Those darn camera phones!


In the spirit of technology topics, being that this week is the annual CES gathering (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, I wanted to touch on cameras on phones. As most of you are aware, this is fast becoming one of the most competitive areas in the mobile arena, let alone the photography arena!

Top tier phones today have cameras that rival DSLRs from just a few years ago. Just do a Google search for ‘Smartphone vs. DSLR’, you will find a ton of review and opinions. You will undoubtedly read about the Nokia 1020 which is the current Smartphone king with a 41MP (no, that is not a typo – Fourty One.) camera and the ability to shoot RAW! Wow! Don’t get me wrong, this is not a DSLR/camera phone comparison or debate, rather I am just pointing out how good cameras are on phones now-a-days. Smartphones are still a ways off from realistically replacing the need for a full-time, purpose-built camera – which may never actually happen for the serious shooter. I for one, am happy all of this technology is moving forward because it will drive the DSLR market to innovate in hopes to keep their market share….and it helps make Instagram feeds a bit more interesting ;).

I took this photo below with a now 2-3 generation old phone in early 2011, the Motorola Atrix 4G. I got to be honest, I really like this photo! If I had taken this with my Nikon D7000, I would have been happy! At the time this was taken, I did not own a DSLR and this phone was my window into photography. It peaked my interest so much that I ended up doing my research and buying the DSLR I own today. I am happy this camera drove me to take better pictures and rewarded me when I was able to achieve that goal! It moved me along on my Photography journey.

With this week’s CES phone processor announcements and the Mobile World Congress around the corner, things are only going to get WAY more interesting! Don’t forget, which I do often, that cameras don’t make engaging images, people do.

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Big Bird!


I recently took a trip to Cambria, CA for the weekend, just to get away. While there, amidst relaxing and just taking in the relaxing surroundings, there were these large birds playing in the coastal winds (sorry, I don’t know what kind they were – maybe you can tell me!). They are incredible animals and it was awesome to watch them play in their natural habitat!

Mostly a black and white set, but I liked this color version below and wanted to share that one too.

Cambria Birds-1

Cambria Birds-10

Cambria Birds-9

Cambria Birds-8

Cambria Birds-7

Cambria Birds-6

Cambria Birds-5

Cambria Birds-4

Cambria Birds-3

Mounted Marbles


While walking the dogs the other day I cam across a playground in a local park. There was this piece of the play structure that just had a bunch glass bulbs (like big marbles). During the right time of the day, the sunlight shines through these balls and I thought it was pretty cool. Here is a close up shot; it was dusk and the natural light was on the other side.

10 Year Anniversary Gift


I am kicking off 2012 with a few shots from a recent session I did with my brother and sister-in-law. I offered to take photos of them as a gift for their anniversary and the happily accepted. This was my first attempt at a “session” like this with a couple. I definitely learned a few things by making mistakes, but overall it was a great experience and I look forward to next time. I love these guys below!

Have a great 2012!

 

They are not afraid to let loose and just be silly – I felt this picture captured that silliness

Having Fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before & After


I recently took a business trip to Calgary, AB Canada and, of course, took my camera. I still plan on posting a few more pics from the trip, but in the meantime, I had to share this Before & After image. The image below was captured at approximately 7:30pm in a rural park. It was very dark outside, but I had a fast lens (F1.4) on my camera and knew I would be able to extract some light; not to mention I shoot in the RAW format and this allows me to drastically adjust exposure to my own liking.

The park was so quiet, calm, and even serene. Being born and raised in the desert in Southern California only added to the spectacle I was experiencing. I snapped the shot below and knew I had a decent image, but I knew I would have to wait until I got it onto the computer to really see what I got. I was able to extract so much light, that the ‘After’ picture looks like it was taken mid day with the sun out! Also, the processing I did gave the image a slight “painting” feel as a result which I think really added to the final result, kinda surreal.

In any case, I think the latter picture really ‘feels’ like December and I wanted to share!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!



