Do you remember your first photo camera? I do remember mine. To be honest, it was my parents’ camera – Polaroid. I was ecstatic that the photo appears in no time. Something I saw around became a cute neat picture in a few minutes. There was great magic for me in this process, but when I grew older it was lost. The technical progress goes on. When I was a kid I couldn’t even dream of the digital cameras for kids that are available today.
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I really like the Flip video cameras. I reviewed the original Flip Mino back in June and recommended it for anyone who wanted to shoot more than a couple of minutes of video at a time or who wanted to reserve the space on their camera’s memory card just for pictures. The Flip Mino is a handy, compact, easy to use video recorder. And the Flip Mino HD (Amazon) is virtually identical in every way except one—it records 720p HD video.
Everything I liked about the Flip Mino I like about the Flip Mino HD. The body and controls are identical. You can’t even tell them apart visually except for the “HD” logo on the back. They operate exactly the same and feel exactly the same in my hand. Everything I wrote in my earlier review about the Flip Mino applies to the HD version. So let’s get on to video quality.
The video and sound quality are quite good. Video is recorded in H.264 format at 30 frames per second. Audio is recorded in AAC format at 44.1 kHz. The average bitrate is about 9 Mbps which lets the Flip store about 60 minutes of video on its internal 4 GB memory.
I’ve just returned from a little jaunt to Portugal and I have to say there is little else that gets me as eager to get my camera out as wandering around a city I’ve never seen before. And of course, in the age of the compact digital camera pretty much everyone takes a camera with them when they travel these days. But how do you come back with photographs your friends and family won’t have to feign interest in? Here’s a few basic tips:
1) Be selective. It’s tempting when you’re surrounded by new things, impressive architecture, beautiful landscapes, and photogenic locals to go nuts and photograph everything ten times over. Especially when you’re using a digital camera and can tell yourself you’ll delete half of the photos later. While there’s nothing wrong with taking lots of photos make sure you scale it down a bit (i.e. do the deleting part) before you showcase your holiday snaps. Even Great Aunt Maude is going to struggle to feign interest in 200 photos of a church, however architecturally brilliant it is.
2) Try a little originality. If you’re photographing an iconic site see if you can come up with a more original way to photograph it.
One of the techniques people most often ask me to teach them is making a photograph like the one on the right that is black and white with one other colour.
There are a few ways to achieve this effect but here are two ones I find easiest for Photoshop users.
This 2.5 minute screencast shows a simple and fast technique using multiple layers to enhance the colors in a photograph.
GIMP is free photo editing software for Windows, Mac and Linux.
I published the final version of this photo at Flickr.
Focus in photography is about a lot more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus can enhance a subject by making it stand out from or blend into its surroundings, focus can draw you in, and the right focus can create an emotional connection with the viewer.
Perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons why people enjoy photography: to capture the beauty that they see. It’s no wonder that people of all ages are attracted to the camera, especially young and curious children. Wouldn’t you feel the same way when you look at the smiling faces of adults after getting that one perfect shot?
So why not try to introduce photography to your children which will open up a whole new world for them.
I’ve got a nice roundup here of food photography sources with a ton of great tips, tutorials, and videos for making food look tasty on camera. How seriously you take this probably depends to some extent on whether you’ve ever heard the term “food stylist.”
Last week felt like food photography week with several blogs posting about it. It was interesting timing for me because I’ve coincidentally been shooting a lot of food for the past couple of weeks. I don’t have much to add tip-wise except this: it is more challenging than it looks.
If you’ve got food photo tips, please share them in the comments!
Photo credit, above right: Mr. G (cc-by)
Tips, Tutorials, & Inspiration
The Ten Tastiest Food Photography Tips, Photojojo.com
Adobe has finally opened up the beta of Photoshop Express, the long-awaited online version of Adobe Photoshop. I’ve just finished running it through it’s paces and I am impressed.
Photoshop express requires registration to use. You get access to the online editing tool and a relatively meager 2 GB of space for photos at a custom URL which you can organize into a slick public gallery and slideshows. It won’t replace dedicated photo sharing like Flickr (no comments, limited interaction) but for casual users just being able to share a few albums and slideshows may be enough. By default, photos you upload to the service are private until you move them into your public gallery.
The interface should be immediately familiar to anyone who has used Adobe Lightroom. The default view of your photos mimics Lightroom’s browse mode and even includes the ability to rate and caption your uploads. Unfortunately it does not support RAW editing. That would have been killer.
Editing is also very much like Lightroom. Unlike Photoshop, it does not support layers, masking, or really any of the features that make Photoshop,