Chủ Nhật, 23 tháng 3, 2014

Travel Cambodia by Phone – An iPhoneography Guide

Travel Cambodia very long and you’ll appreciate NOT using your big, flashy (and heavy) digital SLR all the time. Let’s face it, Cambodia’s in the tropics and doing a lot of walking with a big camera bag can wear you down.

With the cameras on iPhones and other cell phones becoming such high quality, one of these little units may be all the casual (and arguably, the professional as well) photographer needs to get some great creative shots.

Legend has it that some years ago, the great World War II photographer for Life Magazine, Alfred Eisenstadt, was at a cocktail party held in his honor by Life. A well-to-do businessman and his young son came up to him and the father told Eisenstadt that his son was interested in becoming a photographer. “What type of camera do you use, Mr. Eisenstadt?” the father asked. “I use a Leica,” replied Eisenstadt. “See there son, if I get you a Leica, you’ll be able to take photos as good as Mr. Eisenstadt!” said the father, and led the starry-eyed kid away.

It’s not the camera that makes great shots, but the eye behind the lens.

At the end of a recent trip to Cambodia, I was amazed to discover that I had shot most of my favorite shots with my iPhone instead of my Canon 7D with all of its (expensive!) interchangeable lenses. Since so many photo opportunities were of people, and camera phones are used by nearly everyone in Asia, no one paid me any attention when I snapped a shot with my iPhone. But haul out my Canon with the big lenses and everyone would stop and stare.

And, camera phones today can use a huge variety of downloadable photo applications which turn your iPhone, Android or Windows phone into a virtual darkroom, allowing you to change the look and style of the photos to suit the subject or the mood you want to convey. Plus, you can instantly send your precious images to friends or post them on Facebook or other social media. With a traditional camera, you have to usually wait till you’re back at the hotel, download them to your laptop and even spruce them up with Photoshop or similar programs before sending them off. By then, the immediacy is lost.

Having only one lens available forces you to work harder to get that really strong photo: move closer or reposition yourself to improve composition. You will probably discover that using the simple camera on your phone makes your eye more creative when you do pick up your big old “real” camera.

How to take awesome photos with your smart phone

Everyone loves having great pictures, right? Even before I started blogging, I loved documenting the important things in my life. The problem is, though, that not all of us have nice DSLR cameras to take great photos. So today I'm going to give you a few pointers for producing awesome photos... with your smart phone!

1. Choose good lighting. Photos in bad light, especially on smart phones, will turn out blurry. Pictures taken outside are typically the way to go (Tip: Overcast days are actually the best. Shh don't tell). If you're absolutely stuck taking a photo inside and the lighting isn't great, try to open some blinds to add natural light.

2. Tap the screen. Tapping the screen after you pull up your camera app allows the camera to focus, which leads to a more crisp photo. In some camera phones, tapping different areas of the screen, like the lightest or darkest area, will brighten or darken the screen, as well.

3. Pick interesting angles. There are so many ways you can photograph a great cup of coffee. For example...
The downward also-show-my-outfit angle:

The see-what-else-I'm-doing angle:

And, finally, the table-floor-cool-lighting angle:

4. Don't center your subject. When at all possible, try using the "rule of thirds." If you look at an image and draw two equally spaced vertical lines and two equally spaces horizontal lines, you get what looks like a tic tac toe board. It's best to place your subject along those lines or intersections, but never smack dab in the center. This creates more interesting photos.

5. Edit your photos. Afterlight is my favorite app for editing photos. It costs $0.99 in the app store, and I promise you it's worth every single cent. I use it pretty much daily. It's super user friendly and allows you to crop, brighten, saturate, adjust exposure & brightness, add filters and more. So worth it.

These are small steps, but they will make a WORLD of difference, whether you're sharing your photos on Facebook, Instagram, or your blog. Most of the images on my blog have been taken with my iPhone.

Go get some practice!

Thermodo: A Tiny Plug-in Thermometer for Your Phone

It’s not often I want to know what the exact temperature it is – but if I ever do, I found a solution. The answer is a tiny little sensor you plug into your device called a Thermodo.

The Thermodo is a hardware add-on you can purchase for your iOS or Android OS based mobile device, that plugs into the headphone port. This little device will measure the external temperature and display its calculations on your screen. The developers built the Thermodo to be accurate down to one-tenth of a degree (72.3F).

When not in use, you can either leave the device on your phone, or simply click it into the provided keychain attachment. By attaching the Thermodo to a keychain, you will usually not be far from it, adding some convenience to finding and using the device.

Due to the temperature your device gives off, your readings may be slightly warmer. This is due to the limited distance between the Thermodo and your device. But, no worries temperature freaks, the developers have allowed you to plug-in a simple 4-pole cable to allow you to move the Thermodo away from your device. By using this cable, you will minimize other sources of temperature change from being near the device, for the most accurate reading.

If you do not own a 4-pole cable, the developers have added a “compensate for device heat” option that will automatically sense the device heat, and make adequate calculations to the displayed temperature. This is useful when the Thermodo is plugged right into your device, and will usually supply fairly accurate temperature data.

For added flexibility, you can choose the temperature to be displayed as Fahrenheit or Celsius in the app settings.

This neat product was funded on Kickstarter in March, 2013 – with support from 8,776 backers. Since then, the company responsible for the product, Robocat, has released two version of this device.

The Thermodo is available for purchase, and is offered in two styles. The first, most popular style, is a version that comes in three colors – black, red, and white, and is made out of aluminum. This version of the Thermodo is only $29.99. The other option is a more rugged and durable anodized aluminum model, similar to the look and feel of an Apple Macbook Pro. This version of the Thermodo is available for $44.99.