Ubiquitous Photography

Do you use your digital camera or your camera phone to take a picture of something you want to remember, instead of writing the information down? I have been doing this more often. I think it started when I was in a bookstore with my Mother. She wanted me to write down the name of a plant from a magazine. There was a photo of the plant as well. I got out the digi camera and took a close up so she could have the photo and the name too.

Since then I’ve used it to take photos of real estate signs on properties for sale which might be of interest to my brother. He buys, fixes them up and then sells them again. He is looking for a farm property which he would keep and I see many of them as I road trip along, looking for abandoned and derelict houses.

I also use the digi camera to take notes for me when I find a quote in a book, an author’s name on a book I’m too over budget to buy, and I’ve photographed something to remind myself of the idea it gave me when I saw it. Like seeing an old doll at a thrift store. Later I wrote about the doll and ended up using my photo as an illustration along with it.

Others are doing it. Some more practical than I am, using it to plan and organize things, like a collection of business cards. There are good ideas to be found. Read on…

The Ubiquitous Camera Phone

Recent studies report that a majority of people who use their camera phones use them for ubiquitous purposes such as remembering a parking space or notes on a blackboard.

Lifehacker: Geek to Live: Develop your (Digital) Photographic Memory
Lifehacker: Use your Cameraphone as a Visual To-Do List
GeekSugar: Use your Camera Phone to get Organized

53 Links about Cell Phone Photography

I didn’t know about iPhoneography until reading the word on BinaryDad’s Twitter profile. I don’t have a cell phone and haven’t looked into them. One thing I know about myself is the enjoyment of not being entirely connected. I like having that edge of escapism, the hermit in me. So I resist getting a mobile/ cell phone; a needy creature that will leach onto me 24 hours a day insisting I actually give it my time and attention.

I know some can take a photo. I don’t know which have the ability and which do not. I have my digital camera so this isn’t a feature I’ve given much interest either. However, I don’t like to be ignorant so I have been looking at the cell phone photographers/ mobile blogging it also seems to be called by some. Seems the proper term for the camera phone is moblie phone, which becomes mobile blogging if they are used in that way.


General Mobile Phone Photographer Resources:

Others for Specific Types of Mobile Phones:

30 Day Photography Challenge

White Peach Photography has the 30 Day Photography Challenge.

In writing we build the picture with words. Illustrating, with a photograph, drawing or some other form of visual art is usually saved for children’s book and non-fiction. Except for book covers which have illustrations geared more to selling the book than sharing the writer’s vision of the story inside. Kind of nice to become the illustrator yourself. Illustrate your own story, your personal story, with the steps in the 30 Day Challenge. Be creative without using words.

See also the Flickr group for the event.

  • Day 1: Self-portrait
  • Day 2: What you wore today
  • Day 3: Clouds
  • Day 4: Something green
  • Day 5: From a high angle
  • Day 6: From a low angle
  • Day 7: Fruit
  • Day 8: A bad habit
  • Day 9: Someone you love
  • Day 10: Childhood memory
  • Day 11: Something blue
  • Day 12: Sunset
  • Day 13: Yourself with 13 things
  • Day 14: Eyes
  • Day 15: Silhouette
  • Day 16: Long exposure
  • Day 17: Technology
  • Day 18: Your shoes
  • Day 19: Something orange
  • Day 20: Bokeh
  • Day 21: Faceless self-portrait
  • Day 22: Hands
  • Day 23: Sunflare
  • Day 24: Animal
  • Day 25: Something pink
  • Day 26: Close-up
  • Day 27: From a distance
  • Day 28: Flowers
  • Day 29: Black and white
  • Day 30: Self-portrait

Snowflake Watching

Snowflake watching is a real hobby. You need a magnifying glass and warm clothes. Bring your camera too and try to photograph the snowflakes. I think the challenge would be to be out on a day that is cold enough so your own breath isn’t melting them as you try to focus in close enough to see their patterns.

Flickr: Julie Falk: The Snowflake Project
Flickr: FWWidall: Snowflakes
Flickr: Mark Cassino: Snowflake Photos
Flickr: Snowflakes, Snow & Winter
Flickr: Awesome Snowflakes
National Geographic: Snowflake Gallery

Snowflake Photography Resources:

Reposted from Popular Mechanics Magazine: Wilson A. Bentley: Photographing Snowflakes
SnowCrystals.com: Snowflake Photography
JPG: Photographing Snowflakes
Pop Photo: How to Photograph Snowflakes
EarthSky: How to Take Photos of Snowflakes
Weather Scapes: Photographing Snow Crystals and Rime

Suite101: The Snowflake Man, Wilson A. Bentley

Guest Post about Night Photography

Today I am publishing a guest post through My Blog Guest. Thank you to Sam for the photography tips.

