Google announced improvements to its Google+ service today, with a focus on photography. One of the items mentioned was an update to Snapseed that adds a new HDR Scope filter to the versatile image editor. According to Google, this implementation uses pixel edge detection instead of relying solely on tone mapping. As soon as the iOS app update was available, I had to throw an image at it and see what the results were.
Here’s an original photo, shot with a Nikon D90 and imported to my iPad via Eye-Fi. This is the JPEG portion of the Raw+JPEG pair I shot.
Here’s the same shot taken into the HDR Scape filter. This is with a setting strength of +83, the default that Snapseed used.
That’s too much HDR effect for me, so I dialed the effect down to +47. Total time editing: about two minutes.
In the “learn something new” department, I ran across an interesting discovery today.
First, some setup. I woke up before dawn to catch the sunrise in the Columbia River Gorge, and for some reason my camera’s battery didn’t last very long—I think it was the combination of the cold weather, composing my shots using Live View, and transferring the images from my Eye-Fi card to my iPad. With a full day of shooting ahead, and only one extra battery available, I was in trouble.
Jump ahead a few hours, I want to transfer my newest photos to the iPad but not kill the spare battery in the camera. So, I attach my iPad Camera Connection SD adapter to copy the photos directly. The problem is that connecting the SD card to the iPad using the adapter means I need to import the raw versions of my photos in addition to the JPEGs. (I’m shooting raw+JPEG so I can edit better-quality photos on the iPad than the previews generated by the camera.) What I want to do is import into ShutterSnitch which includes an option to copy only JPEG images.
That brings me to the surprise: I opened ShutterSnitch to see if it could import directly from the adapter (it can’t; Apple blocks access to the sync port, I believe), but suddenly the photos started importing anyway. The trick is that I’m using an Eye-Fi card. And when the card is connected to the iPad using the camera adapter, the iPad is also supplying the card with power, which in turn activates the Eye-Fi’s wireless hotspot.
So even though the card is physically connected to the iPad, it’s transferring images via Wi-Fi! Pretty cool when you don’t want to tax your camera battery and bypass the Camera Roll.
The iPad is a great photo viewer, but does it have enough oomph to handle photo retouching? Yes! In my latest article at Peachpit.com, I look at several ways to edit photos on the iPad, including red-eye removal, removing unwanted objects in the image, and compositing: Tips for iPad Photo Retouching
DPReview compares two wireless SD cards, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 16 GB and the Transcend 32 GB Wi-Fi: Battle of the Wi-Fi Cards: Eye-Fi vs. Transcend. Although the Transcend offers more storage and costs less, the reviewer found that the Eye-Fi trounces it in performance, range, and software features. (The article doesn’t include the Eye-Fi Mobi card, which makes it easier to connect to a tablet or smartphone.)
But perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Transcend card is its inability to easily transfer files to a laptop or desktop. Technically it can do it, but it’s a painstaking process and one that I wouldn’t consider practical. Basically, the card uses a computer to achieve the same thing it can do on a mobile device, only with twice the steps. Users must find the Transcend Wi-Fi card’s network from the computer. Next, the user launches a browser and enters a lengthy IP address into the url bar. At that point I was better off just plugging the card into the good old card reader. By comparison, the Eye-Fi can connect to a laptop in a matter of seconds and upload images and videos in real time.
[If you're thinking of purchasing an Eye-Fi, please consider buying it using these Amazon links, which helps support my work. Thanks!]
I’ve had the great pleasure to do several podcasts and interviews about The iPad for Photographers, Second Edition. Last week I talked to the wonderful David Sparks and Katie Floyd for their Mac Power Users Podcast (listen to the episode here). In it, we talk about all sorts of iPad photography topics, but mostly I’m sure David just wanted some great advice before he left on vacation. (He admits to it several times.) It’s a fun conversation, and I hope you enjoy it!
BorrowLenses.com just released a neat reference for iPad-toting photographers: The BL Lighting Cookbook. The cookbook is a free iPad-only app that includes several common off-camera lighting situations with examples and behind-the-scenes diagrams for achieving the effects. Of course, there are also links to the gear being used to get the shots to encourage you to rent equipment from the company. (I’ve used them for lens rentals in the past and was very happy with the service.) The company has more to say on their blog.
Photos are meant to be viewed large. Yet when taking a shot—that crucial moment when we should be most discerning—we usually rely on the camera’s small LCD to preview the image. The traditional solution has been to “tether” the camera to a computer, so you can view shots on a large screen as they’re captured, or even control the camera’s settings and trigger the shutter remotely. That approach lets you correct the scene or settings and reshoot immediately if anything looks amiss.
But tethering can be limiting. Setting up a laptop on location is often inconvenient—and even if you’re shooting in a studio, tethering typically involves snaking a USB cable between the camera and the computer.
I think the headline is a little misleading, since I specifically talked about using an iPad and the iUSBportCamera app is just for the iPad. But I can understand that “smartphone” is likely to draw a bigger audience.
HyperDrive has released an update to its iUSBport app that drives the iUSBportCamera wireless device. The iUSBportCamera connects to your DSLR’s USB port and enables you to control the camera from your iPad.
According to the (minimal) release notes, the new app adds HDR and Time Lapse capture modes, background downloading, and updated firmware for the iUSBportCamera device.
I wasn’t able to include much information in the book about the iUSBportCamera due to time constraints—I didn’t receive a review unit until the book was sent to the printer—but its functions are very similar to the CameraMator described in Chapter 3. That’s because originally they were the same device: HyperDrive distributed the CameraMator until it and the original CameraMator design had a falling out. Now, the iUSBportCamera and the CameraMator share the same hardware. HyperDrive developed the iUSBportCamera and the designer is working on a new device called the CamNexus.
Here’s a cool new invention: Triggertrap, which makes an iOS app for triggering a camera, just announced the Triggertrap Flash Adapter. I wrote about Triggertrap in the second edition of the book because it does much more than just remotely activating the camera’s shutter—you can set up long-exposure or intervalometer-timed shots and set them off by sounds, by vibration, facial recognition, and more.
The Triggertrap Flash Adapter controls one or two (simultaneously) strobe flashes. That enables better high-speed photography (think popping balloons or splashing water droplets). Be sure to watch the video where CEO Haje Jan Kamps demonstrates how it works.