The Awesomeness of Mobile Photography

We all know the saying that the best camera is the one you have with you. In most cases, this means a smartphone camera. However, when you ask many photographers, they will keep telling you that mobile photography is crap. When you look a what’s trending on Instagram, they have a point. On the other hand, what I’ve seen people do with their DSLRs made me lose my faith too. A camera is a tool, in gifted hands it creates art, in less talented hands it creates … output. Just take a look at the Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera Series by DigitalRev TV.

When I look at mobile photography, I am always stunned what you can get out of a tiny sensor and a cheap lens. What makes all the difference is the software. Phone manufacturers are dealing with the physical limitations of their cameras by enhancing them with the right software. I am working with a Samsung Galaxy S, a phone that was produced in early 2010. Technology-wise, this thing is from the stone ages. However, I still manage to produce some presentable shots.

Small River in the Mountains

In this example, I used an HDR app to get some more details and afterwards added an Instagram filter. I know what some people think about vintage filters, but I believe that used properly they can actually improve a picture.

So, what do you think? Could this photo have turned out much better using a professional DSLR?

Lost in Guayaquil

On one of my tours trough Guayaquil, I came across a bar and peeked trough the windows. The sun was setting, however the place inside was still empty, just a couple of people inside. On the counter I could see this tourist couple, their backpacks lying on the floor, showing the bartender something on a smartphone. I guess they were asking for directions, trying to get to whereever they had to be, while outside it was starting to get dark.

The Bar

While they were in a relatively safe area, I had to wonder where these two lost tourists would go next. In cities like Guayaquil, where poverty and wealth live door to door, it  often takes just one wrong turn to end up in a bad neighborhood.

I am always surprised how careless many tourists are, their smartphones in their hands, the huge DSLR hanging around their necks like a “Please rob me”-sign. Unfortunately, those who disregard even basic safety rules are quite often the ones who afterwards complain the loudest. On the other hand, thanks to those tourists, I never got robbed. It is a little like swimming with sharks: Just attract less attention than the guy next to you and it’s likely you won’t end up as someone’s lunch.

Aftermath

Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot with image editing on my smartphone. There are so many apps out there for taking photos and editing them, but in my opinion only a few of them are really useful. One of my latest photos is this one:

War Zone

I didn’t take it in or anywhere close to a war zone, neither have I experienced (not counting Left4Dead) a zombie apocalypse – I just edited an average photo to give it a more interesting look.

But how exactly did I edit it? Let me tell you. Continue reading Aftermath

Sweat’n’Birds

I love to work out early in the morning. It is not only the best time to train your body, it also means an empty gym and most importantly, it’s the only time of the day when I have actually time to go. Waking up at 6 in the morning, working out for one hour and then going to work (of course after a shower) is just a great way to start your day.

When I walk to my gym on this time of the day, the city all around me is just starting to wake up. If it’s snowing you are literally the first person to put your footprints into the snow.

Last fall I took this photo on my way home. The sun was just rising, the streets however still empty. It’s just your sweaty smell and the chirping of the birds. Perfect way to start your day.

Morning Workout

John Wayne ain’t got nothing on my fringe game, hell no

I’m sure you’ve heard the song Thrift Shop these days. This song (and in my opinion the entire genius album “The Heist“) is worth actually reading the lyrics and not just listening to the beats.

According to the omniscient Wikipedia after the success of the song “thrift stores have reported an increase in business, especially among college students”. So if you haven’t realized yet, the fur coat is in style again.

I wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road

Thrift Shop

Honestly I admire people who have the brains to realize when they look stupid but also have the balls to go for it anyway. And especially when you are pimp enough to have a personal butler who carries your recently acquired painting for you. This is winning like Charlie Sheen.

Is that your grandma’s coat?

Skylining in Frankfurt

Going from A to B inside an airport can be quite challenging. I’ve already had my fair share of horrible transportation at airports. One of my last trips took me to the Dubai International Airport, where they packed all passengers into a boiling hot bus and then drove for about 30 minutes to our gate. That’s one of these situations when you realize how few time you can actually hold your breath…

Anyway, all of these trips have something in common: You get to see a lot of the airport. One of my favorites is the SkyLine at Frankfurt Airport, an elevated railway system connecting the terminals. What’s so great about this system is that it gives you a great view of the airport and it’s open for everyone, meaning you don’t need to check in to use it.

Lfthansa

On this HDR picture I used Tone Mapping, which while resulting in an overall dirty look, made many details visible such as skidmarks on the ground. You can literally see how thousands of planes and other vehicles have been driving on this concrete floor.