India iPhone 4 Photography

Those Lilypads in Kolkata

Still Water - Kolkata - 2010

Back in the summer of 2010, I went on an amazing trip to India. It was a business trip and I didn’t take any fancy camera gear along.

My first stop was Kolkata (Calcutta) – I’ve never seen such a concentration of humanity as I saw in Kolkata. Our hotel was away from the crowds and had a beautiful pond with these lilypads. This is an evening shot taken with my iPhone. I love the color, the geometry and the texture in this shot.

I hope to go back to India sometime soon – so much more to learn and beautiful people to photograph!

India iPhone 4 Photography

Along the Hooghly River in Kolkata, India

Along the Hooghly - Kolkata - 2010

Three years ago this month I was in India – and my first stop was Kolkata. It was a business trip – and I neglected to pack any serious camera gear – so the limited shooting I did was with either my iPhone or a Canon PowerShot S95.

This image one of the ones shot with my iPhone – probably an iPhone 4 given that date. I was out with a guide in a car touring the city and she had the driver stop along the Hooghly River where I captured this image of the men/boys and their colorful boats – presumably warming up for the day ahead.

iPhone 4 Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Yosemite

Valley Glow – Yosemite – 2010

Valley Glow - Yosemite - 2010

This image was taken during a one-day session in Yosemite that my son and I took last October with Michael Frye. Shot using my Canon 5D Mark II, I had accidentally left my lens on manual focus for the first 20 or so shots of the morning. This was one of those first 20 shots.

Yet, I loved the colors and composition – the question was whether there might be a way to salvage something from the image – in spite of the lousy focus.

I post-processed the image using a combination of Topaz Simplify – BuzSim, Nik’s Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 3 and Silver Efex Pro 2. My general goals were a) to have something about Half Dome work in the image, b) capture the morning fog line along the far trees at the edge of the meadow and c) highlight the yellow leaves and structure in the foreground.

It’s obviously finished in a painterly style – hopefully it works. For me, it brings back great memories of that early morning out shooting with Michael Frye and my son!

PS: Michael has recently released a new iPhone application that I think is the best tool for photographers wanting to capture Yosemite. The app is an updated iPhone version of his earlier definitive book on photographing Yosemite. The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite is highly recommended!

HDR Photography iPhone 4 iPhoto Lightroom Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Photography - Canon PowerShot S95 Photomatix Pro

My Mid-2011 Photography Workflow

Self Portrait in a Moving Mirror

My photography workflow has evolved significantly over the last couple of years – “evolved” being perhaps a euphemism for “gotten more complicated”! I’ve been influenced by paying attention to the workflow of others – picking up tips especially from watching Trey Ratcliff and others as they’ve shared their approaches. I’ve wanted to write this down for my own reference – and, now that I’ve written it up, thought it might be worth sharing as well. So, read on for my photography workflow – as it stands today.

iPhone 4 Photography

The Grid – A Detectable Warning Surface

The Grid - A Detectable Warning Surface by SJL
The Grid – A Detectable Warning Surface, a photo by Scott Loftesness on Flickr.

From a photo taken with my iPhone 4 while walking back from Sharon Park – then post-processed in Silver Efex 2 just for fun! (Testing posting to blog from Flickr sharing button…)

iPad iPhone 4 Living Mac Web/Tech

My Online Life

A colleague asked “So Scott – tell me again what you do about emails you open with 1) PDFs and 2) links – that you want to read later, on the airplane?”

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  1. If I’m on a web page that I want to read – just not now – I quickly archive it (using a bookmarklet) to Instapaper. Instapaper has both an iPhone and an iPad client as well as a browser interface I can use on my Mac – so I can go back and read the article anytime, anyplace. If I sync my iPhone/iPad Instapaper apps before getting on a plane, the articles are all stored in the Instapaper app on the device – so I can read even without network access. I use Instapaper ALOT for asynchronous reading of articles.
  2. If I’m on a web page that I want to remember – perhaps not an article to read but something else, then I bookmark the page using Pinboard (using another
    bookmarklet) – see: Pinboard provides me a chronological history of interesting pages that I might want to go back do. Has a lot of other features (tagging, etc) that I’m just beginning to learn how to use effectively.
  3. For PDF’s, I just download them to my Downloads directory and periodically go back and review what’s there. If it’s a PDF that I might want to be able to read on my iPhone/iPad, I may save to a Dropbox directory instead – so that I
    can access it wherever I have a network connection. This works great when you’re bored at lunch, etc. – except when on a plane. For the plane, you have to remember to download the PDF into your device using Dropbox and to also mark it as a favorite so that it’s saved locally in the device.

How about you? How are you managing your online life?

HDR Photography iPhone 4 Photography

Trey Ratcliff and the Way to San Jose!

