New Photography

One of my life-long hobbies has been photography. I was always the yearbook photographer, spending a lot of my spare time during high school in the darkroom. I wanted to be a photojournalist, and was the photographer for the campus newspaper. Once out of school, I took a lot less pictures, but never lost the interest. I’ve taken a lot of family portraits for friends, and even shot a few weddings.

I was a dyed-in-the-wool film user for a long time. My favorite camera was the Nikon FM3A, an all-manual classic. I had the suite of Nikon glass to go with it. That all changed around 2003 with the introduction of the Canon 10D. I was floored by the quality, and being a computer geek, I was blown away by what was possible in the retouching world with Photoshop. I sold my entire Nikon kit and picked up a Canon 10D with good zoom lens and never looked back at film.

My photography, and photography in general, are going through another revolution now. But rather than film-to-digital, the new transformation is camera-to-smartphone. I picked up an iPhone 4S in October last year. While only an incremental overall jump from my 3GS, the integrated camera was an incredible leap. In a world of Facebook, Instagram and blogs, the 4S is capable of taking better pictures than a dedicated pocket digital camera from a few years ago.

This has really had a huge impact on me as a photographer. I’m taking more pictures now, because my phone is always in my pocket. And while I still use Photoshop for some things, there is now a whole suite of easy-to-use image improvement tools available that produce outstanding results. The experience is as revolutionary as my jump to digital eight years ago.

Here are a few recent pictures with my 4S. The first is a shot of my daughter at Starbucks.

This is from an event at the Park Place Jaguar dealer this month.

Here’s a low-light shot from our company “Vegas Night” party.

And finally here is one from today at the Shops at Willow Bend.

None of these were retouched in Photoshop. While a bit soft compared to “pro” standards, they are all more than acceptable for any online use. The iPhone 4S is an extremely capable camera, even in low light conditions.

So instead of lugging around a DSLR with a big honking zoom lens, my kit now consists of an iPhone 4S and a Olloclip clip-on lens. This gives me everything from the relatively normal perspective of the stock iPhone 4S all the way to a Fisheye view.

For image manipulation on the iPhone, I use Instagram, which not only allows me to apply good lookinging effects to my photos, it is also an excellent way to share my pictures with the world.

Thanks to Photostream in iOS 5, I can also easily edit pictures on my Mac and iPad. On the iPad, Snapseed is my preferred tool. And on my Mac, I use Aperture 3 and Flare. Snapseed was just released for Mac, so I’ll be checking that out too.

None of these have the sophistication of Photoshop, but they are all very easy to use and make it possible for the casual photographer to produce outstanding results.

Photography is going through another major transformation. I expect the market for point-and-shoot digital cameras to evaporate as the cameras in smartphones continue to improve. DSLRs will still have their niche, and I’ll still lust for a Nikon D800, but few people need 20MP+ images to satisfy their photography requirements. The biggest transformation for me is the fun factor. I haven’t had this much fun with my photography in years, and I’m taking more pictures than ever.

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