Focusing on mobile photography for now

The other day I wrote about how I was using Instagram again and starting to post photos there more than other places online. As part of that I am also focusing on using my iPhone for the photos I take over my DSLR. I have an iPhone 7 and really like the pictures it takes. Also, I find that it is much easier to have it on me all the time. After all, isn’t there some kind of quote about the camera you have with you being the best one or something?

I’ve tried bringing my DSLR along with me, but it ends up being in the way which ends up keeping me from using it. Taking photos with my phone allows me to quickly take pictures of whatever catches my eye as I’m out in the world. I also find focusing and exposing the shots easier using a touch screen. Plus, it is a really fun challenge to take interesting pictures on a mobile device. I’m also trying to edit the shots on my phone as well with apps like VscoCam.

To help me take some better pictures I got some accessories from my favorite online shop for photo stuff, Photojojo. I got their Iris lenses and some other things to help get the most out of my pictures. I’m really excited to take on the challenge of mobile photography again. When I got my first iPhone 3G I took pictures all the time and it was lots of fun. I have seen some really cool results with pictures taken by iPhones and hopefully I will get some myself.

Trying out Instagram again

I’ve started to use my Instagram account again. So far it has been fun to post pictures there. I do feel like I get more interaction with people talking about photography there than on other social platforms. Commenting on pictures I like I get replies back more often and can ask about how the picture was taken. Plus, more people seem to be seeing my photos that I post there which is a fun bonus. This coupled with the fact that I am more into mobile photography and taking pictures with my iPhone lately makes it a lot more fun to put pictures there. So, for now I will be posting the pictures I take there.

I’m still using VSCO films to edit my pictures as it is my favorite way to edit digital photos, but these are done with VSCOcam and edited on my phone instead of in Lightroom on my computer.

If you want to follow along with my photos you can do so at my profile here.

Here are a few of my recent posts. Let me know what you think of them.

Screencapping a panorama

While we were in New York City I tried to play around with taking pictures on my phone as much as I could. I took a few panorama shots. One in particular was on a subway platform while we waited on a train. I was looking at it the other day, zooming in to get a closer look at it. As I got to the end I liked how the long distance down the remaining platform looked. It had this feel that something wasn’t right, but one couldn’t tell what. I took a screen capture, edited it in VscoCam, and this is the result. I really like how the repeating 33 looks in black and white.

New York City – Subway saxophone player

Processed with VSCO with p4 preset

On our recent trip to New York City we used the subway to get everywhere. It was awesome to see the various performers in the subway playing music. It is something that I’ve seen in movies and on television so much that it doesn’t feel like it happens in the real world. But, it does and it is super cool. I really admire anyone who has the guts to post up somewhere and perform for anyone and everyone. It is rad to see people putting themselves out for the world to see.

I took this shot on my iPhone 7 of this saxophone player while we waited on a train. I edited it on my phone in VscoCam.

Playing around with Hipstamatic and drinking coffee

Yesterday morning I made some coffee in my Chemex and sat down on the couch to enjoy it. Cassidy was out with some friends for the morning so I sat quietly and enjoyed the coffee as I looked outside. I ended up playing around with Hipstamatic and snapped these shots of the coffee table in front of me. I’ve used Hipstamatic since I got my iPhone 3G. It is pretty fun to have used an app for so long and to have seen how it has progressed over the years. I’m starting to really like the newest incarnation and taking photos in various formats like 16:9 and other non-square shapes.

It was a nice distraction from thinking about the historically absurd day we are sure to have tomorrow in the United States. Good luck everyone.

New York City Subway

Taken with my iPhone 7 while waiting for a subway train in New York City. Edited in VscoCam. 

View from the Empire State Building at night

We went to the Empire State Building while we were in New York City. It was early in the trip and we were relaxing for the evening and were debating if we should go out or not.

Before the trip we decided that we wanted to go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, but couldn’t decide whether to do it during the day or at night. We got a few recommendations from friends to do it at night.

We decided to make the most of our trip and headed out. It was totally worth it. The view from up there is awesome and at night it is breathtaking. I took this with my iPhone 7 and edited it in VscoCam.

Rainy day at the Statue of Liberty

On our trip to New York City last month we went to the Statue of Liberty on my birthday. Have I mentioned that? I was pretty excited. Even though it rained while we were there it was still awesome. I took this shot with my iPhone 7. Thanks to it being water resistant I was able to take pictures with it. I edited this in VscoCam on my iPhone as well.

View of South Lake Union from Gas Works Park

seattle_south_lake_union_space_needle

Last weekend Cassidy went to meet a friend to hang out. I hadn’t planned on going out for photos, but Cassidy messaged me to let me know that it was really nice out and would be a good photographic opportunity. I’m sure she just wanted to make sure I leave the house since I am very good at turning into a hermit and staring at my computer when she isn’t around.

I looked outside and agreed that it would be a great time to go Gas Works park and snap some shots. I walked down there and took 111 photos in about an hour or so. This is one that I got from the water’s edge looking out at South Lake Union.

Accepting auto-focus in my photography

robot_salt_and_pepper_shakers_coffee_table

I am not a professional photographer. I am an enthusiastic hobbyist when it comes to photography. I try my best to learn how a camera works and how to adjust manual settings to get the kind of photos I am looking to take. I do this because I find the photographic process very interesting and like deducing what I can do with my camera.