Night Photography: A crash course.

We all love a good night photo. A beautiful cityscape, boats on a still harbour with their lights reflecting across the water…  These views themselves are works of art, and a good photo can even add another dimension to them.

But more often than not when it comes time to look through our photos at the end of a trip or night out, the photos tend to be blurry and grainy, if not completely black and unusable.

I remember being in Victoria, Canada, and trying to take a photo of the Royal BC Museum at night. If I knew then what I knew now, I could have ended up with something quite spectacular to show my friends, rather than the abstract mish mash of blurry lights and sense of frustration that I took home with me.

The difficulty with night photography is the lack of available light. A flash can do a great job of illuminating a close space (even if it can be a little harsh and unflattering), but the light drops away sharply at distance and by about 20 feet it is basically not doing anything.  The other big problem with a flash is it can wash out the natural ambient lighting of a scene. All the nice streetlights and sign glows will be replaced by a big dull white flash-light.

Essentially, for anything other than a group of people or a close, isolated subject, the flash needs to go. But then what? Your poor little camera has to try and deal with the low light conditions that the flash was put on the camera to negate in the first place.

There are two ways to naturally get more light into your camera. One is to open up the aperture, which basically increases the flow of light through the lens. The second is to use a longer shutter speed, which allows the film or sensor to be exposed to light for a longer period of time.

There is a third variable which may help you get the exposure you need, and that is ISO or ‘film speed’. Basically this describes how sensitive either the film you are using, or the sensor in your digital camera is, to light. In other words if your ISO is a higher number, then you need less light to get the same exposure.

With that in mind, how do we take nice night photos? Well generally speaking, with a point and shoot style camera, you should have the aperture wide open to allow maximum light to get to your sensor.  The only reason you would ever want to stop your aperture down would be to try and get a longer depth of field, i.e a deeper zone of area in the photo that is in focus, however this only really applies with bigger format cameras such as SLRs, as changes in depth of field are barely a factor in point and shoots.

The next step, and this is crucial, invest in a cheap tripod. Stabilising your camera allows you to use longer shutter speeds without getting the awful blurry mess we have come to expect from flash-less night photos. Shutter speed is really your friend at night. The one thing to keep in mind though is the movement of your subjects. Obviously if they are moving they will end up blurry at longer shutter speeds.

Another small tip that will make a huge difference when using very long shutter speeds, is to use the timer function of your camera. The actual physical process of pushing the shutter release button to take the photo can be enough to cause a blur at long shutter speeds, however if you have at least a 2 second delay the camera will have stabilized again before the exposure starts.

The only remaining variable we have to try and reduce that blur is your ISO, however a higher ISO will mean grainier, lower quality photos.

So to conclude, buy a cheap tripod, crank open that aperture, wind back that long shutter speed, set your camera’s timer and try and keep your iso as low as the situation permits.

Happy shooting!

Sam Matthews
Home Art and Furniture

Food Photography as a Career

Another interesting job I’d like to try, food photography. Making something on a plate look absolutely scrumptious and drool-worthy. Wouldn’t that be a fabulous job to have? Travel, art and food.

Next time you’re pouring milk into your cereal, buttering your toast or eating out at a restaurant, think about the food as it looks on the plate. How would you style it to look good for a photograph?

How do you become a Food Photographer/ Stylist?
eHow: Food Photography as a Career and How to Become a Food Stylist and Food Stylist Job Description
Photography Schools: Food Photography
Steve’s DigiCams: How to Get Freelance Food Photography Jobs

How to Resources:
Digital Photography School: Food Photography – An Introduction
Shutterbug: An Insider’s Look at Food Photography
Food Portfolio: Blog
101 Cookbooks: Food Photography Tips
Photocritic.org: The Dirty Tricks of Food Photographers
Lara Ferroni: Still Life With and on Twitter
O’Reilly: Tasteful Food Photography
Inn Cuisine: The Art of Digital Food Photography and Food Styling: 20 Invaluable Resources for Food Bloggers

Sunset and Sunrise for Photography

A photo taken at sunset or sunrise is almost always beautiful. The time of day gives even an ordinary scene a special glow, a dramatic setting. Plan and consider a photo you will take at either sunset today or sunrise tomorrow. Take the day to think about it, pick through ideas and locations. Even if you have a busy and chaotic day you always have a moment while you ride the elevator, stop for lunch, some bit of time when planning your photo would give you a creative break in the day.

Don’t make your photo about the sunset or sunrise alone. Have the sky be the setting not the focus. You may take more than one photo, some with flash on and some without the extra light from the flash. Experiment and see what worked best. Most of all, plan your setting, set the scene. Arrange things how you want them, you are your own set director.