Night and Day

I was sent to Washington DC recently for work. This is one of those times I could not take my DSLR and only had my iPhone. I also didn’t have a lot of spare time on the trip. I was able to get out and walk a bit during the day and then again at night. I was glad I got to see the area during the day and again at night. The difference is so dramatic and the area really does take on a whole new look after dark.

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One of the great things about shooting during the day is the ability to have people in your photos. The horse officer patrolling with the Washington Monument in the background. This has to be one of my favorite captures. Not that this is a great photo or that it hasn’t need seen a million times before but it shows the experience of being there.

I try to capture images that are “real” not that perfect magazine photo. Sometimes people make the image special. This is what was happen the day I was there. It’s just a snapshot, not something I’m trying to sell it’s a memory of my time spent in DC.

But I digress… I captured the Lincoln Memorial during the day with a family of ducks. I like it because it shows that even in the city there is nature all around. I think it’s a peaceful setting. Then I shot the memorial at night. I’m really glad I was able to see this during the day and at night. There is such a different feeling you get when you see these memorials at night and in the light of day. I was only able to spend a couple hours there over the course of my visit due to work but I really think it was worth it.

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I also tried my pano feature during the day for a nice capture at the WWII memorial

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In another post I spoke of how I use a lot of my iPhone images with instagram. Here are a few images I posted to instagram. Again I used the editor in that app for all the effects. We use what we have and try to get the most of it. thanks for reading and please follow me on instagram. @PD_Images

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Social Media & My iPhone Camera

This last year I found myself on the road a lot.  I use some social media like facebook to keep up with friends and interests.  Don’t share a lot of images or post my location because it leads to more targeted ads.  I also find it had to take my camera on the road with me.  I already have to take 2 laptops so to pack in a DSLR in my carry on gets to be a bit much.

IMG_1140Still I want to take images on the road.  I decided to make some social media changes.  I changed my Facebook account to only my hobby interest.  I removed most of my personal information.  Deleted posts that were not related to my hobbies.  Moved most of my professional contacts to Linkedin.  Then I decided to use Instagram for my photos.  Since the images I get are mostly from my iPhone I thought this was a good compromise. Plus it is an outlet designed for that purpose.

IMG_1019Now I take my iPhone photos and edit them in the instagram app.  It actually does an OK job.  I use it mainly for snapshots to document where I’ve been or for goofy images.  I do try to post on a regular basis and I also use the instal reel app on my MAC.  I don’t use it for anything other than travel snaps while I am on the road for work.  If I’m working on a photo project of course I use my DSLR and Photoshop.

IMG_1304The biggest disadvantage of my iPhone is the limitations of the lens.
IMG_1070The overall camera is actually decent for a phone.  To give myself a few more options I got the olloclip.  It’s a snap-on lens device that gives me 4 options.  Wide angle, fish-eye and 2 Macro lenses in one small package.  I can easily place this in my backpack and when I have time outside of work to site see I grab it and go.  It has a lanyard that the unit just snaps on and off of.  It really is a nice add-on if a camera phone is your only option.

This little system will never take the place of my DSLR but it will give me some options when it comes to sharing my travel with my friends and family and instagram followers.  There are times I really wish I had my DSLR but when it is just not possible I have my olloclip and iPhone.  The images here are some of my instagram photos.  Taken with my iPhone 6s plus.  I haven’t had the account long but I hope to keep adding images from my travels.  Thanks for the read, follow me on instagram @PD_Images

Steady Cam for your iPhone or GoPro!

I found a new gadget that helps reduce shaky video. The Digipower Action Camera Stabilizer. It is a simple design, includes counter weights, smart phone mount and a GoPro mount. It all packs nicely in a hardshell case. The price was about $60 for the kit.

It is quite simple. You mount your device then use the counter weights and level (built in the arm) to get the desired angle. When you start filming the mount helps to reduce camera shake and movement. I’ve only used it a little but notice a big difference in video quality.

Over all it seems to be well built but be aware it is for light weight cameras. I would not try to mount a DSLR or full size video camera to this unit. The only real issue I ave is the case does not look to be the most durable. For the price this mini steady cam is a great value!

Nikon Coolpix AW100

A while back I wrote about the GoPro camera.  I have used my GoPro for many things and intended to use it for some underwater shots while on vacation.  After reading reviews I found it was limited on quality underwater.  Further research lead me to the Nikon Coolpix AW100.  Water proof up to 33ft and shock proof up to 5 feet.  This camera was made for mild sports action yet still remains stylish.

The camera looks like a simple point and shoot. Many of the features you would find on most with a couple differences. First the button for the shutter and video are separate. Each has a unique texture so you can feel what is what. Next the batter and memory card door had a rubber seal but also uses a double lock to be more secure from accidental opening. Next the camera has a built in GPS allowing you to GEO tag your images or use it as a functional ground GPS. Finally you will find a underwater setting in the presets for diving.

Dolphin Flight – Discovery Cove, Orlando FL

Going through the presets and doing some tests I found the “simple” mode to be annoying.  I switch it over to “auto” for playing.  During vacation I used several presets like “underwater”, “Beach” and “Night Portrait”.  These are easy to change using the scene mode button on the back of the camera.  All in all I found the scenes to be quite adequate for most of my images.  Remember this is a point and shoot.  The zoom range work well for most situations.  The one drawback was the speed between shots.  The manual boasts 2.5 frames per second but even with my extreme 30MB/s SD card I could not get shots that quickly.

The image quality during daylight was above average to outstanding in the point and shoot category.  I think the color and contrast in the daylight images were spot on.  I also could not see any real issues with noise in these images.  I was a little disappointed in the night images.  They seemed to have a lot of noise and took time to fix in photoshop.  I would say a 5X7 would be the largest you could get a usable print from using night settings.   Overall for a point and shoot the camera performance was above average.  ** note I tested the zoom lens but did not use the digital zoom feature.

Video was also handled very well with this little camera.  It takes 1080p HD video with great color and contrast.  I also took several night videos and amazingly the quality of night video was much better than the photos.  I was able to snorkel taking video and stills again with great results.  The camera was easy to manage underwater.  I did notice one difference here that should be noted.  Using the underwater mode the still images look nice, corrected color but to me look a bit dull.  The video looks great, especially compared to the GoPro but the color looks off a bit.  I have included a video shot entirely using the AW100. (stills and video use the Coolpix AW100, Edited in Final Cut X Pro)

My overall opinion of the Nikon AW100:  If you need a camera that can take some light abuse and for all weather situations I would recommend you check this camera out.  The image and video quality are excellent in most situations.  The controls are simple to use and it has safety locks keeping the camera weather tight.  The drawbacks are minimal unless you plan to do lots of low-light images.  For under $300 (USD) this camera is well worth a look.

Thanks for reading!

Create & Be a Cartoon Character with ToonCamera app for iPhone!

If you have seen those TV commercials that have cartoon like people and wondered how they created those realistic looking toons then this is your lucky day! There’s an app for that! The ToonCamera app for your iPhone does a good job creating cartoon like images or video without the need for expensive editing programs. There are several modes from color to line (pen & ink) style. This app is easy to use then import into your iMovie for editing. This fun little app has many possibilities and turns the everyday into a bit more fun and exciting. This app has simple controls and does have its limits but for less than $1 (USD) you really can’t go wrong. Go ahead you know you want to be a cartoon character!!
Thanks for reading!

The following movie was shot using ToonCamera and iMovie both on the iPhone 4S