Wow. A historic day in the gadget world. The iPhone 3G is out (released in New Zealand a few hours back, comes out here in the morning), MobileMe was launched, and then disappeared (and remains unavailable), and the Apps Store went live.
The apps store (available in iTunes) has got some really sweet software. This iPhone is going to change the mobile scene Big Stylee. For the first time, virtually anyone can develop apps for mobiles and market them for next to nothing to a global user base. I don’t like mobile phones at all and haven’t upgraded mine in years …but the iphone is something else.
I mean, come on, how can you resist when you can use it as a remote control for your music library on your computer.
And what about this one: listening to a piece of music and want to know what it is? Let your phone listen to it for 5 seconds and it will tell you what the song is (and provide you with a link to buy it).
And then there’s Exposure: it’s Flickr in your pocket. But check this out – you can tap on a button and using the iPhone’s GPS and Flickrs metadata it will show you a bunch of photos taken near where you’re standing! (good for people who are so addicted to looking at their iPhone they miss the surrounding scenery.
Other apps I downloaded (despite not having an iPhone or iPod Touch) included Twitterific, a groovy calendar-converter for Japanese years, the evernote app and …Facebook. A totally pointless exercise, but they bring me closer to the iPhone (which I’ll pick up in September).
And that remote control app for iTunes. I know it is just silly to get so excited about turning your phone into a remote control, but I don’t know, there’s something about it that just gets me.
It seems Apple is experiencing major issues with MobileMe though. Let’s just hope they get it sorted soon though so I too can wake up to Exchange for the rest of us 🙂
I’ve talked about this before, but I want to talk about it again.
A few days back I was asked by a friend if I’d give them a bit of training in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the most wonderful photo-processing software ever to have created for people who work with RAW images, or find Photoshop a bit OTT for their purposes.
It was an interesting experience, as it really demonstrated to me just what a fundamental shift the move to the use of image processing software such as Lightroom can mark.
Lightroom is the modern-day darkroom (in case you hadn’t guessed from the name!). Most people don’t need darkrooms these days as their cameras can do the processing for them. If your camera gives you JPEG images, it has taken the raw data that hit its sensor through the lens, and then interpreted that as it saw fit, enhancing colours and setting the contrast (etc) before throwing away the ‘unnecessary’ data and compressing the remainder into a JPEG.
For me, when I do shoot in JPEG with my little Sony Cybershot, I feel it’s a passive process (although one would not be able to tell this from looking at the images). All I do is chuck them straight into my photo library. There has been little by way of engagement with the images once they have been taken.
With my Nikon set to shoot in RAW, it just gives me the raw data (funny that), with no modifications. It’s then up to me to decide how that image is developed (by putting it through Lightroom).
Thankfully modern cameras are very good at processing images and creating JPEGs. All of my photos up until last summer were taken as JPEGs (including all those on my Trans-Siberian adventure), and to look at them you’d find it hard to tell the difference between them and those I’ve since shot in RAW. In fact you can’t.
I think for me though, photography is almost as much about the process as it is about the end result. I absolutely love processing my images, deciding for myself what the end result will look like. I also get great pleasure out of exporting these images direct from Lightroom to Flickr and into my iPhoto library for use in my projects, to share with other people.
You may have noticed that I have stopped watermarking my images. That was a conscious decision to not be so precious about them.
I’ve recently come to embrace keywording (tagging) too. I don’t just do it for the satisfaction of ‘being organised’ – with over 21,000 photos in my library now it’s vital that they have rich descriptions to enable me to find them at a later date. I tag them upon import, and these tags remain with the images all the way through to Flickr (or wherever else they go). If you are able to read the metadata attached to the image above, along with the details of what shutter speed I used / what lens I had on the camera, you’ll find all my tags (Flickr displays these by default).
I feel that this kind of engagement with my photos helps me to improve my technique. It gives me the opportunity to study them in detail, to get a feel for what worked, and what didn’t. It encourages me to take more photos, which will lead to more experiences, and a greater appreciation of what was in front of the lens.
If you would like to engage more with your images and are prepared to put in the few hours necessary to learn the Lightroom ropes, I would recommend you switch your camera to RAW (if it allows it), and download a free Beta version of Lightroom from www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/.
Next, grap yourself a free 7-day trial from the best software training company in the world, Lynda.com, and check out the Lightroom tutorial. You can get that by visiting www.lynda.com/deke (normally $25 per month).
Finally, enjoy. Oh, and consider subscribing to the (free) podcast from The Radiant Vista. (N.b. Anonymous: somehow I don’t think that podcast will be your cup of tea).