Locking focus and exposure on iOS5’s camera

Since the iPhone 3GS, you could tap on any part of the image in the Camera app to lock focus and exposure. The exposure and focus however shifts as you recompose your image.

New in iOS5, you can finally lock focus and exposure on a spot and keep it locked even as you recompose the frame. But it’s not entirely easy to figure out how.

Tap and hold on the spot for 2s until the focus box animates. The words ‘AE/AF Lock’ appears at the bottom of the screen as you let go of your finger.

Looking and seeing

Tay Kay Chin, one of Singapore’s most well-known photographer, in an interview in 2005:

People looking at ordinary scenes in life translated into pictures often have one of the two reactions – “boring” or “hmm, why haven’t I see it all these years”. I think people who think they know everything in life or photography need to occasionally take five steps backward and ask: I am looking, but am I seeing? Because of the ease in which a photograph can be made, people have now forgotten to ask the other question: why or why not? I think many people have forgotten photography’s principle role – preserving memories.

“Ridiculous” to optimise sites for iPhone

Rob Haggart of the blog A Photo Editor and professional photography portfolio software A Photo Folio, wrote in 2008:

A reader asked me awhile back about optimizing websites for the iPhone which I immediately dismissed as ridiculous and then, what do you know, I was out of the office later that day and tried to access a photographers contact info by going to their website on my palm phone because I didn’t have it in my database and couldn’t do it because of the flash so I thought ok, maybe there’s something to this.

In the larger scheme of things nobody will ever receive or lose a job based on the ability of their portfolio to render on a palm phone or iphone but more and more I find myself using google as a phone book instead of carefully entering photographers contact info into my database like I used to do.

Today, A Photo Folio portfolio sites support not only the iPhone (albeit rudimentary), but is boasting to be the first to deliver iPad sites on their portfolio.

Given the popularity and ubiquity of the iPhone among editors, art directors and clients, it is possible that you will receive or lose jobs based on the ability of your portfolio to render on the iPhone/iPad.

Earlier today, Kottke points out the fact that the websites of the top 10 luxury brands don’t work on the iPad reflect poorly on the industry, and that “If I were Anna Wintour, I would be screaming at these companies to fix these sites”.

I don’t know if Anna Wintour is using an iPhone or an iPad, but I’d bet it’s one of the many smartphones—of which none of them supports Flash.

Pulitzer-Winning Photojournalist Slams World Press Photo Awards

Pulitzer-winning photojournalist, and winner of several World Press Photo Awards (19751, 19862) slams the selection of the 2009 World Press Photo winners:

The World Press Photo of the Year is stunning for its lack of content or any other journalistic values. The jury’s selection is yet another setback for a profession that is already in deep trouble. If that was the best of the best, they should have made no selection at all, and I’m hoping next year will bring a more professional group of jurors.

‘The photo shows the beginning of something, the beginning of a huge story,’ jury chair Ayperi Karabuda Ecer said of the photo. Right. Well how about showing pictures of the story itself, and there were plenty of powerful images from the Iranian protests, if that was what they wanted to show.

A fellow photographer said it was like seeing a photo of Paul Revere putting on his shoes before his midnight ride. There are those of us who still want to see the ride, not the’haunting and eerily prescient’ prelude.

Kennerly further elaborated in a later comment:

To further amplify my thoughts on the Photo of the Year… This is nothing personal about the photographer who won, he was there, and I admire him for it, but in my estimation there were other way more worthy photographs. If you just scan the other categories, there were ample opportunities to choose a great photograph from among them.

If the judges wanted to recognize Iran upheaval coverage, they had only to look at AFP photographer Olivier Laban-Mattel’s 2nd place Spot News Story for a winner. He was right there on top of it, wide angle in hand, putting his life on the line, and has fantastic photos to show for his courage. Any of his were better than what was chosen, and oh yes, they told the story, as opposed to being some ambiguous moment taken from afar of people doing who knows what on the top of a darkened roof above Tehran.

And there were many other strong contenders among the other categories’Charles Ommanney’s wonderful Obama photo as he waited, eyes closed, to make entrance for his swearing-in, Julie Jacobson’s dying Marine in Afghanistan, David Guttenfelder’s soldiers under fire, Walter Astrada’s bloodbath in Magagascar, and on and on. The photos were there, honored as winners in the specialized categories, but overlooked by a jury who might as well have been judges from another planet.

About time someone spoke up on the quality of the awards.

Missing the point

Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov muses about chess and computers:

The moment I became the youngest world chess champion in history at the age of twenty-two in 1985, I began receiving endless questions about the secret of my success and the nature of my talent. Instead of asking about Sicilian Defenses, journalists wanted to know about my diet, my personal life, how many moves ahead I saw, and how many games I held in my memory. I soon realized that my answers were disappointing. I didn’t eat anything special. I worked hard because my mother had taught me to. My memory was good, but hardly photographic… It’s the equivalent of asking Lance Armstrong how many times he shifts gears during the Tour de France.

