Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 20/10/2012

Image Not Included!


Amazing, there’ll come a time when you won’t need a computer at all when it comes to photo processing, and even possibly a separate camera, though not quite yet. Having had to retrieve a missing football that had been kicked over the fence into the wood behind our garden this evening, late evening sun looked like it had set fire to the wispy cotton wool clouds… and half the village into the bargain – it was certainly one the best night skies I’ve seen since moving to the village. I only had my camera phone with me, and with a minute 5 Mpixel sensor I wasn’t particularly hopeful of capturing the scene faithfully and whilst the photos will never find their way into my Flickr stream (I do have standards, low ones admittedly, but they are still standards!) they were good enough snap with only a few seconds to spare (ie not enough time to get creative!).

Okay, I know most – if not all – of you out there will have a phone with a camera on it, so this won’t exactly be news however there was one function that the camera offered that caught my attention. As you can appreciate, photographing a sunset, the contrast between the bright, iridescent sky and the dark, shadowy landscape is a difficult image to capture unless you have a cornucopia of gel filters to hand, not you average accessory for a camera phone. In recently years, HDR (High Dynamic Range) has become popular with digital photographers, where multiple photographs taken at different exposures are combine to try and produce an image more comparable to what the human eye can see, our eyes being able to see a much greater dynamic range than that of a digital camera’s sensor. That’s the theory, however the majority of images I have seen over the last few years look more than a little unreal, almost supernatural, which in it’s place is okay, as long as that place isn’t my Flickr account (me.. a photo snob? Perish the thought!). Having said all that, whilst exploring the options on my phone, looking for a panorama option, I happened upon an HDR setting and decided to give it a whirl – and was amazed when having clicked the virtual shutter, the camera displayed a “processing” message after which, as if by magic (no, the shopkeeper didn’t appear*) a processed image was displayed similar to those created on computer using a specialist HDR program… but on my phone! I was rather taken aback at the capabilities of this modest cellular device.. just imagine what the next generation of devices will be capable of!

*Kids TV show reference, Mr Benn.

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