Evolution in my photography

For pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve loved taking photographs; not always been successful with it but I’ve always tried. I’ve had various point-and-shoot film cameras over the years, and then my first point-and-shoot digital camera was an old HP. About eight or nine years ago, I bought my first (and thus far only one) Canon Rebel XS DSLR camera with the kit 18-55mm lens and an additional 75-300mm telephoto lens. I’ve had fun playing with it, and learning more as I go through magazines and books.

Tall Ships 2000, Halifax, NS. Point-and-shoot digital camera. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Glencoe, Scotland, UK. May 2006. Shot with a Pentax point-and-shoot digital 35mm camera. © J. Lynn Stapleton

As technology changes over the years, improvements get better to adapt to needs and wants, cameras get larger and more expensive the further up you want to take your photography, with a myriad of additional lenses. In addition, the advances in mobile phone photography has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years alone, and keeps improving.

Cape Spear Lighthouse, May 2007 with Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Cape Spear Lighthouse, May 2007 with Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Out for a drive in southwest New Brunswick in the fall. Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Out for a drive in southwest New Brunswick in the fall. Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY., 10th March 2011. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY., 10th March 2011. Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton

When I went to the United Kingdom in 2013, I brought both my Canon DSLR and my iPhone 4S (the latter, using only wifi), and took photos with both, though primarily the DSLR. Both served their purpose well. My most recent vacation down to New York City and Largo, FL in February/March 2015, I decided for minimalistic purposes just to take my iPhone 5s, as I was trying to limit what I had to carry.

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. Taken with Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Canal waterfront, Skipton. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Canal waterfront, Skipton. Taken with Canon Rebel XS 1000D. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Brighton Wheel, Brighton, UK. 19 July 2013.  Taken with iPhone 4S. Edited in Snapseed. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Brighton Wheel, Brighton, UK. 19 July 2013. Taken with iPhone 4S. Edited in Snapseed. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Union Square, New York, NY. taken at night with iPhone 5s. Edited with Snapseed app. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Union Square, New York, NY. taken at night with iPhone 5s. Edited with Snapseed app. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Lake Seminole, Largo, FL. Taken 18th February 2015 with iPhone 5s. Edited with Snapseed and SKRWT.

Lake Seminole, Largo, FL. Taken 18th February 2015 with iPhone 5s. Edited with Snapseed and SKRWT.

For the past year or so, I’ve been subscribed to the iPad Newsstand magazine called Photography Week, though it’s primarily aimed at those who work pretty much exclusively with DSLR cameras. However, it has been a wonderful source of information in terms of learning of new styles of photography and improving the photography with my DSLR. There are videos and tips for new techniques and ideas to shoot different scenarios. Other print photography magazines I’ve checked out include Outdoor Photography, Black and White Photography Made Easy, and various others along the way.

Back in November 2014, I discovered iPhone Photography School online which is full of interviews and video techniques on improving one’s skills with the iPhone. I have found this very successful, partlcularly as I’m very much a visual learner; if I can see it being done, I can more easily replicate the process for myself, given the time and place to practice what I’ve learned. In February 2015. I signed up for their iPhone Photo Academy (a paid online course) – video lessons with step-by-step instructions on elements of photography and the capabilities of the iPhone native camera as well as some additional photography apps, and how to improve my photos. It’s been very helpful and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. So much to learn, practice and try new things with photography.

In addition to the camera apps themselves, there are quite a number of editing apps for the iPhone/iPad, without needing to transfer the pictures to one’s computer to edit with Photoshop.

Some of the photography editing apps that I use on a regular basis are: Snapseed (also available on Android devices, Filterstorm, Noiseware (have to be careful with this one as it sometimes finds some photo files too large and asks to reduce the file size), Touch-Retouch (avail on iOS and Android), and SKRWT. Most of them are Apple iOS specific – can be used on iPhone and iPad – and a couple are also available on Android, where indicated. I have a few others like VCSO Cam (avail on iOS and Android) but I haven’t done a lot of work with them yet. A number of the camera apps and editing apps are free or under $10, many under $5.

Tall Ships 2000 (point and shoot), unedited. July 2000. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Tall Ships 2000 (point and shoot), unedited. July 2000. © J. Lynn Stapleton

Tall Ships 2000 (point and shoot), edited with Snapseed and a EyeEm filter.

Tall Ships 2000 (point and shoot), edited with Snapseed and a EyeEm filter.

This is the same base photograph. The one on the right had no post-processing editing done, while the one on the left was edited with Snapseed, then a further filter was applied within the EyeEm iOS app to show up the high contrast and bring out the detail in the lines and cables on the tall ship mast.

With photosharing, I use Instagram and/or EyeEm apps – avail on iOS and Android; both of which can share to various social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, etc, and both have additional editing tools and filters within the apps themselves if you choose to add on additional filters, or take a photo from within the apps.

Photography is a never-ending learning experience and improves with time and lots of practice. It’s been said many times, that the best camera you have is the one you have with you. With mobile photography, you almost always have your mobile phone with you, whatever the device. Seek new ideas – or old ones – and put your own twist on it, from a different angle.

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