Tuesday, 22 November 2016

down by the river

Well this is going to be a combo of (perhaps) "nice pictures" and a bit of a plug for Snapseed (or perhaps just where I'm at with it). For those not interested in the discussion, just sit back and look at the pictures :-)

First lets look at the straight out of the phone picture:

not bad ... but somehow feeling a bit lifeless.

One could fiddle about on the spot with this or that setting, but I prefer just to capture the RAW data from the sensor and move on. If I like it I can come back and fiddle with it later. Besides (not that anyone was with me) who wants to hang about with a photographer fiddling with a camera (even it it is a phone).

So, I fiddled when I had time later (people may think I was just looking at my phone, so you blend in)

rather than make this "garish" I tried to be a bit subtle (yes, I know) and to emphasise the snow falls and give a subtle glow to the middle of the ship and emphasize the difference between the snow fall on the water on the ice and just water on the ice (showing the subtle thermal differences)

Details on the ship seem more clear, but not "whack you in the eyes"

This is why I persist with Snapseed and RAW because it just allows me to pull something more interesting (which is why I looked at it anyway) from what the camera turned into bleak.

Lets just look at a few others without me blithering on:

Hope you enjoyed the walk in the sleeting day around the riverside with me ... :-)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Looking at the Peal of a Bell (the resonances of Grief)

The single peal of a bell is a strong and evocative sound. Its also rich in accoustic textures and multiple harmonic resonances (as the wave travels around the bells curve and encounters different resonance frequencies).

A single peal of a bell is perhaps also made clear by looking at the sound levels in a recording:

The recording starts with calm silence that is immediately broken by the sharp rise of the sound of that strong "dong" from the bell.

Then the sound resonates around and slowly fades.

People often think of sound as waves, and this is true ... just like waves on the ocean. But when we zoom in tightly to the bell sound we see complexity:

There is a clear repeating wave of great amplitude and lots of smaller ones embedded within it. These are the various resonances. Taking more than a first glance you'll see that no two cycles of up and down are quite the same, as the various resonances happen at different times to each other.

This not only produces the rich textured sound of a bell, but is a good metaphor for what happens in Grief.

We have our UP's and our DOWNs (all relative to a base line of calm). Sometimes on the way up a resonance can bring us momentarily down again, and sometimes on the way down a resonance can take us briefly back up again.

Over time this "disturbance" to the bells reaction to being struck reduces as the sound gradually fades and the bells surface stops shaking (vibrating).

Of course we all know that bells seldom peal only once, and often the bell is struck many times barely getting to any sort of equilibrium before being shaken once again.

This is how it is for the griever ... the interactions with others, the places and things which are reminders of memories of the one you've lost keep ringing your bell and taking your feelings on that roller coaster ride that the bells surface has.

Eventually though, we do find that we can put our own hand on the rim of our internal bell and quell those strikes of resonance with memory.

We eventually find that we can experience recollection without the severity of the ups and downs (as the bells toll diminishes too). For each of us the steadying hand to muffle those peals is different. But we do need to reach out somehow and grasp that rim to steady it. At first I know its tempting to just withdraw, but the striker will come again.

For me, I found that the effects were diminishing over time (years) and have also learned to put my fingers on the rim of my internal bell to quell the vibrations sooner.

It takes time and strength, but I hope that knowing that it will be something within your grasp makes the shaking you are suffering now more tolerable.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Unorthodox orthodox

I have always been find of the local orthodox church, so I thought I'd give it a bit of a 'treatment' photograph ... as somehow it just looks less "impressionistic" when its plain.

We had some snow last night, so I went for a wee walk in the am to see what I saw.

Hope you enjoyed it

Thursday, 10 November 2016


I thought I'd rework this RAW image I took the other day in the way back from picking up the car.

The original was pretty flat, but then I knew the dynamic range would be too much for the phone.

Pretty happy with the RAW post processing

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

second car

since my car is in Australia (being stored) I thought it was worth while to have a second car, one that was here with me in Finland.

So, wanting a higher clearance car (for some rough potentially infrequently cleared of snow) with some better ability to cope with slippery conditions AND wanting something station wagon styled (for carrying camping gear / skis / sled) I bought this little fella.