BEFORE



AFTER



Fading Details


My previous post focused on the contrasting color and decay of the graffiti at the old feed mill. This post looks at a couple of the details surrounding the mill. The old buildings and machinery are testament to a once lively operation. However, all that is left are small, rusty and deteriorating details.

Color in a Decaying World


While visiting my family for Thanksgiving, I told my dad I wanted to go shoot some pictures and then asked if he had any recommendations on locations. I told him I was looking for some sort of abandoned, old “something”. He said he knew just the place and so we set out into the country. We arrived at an abandoned feed mill. This place used to provide food for the many different cow farms in the valley where they live (and I grew up). Perfect!

Much to my surprise, this abandoned mill had been turned into a graffiti artist’s canvas. Graffiti was everywhere! What immediately jumped out at me was the amount of detailed/grand pieces amongst the random yammerings of the local gangs. They were so colorful and well done in this old and decaying environment that I had to take these photos. An interesting thing to point out is that this is not a place that people go to. This is out in the sticks of a small town. These were done purely for limited viewing and appreciation. By the way, I have a few more photos coming that play on the mill environment, seperate from the graffiti; I will put those up in another post.

 

I am not sure what this stands for, but the creator put a lot of time and color into this one. It stood out like….a color painting on an old oat mill wall…

 

Spatula? In any case, this had a great presence.

I intentionally ‘colored’ in this photo below sloppily to somewhat mimic the graffiti style. The color is what was there, I did not add any color. The surroundings in this room were so decayed up against this color that I had to dramatize this fact by greying out everything but the color.

Graffiti Rainbow!

This wall had also been attacked by local paintballers. This just added to the color in the grim environment.

A murder of Crows


No, crows were not murdered in the creation of this post… in case you don’t know, that is what a group of 2 or more crows is called – A “murder of crows.” Such a strange expression, but I relish the opportunity to use it for the same reason! 🙂

It’s a rare stormy day here in Southern CA and I happened to notice these three crows keeping watch on a empty construction site across the street. It seemed somehow perfect on such a gloomy day, like something from an Edgar Allan Poe poem. After I took the picture, I thought I would try my hand at using textures in Photoshop. I have never used textures before, but for some reason thought that the right texture would bring out the mood I was feeling when looking at this scene. For my first attempt, I was pleased.!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday

 

B&W Fun


I received a new lens tonight and wanted to try it out! Below is a picture of a piece of wall art I have in my house and a self picture. I played with these and turned them into B&W and really liked the results! So, have a great day/night and here’s to having fun:

 

 

It was worth it…


This last Friday it rained most of the day. As the rain stopped and the clouds began to clear, my wife and I decided to take the dogs out for a brief walk. Now I live on the 3rd floor of my building so when I went outside I was able to see that the ensuing sunset would probably be awesome (I could only see enough sky to be teased at what might be)! So, at that moment I decided that I had to see what the full sunset turned out looking like – I went back for my camera and car keys and decided to bolt up to a high ground I know to see if there was a view. I invited my wife and dogs, but they wanted to stay and pee on things (primarily the dogs, that is).

After I was at the spot for about 15 minutes, shooting pics, it hit me that on my dash out of the apartment I locked the door because I fully expected my wife to join me! Mind you it was pretty chilly this time of day and my wife, who needs a blanket when it is 75 outside, was in a T-Shirt and pajama pants with the dogs… and now locked outside. So after it finally hit me that my wife was locked out, probably freezing and without a phone, I [took a few more photos] bolted back home. When I arrived it had been about 30 minutes since I left and she was out on the sidewalk giving me a look that seemed to say “well, what do you have to say for yourself?” I just rolled the window down and said “SORRY”… Turns out she was very understanding and didn’t care. Whew!

I reached my spot and had a pretty nice view for such short notice. The sunset/sky/clouds were amazing. The natural grandeur of a “simple” sunset after a rain is breathtaking. I wish I could have spent a bit longer out there, but I was happy with what I was able to see and the few photos I shot.

Sign out where I was shooting