Interlude: Why Mobile?

During our long trip abroad to Norway and Germany at the end of May (was it only in May?!) I took the opportunity to upgrade my failing 3 year-old smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy Ace, to a much newer Galaxy S4 with more memory and a higher resolution screen and camera. My phone now has a higher resolution camera than my Canon PowerShot S100.

If I look at my photographing trends over the past 2 years, I seem to have become a point-and-shoot photographer, for good or bad, but it does force me to ask the question of why I carry around 2 cameras when heading out. I can almost compare it to why I drive a car with an automatic shift as opposed to a stick shift. It lets me concentrate on what’s happening around me without needing to set up my camera for each scene, which usually escapes me by the time I’m ready to shoot with manual settings. When talking about snapshot photography, does it really matter whether the photo was taken with a high-end DSLR or a high-end Lumix cameraphone?

Each camera has its strengths and weaknesses and, of course, there are things that a point-and-shoot just cannot do because of the lens (although that may be changing). Again using the car analogy, I know I’ll never win the Grand Prix with my Toyota, but then again I’m not trying to. I’m just trying for the best shot I can get with the camera I have in hand. Ultimately I think that is what most photographers try to do.

PS just a reminder that “Likes” are turned off on this site. If you’d rather not leave a comment, do feel free to rank my posts/photos instead. Thanks!

Pics or It Didn’t Happen: The New Crisis of Connected Cameras – Atlantic

In days or weeks, when the United States again drops bombs on the Islamic State, it will commence its first war shaped and driven by networked photography—the twinned phenomena of ubiquitous, Internet-connected cameras to take pictures and screens to view them. The gruesome video of ISIS militants executing U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff seems to have upended American public opinion, and now even almost-isolationist politicians have embraced intervention abroad.

Right now, almost every major news story turns on a single set of unresolved ethical questions: What should we do about the new proliferation of cameras? What should we do when the images they capture wind up on the Internet?

It is a debate about a distinctly new technological phenomenon, and we can see aspects of it everywhere: from the imminent war against ISIS to the leaked nude images of female celebrities; from the proposal of police body-cams to the NFL’s treatment of domestic abuser Ray Rice.

via Pics or It Didn’t Happen: The New Crisis of Connected Cameras
(Featured Image courtesy of Pasu Au Yeung on flickr, released under a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 License)

If you look at this year’s Photokina windup, it seems camera manufacturers are finally responding to the demand for DSLR cameras that are connected to the network. This article from the Atlantic takes a pointed look at the ethics involved when shooting with networked devices with a lens.

“With great power must come great responsibility,”-Voltaire

(Bonus: click through and read “Goodbye, Cameras” which, for camera buffs, is as interesting and thought-provoking as the main article.)

Have you ever taken a photo only to stop yourself from uploading it to a publicly accessible website? What made you question your initial decision?

Interesting Times

As the old photographer’s adage goes, the best camera is the one that you always have with you.

Since its invention in the late 1950’s, the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) pentaprism camera has been the workhorse of the professional photography industry, thanks to its ability to accurately reproduce the view of the lens through the eyepiece as well as for its changeable lens design.

In the early 1990s the SLR got a digital upgrade from its 35mm roots by replacing the mechanical film system with a digitizer back.

Since then, the digital-SLR (DSLR) has evolved to become the platform of choice for many pros and prosumers as developments in digital photography have also improved with each successive generation, such as pixel density and sensor size, faster autofocus motors, stabilized lenses and more advanced signal processing chips, as well as the ability to shoot video.

Read more at Yes, smartphones have killed the DSLR | ZDNet.

It certainly has been an interesting week for photographers. Lots of talk around the web of how standalone cameras are becoming have become secondary to smartphones (deja vu, anyone?). And now it looks like the Nokia 1020 has hit several more nails into the digital camera coffin, let alone film cameras. (hat tip to warptest) If you want to read the full specs, Nokia has published a white paper (PDF) with all the technical details on their newest, dare I say it, phone.

4842840757_d227d2e8a2_qArticles like the one above from ZDNet, and this one from Mother Jones, will most certainly engage photographers of all sorts in discussions over the nature of photography and what makes a photograph. Perhaps the day is already here when the experience of standing in a darkened room with the acrid, vinegary smell of developing agents is gone or left to a dwindling number of people interested in esoterica. (It’s been nearly 35 years since I last developed my own film, but I can still smell the darkroom.) Personally, I find posting film photographs on sites like flickr and 500px the ultimate irony.

So what drives what? Is the fall of film/digital cameras due to the demands of the consumer in an increasingly digital world or has the paradigm just shifted to embrace the current axiom? What are we losing, if anything, by the shift from film camera to digital camera to camera phone?

(Image Attribution: The featured image appearing in this post courtesy of Kurt Torster on flickr and released under a CC BY-ND 2.0 License and the inset photo appearing here courtesy of Thomas Prenner on flickr and released under a CC BY-SA 2.0 License)

Tips for Taking Fireworks Photos with Your Smartphone


IMG_3347copyHappy 4th of July to all my American friends! (Someone please light a sparkler for me.) :)

Originally posted on Tech:

Watching the July 4th fireworks has been a long-standing family tradition. But, capturing the beautiful aerial displays can be hard if you stick with the auto settings on your smartphone. So, try these simple tricks for fireworks photos you’ll want to keep.

1. Use a tripod

When you take picture of fireworks, your phone’s camera needs to hold the shutter open long enough to “see” the fireworks. The longer the shutter is open, the more susceptible your photo is to motion blur. So use a tripod to make sure there’s no movement. Joby’s GripTight Gorillapod, which can wrap around trees and poles or stand up on the ground, is a great option that fits most smartphones. Price: $29.95 on or Amazon

2. Use the “landscape” mode

Your camera automatically tries to find an object on which to focus. And when presented with a black featureless sky, the camera doesn’t…

View original 277 more words

Photokina Wannabe

Photokina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you’re a photographer living under a rock, you’ll know that photokina in Köln, Germany opened this week and is already starting to wind down and again this year I wasn’t there. So, what did I  miss?

The prediction from two years ago that mobile photography, with its instant sharing capability, will be taking over from traditional photography seems to be true if you look at the number of products for iphonographers and the hybrid cameras running Android with WiFi. But, oh, the cameras! While there were plenty of leaked photos ahead of the event, all the major camera manufacturers are there. The two that have really caught my eye are the new Polaroid Instant camera (welcome back!) and Sony’s RX1.

Ironically, this was the year that I gave up on owning anything larger than my Canon Powershot S100, while my youngest son bought a Nikon D90.

Continuing Coverage from around the web in this blog’s sidebar until next week.