Garry’s comments resonated strongly with me as I recall how many beginning photographers would obsess themselves over what f/stop, which lens, what camera model, what lighting setup was used to achieve a great photograph. More often than not, these factors have little to do with what made the photograph great in the first place.

Aperture 3: I’ll Pass

No tethering support for Canon 5D2, or for that matter, any Canon cameras newer than the 350D.

Even the inelegant workaround, the Hot Folder Import Script doesn’t work. And even when it does, it is still more clumsy than Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3’s implementation of Auto Import, requiring an additional script to work.

As much as I want to like using Aperture (hell, it’s almost S$200 cheaper than Lightroom 3), I’m going to have to pass.

Angry photographer rants

Microstock on Time cover

An angry, traditional photographer rants about how microstock photographers stole his big, fat pay cheque away, calls microstock low quality, and Robert—whose shot was bought by Time—a pervert:

Congratulations Robert, you’ve just become the poster-boy for exactly what is wrong about iStockphoto. A stock rate previously known to be $3,000 for the cover of Time Magazine you just sold for $30 – a 99% discount. After all big “wins”, the winner usually gets asked where they’ll go to celebrate. I’d ask you where you’re going with that dough, but you can’t even go to Disneyland, like winners in the past.

Film bigots II

I took issue with a bigoted and misleading write-up by a group of “elite” film photographers at Anti Lomography with my previous post.

Someone, who posted a comment under a link to rangefinderfilipinas.com, replied:

Sorry, but you missed the point. Or a lot of points, I should say. If you read past the ‘about’ page, you’d see what you’d missed.

For instance, it’s not against post processing per se. It’s about EXCESSIVE postprocessing that takes the ‘photography’ out of, well, photography. It’s about using things like extreme HDR or making people have skins like bronzed rubber vinyl.

“1 hour lab processing”? If you looked at the tags, you’d note that a good number indicate some form of developing reference. In BW. Since when did 1 hour labs run D76 or Rodinal? Would you have that where you are? Many of the photos posted there also originate from prints – some conventional bromides, some alternative prints. And of the scans, many were subjected to some form of post processing- just enough to make them look right, and restore what the machine missed. The machines and software used often don’t render things as how the photographer saw the image. Just enough to put back what was lost. Not as far as making neon sunsets or plastic skins.

But then again, you probably did not see all these, did you?

I don’t understand why people write things that they do not mean, and put it up on a page that seeks to explain their reason of being.

Nowhere in the writeup did it state that the group is only against extreme post processing. In fact, the writeup is clearly against any form of digital post-processing (and of course, everything anything else but their form of film photography).

Here are some highlights from the write-up:

“Plus, we compose and calculate our exposure with our minds and eyes before the shot is taken; not with Photoshop after the image is captured.”

“The capture of a beautiful image can be taken in just an instant, but the making of that image could be due to years of study and learning. All done without the help of Photoshop!”

“Digital is one of the best ways to learn photography but when you get sick of “post processing” buy an old film camera and discover yourself and further discover photography.”

Any clear-minded person would come to the same three conclusions based on this bigoted and clearly misleading writeup: one, film photography requires no post processing (“All done without the help of Photoshop!”); two, any form of post processing is bad; three, film photographers are superior because they don’t ever need to post process their photographs.

I’m very wary of people who loudly proclaim the superiority of one medium over another, but provide no objective evidence other than subjective claims such as their preferred medium having “emotion, feeling, depth and texture to a good film image that is just not there in a digital shot.”

The site ostensibly claims to be anti-lomography. But in reality, it really is a pro-film and anti-everything-else group.

Ironically, many of the photos found on Anti Lomography looks just like the lomographs that they claim they’re out against.

Film bigots

Over at Anti Lomography, a group of film purists are attacking what they deemed as their inferior film counterpartslomographers who use “old film cameras that are generally of extremely poor quality and overpriced”.

They claim they aren’t anti-digital and support digital photography as one of the best ways to learn photography. But they would later add: “when you get sick of ‘post processing’, buy an old film camera and discover yourself and further discover photography.”

I can’t believe there are still people who believe that film is any more pure than digital. Any self-respecting photographerfilm or digitalwould spend time post processing their photos. Ansel Adams was not only known as a master in landscape photography, but a master in darkroom techniques.

The only reason why they would imply post processing as bad and inferior to film photography is probably because they’ve been shooting like the lomographersletting the 1-hour labs do the developing and printing for them.