Category: Photography

Engulfed (photos)

July 13th, 2009 Permalink

A few months back I pulled my car off a dirt road and trudged through quite a bit of brush in order to get a closer look at this fire. I was on my way home, and could see the plumes of black smoke for miles as I approached via the freeway.

I decided on a whim to get closer and see what I could see, even though I didn’t have my “real” camera with me. I met up with an amiable fellow named Thomas, and together we went fire-hunting with our iPhones. It took a lot of cutting through the willows, but eventually we did come within spitting distance to the burn.

Needless to say, it was an incredible sight. The photos don’t do it justice. I was really wishing I had a RED One with a long lens, or at least my D2X with me. The imagery, quite honestly, was breathtaking. Real, high resolution images would have been awesome, and high quality film/video would have been even better.

There were a few times that the flames were a bit too close for comfort, though for the most part we were careful not to let ourselves become surrounded. But the thing that probably struck me the most—aside from the 30-35 foot high surges—was the living nature of the flames as they collectively danced along the tops of the brush, speeding to one patch, burning, pausing, then speeding to another. The heat rose visibly off of the browning reedtops as they bowed dutifully toward the flames, being tanned by the unbearably high temperature. It was clear that these flames had a mind and will of their own, as well as the power to command nature. You can’t help but wonder how anyone would be so foolish as to take its power lightly.

As an aside, I’ve always wondered what fire is. It’s not solid, it’s not gas, it’s not liquid. It isn’t air, earth, or water. It isn’t made of particles, though it seems to produce quite a few as it burns. What is it? Its one of the few things in this world you can’t hold, but you can definitely feel. Maybe I’m way off in my assessment. For instance, maybe it’s actually a gas. I’m a photographer, not a scientist. Either way, if you can shed any light on the mystery, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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P.S. Notice the finger in the top half of shot number 3? Probably not. But that’s how I achieve manual exposure on the iPhone 3g in a high contrast scene. Not ideal, but hey, it works.

✈ Sent from my iPhone 

***All images shot and edited exclusively on the iPhone. (First image gamma adjusted in PS due to WordPress being a bit too aggressive in srgb gamma correction.)

Literally minutes after meltdown número uno, we’re presented with a second glorious performance—an encore, if you will.

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✈ Sent from my iPhone 

Jack has a meltdown

July 12th, 2009 Permalink

Gotta love the woes of childhood. If only I could trade my problems with his. :)

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✈ Sent from my iPhone 

We spent a good part if today going through home videos of the kids over the last few years. What began as an exercise in cataloging what was on the DV tapes quickly turned into a multi-hour family veg. session remembering good ol’ times.

Here are a few iPhone pics from one of the tapes we recorded of the 2+ feet of snow we got our first winter back in Utah:

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Probably the most apparent thing, at least to me? Kids do grow fast.

But don’t think the entire day was wasted on gushy sentimental crap. My wonderful wife served me a delicious breakfast in bed, I had some incredible steak for dinner, and we all went for a lazy Sunday drive right around sunset.

I think I need more father’s days in the year. Thanks guys for the great time!

Sent from my iPhone

I wish I had a screenshot of the old iPhone 2.0 call info screen, because frankly, it sucked. I always lamented that there wasn’t any really pertinent information there, and rather just a bunch of wasted space. Well, to my surprise, once I had OS 3.0 installed and working, I soon happened upon the call info screen, and was almost giddy to see that there was now a useful display of data pertaining to the call(s) which I had drilled into.

Instead of seeing only a comma separated list of times when a call was made, (which was totally useless), I now see a nicely formatted table of calls, organized by incoming/outgoing, and listed by date/time made. They include the time the call was made/received, as well as the length of the call:

It’s little things like this that garner my overall appreciation for Apple products. While I’ve wanted this feature for some time, it’s like they read my mind with this most recent update. So many other interfaces are left wanting. And wanting. And wanting. And they never seem to change.

Thanks for figuring it out, Apple!

This stumped me for a minute or two – I knew I had seen that it was possible to attach multiple images to an email message, but it wasn’t obvious once I had gotten the new iPhone 3.0 OS installed. Here’s a quick refresher for you if you are wondering too…

Go to a gallery on your iPhone. Click on the rectangle (with an arrow shooting out of it) in the lower left corner of the screen:

You will now be in select mode, and you can scroll throughout this entire gallery and select whichever images you would like to copy:

Now that you have some images selected, simply press the copy button at the bottom of the screen, and Voila! they’re in memory:

Go to your mail application, activate your cursor in the email body, and again press your finger down on the cursor until you see the magnifying glass. Let go, and the black copy/paste bar should appear. Press the paste button, and there you have it. You should see all of the images that you selected appear in the email.

Note that you can also choose the “share” button, instead of the copy button after you’ve selected your images from the gallery. Be aware that depending on which approach you use, final image sizes will vary (i.e. copy/pasting will allow you to send the full resolution image, while choosing the “share” option to send the image to mail will cause it to be shrunk down to a more suitable “web” size). Something to be aware of if you need one or the other.

