Some cool video editing images:

You can do anything, but lay off of my blue suede shoes …
You Could Do Anything, But Terminate Of Our Ultramarine Smirk Trainers ...
Image by Ed Yourdon
For the most part, winter clothing in NYC is pretty dull: people wear dark coats, dark hats, black gloves, dark scarves and mufflers … compared to the bright, cheery, colorful summer attire you see around here, it’s pretty boring.

But there are exceptions — and I saw one wonderful example on a crowded IRT subway while riding home late one afternoon during the gloomy week between Christmas and New Year’s.

The boots were worn by a young woman, and I don’t remember anything else about her. She apparently wore white socks and black pants …. She may have been Asian, but maybe not … and anyway, who cares? But I do recall thinking, as I watched her, that she was relatively young …

Indeed, she was probably young enough that if I had asked her if she was thinking of Elvis when she donned this pair of colorful blue boots, she probably would have looked at me as if I was from Mars …

If you’d like to be reminded of the song’s lyrics (which I must admit that I had first remembered as "don’t step on my blue suede shoes") you can find them on several different Internet pages, including this one:…

There was once a time when I could sing both the lyrics and the tune of this song, without being shot or assaulted in public, on the streets of south Omaha … I was 12 years old at the time, and hardly anyone paid attention to me. Heck, even now hardly anyone pays any attention to me — which is probably the main reason I get away with taking all of these candid photos, with my iPhone, my pocket camera, and occasionally with a larger DSLR camera.

Hmmm, an afterthought: I wonder if the overall look would be more interesting if the shoelaces were a different color. Maybe red? Elvis would be proud …

Note: I chose this as my "photo of the day" for Jan 9, 2014


Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, it’s hard to walk around with a modern smartphone in your pocket, and not be tempted to use the built-in camera from time-to-time. Veteran photographers typically sneer at such behavior, and most will tell you that they can instantly recognize an iPhone photo, which they mentally reject as being unworthy of any serious attention.

After using many earlier models of smartphones over the past several years, I was inclined to agree; after all, I always (well, almost always) had a “real” phone in my pocket (or backpack or camera-bag), and it was always capable of taking a much better photographic image than the mediocre, grainy images shot with a camera-phone.

But still … there were a few occasions when I desperately wanted to capture some photo-worthy event taking place right in front of me, and inevitably it turned out to be the times when I did not have the “real” camera with me. Or I did have it, but it was buried somewhere in a bag, and I knew that the “event” would have disappeared by the time I found the “real" camera and turned it on. By contrast, the smart-phone was always in my pocket (along with my keys and my wallet, it’s one of the three things I consciously grab every time I walk out the door). And I often found that I could turn it on, point it at the photographic scene, and take the picture much faster than I could do the same thing with a “traditional” camera.

Meanwhile, smartphone cameras have gotten substantially better in the past few years, from a mechanical/hardware perspective; and the software “intelligence” controlling the camera has become amazingly sophisticated. It’s still not on the same level as a “professional” DSLR camera, but for a large majority of the “average” photographic situations we’re likely to encounter in the unplanned moments of our lives, it’s more and more likely to be “good enough.” The old adage of “the best camera is the one you have with you” is more and more relevant these days. For me, 90% of the success in taking a good photo is simply being in the right place at the right time, being aware that the “photo opportunity” is there, and having a camera — any camera — to take advantage of that opportunity. Only 10% of the time does it matter which camera I’m using, or what technical features I’ve managed to use.

And now, with the recent advent of the iPhone5s, there is one more improvement — which, as far as I can tell, simply does not exist in any of the “professional” cameras. You can take an unlimited number of “burst-mode” shots with the new iPhone, simply by keeping your finger on the shutter button; instead of being limited to just six (as a few of the DSLR cameras currently offer), you can take 10, 20, or even a hundred shots. And then — almost magically — the iPhone will show you which one or two of the large burst of photos was optimally sharp and clear. With a couple of clicks, you can then delete everything else, and retain only the very best one or two from the entire burst.

