Monday, November 28, 2011

fractal leaves, iPhone challenge Day 54

This was taken pointing the iPhone straight up, with HDR turned on.

The patterns in the branches remind me of some of the details in Julia and Mandelbrot sets.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

macro work

Using the surface of my cat's eye to show the street scene below. This was shot with a 18-250 mm zoom lens on a Canon 7D from around 10 inches.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

iPhone photo day 50

The clouds were very pretty from 2500 AGL.  I am always impressed with the capability of the iPhone 4. Not as good as the Canon 7D, but still quite nice.  And it will act as a GPS.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

roiling clouds, Day 41

Most camera light meters will try and set things at middle gray (18 %).  As long as you understand this, you can figure out which area you want to be bright and which you do not.  If I were to take this photo and exposed on the Palace of Fine Arts, the clouds would have been blown out and not very interesting.  So, I exposed on the brighter part of the clouds in the upper right.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 40, a different caterpillar

This caterpillar was moving fast enough I actually was able to practice panning with the iPhone with it.

day 39, raw hdr

This is the raw HDR image from the iPhone 4.  The moon rising over the east side of the park at work, while the sun has just set.  The colors are a little odd....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 38 iPhone challenge

The colors were great, a little blue and it would have been better. Taken from my car window

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 36 Okay, not great

For some reason the squirrels were a bit jittery at Stern Grove. We later saw a red-tailed hawk feasting on a squirrel so that probably explains it.

My current conclusion is that the iPhone 4 is good for snaps and wide-angle shots. It's also very nice for close work, which surprised me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 35, context

I find I really love the close up feature of the iPhone.  Taking this out of context (the rock was only 5 inches large) really brings some interesting features out.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 34, iPhone challenge

This is when I wanted an actual zoom rather than a digital zoom.  I was interested in the duck on the middle of the pond, but was not able to get any closer to it with the iPhone.

Unfortunately work has me slammed, and it's difficult to allocate time to hunt for photos...

Oh yes, Day 33 was a silly cat photo, so I didn't blog about it.  You can see all of the photos here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 32

Shooting through the top of a fish bowl.  This is the fishbowl

Day 31, T minus 1 minute

The actual sunset is just on the horizon, but the clouds above the horizon were lighting up as if they were part of the sun.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 30, Golden Gate Bridge

The tops of the towers were peeking in and out of the fog.  Other than this very small part of the fog, it was absolutely clear.  Taking these types of photos can get difficult because if the exposure is off, the fog disappears into the sky.  I think this one works.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 28

Is it recursive when I take a photo with an iPhone of someone in front of the Open Sea Tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium taking a photo with an iPad?

iPhone challenge Day 27

Playing around with night-time photographs with the iPhone.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 26

I would drive by this spot every morning on my way into work, and think that I should stop and take a photo.  Some days there would be a heavy mist just on the water. Today not so much.  Taken with the HDR setting on the iPhone 4.

Day 25, fog in the bay

The San Francisco Bay has an odd layout that allows fog to just sit on the water.  There are times that the top of the Golden Gate Bridge will be hidden, other times just the bottom will be hidden. I have seen the middle hidden by fog with the top and bottom visible.

It's not as visible as I had hoped, but the very top of Alcatraz Island is visible.  It's not the peak in the back left.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 24

Just saw this little scene with the trees planted in a little grove.  It's the only grove of trees like this on the Letterman Digital Arts campus.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 23

I love the view of the Golden gate Bridge from this vantage point.

Day 22

Playing to see how close I could get, I couldn't get any closer without losing focus.  For this work I think I need an iPhone tripod...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

iPhone challenge day 21

I am really impressed by the close focusing of the iPhone.  This photo was taken at the entrance to a hangar at the Watsonville Airport.  The moth was very flat against the ground.  In taking the photo, and looking at it now, I have to question which was is up?  None of them are, since the moth was on the ground.  Yet this looks upside down...

Friday, October 21, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 20

Sort of a weird one.

I took a 8 second video of this stream at work, image stabilized that in Motion, exported the movie into "Keith's Image Stacker", and averaged the frames, and I get silky water.

Okay, probably a little too much work.

The image was tweaked in iPhoto, probably a little too much for my taste, it definitely has the weird contrast mapping problem.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Playing down low again. Day 19

But I need to watch for the blades of grass in the way of the lens.  Getting down low like this is not something I normally can do with my DSLR, so it's been rather fun to do this with the iPhone.

iPhone challenge day 18

I am always surprised at the color in the sky, and that the iPhone can pick it up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 16

Sometimes it makes sense to just try something.  In this case, I put the phone down on the ground and took the photo. It's not a position I could ever achieve.  Focus was off, but the image is interesting.

iPhone challenge Day 15, subjects.

I don't know, should I expect fill-flash to work on a black cat when the other cat sneaks into the photo?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 14

Sometimes what someone else does is just more interesting than anything I could pull off.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Not bad at sunsets, Day 13

Again, using the iPhone as a camera with the volume control being the shutter release, it's much easier to grab quick photos. I took this one after pulling off to side of the road on my motorcycle.  I don't think I would be able to do that with the old interface.

Friday, October 14, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 12

iOS 5 came out for the iPhone Wednesday, so I was playing around with some of the new controls. One of the nice ones is using the up volume button like a camera shutter, it's placed about where a shutter button would be on a normal point and shoot.