Sent from my iPhone

I know copy/paste has been around for ages on mobile devices. I used it often on my palm p700 years ago, and there’s no denying it’s a very useful feature. The fact that tens of millions of mobile computing users chose the iPhone despite the glaring absence of simple copy/paste is quite a tribute to the phone’s revolutionary concepts and design.

Still, it’s good to know that Apple woke up and got to work by bringing this basic function to the iPhone. Already, I’ve found myself using it more than a handful of times. And it only seems to get more fun each time I use it. I’m now looking for things to copy/paste just to use the feature. It’s a bit like an illness. Thanks, Apple. It’s nice to finally have a real computing experience on the iPhone.

Sent from my iPhone

Big Government

February 13th, 2009 Permalink

There’s always a tradeoff:

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”

-Barry Goldwater 1968

Something to think about amidst all of this sentiment from Washington about how only government spending can save us now. The New Deal was a very invasive program back in the 30’s, and it’s influence – as it is still today found crawling forward – is being revived once again by a new wave of “big government” mentalities. You may not see a tremendous dissipation of liberty immediately, but as time has shown, the impact is abhorrent and long lasting.

I believe the solution is confidence, faith, creativity, and hard work. In my opinion, anyone that tells you otherwise has an agenda.

Today I came across an argument about movies, videos, tv, and the big issue of frames per second and how it affects us, the viewers. You see, pretty much any movie you watch is filmed at a rate of 24 frames per second, (and played back at the same) where your camcorders and home videos are almost exclusively shot at 30fps. For those very few in the world who can’t see the difference, or those who can, and actually prefer the faster frame rates, the following is for you.

First off, I’ll unleash my bias by saying that if 24p is done away with, I’ll either shoot myself in the head, or stop watching movies, and these two choices in essence are not mutually exclusive. I’m a producer/designer of creative media, a professional photographer, a cinema hobbyist, and founder of a creative agency. I am an artist, but not a snob, I hope.

I like what Grego at the link above stated: “In a visual field like video and film, if something looks better, it is better. That is not redundant language but speaks to the truth of what is appealing to the visual system in humans.”

That is so true, in my experience. Standards are one thing that play a factor, and sometimes newer, better standards and formats come along that change our ability to comprehend and appreciate the message being presented. We’ve gone from 16fps in the early film days to 24fps today. Of course, it didn’t stop there, and many years ago went on to 30fps, and now we’re hitting the 60fps mark and higher. We’ve had 30fps for a long time, but there’s a reason why it’s never really grabbed hold in cinema. People don’t like it. Subconsciously. It’s nature. I don’t understand all the scientific reasons, I haven’t pioneered or even read psychological studies on the issue. But I’ll credit Steven v2 and Grego (from the link) for their comprehensive explanations.

Some people will (and do) like the faster frame rates for one reason: more information. They appreciate not having critical moments (and I mean “moments”, because any movie worth it’s weight will not really have critical moments which are unwatchable) appearing blurry, and they prefer having more clarity to less. I assume most of these types of individuals are logical, left brained, and the literal thinking type. That’s fine. But I think there is an aspect to this that isn’t really being discussed. While I’m a creative type, so is the left brained individual. Just because he/she doesn’t pick up a paintbrush or a camera, they are seen as non-creative. Inventing is creative. Research is creative. Sharing “data”, or logical explanations on why or how things work very often requires a creativity, just not a type that translates directly to a commonly accepted art form.

The debate really IS a preference issue, but there is a reason, I believe, for the differences in preference. My logical thinking friends often like to dabble in art, but they prefer a more scientific approach. They often use Gimp, and think it’s the shiz, because it’s more technical (gotta use linux), and they don’t see how you could need anything else. Case in point is Ken Rockwell, talking this very day on his website about how film is better than digital, because one magazine chooses to print “film” images in one section of their mag more often than digital. The problem: Ken Rockwell, isn’t that creative, at least not in the artistic side of photography. He’s very keen technically, but when a guy says there is no need to shoot RAW in a pro DSLR – that JPEG is better all around, then it’s clear that the guy has missed the biggest message of raw yet: creative power. Is that a sin? No, it’s just clear that from a creative standpoint, these folks just aren’t as advanced and intuitive. I’m not telling you how to study your petri dishes or how to design your electronic chips, and Ken and his chums shouldn’t dictate to me and the more creatively (artistically) advanced or aware how we should like our media served up. Their preference is not ours, nor is it the majority.

Movies look better at 24p, and if I’m making it sound like it’s a religious issue, so be it. My faith is vested in the hope that this standard sticks around for a VERY long time.

It’s a Girl!!!

January 6th, 2009 Permalink

Sorry this is quick. We are proud to announce that we have a new daughter to add to our family! She was born today, Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:10 P.M. We’re told she weights 7lbs. 4oz., is 20 inches long, and is gosh darn adorable. You can follow the rest of our details on my twitter page here (no need to sign up to view): http://www.twitter.com/ronadair

We’ll post more there as we get time. Thanks for all of your love and support! Enjoy the photos below

***PLEASE CLICK AN IMAGE TO VIEW LARGER