or scene so the light reflects back towards your camera. Do you notice how the camera exposes the background and blows out the cards?


Select the area of the gray card until the correct exposure is obtained. As you can see, the background darkens and the cards have been exposed correctly.

Let me give you an example using a model car on my couch.


As we saw with the first image, the background has blown out the subject because it is dark, but as you will see below, we can correct the exposure with the gray card.


The background has darkened, and it will not distract you from the subject. After you have locked down the correct exposure, you can capture a series of images without having to meter with a gray card every time, but if you make any adjustments, it would be smart to re-meter the scene.



Here is a last thought on this subject. Without the gray card, you can select an area the would be considered 18% gray, and you would be able to capture a great image. I will select the pavement when I’m shooting cars or the grass for landscapes. Depending on the conditions I will usually need to make corrections in post.

Try this out for yourself, and you will be amazed on how your images will improve.

iPhone Studio Camera

January 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Personal Project: Maximizing My Photography With Minimalism

Here is an idea that you probably have never thought of: iPhone Studio Camera. You may be thinking to yourself, “This has already been done.”, and you would be correct.

When the iPhone4 came out, there were professional photographers who took it into the studio and created beautiful images. But, how many iPhone users are actually able to have their own studios?

Not only am I going to share how I can create a low budget studio, I’m also going to show you how you can get great shots from an iPhone 3GS.


Here is an image of bananas. The image is simple with the subject off center and contrasted against the background.


Here is a bottle of hand soap. These are simple images that are easy to setup and make, and I did them all from my living room couch.


Both images were shot on my dark blue couch. I set up a 100 watt shop light on my tripod, and I set the exposure with a 4×5 gray card. (My next post will go into depth on the use of a gray card and how it can greatly improve your photography.)

What did I learn from this experience? First, I did not have to rent space or build elaborate sets in order to create great images. Second, you do not need top of the line gear to create great images. I have film and digital slr cameras that can out perform the iPhone, but I have the same capability that will fit in my pocket.

Tired Eyes

December 31st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


I captured this image of my daughter when she was close to going to bed. She was sitting on my wife’s lap, and she was not real excited about daddy taking pictures of her. But, I was really happy with the results.

After I downloaded the image onto my iPhone, I imported it into Snapseed and applied the Grunge effect. My intent is to upload the image to Instagram, but I did not want black borders. Squaready is an app that allows you to choose a background, so I chose white.

I highly recommend Snapseed, Squaready, and especially Instagram. You can find me on Instagram by typing my name, or you can follow me at

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