But, I also wear glasses because I don’t have great eyesight. I’m not totally blind without my glasses, but I definitely need them to function in the outside world. At home I can get away without glasses because I know our apartment well enough to feel comfortable without glasses although I don’t do it for long. I would never entertain the thought of leaving our apartment without my glasses on. That would be insanity!

With this I have a hard time getting photos focused how I want them. Since I can’t take my glasses off I have to wear them as I look through the viewfinder. I’m not able to get the viewfinder to sit cleanly against my glasses and I see how the lens of my glasses is at an angle to the viewfinder.  From my experience this seems to cause a distortion that tricks me into thinking things are in focus that actually aren’t and I find that this gets me inaccurate results. I tend to see the image in focus as I like and snap the shot. On the smaller rear display of my DSLR the image looks good for the few seconds it previews. Afterwards I will transfer the images to my computer and see something very different. Once I have the picture up larger on my computer I see that what is directly behind the point I was focusing on is actually in focus and my intended focal point is just slightly out of focus. Mostly, it is close enough that nobody will say anything, likely because it is my friends or family seeing my pictures and they just are being nice to not ask me if it is meant to be out of focus. It is even more frustrating when working with my film cameras. Shooting film is an expensive process and to have shots not come out right on a roll is really disheartening. It’s a big bummer and makes me feel like a failure. That is part of why I shoot mostly digital photos. There is a safety in being able to snap multiple shots of something and being to delete it if it doesn’t turn out as I want.

Because of my focus woes awhile ago I turned on the auto-focus on my lens. I still shoot entirely manual settings otherwise, but I let the camera do the work for me in regards to focusing. I have played around with the auto-focus settings and am starting to get the hang of its behavior. By adjusting zoom level and shifting my camera angle I have been able to get it to focus on different parts of the image. But, in the end the camera does it for me and I am honestly happier for it. I am getting much better results, the kind that I am actually looking for and I am much happier for it as a hobbyist. I have come to accept and enjoy using auto-focus. Part of me felt like it was cheating, that as a photographer I should be making adjustments to every aspect of my photos 100% manually, otherwise it is not really my photo. Thinking about this more I see it is silly and bullshit to put that level of expectation on myself for something that is meant to be a fun pastime. Photography is something I love doing and I find it very fun, but I’m not trying to be a professional. I just want to take pictures and experiment. That’s the fun and the fun is what matters.

The photo above was taken using auto-focus and I think it looks pretty cool. What do you think? Do you use auto-focus when you shoot? Are you a photographer that wears glasses and have awesome tricks for me to try so that I can focus as I want?

 

Sunset in JarrBar


Cassidy and I celebrated our anniversary by visiting restaurants and bars that we’ve never been to in Seattle. It was really fun to explore new places in our home city. One place we went to is called JarrBar. It is a small place near Pike Place Market and it was a lot of fun. The drinks and snacks were tasty and the people working there were really nice. It felt like a place that welcomes people to come in and hang out.

Cassidy visited the restroom and I took this moment to snap some pictures with my phone. As the place faces West we got some awesome light in there as the sun was setting. I didn’t feel like editing this much, as it looked great to start, but I used a VSCO film in VscoCam on my phone and did a couple other tweaks.

I really like how the lighting turned out. So far I am really happy with pictures I’ve taken with my iPhone 7.

Statue of Liberty in Black and White

statue_of_liberty_new_york_city_black_and_white

My birthday this year was during our recent trip to New York City and we planned on a trip to the Statue of Liberty that day. I was really excited and had an awesome time exploring it even though it rained most of the time we were out there. With the weather I wasn’t able to get as many pictures with my DSLR that I wanted. But, I did get this one from the ferry.

I edited it a little in Lightroom and used a black and white instant film emulation from VSCO.

Starting the day with doughnuts

Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of Cassidy and I getting married. Today we are celebrating by finding new places to eat in our beloved home of Seattle. Eating delicious food and sharing our thoughts on it is something we enjoy doing together. We decided though that today needs a good start and since we haven’t been to General Porpoise in awhile we are getting doughnuts to begin our food adventure. I snapped these shots on my iPhone 7 and edited them in VscoCam.

Brooklyn Bridge – New York City

brooklyn_bridge_new_york_city

Cassidy and I just came back from a trip to New York City. We went there for her to run a race and to celebrate my birthday. It was an awesome trip. One day we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge because that is apparently a thing to do. It was lots of fun even with it being really crowded as we expected. The weather was good that day and we had awesome views of the city as we walked across. I took the time to snap a few shots with my camera while we walked across and I got this one. After a little bit of editing in Lightroom and a VSCO film I think it looks pretty good.

Trying out new VSCO films on Maui photos

I just bought a new film pack from VSCO. They recently introduced what they call Film Essentials. It is a collection of a few favorites from all of their available packs. I installed them into Lightroom and thought I would give them a try. Being that the vacation was pretty awesome I thought that testing these out would be a perfect opportunity to relive some moments in Maui. So far I really like the films. There is a good variety in the films and it gives me a good idea of what the film packs can do. If I’m going to buy more it will likely be the instant film pack. That is one where I want all of it. It just looks great.

The films I used on these ones are the Fuji Astia, Kodak Gold 200, and Fuji Provia 400x. I really dig the look and feel I get from VSCO films. As someone who would shoot real film exclusively if my wallet allowed it, I really like the results.

What do you think?