This cat is another of my test subjects, though a difficult one because she is black with very fine fur. She blends into the background very well.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 11

Moose Peterson advocates getting down low when taking a photo of a shore-bird and I was able to take the same approach with this butterfly. Of course, since I knew where the lens on my iPhone was, and could see on the back what I was shooting, I was able to just kneel down instead of lying down...  Much more comfortable in business clothes...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

iPhone challenge day 10

Occasionally I have to take a different route in to work due to traffic, construction or something along those lines. Yesterday morning, the fog was hanging around pretty thick, and based on driving this path before I was curious how the trees would stand out in the fog.  I had forgotten the trees were eucalyptus trees with the peeling bark, which really enhances the vertical nature of this photograph.  This is uncropped and unmodified from my phone.

Monday, October 10, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 8

Okay, not so good for low-light action sequences.  Unlike most cameras, the iphone doesn't have an actual strobe, it has a very bright LED.  So you can't use the strobe to freeze action.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

iPhone Challenge Day 7

Just a Halloween decoration. Zip-tied to a post. Sometimes these will be just funny pictures.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

iPhone challenge Day 6

It was a bit hazy, and this shot could use a little tweaking in the exposure but not too bad. The framing of the trees didn't work out quite like I was thinking.  I'm used to looking through a view-finder rather than at the back of the screen, and I'll stick with that excuse for a little while.

Friday, October 7, 2011

selective exposure (iPhone challenge day 5)

So, when you click on the screen, it defines both where to focus and where to pull the exposure from. Nice when combined with the in-camera HDR.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone photo day 3

The story behind this photo is something I noticed yesterday.  When I took a photo of the statue, I had "HDR on" set on my iPhone, and I noticed that there were 2 distinct (but run together) engravings on the statue stating who it was.  I thought that I might be able to use that time difference, since HDR is 3 separate photos joined together, to get a sort of silky water effect with the iPhone.

I failed, but it was an interesting experiment.  I'm glad I don't have to wait until I get the film back to figure that out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Very deep depth of field. iPhone Challene day 2.

One interesting thing about the iPhone is the sensor size.  Because it is so small, the lens that is used for the camera is very short (3.85 mm if I discover that correctly) so the depth of field is very large. This photo was taken very near the flowers, and the head of Mr Farnsworth was around 7 feet away. Compared to most of the other cameras I have used, this is really deep. Makes for some interesting capabilities for photos.

Monday, October 3, 2011

iPhone photo challenge, day 1.

I'm trying an experiment.  I will be trying to take a photo-a-day with my iPhone. It's an interesting camera in that there is really no optical zoom, the lens is the equivalent of around 30 mm, and there really is no control over the aperture or exposure.  However, it can do HDR in-camera which is interesting.

This shot was one of the few sunny days at Letterman Digital Arts Center at the Presidio in San Francisco. The woman in the photo was enjoying the warmth, with her large hat and a book.  I was trying to figure out where I could shoot this, and came up with the combination of shade and sunny, leading up to her.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

taking time to play

Sometimes it helps to get a view of how some other things work.  I own a Canon 100-400 mm IS L-series zoom. It has an f-stop range of 4.5-5.6.  I decided to rent a Canon 70-200mm IS Zoom from and play around with how it handled some of the bird and nature photography I do.

First, is a pretty cool setup. I was able to reserve a lens from them for a fairly good price. I picked up the lens at their storefront in San Carlos, and it was in great shape. They provide insurance for the lens for 14 dollars which covers everything except loss, theft, or water damage.

First up was to take the lens to one of my normal  wandering grounds and see how it does with some of the birds there. The focusing capability with the Canon 7D was very good. I had the camera on sub-spot focusing with the center spot.

 Then came trying the camera and lens out in Southern California, where I went on a vacation. We went on a walk around the Shipley Nature Center. We had been around this park before, though at that time the pond was not over-flowing like it was now.  We were able to see some animals, rabbits, hummingbirds, and lots of small children.
 The Hummingbird to the left was taken with the center sup-spot focus, and the lens did very well with tracking the hummer, even with the Canon 1.4 teleconverter on it. Because of the low light, I had to shoot at ISO 3200, but still it was very good.
One of the reasons for the great auto-focus ability is the f 2.8 aperture (or 4 in this case) which allows the camera to have more light than the 100-400 mm lens. More light means that there is more that the camera can use to determine focus.

Shipley Nature Center has a great setup for Monarch Butterflies, and there were many to practice focusing on. This type of shooting depended more on close range focus (2.6 meters on this image as compared to 4.3 on the hummer). Again, the lens did very well.

Rather than try and hoist the camera around, I was using a BushHawk Rifle Mount. This allows me to steady the camera and lens much more easily than just holding the camera alone.
 The amusing part of the Shipley Nature Center were the number of small spiders that spun webs across trails. This gave me the opportunity to try the shortest distance, the widest aperture, and see how it worked.  The spider shown was less than 3/4 inch across, probably 1/2 inch.  The focus was at 1.4 meters, f 2.8.  The spider is in focus at the top of the legs, and goes out of focus at the bottom of the legs. While not great art, it tells me how the lens does with a shot of this type.

Finally, I went to Milagra Ridge to see what was there to take photos of. The ridge was the location of gun battery to protect the San Francisco area.
On the day we went, it was cold, windy, and foggy. We didn't see a lot until we spotted this young hawk looking for food. The wind was strong enough to allow him to hover with no problems. The photo shows him descending down trying to pick up some dinner. He wasn't successful. What was nice for us is that he came to us. We saw him fairly far away, and we were upwind of him. He came closer and closer without us having to move much, and was not phased in anyway to have us there.

While I won't be replacing my 100-400 lens, it is just the perfect range for what I do, I do recommend the 70-200 II lens. It would be a great lens to pair with a more up-to-date 1.4 teleconverter than the one I have, and would pair well with any of the Canon cameras.

All of the photos can be seen at PlayTime on my photo site. Most of them are just slightly cropped with little post-processing.