Friday, April 30, 2010

Photographic Studies of the Grand Canyon (via the iPhone)

We are back safe and sound in Cholula Red.

We had a wonderful time, got our business finished lickety split and got to spend a day at the Grand Canyon. I took thousands of pictures, using my Canon 7D, my Panasonic Lumix FZ35 and my iPhone.

It will take days to get them all processed.

Since I took the fewest shots with the iPhone, I'll start there. I haven't posted many of my iPhone pictures lately, but I must say, I continue to be impressed with this little camera. It works well, but what really bumps it up are the thousands of aps you can get that manipulate your pictures and truly turn them into art of another sort.

I decided to use one I haven't played with before called HD Camera. You may remember my other HD pictures were taken using TrueHDR. The difference in the two aps is that TrueHDR requires you to take two photos, one focusing on the lightest part of the picture and the other focusing on the darkest part of the scene. Then the application merges the two, and, especially in high contrast situations, you get impressive results.

But HD Camera is another beast entirely. It automatically processes one photo into High Definition, plus, it takes the standard 3mp of the iPhone camera and somehow magically turns them into 7mp images. It certainly seems like magic to me!

Now, back to the Grand Canyon. I've been there several times, and every time, it's always kind of a shock to realize that that the clarity of the canyon is somewhat compromised. I don't know if it's just the fact that the damn thing is so big, or if it's a weather phenomenon, perhaps creeping pollution or what, but, beautiful as it is, there is always a sort of haze, especially when taking a long view.

So, in my mind, all those pictures I see that are bright and vibrant must have been manipulated, either in the darkroom, or in camera. I don't mind this, but like I say, when I've seen it in person (over the last 50+ years) the haze always comes as a surprise.

With this in mind, I knew I would have some manipulation ahead of me. But you know what? That's what I love to do, so no big deal.

I downloaded all the pictures from the three cameras, and the surprise came when I looked at the iPhone pictures captured using HD Camera. Somehow, the algorithms used in the in-phone processing automatically did away with the haze!

Way cool.

One note before the photos. As always, you can click any scene and see a larger, usually clearer, image. Also, some of these are duplicates, with the original from the iPhone (using HD Camera), then manipulated in Photoshop for different effects.

If I haven't already bored you to tears, here we go with the pictures.


This first shot is SOOC
(straight out of the camera)

a slightly different angle
Don't these remind you
of these old
Kodachrome linen postcards?

Yet another sightly different angle
(sorry, I like them all)

This is the same shot as above
but slightly more detail

Again, the same shot,
slightly softened.
I like this effect a lot.

OK, be prepared,
there are lots of versions of this one.
This is the original SOOC.
I love the hazy light.

But I hated the railing,
so I removed it.

This has some darkening
and color changes.

Changes in light.

This looks like
it might have been taken
years and years ago,
but has now suffered
the ravages of time.

Also a vintage look
but with more detail.

In sepia.


By this time,
I had done so many changes
I don't even remember
what I did to get this effect
But I like it

One final shot
from the iPhone.

I didn't even remember the iPhone
till we were almost out of the park,
but I'm glad I got the shots I did.

I will definitely be using it
more in the future.

What a great trip we had,


Kimberly and Jerry Peterson said...

I really...really...really do want an IPhone. My only dilemma is we absolutely LOVE Verizon and are not willing to give them up just to have an IPhone. Now seeing your photos from it, just makes me want it even more. Great shots and great manipulation of them.

Kate said...

I know exactly how you feel.

The deciding factor for me was I hated my old Verizon phone. When its contract was up, I got the iPhone on AT&T and we kept Terry's phone on Verizon. It costs us a bit more but now, I would never go back to a regular phone. Regular readers may remember that I started out with a iPod Touch, which I loved, but I disliked having to carry both devices.

Now with the iPhone, that problem is gone. Truthfully, I like the iPhone so much better than the iPod Touch (the location aware feature alone makes all the difference, not to mention the camera), that AT&T or no, I am completely satisfied.

And truthfully, we haven't found much difference in service at all.

photowannabe said...

You definitely have some prize winners there Kate. The first ones do look like vintage linen postcards. that was my first reaction when I saw them. The first one blown up on canvas would make an amazing wall hanging.

Julie and Lisa said...

Just downloaded HD Camera. Can't wait to try it! Your GC photos are just terrific. (And, as an aside, when we were at North Rim last fall, there were tons of controlled burns going on and lots of haze. The rangers said the area gets lots of pollution blown up from SoCal/Mexico, too.)