michaelericbrown.com

Posts Tagged ‘amateur photography

Camera+

leave a comment »

There are a number of great photography applications for iOS, which is one of the leading reasons I chose the iPhone 4 over the BlackBerrys, Androids, and Windows phones out there.

My current favorite is Camera+, which is probably the most famous of the camera-replacement apps out there. I originally downloaded it because the filters looked really great on there, and I was pleased to see that the viewfinder features a crosshatch grid to help you observe the Rule-of-Thirds.

The greatest feature in the app is one that I found completely by accident. The funny part is that it’s a headline feature of the app if you read about it on the main website (http://camerapl.us).

What I’m referring to is what the developers, Tap Tap Tap, refer to as Touch Exposure. Apple introduced tap-to-focus when the iPhone 4 was announced, which is great, but Tap Tap Tap took this a step further by allowing you to tap out a customer exposure point independent of the focus point.

Camera+ App

Example of Independent Focus and Exposure Points

Why is this significant? Because it’s rarely the case that the focus of your photograph exists right where you want the mid-tones to be. The Touch Exposure option lets you see a live representation of what each of the potential exposure points in your photograph can look like. This allows you to effectively lighten or darken your photo without losing any significant detail.

In a word, this is huge. For all the beautiful filters, for the handiness of Rule-of-Thirds lines, for the ease of the app’s Lightbox feature, the Touch Exposure is the most important important capability I have ever seen in a photography app.

In fact, it should be on all modern cameras. In the world of still cameras, the photographer would normally either use a standalone meter to get the numbers he needs to input manually into the camera, or he would point the camera’s viewfinder at what he thinks looks like a mid-tone, half push the shutter to lock it in, and then slide back over to the subject he’s photographing and push the shutter down for the shot.

The problem with the first method is that it’s time consuming and is really only the province of advanced photographers; the problem with the second is that you’re guessing at what’s an accurate representation of the mid-tone, and you’re gambling that the field of focus is the same for your mid-tone sample as the subject (after all, by pushing the shutter button down halfway, you’re usually locking that depth of field in as well).

Here are some examples of what I mean.  The first two photos were taken a couple of minutes before I happened upon the Touch Exposure feature.

Overexposed image of Gibbon Falls

Overexposed because the phone used the canyon wall to set its parameters.

Underexposed image of Gibbons Falls

Underexposed because the camera used the waterfall for its parameters.

I walked down to a different angle of the waterfall and accidentally activated the Touch Exposure.  My first attempt at using it yielded this:

This time I set the exposure point somewhere between the dark canyon wall and the bright waterfall.

A correctly exposed photo is considerably easier to deal with in post because it has much more information at each of the three major levels (high-, mid-, and lowtones).  The only thing lost was the sky, but the only thing that would have saved that was an HDR photo.  (The subject for another time.)

This photo allowed me to run it through some of Camera+’s beautiful filters and create an intentionally false-colored version that evokes memories of old 1960s photography:

Gibbon Falls

Advertisements

Written by Michael

17 June 2011 at 8:17 pm