Seems ok, and is pleasant enough to drive. Lets see if the last owner serviced it well enough :-)

Sunday, 6 November 2016

periphery vision

Human vision in the periphery is of lower resolution than the center field of view.

Interestingly however the periphery is better at night vision and capturing movement. The movment "catches" your eye, yet paradoxically when you turn you eye directly to it, it will vanish. So when hunting for something at night you're better off not looking straight at it, but to one side. You'll actually see it more clearly.

Somehow I've found the same is true in life when pondering things that are intangible. As Poe put it:

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? 

And so it seems to me that by peering into that darkness we will see less than by looking obliquely at it while engaging with the motion of life.

Its like my examination of my memory of Anita ... when I try to look directly, I see the periphery. Yet when I am looking at the periphery suddenly I catch a glimpse of her and when I turn my attention, it is somehow obscure.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Old pictures (made to look old)

Back in about 2012 my wife and I went on a camping trip. We camped by the river (as well as 4WD'd around) and had a good time.

I was flicking through the images recently (looking for something else to try Snapseed on) and found this shot which in my view always needed "something". Of course digital pictures don't age as do prints on paper ... so one has to take liberties ... so I did a little playing and got this partuclar nuance of lighting, overlay and contrast with Snapseed.

It reminds me a lot of the sort of thing I used to do in the darkroom with Black and White film with an enlarger (and some accidents). Actually its not an unreasonable comparison because as Snapseed does not save settings (although you can make some short term copies) its been impossible for me to reproduce this in subsequent edits.

a "vanilla" shot of the trip (perhaps entitleable "are we on the right track?")

So serendipity still lives in a computing world


Friday, 4 November 2016

Autumn in Finland

Well not much profound to say today, just been wandering around the local area and taking images as they appeal to me.

Doing a lot of walking lately, which I feel good about. Just 10Km today. Out to the mouth of the river here in Joensuu, past the boats being stored for winter:

I got out to the end of the river (on the town side of the bank)

I'm finding that working with the phone and processing on the phone (this is written on the PC and the images transferred to the PC from the phone) is quite liberating ... as I can process in the field and see which ones I like ... makes it somehow more "right" to see and check against what's there.

Winter is surely on its way ...

The Panasonic GF1 has been my other camera for when I see something which I want the more "normal" angle lens and shallower DoF (and greater dynamic range)...

Its nice to watch the first things start to freeze ... and the delicate edges of the ice advance

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

as Computer Camera and Phone gradually intersect

Since buying the Oppo phone I've been gradually doing more of my photography with the phone than with the camera. Not just because its convenient to have the camera in my pocket (which I've had for years now anyway) but because the on device post-processing is just that much better.

This started out as me wanting to test how well my Phone's camera did with Snapseed compared with the PC but ended up asking the question of "is my Phone a suitable platofom for image processing" in general. The answer is "almost".

Know your tools

The phone is a 1.7GHz Quad Core (well actually its an OctaCore but the other quad core is 1GHz) and my PC is a 2.5GHz dual core i5 (running quad virtual cores), so they're both quite fast enough to do processing.

In the past I've had Android tablets which have had lousy cameras, and if I'm going to send an image to a device from my Nokia it may as well be my PC because I'm usually at home when I want to do something like that, and the PC is just easier.

However having my new phone with a decent camera, that does RAW capture and enough grunt to do the processing it seemed obvious that I'd start to do this (and I have).

Today I wondered if Snapseed was actually doing as good a job at taking a RAW file and doing something with it as my previous work flow of

  1. capturing on my Panasonic m43 camera
  2. transferring to my PC (and in this swapping out PC for Phone)
  3. processing there
  4. publishing from there

So to answer that question I thought why not do the counter intuitive and transfer a RAW file from my GF-1 to my Oppo and process there? I wanted to do what I consider the "hard work" image processing which pushes captured image data to the limits, and that is to make a HDR (yes, I know, its really a tonemap, as I'll need multiple images to properly make a HDR ... but this is for the general public too)

The Panasonic RAW format is proprietary (aren't most of them) but the Oppo uses DNG. Snapseed (my preferred RAW processing tool on the phone) only works with DNG, so to do this I used Adobe DNG converter to convert my GF-1 file into a DNG and transferred it.

I took two shots of the same things and did some comparisons. I'll present one here as they all more or less led to the same conclusion.

