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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

iPhonography

January 21st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

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The iPhone has been an excellent addition to my photographic tools, and I never expected it to become my daily camera. The size and versatility has given me more options to create images than what I did with my slr cameras.

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Not only had the iPhone given me opportunity, it has also given me more creative tools. An application that has been my go to app for image manipulation is Snapseed by Nik Software. This has to be the best $4.99 I have ever spent.

The images that I like will usually be uploaded to another iPhone app called Instagram. This app is free and is a social network site. If you want to find some inspiration and meet other photographers and creatives, then I highly recommend Instagram.

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I am creeping up on 1000 images, and am looking forward to the next 1000. The iPhone has made a lasting impression on this photographer, and the it is only getting better.

Check out my feed at Copygram

Look for more articles on iphonography and how it is impacting photography.

Tired Eyes

December 31st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

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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 http://copygr.am/josephferreira

A Taste Of Brattonsville

November 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

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The Stars Aligned (not in a good way)

October 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

So, I upgraded my iOS to 5 yesterday, and my virtual world turned upside down. To be fair, it was all operator error.

I have a pc laptop that I bought 4 years ago, and I created users with certain permissions (administrative) and others without. My main user profile does not have those administrative functions so that I do not accidentally download files I do not want.

iTunes has been prompting me to upgrade for the last six months or so, but I never did because I did not need to. That was the case until yesterday when I was required to upgrade my iTunes before I could install iOS5 on my iPhone.

Here is where the operator (me) error occurred. I ignored a simple little error message. I backed my phone up, updated iTunes, and installed iOS5 in the wrong order. I should have updated iTunes, backed up my iPhone, and then installed iOS5.

As a result, I lost all my contacts and recent photos. :P What should have been a simple update turned into a headache. All because I ignored a little error message. The contact information is really an inconvenience in the long run, but loss of images can be tragic. Most of them were uploaded to Facebook, my blog, or instagram, but the originals are gone forever.

What is the lesson in all of this? Backup, backup, backup, and do not ignore the messages that can keep you from disaster.

Diesel Engines

October 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Today my job took me to the local rail yard. After I completed my task, I asked my contact if I could take some images of the trains.
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These were taken with my iPhone 3GS, and I converted them to black and white with Snapseed, by Nic Software.

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These diesel engines are massive in person, and they are beautiful in their own way. I cannot wait to take my kids to the train museum in North Carolina. They will love the experience, and I will have more opportunities to capture great images.

Pro HDR iPhone App

September 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

My review for today is Pro HDR. There are a varying array of opinion when it comes to HDR among photographers, but for the most part, HDR is quickly becoming a tool that a lot of photographers are using.

I have been using Pro HDR for a while, and it was my go to app when I wanted to pull detail out of an image.

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When you open the app, there will be a few options to choose from. Below you, at the top is grid on/off and the HDR Auto feature. The app allows you to create an image just after you have opened it.

At the bottom is a zoom slider, hide (removes grid and HDR Auto), and settings. The camera icon starts the HDR process the same as tapping the screen, and the settings gives you options to turn on/off different features or choose the format of your images.

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Let’s select the HDR Auto. As you can see below more options will appear. Included will be Manual, Off, and Library. I hardly ever use manual. I recommend trying it and using a tripod for stabilization. If your images do not line up, ghosting will appear in the image. Ghosting is the same as placing two transparencies on top of each other. You can see both images at the same time. People or moving objects will appear as if they had faded into or out of the image.

Off gives you an option to capture an image (as if you were in camera mode) without going through the HDR process.

The last option is the one I use the most. I will select images from my Library that I have already chosen for to be processed. Another application, called Dynamic Light, is what I use for creating those images, but that will be another blog entry.

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Loading photo library…

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Once the library is open, you can select your first image. It will prompt you to select the darkest, but you can try the lightest first for a different result also.

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Select the second image…

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As you can see below, the two images were not drastically different from each other. That is alright. Experiment with different images to find the perfect blend. HDR is subject to the photographers design. It can be drastic or subtle.

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After it has blended the two images, multiple sliders will appear. You can fine tune the image to your liking. Do not worry about making a mistake because you can always start the process over.

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Finally, after you find the right settings, hit save.

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My next review will be on the Dynamic Light App. If you want to see my images, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is @josephferreira and Twitter is @ferreirajoseph.

FRONTview IPhone App

September 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I have decided to start reviewing a few of the apps that are on or have been on my iPhone. The first in this series is FRONTview.

FRONTview is a great tool for correcting keystoning in a photo. Keystoning occurs when a tall object is photographed from below or from the left or right sides. This is typical of architectural images.

Large format view-cameras were used to correct keystoning by shifting and tilting the view elements, or the photographer had to elevate himself high enough to prevent it. Now we can do it digitally.

Below is an image I will use demonstrate how to correct keystoning. As you can see, the left side of the building is elevated higher and lower than the right.

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Open the application. There are two option for selecting an image. You can select an image that was previously created or capture one on demand. I will usually use one that I had already taken.

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The image will appear in the app after you have selected it. Four corners of an editing field will be used to select your altered image. The key is to find straight lines in the image. I used the windows, roofline, and sidewalk as a guide.

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Finally is the Aspect Ratio. As you attempt to cancel out the keystone effect, the image will either be stretched, compressed, or both.

Adjust the image, so that it closely resembles reality. Save the image and edit it for a final product.

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This concludes the tutorial. Download the app and play with it. The next app I will review will be ProHDR.

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