Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hipstamatic walkabout

Ophir road, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron ©1/22/11
iPhone 3G photomerge
In this blog I discuss shooting with the Hipstamatic iphone camera as well as a thoroughly obtuse discussion of the electromagnetic spectrum as it relates to imaging technology. I think. As always, there are two ways to deal with a blog like this. Read it or glance through the pictures. They are waaaay down there today.

Hipstamatic on monopod, Andrew D. Barron ©1/23/11
The Hipstamatic is probably my favorite camera right now. This is a remarkable turnaround for me if you read the initially skeptical 'final field test' with the iphone just six short weeks ago (12/6/10). At that time I gave the iphone one more try and bought the Hipstamatic 185 on sale (that blog, too). As of today, I'm into the Hipstamatic for a grand total of $5.94. At right, you can see the tiny viewfinder I use when shooting with it . This limitation actually helps me to put the camera into the scene, rather than looking through the camera's view of the world. I try to find subjects that work with the lens (the physical lens of the iphone in this instance). Also on display is the white 'skin' for the camera I just got with the 'Mission' application addition (hipstapak). I'll take this moment to commend xolager for his tenacity in following through with an idea I had. Well done!

The Hipstamatic on 3G produces only 1200 pixels square, so every bit counts. That is why I most often shoot it stabilized on a monopod or tripod. There is no remote shutter for the iPhone. Bluetooth connectivity is an ideal technology to implement this function. I can only guess there are hardware limitations on the physical camera. Even if there were a remote, Synthetic Corp would have to program Hipstamatic support for it, too. I am unaware of self-timer mode on the Hipstamatic either. On the 3G, the camera automatically adjusts the exposure, yet these ISO and shutter speed data are not reported in the exif header. If you're curious about the iPhone 4's (i4) camera improvements, take a look at Chris Harland's photostream. Be sure to look at them large. Chris post-processes occasionally with an app (uh oh, here I go) called Sawnkolab. The Hipstamatic images on i4 are 1936 pixels square. A modest pixel improvement yet apparently the lens and image sensor (CMOS?) on the i4 is much much better. Nice stuff Chris!

I like the iphone-as-camera because there is no gear. Carrying a collapsible monopod is no problem (this one here is made by Photoperfect and is 17" when closed). There camera mount is a ball joint that rolls out of the way and allows the camera to rest there while shooting; no threads, no fuss. The lens and the sensor on my iphone are far from good. So working within the constraints of 'what it does' has helped me to stop hating it. As with every camera, each photographer will need to discover this for themselves. I now seldom get those "oh crap, I don't have a camera!" pangs.

Kodak's 7th Here's How book featuring article on infrared Ektacrhome, Andrew D. Barron ©1/23/11Shooting with the Hipstamatic, I use the various film and lens effects mostly in terms of their color qualities. I always shoot in "High Quality" which has a definite performance drawback. Some of the films are too wacky for consistent use: Kodot Grizzled and Dream Canvas, as well as the Dali lens. For some reason, I have not used Blanko. The Helga Viking lens is a 'straight lens'. I use it with a film to capture a straight shot. I think of Pistil and Ina's 1969 as 'straight' films, too. Where I live is very green. The iphone camera tends to capture as more bluish and purple. So I often will use the John S lens because it seems to oversaturate greens. If I get tired of greeneygreen of the John S, I'll flip over to the Kaimal Mark II. This lens makes everything oddly red and green scenes capture towards orange. I rarely use the Jimmy lens, and like Blanko film, there's no real reason for not exploring them. I anticipate shooting on a gray card to understand the nature of the films and effects. Keith Higgins produces marvelous Hipstamatic grids for comparison.
Kodak's 7th Here's How book from 1971 featuring article on infrared Ektachrome, Andrew D. Barron ©1/23/11
The 'red' lenses, Lucifer Mark VI and Kaimal Mark II generate very nice results over the monochrome films. I think the 3G is strongest in monochrome because the crap camera is not very good with color balance or saturation; refer to wide 3 shot merge that opens this blog, taken with the "Camera" app and merged in PS. I like the monochrome films a lot: BlacKeys Supergrain, BlacKeys B+W and Claunch 72 Monochrome.

Discussion of infrared imaging and remote sensing
infrared is a spectrum of color just past the visible spectrum. Photographic films are capable of imaging this wavelength and making the invisible, well, visible. infrared stereographic aerial photography has been used for decades to map vegetative cover, health, plant species, et cetera. It is my estimation that the power to image the invisible was a primary directive of the LandSAT satellite program. In the mid-infrared, 'band 7' (2.08-2.35μm) and thermal infrared 'band 6' (10.4-12.5μm), different rocks and other geologic characteristics can be discerned. I fondly recall making 7-4-2 composites over the Lovejoy basalt at Table Mountain while I was the the USGS. I used both ArcInfo GRID and photoshop for that experiment. I may find that image to post here (now where are those 100 megabyte zip drives?). LandSAT is an unimaginably valuable image data set of our world, covering our planet in six incarnations since 1972 at 30 meters (60m for MSS predecessor). The planned July 2011 launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM or Landsat 8?) is nice to read as I assemble these notes.

Kodak and others marketed infrared film for the general public. In a series of Kodak "Here's How", John F. Brandow contributed an article about infrared film in the 7th issue, ©1971.

End tangent
So, yeah, the Hipstamatic has a film called Alfred infrared. I like the border and occasionally is a perfect choice, such as this wall map shot. It does not change the wavelength sensitivity of the sensor in the phone, but rather emulates the 'look' of infrared images. Incidently, in researching custom true black and white digital printing, the same company, Digital Silver Imaging also sells digital infrared camera modifications. How cool!

I read a most helpful post for eliminating gaps when embedding tables. Enjoy the pics!

I'd prefer to shoot Hipstamatic on an i4, no doubt. Let's look at this though: even if I encouraged 50 people to buy the Hipstamatic app and they each bought three more Hipstapack's, that's only $250 in raw revenue, which Apple takes something like 20%. To imagine this blog having that kind of reach (50 new buyers) and that Synthetic Corp or Apple would value my contribution makes me laugh. But at least I put it out there. :)

I wish I had a better grasp of CSS. I hand code in HTML as I write, an easy-for-me old-school adaptation from using font codes in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. In 1991, I got decent typographic output from a Panasonic KXP1124 dot matrix printer, ever (and still) inspired by Gene "Doc" Russell. That twenty year-old story can be found here (20 years pass and I've still never owned a laser printer personally :)

Anyway, this Flickr badge would be nice to put on the right hand side. What do you think?

Andrew's Flickr profile

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