So I took this shot with my GF-1 using the Panasonic 14mm  f2.5 lens (to provide almost the same angle of view as the Oppo F1) 

that is of course the camera JPG .. and then this shot with the Oppo

they aren't totally perfectly exposed the same, but if you've ever worked with a phone you'll know why .. That too is the camera generated JPG.


So to make the comparison I did three processes:
  1. processed the RW2 on my PC using Photomatix (as I normally would do directly with the RAW file)
  2. then I converted the RW2 into a DNG and loaded the DNG onto my Oppo and generated an image with Snapseed
  3. then I used the Oppo's DNG on snapseed and processed that
This is what I got:

GF1 on PC with Photomatix

GF-1 on Phone with Snapseed 

and lastly the Oppo's own camera (as DNG) on the phone with Snapseed

which has a colour balance difference to the pretty similar renderings of the GF1 (in both places) but you know it doesn't make you point and shake your head going "oh dear, that's terrible".

They look pretty darn close if you ask me.

What this says to me is that Snapseed is doing a pretty good job of processing the images, either from Cam or Phone. As we have the (I'll assume higher quality) RAW file from the GF1 processed on both systems looking similar I think its fair to say that the phone RAW files won't benefit much from being moved over to the PC and processed there.

The astute will spot that the GF1 has not had lens corrections applied by Photomatix but has had it done on Snapseed (it applies same to the Oppo too). (award points for either way as you see fit)

Pixel peeping

Processing on the phone has never been what I intend for doing "gallery prints", however as (at the moment) I'm unable to process the DNG's made by the Oppo (I could do that on another machine I no longer have access to which has PS CS6 on it) anywhere else but on the Oppo it seems just as well to do that.

So for the completeness, lets have a look at some 100% crops

GF1 - PC - Photomatix

GF1 - Oppo - Snapseed

Oppo - DNG - Snapseed

Even at this level, almost nothing stands out as being "gosh" ... all have good details, all show similar noise (especially of interest being the two processing locations for the Panasonic GF RAW file). Minor disparities like colour grading and saturation can be easily fixed and the differences only exist because of comparing them.

The GF RAW file shows better contrast (thank god) in both places and better colour saturation (which was hard to balance between PC and phone because my Phone screen is so much more punchy in its colour range).

Not much in it really and clearly the processing of the GF file was good in both places. Meaning that I may as well just process my Phone RAW files on the Phone ... unless I'm really wanting to work it.


So this shows to me that RAW and then the more challenging HDR processing of those files seems quite equivalent on both locations. Actually if one is after a "rock and roll" processing look, then the advantage is on the Snapseed Tonemapping because it was literally far less work. It was literally:
  1. load
  2. develop (tweak exposure if desired)
  3. click HDR and pick the look
  4. click done
Whereas on the PC I've never had it so easy, its been (and was again):
  1. load into Photomatix
  2. pick the HDR look I liked
  3. save
  4. open again in Photoshop (because it saves as not quiet the right profile) and convert to sRGB
  5. adjust the curve (because I usually end up processing as a gamma of 1.4)
  6. add in some local area contrast (cos it often looks a bit flat)
  7. save

the future

As an outcome from this process I'm of the view that I'd actually like to process more from my camera on Snapseed on my phone (especially when out and about).

Why? Well the screen on my Phone is just beautiful while the screen on my laptop is a bit "flat" in gamut (and really most of the new OLED phone screens are beautiul ... and 1080p too.

To do this would be great, but while tantalisingly close but not yet there. Why?
  1. getting the camera native files from camera to phone is tricky, products like EyeFi do not handle RAW files from all the myriad formats well so you're going to be stuck using the JPG, and so what's the point?
  2. Snapseed (which is free) only processed DNG, which means you'll somehow need to convert your cameras RAW file to a DNG before you move it to your Phone
So essentially this means (in my view) that on phone processing (or on Tablet processing) will need a better job of moving those RAW files over to the device from the camera.

There is no doubt in my mind that once the software makers of the WiFi SD card systems (needed for transport from Camera to Device) get their act together and stop using (what seem to be) antiquated file filtering methods and get the various RAW files onto the Devices we should be able to do this. Already DCRAW is available for Android and it will make a 16 bit file from my Panasonic RAW files

Maybe next year.