With that in mind, I’ve begun using my iPhone5s for more and more “everyday” photo situations out on the street. Since I’m typically photographing ordinary, mundane events, even the one or two “optimal” shots that the camera-phone retains might not be worth showing anyone else … so there is still a lot of pruning and editing to be done, and I’m lucky if 10% of those “optimal” shots are good enough to justify uploading to Flickr and sharing with the rest of the world. Still, it’s an enormous benefit to know that my editing work can begin with photos that are more-or-less “technically” adequate, and that I don’t have to waste even a second reviewing dozens of technically-mediocre shots that are fuzzy, or blurred.

Oh, yeah, one other minor benefit of the iPhone5s (and presumably most other current brands of smartphone): it automatically geotags every photo and video, without any special effort on the photographer’s part. Only one of my other big, fat cameras (the Sony Alpha SLT A65) has that feature, and I’ve noticed that almost none of the “new” mirrorless cameras have got a built-in GPS thingy that will perform the geotagging…

I’ve had my iPhone5s for a couple of months now, but I’ve only been using the “burst-mode” photography feature aggressively for the past couple of weeks. As a result, the initial batch of photos that I’m uploading are all taken in the greater-NYC area. But as time goes on, and as my normal travel routine takes me to other parts of the world, I hope to add more and more “everyday” scenes in cities that I might not have the opportunity to photograph in a “serious” way.

Stay tuned….

Digital Darkroom: DSLR + Snapseed
video editing - You Could Do Anything, But Terminate Of Our Ultramarine Smirk Trainers ...
Image by jasewong
I’ve been trying out this app by Nik software called Snapseed.

The selective adjustment feature is a standout for photo editing on a touchscreen. What you do is touch the point you want to adjust. The software creates a resizable circular mask anchored around the point you selected and automatically limits the editing area to the object – probably using some sort of colour and luminance matching eg. A symbol or underexposed shadow. You can then adjust the exposure, contrast an saturation of the selected object in quite a natural way without affecting other parts of the photo. It’s like the old darkroom techniques of spotting and dodging, but done with digital precision. It’s hard to explain in words so here’s the demo video

On my last trip I also tried pairing my DSLR with my iPad to backup and process photos on the fly. All I needed was an iPad USB adapter and USB cable to hook it up directly to any digital camera. I usually lug around a MacBook + hard drive.

The workflow from camera to publishing is still a little clunky:
1. Use the standard iOS Photo app to import photos from the camera. It would be really helpful if they made the previews larger so you can actually choose the best shots to import. Instead you get small thumbnails that don’t show you much detail.
2. Open Snapseed and of the photos you did import, try guessing the best one to edit from the small thumbnails. You end up opening and closing photos several times to get the right shot to edit.
3. Use the Snapseed touchscreen editing tools – which are great!
4. Save back to the iOS Gallery.
5. Use whatever it is you do to share photos. With the Flickr app you can tag and upload up to 10 at a time.

It would be great if there was a way to sync all your work back onto a desktop when you finally get home to view and continue editing via a bigger screen so that you can continue on with the editing.

However, I’ve never used a more efficient tool for the editing part. The touchscreen enables me to apply delicate exposure and contrast adjustments and I didn’t have to wait till I got home to get my photos off my DSLR and onto the web. Lookin forward to the next version of this app.

– selective adjustment for fine and precise image control
– ambience adjustment is a good alternative look to vignette
– great natural adjustments and effects
– brilliant value for AUD.49

– each edit is burnt in each time you use one of Snapseed’s tools with no undo button
– you can’t batch process
– no end-to-end workflow. It would be greatly improved with better import and export/sharing tools

Comments and links please!
I was keen to try and see if I can do everything I need to on my iPad without having to sit in front of my desktop… seems like we’re not quite there yet. At the moment I can only really use Snapseed for ad-hoc editing but what I’d like to do is pair my camera with my iPad for most of the edits and relegate the Desktop to backups and high detail edits in Photoshop.

If anyone has a better way to process images from their DSLR on their iPad, do tell!
Discussion Thread over on the Snapseed Group

editing video
video editing - You Could Do Anything, But Terminate Of Our Ultramarine Smirk Trainers ...
Image by David Lee King