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!

Blogging 101 and Photo 101 Start November 3

Photo 101 especially for phonographers! Can’t wait to see what the WPcom Daily Post is cooking up for everyone. Sign up now.

The Daily Post

If you’ve new to blogging and missed September’s Blogging 101, never fear — a new offering starts up on Monday, November 3rd. We’re also excited to announce Blogging U.’s first photo course, Photography 101. Learn more about each and register:

Photography 101

This November, we launch a new track in Blogging U.: photography! First up: Photography 101, a photo-a-day challenge that combines a daily photo theme with photography and photo editing tips. You’ll publish new posts, make new friends, and hone your photographer’s eye.

Photography 101 is a month-long course, starting November 3 and ending November 28. This is an intro-level course open to all, from new bloggers and hobbyist photographers to veteran photo challenge participants and pro-shooters. Use the camera you like — a phone, a point-and-shoot, or a dSLR.

A note on cameras…

If you’ll be shooting mainly from your iOS or Android phone or tablet, download…

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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.) :)

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 joby.com 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…

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