Goodbye St. John and iPhonetography

Goodbye IslandCruz BayWe left St. John yesterday. Back to the grind of the real world. The good news is that I've got a 147 frames to edit through, so I can sort of relive things for a little while. I snapped these two shots with the iPhone on the ferry and had posted them to my Flickr account, Twitter and Facebook before we set foot on St. Thomas. (There's still some issues with the Wordpress iPhone app that need to be worked out a bit.)

I've gotten some questions about how I've processed some of these. So here's the scoop:

A few weeks ago, I apparently drank some of the Chase Jarvis Kool-Aid. The flavor being the Best Camera concept. The Reader's Digest version of that concept is that the best camera is the one that you have with you. For Jarvis that came to be the iPhone's built-in camera.

If I don't have my Canon 5DMk2 with me, I have the G9. In fact, around town it's almost always in my bag. It's easily the best point and shoot I've had. Don't get me wrong, it still has some weak points. Chiefly the shutter lag. If it had a shutter response that was more akin to the 5D or any of my old film cameras I'd have no complaints with the camera.

Still, there's a few times, when the G9 is just out of reach or it's still in the bag in the office. But, I'm never without my iPhone. And the camera is decent if not spectacular. I think it has the same issues that most small sensor digital cameras have and that's chiefly contrast. But for a 2MB camera phone it works. (Especially if you remember that "shutter" doesn't release until you remove your finger from the "button.") Being part of my "always with me" iPhone certainly has it qualify as the Best Camera on more than one occasion.

This is where software enters the picture. Like I said, the iPhone camera has it's issues and can use a little help. I think software like Best Camera and Adobe's is much like the Lomography folks shooting with Lomos, Dianas and  Holgas. For the record: There's a taped up Holga gathering dusk in the equipment locker behind me.

Where was I? Right. The same way those analog equivalents embraced the inexpensively, plastic-lensed cameras and the random color shifts, light leaks and whatever else happened through processing, I see the tweaking of the soft, flat images off the iPhone as a related idea. And there's a certain irony to using all this technology to render images that remind me of family pictures taken with a 110mm camera.

The difference being that it's much quicker to get these images out—to share them. Before, with film, you had to make an effort. You had to really work to get an image out. Film or slides needed to be processed, then printed—or scanned. Then you could get to sharing them. The process itself encouraged editing. Required it.

With digital? It's on the photographer to really think about the editing process. Instead of simply uploading the contents of a card.

Aperture Stacks Rock

kSo, it's not ground breaking stuff here. None at all really. But some Fridays, you can't help but state the obvious: The Stacks feature in Aperture kicks ass. Really. Sure it's pretty obvious in the motorsports stuff. Knowing that I can rattle off a long sequence of shots, turn on the auto-stack feature when I import and then quickly scan the sequence for which image captures the best moment. But I've also been using it for dealing with bracketed exposures on some architectural work I've been doing. Get the timing right on import and you have all your bracketed frames from each shot, nicely organized to edit or to create into an HDR.

Maybe this'll be part of a new tradition? Obvious Fridays.

(And the photo? Yeah. That's from some work I shot while at Duke University Press for their Journals Ad Catalog.)