Category Archives: Instagram

Photo Fun at the Pier

It was hot again in the Inland Empire of Southern California.  My wife and I didn’t have any plans for the 3 day weekend, so decided to go down to the beach for a few hours.  Our target was the Seal Beach Pier, in Seal Beach!  This last-minute plan for a beach run would allow a little time for photography (we were having a bigger than normal surf) and dinner on the pier.

It was almost 5:00pm by the time we arrived, and the parking lot and beach were very crowded.  People were running around, playing in the sand and in the water.  There was even a professional photographer taking photos of a young family with the pier and ocean in the background.

The sun was still fairly high in the western sky, and pretty bright.  We were on the south side of the pier with the sun to our right.  Luckily some of the harsh bright light was blocked by the sea wall on the north side of the pier.

While I was standing just outside of the piers pilings watching the waves, my wife got busy and immediately started shooting.  She got right in the middle of the lines of pilings under the pier and was clicking away with her Canon S95 Point & Shoot.  Here are a couple of her photos:

I think she did a good job of showing some scale in this shot.  You can see the size of the wave crashing on shore compared to the 2 guys standing on the sand.  There’s also a sense of depth here with the pier’s pilings framing the scene, the guys on the beach in the middle and the ocean in the background.

This one is right in the middle of the action.  All things considered, it’s not bad for a point and shoot camera.  There’s a definite sense of depth here, with the larger pilings framing the shot, and continuing on all the way in the background.  There’s also some drama here with the wave crashing and coming right towards you!

This next image is one of mine.  I was using my Sony NEX3, with 18-55mm lens.  Some of the settings were:

  • Auto ISO
  • Aperture Priority
  • High Speed Continuous Shooting
  • File Format = .jpg

 The Sony NEX3 performed well!  I actually snapped more than 100 frames for this short trip.  At 7 frames per second it was easy to do.  Considering how many people were around, and how bright it was, I am quite pleased with this shot!

I’d like to leave you with one more image, this one is from my Motorola Atrix HD Smart Phone.  It was a spur of the moment idea to take a quick shot, and instantly post it online to Instagram.

So, what do you think?  Not bad for a phone camera!

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

Fall Colors

I can’t wait for Fall!  That was the title of one of my posts several weeks ago.  With the end of August near and September just around the corner, I’m getting more anxious for my favorite time of the year.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some time at California’s Lake Arrowhead. Located in the San Bernardino National Forest, it’s just a short drive up a mountain road from our house.  My wife and I like to drive up, wander around the Village (a collection of shops and resturaunts), have lunch and take a few pictures.

The day was warm by the time we arrived, and there were some thunderheads building in the distant sky.  There also was a very nice breeze blowing across the lake that made our stroll very enjoyable.

Lake Arrowhead – Instagram Photo

While we were walking along the shore, and in and out of the Pine trees, I noticed something unusual.  There next to the water was what appeared to be a small Oak tree.  The thing that caught my eye was a splash of color!  Red leaves stood out like a sore thumb against the background of blue sky and green leaves.  That beautiful red seemed to glow, backlit by the afternoon sun.

Seeing those red leaves put a smile on my face.  I fired up my Sony NEX3 and started clicking away.  It was bright out, with the midday sun high overhead.  I metered off of the leaves, wanting to base my exposure on them, and letting the background go.  I also had another trick up my sleeve – the Sony NEX3’s HDR setting!  I turned it on, framed the shot and pressed the shutter.  When I looked at the image on the NEX3’s display I was pleased, as it looked like I might have a winner.

Back at the computer and on the bigger screen, I was about to find out if my photos were keepers.  To my delight I had a couple that would work!  Into Photoshop they went, and using Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, I put together the image below.  Just a little more tweaking and here you go:

That’s it for now.  The countdown for our big Eastern Sierra vacation has begun – less than 3 weeks away now!  Hopefully I’ll be there when the Aspen’s begin to turn from green to yellow, orange, and red.  It’s got to be one of natures best shows and you should go if you can.

Until next time, I’d like to leave you with this quote – “Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower” ~ Albert Camus.

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!