This afternoon I headed down to Adobe HQ in downtown San Jose to attend Trey Ratcliff’s talk in Adobe’s Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Trey RatcliffTrey’s the author of the very popular travel photography blog. A year ago, I really enjoyed photowalking with Trey at Stanford – we really had a great time and learned a lot – here’s the Flickr group pool from that Stanford shoot!

Trey’s talk today was wide ranging – moving beyond HDR photography into how our minds and eyes work, how we perceive, and what’s most important in terms of our artistic side.

Among my takeaways was Trey’s recommendation to shoot out in the field with a pair of headphones on tapped into some great music. He cited the benefits of disconnecting our visual experience from our auditory experience – using the music/headphones to make that isolation.

During the Q&A, Trey was asked how he deals with those in the environment (think security guards) who want to shut down photographers. His recommendation: watch Burn Notice – where Michael Weston works to solve problems. As he’s working on a shoot (e.g., Grand Central Station), he’s studying the environment carefully and assessing how he can capture the shots within that environment.

Great inspiration! Follow Trey on Twitter: @treyratcliff. My photo of Trey was shot using his 100 Cameras in 1 iPhone app.

Apple Blogs/Weblogs Books iPhone 4 Photography

Blogging, Crowdfunding, Kickstarter and The Glif

Yesterday, I attended the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) meeting in San Rafael to hear Joel Friedlander’s presentation about “Author Blogging.” Joel’s an independent book designer who we worked with at Glenbrook to design our book “Payments Systems in the U.S.” – he did an amazing job for us and I highly recommend working with him.

Joel’s blog “The Book Designer” is a wonderful resource for those interested in book design, self publishing and more. You’ll find him on Twitter as @jfbookman. In his presentation, Joel told of his experiences having started blogging just 15 months ago – and doing so has opened up a whole new range of opportunities for him – a great story told with great advice for other authors!

The GlifAs Joel and I were talking, he pulled out his iPhone 4 which had a little device attached to it – something called “The Glif“. The Glif slips over the edge of the iPhone 4 and provides a number of ways you can “stand up” the iPhone. In addition, for us photography nuts, it’s got a tripod socket – so that you can use your iPhone on a tripod. I ordered one immediately – from my iPhone naturally!

Turns out there’s a wonderful story behind the development of this little device. After prototyping their design, the founders, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost, used KickStarter to raise the initial capital required to launch – and to find an initial market. KickStartr is a great way to publicize interesting projects and raise capital “from the crowd.” If the story is good enough and you reach the project threshold, funding happens – if not, it doesn’t. Simple but powerful idea! The Glif is a great example of KickStartr in action.

Apple Current Affairs Egypt History iPhone 4 Living

A Revolution in My Pocket!

Celebrating in Tahrir Square - by RamyRaoof

There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom.

Wow, what a day for Egypt! Watching the events unfolding in Egypt over the last 18 days has been both compelling and seductive.

Thanks mostly to Aljazeera English, I had a seat on the edge of Tahrir Square in Cairo. AJE’s iPhone application brought me live video wherever I was – zooming me into the events in Egypt as they unfolded.

How amazing is all of this? First of all, the source – Aljazeera itself and its on-going presence in Cairo, in spite of the regime’s efforts to shut it down. This source was complemented by the incredible capability I hold in my hand with the iPhone that brings AJE’s video into my life wherever I am.

This feels like a really new world. Video from anywhere on the globe delivered into our hands in real-time. Amazing. Simply amazing.

I can’t imagine how this will influence world events in the years to come. The accelerating pace of change enabled by this technology is breathtaking, exciting and, I must admit, a bit scary. I’m reminded that “Freedom is not free” – but clearly the pace of its evolution is changing fast!

PS: Aljazeera has a campaign: “Demand Aljazeera in the USA” which they hope will result in the cable TV companies adding their content. Presumably they’d receive some sort of compensation from the cable companies? Frankly, I could care less about any of that. While it might be nice to watch AJE on my cable TV, where I really want to watch it is “in my hand”. And they’ve got that covered nicely with their iPhone app!

Photo of “Celebrating in Tahrir Square” by RamyRaoof.
iPhone 4 Photography Yosemite

Finding a Bit of Peace in Winter in Yosemite

Yosemite - Half Dome and the Merced River from Sentinel Bridge in Winter - by Scott Loftesness
Just back from a day in Yosemite – and among the photos snapped along the way is this one taken with my iPhone 4, massaged in the iPhone 4 using Trey Ratcliff’s “100 Cameras in 1” app and uploaded from that application directly to Flickr.

The view is of Half Dome and the Merced River taken from Sentinel Bridge – one of my favorite spots in Yosemite because of the beautiful shots of both Half Dome and Yosemite Falls that can be taken here.

A friend commented about this image on Flickr – “a beautiful somber wintry scene – so peaceful.” Last night, learning the somber news from Tucson, made me appreciate the beauty and peace of this place even more. I hope the victims and their families find peace as they deal with such an incredible tragedy.