Category Archives: Android

Timing Really Is Everything!

Timing is everything, really! This is especially true with photography. Sometimes it’s more about your timing than your equipment. Fortune not only favors the bold, but also the well prepared.

When you go somewhere to take some photos, a little planning can go a long way in creating interesting and unique images, vs. snapshots. So, how does one prepare? Scouting a location you’re interested in helps. You can also use Google Earth and Maps to get an idea of what to expect. And, since there’s an app for virtually anything including photography, you should take advantage of them. Personally, I use one for my Android phone call PlanIt For Photographers. This app (and others like it) can tell you which direction the sun will rise and set, but also when the best light will happen. PlanIt also has the ability to tell me when and where the Moon will rise/set, along with the Milky Way!

A quick note about gear. It’s nice to have a high end, high dollar camera and lens. However, it’s not an absolute requirement. My gear costs a fraction of what some of the high end stuff does, but I don’t let that stop me. Learn how to use what you have to maximize the results you can achieve. I’ve done some night shots of city lights using my Sony RX100 (technically a point and shoot camera). To maximize my results, I put it on a tripod and used the timer to get my shots. My point is that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on gear.  Use what you have to get started, and it may surprise you!

In addition to doing your homework and knowing when the best light is for a particular scene, you also need to bring some patience. There are times when the light may seem like it’s done and gone for the night, but it’s definitely worth it to wait. More than once I’ve been at a site, along with other photographers…the sun sets, and the others pack their bags and head for their cars. I waited, not long, maybe 10 or 15 minutes at the most. And – BAM! The magic happens! Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

The shot above is the Imperial Beach Pier. You can see that the sun has just about set.

Compare this shot to the one above it. They were taken from just about the same spot, but about 15-20 minutes later. Quite a difference!

This next shot was taken when the sun was low in the sky. The light was very nice, and I could have called it good and packed up.

Now in this case, I waited more than 15 minutes. I wanted to get the San Diego Waterfront all lit up.

Personally, I like the second shot much better. While the first version is nice, and I wouldn’t have a problem sharing it with anyone, the second one is much more appealing. In order to make this shot work, I put my Panasonic FZ1000 on a tripod, and used a delayed timer for the shutter (to help minimize vibration).

To sum up this post, here are the main points:
Prepare – use Google Earth/Maps or get an app (PlanIt or something similar).
Timing – get to the location and set up before best light.
Patience – the show may not be over when the sun has set, give it another 10 or 15 minutes.
City Lights – you may need to stay a little longer to catch the city all lit up (bring a tripod).

That’s it for this post, until next time – Happy Shooting!


Instagram is something that I’ve only known about from friends and family on Facebook,  and those with iPhones.  Until recently, I didn’t really think much about it one way or the other.  That is until I started using it!

Instagram – What Is It?

Instagram is a free photo-sharing program and social network that has been around since October, 2010.  The service allows you to take a photo using your iPhone (and now your Android phone), apply a filter, and share it on the Instagram network.  The application (app) will also allow you to share your photo on Twitter and Facebook.

What’s Not To Like?

For one thing, it seems that some “serious” photographers have a real problem with Instagram.  One of their complaints is that it doesn’t take any skill to use.  Some say that it takes away from the art of photography.  Others say that it’s a fad and trendy, and people will lose interest over time.  And then some are just not happy that every image must be cropped square, saying that it ruins the composition.

Personally, I like Instagram!  The more I use it, the more fun it has become.  Knowing the limitations and trying to work within them is a challenge, but one that can get the creative juices flowing.  And since I carry my new smartphone with me everywhere I go, I always have a camera for those spur of the moment photo opportunities.

What Do I Use?

I mentioned in the beginning of this post that my family and friends were using iPhones for Instagram.  This was a limitation (at least for me) until a couple of changes happened. The 1st was Instagram adding an app for Andriod phones.  The 2nd change was me upgrading to a Motorola Atrix HD (Android OS).  This phone has an 8 megapixel rear facing camera, a front facing camera, and can shoot 1080p video.

What Do Photo’s Look Like?

Here are some of the photos that I’ve recently uploaded to Instagram:

Works of art?  Probably not.  But I did enjoy making them.  Starting with the original shot, cropping square for Instagram, and adding a funky filter.  The whole process was just fun!

What Else?

For those that use Twitter and are familiar with hashtags, you can add those to your photos.  You can also search through all of the images posted by the millions of Instagram users and even make a few friends.  There are also some interesting and useful websites that work with your Instagram account.

A very nice site that helps you manage your Instagram account.

This is a site I recently discovered, and claims to “Enhance your Instagram Experience”.

Instagram Blog
From Instagram itself, you can see what’s going on and get tips and news.

You can find the free Instagram app at the iTunes store for iPhone or iPad users, or Google Play for Android users.

In closing, I’d like to say that I still consider myself a serious amateur photographer.  I’ve spent time learning the craft of photography and over time, have achieved some very nice results.  My gear is adequate and allows me to produce quality images.  Having said that, I think there’s also room for my new Instagram habit!  There’s a certain freedom and spontaneity that comes with this fun app and service.  There should be room for both in the world of serious photography and Instagram.  Give it a chance, and try it out for yourself, you may be surprised at what you can do!

Have a different opinion?  Don’t be bashful, leave a comment!  Until next time, Happy Shooting!