berlin frühlingszeit vielfalten

Someone said, “Oh your photos are very good, you must have a DSLR, no?” No. My camera three years ago was one of best of its kind. Its kind being mobile phone cameras. I have a Sony Ericsson K750c with 2mp sensor of some description, that shoots 1632 x 1224 pixel images, which equates to a file size somewhere between 300 and 600kb depending on image complexity. It has a f/2.8 aperture, auto focus and fixed focal length also, and in the process of writing this discovered the joystick manually controls exposure +/- 2 stops. I never knew that. Splendid!

Which means it’s pretty crap in low light, very noisy and chroma noise too. As well, there is lens barreling and some chromatic aberration, and a tendency towards undersaturation. Sounds unattractive, but somehow being my only camera I’ve discovered it does take quite good pictures and the macro is rather sharp and colourful too, though I’m limited in what I can photograph. Fast motion tends to be depressing, as does framing a tight shot from a distance; digital zoom equals poo and the file size is too small to start with to do any cropping.

So then I was thinking about my workflow, from photo to blog.

The first shot is always the best. I’m not sure why but I think it may be because I take the shot as I see it, which is to say the camera is an intermediary or intervention between eye and object, and as such attempts to capture as much of what I see that happens to attract me. Later shots tend to be framing more, about composition, and somehow… perhaps that says something about my poor formal composition skills, or that I don’t think too much when I photograph. Nonetheless, the vast majority of images I’ve blogged have either been the first of a series or the only one taken.

I forgot! Bluetooth from phone to Mac. Excellent! Especially because it means I don’t have to move to find my phone or find the adaptor cable or other various diminishments of laziness.

Photoshop is nice. Yes, I adore Photoshop, and if I’m in a hurry I just do automatic levels, contrast and sometimes colour. Sometimes colour because it tends to wring everything through a spectrum called neutral daylight or something which is crap for early morning or late afternoon, or when light is filtered or tinted, or artificial light also.

If I’m indulgent, I do manual curves, one channel at a time. Excitement. This pretty much takes care of all the stuff I’d do using the automatic options. And then I get to play.

Somewhere along my Photoshop journey I picked up Alien Skin’s Exposure 2 plugin. I won’t blab on too much except to say they are the digital equivalent of print or slide stock from manufacturers like Fuji, Kodak, Agfa, Polaroid and reproduce the various film stocks and their proclivities, grain, exposure, hue and cast with an uncanny degree of verisimilitude. So rather than having the image from my rather poor camera, I get to play and put some life back. Or cross-process it till it goes all scary hallucination.

And finally I use Photoshop’s standard lens correction filter, though there are better plugins around, to get rid of barreling and generally make it look less like a lens disaster.

Lately I’ve been playing with panorama stitching, taking multiple photos to cover a large scene then using Photoshop’s rather fine stitching tool to combine them. mmm… yes, there are better tools, like PT Gui, but there is a balance to be made between images that aren’t so high quality and time spent.

I could do most or all of this in Aperture, where the original images and the blog images in separate libraries end up, but for the moment I prefer this workflow.

Anyway, Berlin in spring…