Entries tagged with “Photography”
Over the holidays, my family and I took a three-day trip to Chicago, and because I had left my charger for my Canon Powershot G9 at home, I was stuck taking pictures with my Droid’s built-in camera. I thought it would turn out to be a disappointing endeavor, but it actually got me really excited about the future of internet connected cameras.
My least favorite part of photography has always been all of the work afterwards to get it online. I have to take out the SD card, copy the files to my computer, edit them, and then post them to Flickr. When I was taking photos with my Droid in Chicago, I loved how easy it was to instantly post photos online. Using Twidroid, I was able to easily upload photos to yFrog, tweet the link, and have it all geotagged, almost instantly. It allowed me to share what I was doing with my friends as I was doing it, something I could never do with my G9.
The quality of the photos certainly isn’t anywhere near what I could accomplish with a better camera, but that really didn’t bother me too much. As the quality of phone cameras improves, this will become less and less of an issue. Since I had a limited amount of time in the city, I was more concerned with sharing snapshots of where I was (like at the “Bean”) than with creating works of art. On a longer trip, where I have the ability to take my time and set up shots, I’m sure I would want to have a nicer camera along, but for a quick 2.5-day trip to Chicago, my phone worked pretty well.
There are certainly areas where this method of taking photos could improve, however. Like I said before, the quality of the camera is a drawback, but it was one I was willing to accept. Beyond that, I was a little disappointed by the geotagging abilities of Twidroid. If I took a picture of something inside (like the Apollo 8 command module, cool!), the coordinates would be way off, since it couldn’t get a good GPS signal. I would have preferred to be able to pick the Museum of Science and Industry as my location, rather than relying on what the GPS picked out for me. This is something that appears it would be relatively simple to fix. The Google Maps 4 Twidroid source code is available online, so I might try and update it myself to use places (using Google’s local search API or something similar), or at the very least it could allow you to check back into a previous location. I am also hoping Twitter releases more features related to geotagging on their site. Right now, coordinates are only visible through the API, so unless you’re viewing my tweets in a geo-enabled Twitter client, you won’t see my location.
I certainly could use a service such as Brightkite to fix some of the issues above, but I really want to stick to just using Twitter. It’s become clear to me that Brightkite really isn’t pushing the envelope any more as a service, and there really is little incentive to post there. I definitely agree with Colin Devroe that their future should be to act as a Twitter client, rather than as their own community, since I really don’t see them being very successful otherwise.
Clearly, the future is bright for geotagging, and I can’t wait for the day when I can have a high-quality camera in my pocket that allows me to do everything my Droid does on vacation. While I’m not someone who likes broadcasting my location constantly, it’s a nice ability to have while travelling, to both share your trip with others, and to be able to look back at what you did. Hopefully the tools will continue to improve, and they’ll be more and more universal, because I think this is something everyone could enjoy.
I’ve been into photography for a while now, and while I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on any level, I’ve come across a lot of tips over the years that have really helped to improve my photos. I’ve collected together a few of my favorite ones below, in the hopes they’ll help someone else.
Next time you go out to take some photos, give yourself a constraint. For example, maybe just bring one lens, or choose just one focal length to shoot at (a prime lens works perfectly for this). When I went to Italy, I brought 2 lenses, one of which appeared to be broken when I got there, so I had to spend the week using only my 50mm lens. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I ended up with some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Another great exercise in constraints is to place a piece of paper on the ground, and then take 50 photos without taking your feet off the paper. Really, you’re just trying to get yourself to look at the world in a different way.
Take your camera everywhere
A lot of great photos come about because someone was in the right spot at the right time. However, in order to capture the moment, you have to have a camera to do it with. If you’re not carrying your camera with you everywhere, you’re probably missing out on a lot of opportunities. One of the best things I ever did was purchase a point and shoot camera that fit in my pocket–now I can carry it wherever I go, ready for the unexpected.
Stop worrying about equipment
So many times, I’ve caught myself saying, “I would love to take that photo, but my camera’s not good enough.” This is stupid. Ansel Adams didn’t have a fancy 20 megapixel DSLR, and he took photos better than most people can even dream of. Instead, work with what you have–it’s the thought behind the photo, not the camera, that truly matters. I’ve taken great photos with tiny little point and shoot cameras, and I’ve taken horrible photos with my big DSLR. The sooner you realize your equipment doesn’t matter, the better.
Ask for critique
Some of the best photography experiences I’ve had were when I’ve had my photos critiqued by others, and when I’ve critiqued others. Having someone else take a look at your work can be incredibly helpful, as they’ll often notice things you never saw yourself, and critiquing other people’s photos can help you find new techniques and approaches to photography. If you have a group of friends that are all into photography, maybe you can meet every so often and swap shots. Or, join a site like Flickr, and start commenting on photos by other users. Soon enough, they’ll be commenting back on yours, and you’ll start seeing your photos in a whole new light.
Take lots of photos
Memory cards are cheap, so why skimp on photos? I’ve found that the more photos I take, the better I become at photography. But it’s not just about taking lots of photos, it’s about going back and seeing what your mistakes were and learning from them. If you aren’t taking a whole bunch of photos, you’re not going to learn from your mistakes, because you won’t be making them.
Don’t think about Photoshop
For a while, I was really into Photoshop–nearly every photo I took was manipulated in some way to make it better, and I started to even think about how I was going to process an image before I even pressed the shutter button. This is bad. Focus on making your photos as perfect as possible before they get to your computer, and you’ll end up with a much nicer finished product. That’s not to say you shouldn’t tweak photos afterwards, but you just have to remember that taking an amazing photo isn’t about what filters you use, but rather about how you compose the image in the viewfinder.
Hopefully these tips are helpful, and if you have any to share, make sure to leave comments below!