Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Photography; New possibilities.

Photography has been a fun passion of mine for years now. Fueled by a need to capture the outdoors which I invested most of my time in. Manual Pentax cameras and print film soon gave way to High end Pentax slr's and Fuji pro slide film. File cabinets filed with slides later I bought my first digital slr adding fuel to the fire. Some of my toys have included Canon 20d, 40d, 7d, as well as Sony A7 and moving on to a Nikon D7100. All this may seam like an obvious progression and this is the truth but my desire to write this post was fueled by a surprise from a piece of equipment that I never thought possible.
Sunset on the 16th of February 2015 Manzanita Oregon
First some details about this image first before I let the secrete out. Six individual photos were stitched together to make this 44"x 13" panorama. Spot metering of the orange area in the sky and exposure lock ensured that all six photos would be compatible and Photoshop cs6 was used in the final stitching process. Very little post processing was used on the sharpness, color, and all other features of the photo just to say that this is the way the camera did capture the image. So by now your wondering what was this taken on. LG G2 Android based smart phone. YES this is the truth. I was very surprised myself when I got home and saw how great the shots looked on the computer. To be honest I only took the images so I could share them on social media and with friends as the sunset was happening but as always with my photographs the photographer in me will never let the auto on the camera take over. Just out of frame at the bottom of the picture is were I had my Nikon D7100 setup on a tripod with the remote shutter making lots of photographs.
Nikon D7100 Carbon 8x pod and ball head.
Now that the background is in place lets get to the details. App's and knowing the camera in my LG G2 are key to making the panorama image above. Camera FV-5 is the app that was used. ISO 50 1/30 optical image stabilization on and file settings set to maximum quality. I also have the rule of thirds grid overlaying the screen which helps allot with keeping things level. Overlapping the photo's by 40 percent gives Photoshop lots of data to work with in post. Spot metering and AE-L are available in this app and the LG G2 has a 13mp sensor. I guess my point to all this is look what is possible.
Taken with LG G2 XCam LG app intelligent auto setting
The photo above is a half gallon of hot turkey stock my wife made. My new XCam app on the LG G2 is incredible on automatic and takes great pictures. It comes with a settings app wich is were things get fun and interesting. The photo above is a JPG right out of the smart phone with the setting set to best quality.
Taken with LG G@ XCam LG app on normal set to RAW files.
That's right this was taken as a RAW file from th LG G2 smart phone. The JPG file is 5mb and the RAW is 25mb. I processed the RAW file in camera raw with Photoshop. The main things I noticed were that the highlights were not blown on the raw file but the grain was a lot higher.
Taken with LG G2 XCam LG app intelligent auto setting
The fiddle on this fern is about 3 inches tall. Again taken on the LG G2 on automatic with the XCam app.
Taken with LG G2 XCam app on normal with RAW output.
This time a raw file was captured and processed in camera raw. Photoshop was not used just camera raw. The grain is gone and most of the blown highlights are recovered. I love the detail captured in the second shot.
Taken with LG G2 XCam LG app intelligent auto setting
All auto used on the above image with settings to maximum quality.
Taken with LG G2 XCam LG app HDR setting
I am not sure that the HDR made a lot of difference but the color is a little better and the is more highlight and dark details. Unfortunately the highlights are blown so I think the point of HDR is lost.
Taken with LG G2 XCam LG app RAW setting
This is the same shot taken with the same app with RAW support used. The image was then processed in camera raw with great results.
        In conclusion some details and quick thoughts. The Camera FV-5 app has tons of manual settings and this makes it great for capturing better photographs in camera but without Android 5.0 and an updated camera driver for the LG G2 Camera FV-5 has no RAW file support. The XCam LG app has no manual settings at all just a companion app that allows the user to adjust the quality of the images and turn on RAW file support. This works on Android 4.4 and above on my LG G2. Knowing this it makes things interesting to chose which to use. I hope when my LG G2 has Android 5 that my Camera FV-5 app will support raw shooting and then I will have the best of both worlds. Just so you know I will not be getting rid of my Nikon any time soon. The top photograph is hanging on my wall as a metal print panorama done by Bay Photo. They are incredible! My Lg G2 has been rooted and is running Cloudy G2.2 Rom. I hope this information is useful to some and I am sure there are others with much more information than me. Till next time keep enjoying the outdoors and taking lots of pictures.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Stafford Falls Wilson river off trail hike.

After a couple of tries to get to this falls I was determined to make it this time. The last 2 times I ran out of time as it was not the objective of the day and I tried to cram it in on the end of a long day. Stafford falls is on a side creek from the Wilson river but can be seen from the road in winter. The falls is very obstructed due to trees and the creek drainage so a close up view is best. If it is warm outside it would be easy to just wade across the Wilson river and then hike up the drainage to the falls but it was way to cold for that on this trip. Before I get to far into the details though my first stop was Fern rock falls right off the side of the road. I have been travailing to the beach my whole life and never stopped to photograph this falls.
Fern Rock Falls
Side View Fern Rock Falls
I really enjoyed this waterfall. The falls has multiple little drops and the added old logs across above the falls has a nice look to it. After this quick stop I went on to Bridge Creek Falls for a second quick stop to take more photos. There is a little short hike to this one and a second falls can be seen if you hike to the bridge below the road.
Bridge Creek Falls
There is also a nice kick out that the water does on the upper tier of the falls.
Bridge Creek Falls
Lower Bridge Creek Falls
Now that the warm-ups were done it was time for the main event. I parked on Larch Mountain Road just on the other side of the bridge that crosses the Wilson river. Following game trails for about 1/2 miles brought me to the falls. It is important to remember to stay high after the first drainage crossing our cliffs will stop your progress up the river.
The game trail to the falls.
Once I turned the corner I was presented with a great view of the falls. Great in the winter but would not be so good any of the rest of the year. So to get the better view I crossed the creek and maid my way up the hillside.
Stafford Falls Oregon
The lower tier is about 35 feet tall and the upper tier is about 70 feet tall. There is a trail that comes in from the left side of the falls and gives access to the middle of the falls.
My brother in the middle of the falls.
Stafford Falls Lower Section.
My friends in the middle of the falls.
After some time we hiked back out the drainage to the Wilson river and right ac across the stream was this view.
Nice little 15 foot cascade.
Getting back out to the car was quick and painless after witch we had a nice burger at McMenamins. As it turns out a supper fun day with friends. I was very surprised at how much better this falls was than I thought it would be.