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.

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.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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