Raw DNG Samples from the Nexus 5

Android L, the next major release of Android will allow apps to get raw data from the camera. This lets photographers extract more information and develop photos a lot more than they could with simple Jpeg files. They’ll be able to “push” the image further to recover blown out highlights and recover detail from shadows.

At least that’s the theory. You’re still working with the relatively small lenses and sensors in camera phones so they’re not going to compare to a DSLR or dedicated camera but images will get closer in quality.

This thread on r/Android has some samples of DNG files you can work on in Lightroom or whatever your RAW processor of choice is. The photos were taken with lcamera as the official Google camera app only records to Jpeg images. I took a stab at the “auto exposure” image here and came up with this:

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That’s pretty good for a photo taken by a Nexus 5 at ISO 1635. Lightroom settings were as follows:

Settings:

  • Temp: -1.65
  • Tint: +59
  • Exposure: -1.65
  • Highlights: -100
  • Shadows: 100
  • Whites: +2
  • Blacks: -29
  • Clarity: +22

Detail

  • Sharpening
    • Amount: 67
    • Radius: 1.0
    • Detail: 10
    • Masking: 70
  • Noise Reduction
    • Luminance: 20
    • Detail: 50
    • Contrast: 0

I’m really excited to see what Android L will bring to camera apps once it’s officially out in the wild and more phones have it installed!

How to remove the shine on faces with Lightroom

I had to develop a bunch of photos I took at an event recently and some of the faces in the photos had distracting highlights. The shine wasn’t too bad, but it mocked me and my initial attempts to fix it!

Lightroom is limited in it’s editing tools but it does have a powerful brush tool. The instructions I found here worked a treat. You can use the brush tool, healing tool or a combination of both.

  • Select the brush tool and change the colour to a shade close to the skin colour. Do this by clicking on the colour tool and when the colour picker popups up drag the cursor to where you want to grab the colour in the picture.
  • Set the brush to a low opacity and colour in the shine. Go slowly, it’ll take a number of passes.

You can also use the heal tool, but again make sure the opacity is set low.

Retro Gaming at jQuery UK 2013

Just a few photos that have been sitting in my “upload folder” for the last year or so after attending jQuery UK. Look at all those old 90s consoles! Snes and Megadrive machines? There’s another machine there too but I don’t recognise it. I wasn’t a fan of console gaming back then, but if they’d thrown in a C64 I’d have had fun!

It was an amazing conference and best of all, the talks are online. I remember being blown away by Wait, Chrome DevTools can do THAT? by Ilya Grigorick.

Scenic photos of Oxford will eventually make their way to my photoblog at In Photos dot Org.

Get out and make some memories

It can get pretty crazy at live performances can’t it? I’m 100% guilty of taking photos at concerts and I recorded video of my son’s stage performances at school. I even sneaked a camera into the Irish Bruce Springsteen and Take That concerts.

Meanwhile, this is what Louis CK has to say about posting videos of your kids on Facebook. It’s very NSFW obviously so be warned!

Do you wonder if you’ll ever watch any of those videos again? You need to make it easy for your family to do. Grab Plex, install it on your PC and tell it where your family videos are. It will do the hard work of indexing them. You can browse them from a web interface, on your phone in their app, on PS3 or Xbox 360 even. I’ve rediscovered videos taken when my son was only two years old that make me smile and laugh all over again!

I found the video above on fstoppers where Mike Wilkinson mentions a singer named Mayer Hawthorne who told people to get out their phones and cameras and he and his band posed for photos. Apparently everyone put their cameras away afterwards and enjoyed the show. Good idea. Taking that one step further it’d be great if performers put photos and videos of their shows online for fans to download. Put that URL on the ticket. Could schools do something similar? Most schools must have a reasonably competent (or enthusiastic) photographer and videographer as a parent. Delegate the job perhaps?

Finally, keep making memories and recording them but as I’ve been reminded many times, get your face out from behind the viewfinder too!

Photos of Bruce Springsteen in Cork

Yesterday evening Bruce Springsteen played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City. It was a glorious summer evening and with gates due to open at 5pm I headed down there early with my wife. We had to queue along the Marina for more than an hour but we had the shade of the trees and brought along a fold up chair too. Unfortunately when we eventually got to security they told us the chair couldn’t be brought in and we hid it in the bushes hoping it would be there later. Bags were searched too so I’m glad I didn’t bring my DSLR!

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While we waited we heard Bruce singing for a sound check. I’m not that familiar with all his music but they were some beautiful melodic songs I need to try and find and listen to again. We were probably among the first few hundred in so we got to within about 3m of the pit barrier. Beyond that were the early birds who had camped the previous night and VIPS (I presume) who were right up next to the stage. Pretty close eh?

Watch the Hat

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We were really close but right in front of us were 3 tall gentlemen who blocked my view almost entirely. I had to lift the camera in the air or squint in between heads to see the stage at all unfortunately.

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Bruce Springsteen puts so much energy into his performance it’s amazing. He collected placards from the audience, got 2 kids up on stage to sing, went shaking hands with the front row, encouraging everyone to sing along. He knows how to work a crowd!

It was of course really crowded so after 40 minutes we decided to retreat. Apologies to those in our way but thank you for being so kind as to move out of our way. I don’t think I’ve ever said “Excuse me, sorry, excuse me, sorry” so many times. The crowd just went on for ever and ever!

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Near the other end of the pitch there was a lot more room and we met up with some friends there.

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We left early to avoid the crowds and found quite a crowd outside. Local residents and others had gathered on the Marina, in boats and across the river to hear Bruce play! We looked for that fold up chair we left outside earlier but someone had taken it.

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We walked around the Atlantic Pond and up that narrow path/road at the other end. It was so nice to see people sitting or lying on the ground just listening to the sound coming from the stadium. Perfect evening for it.
Shortly after, we got into a taxi in Ballintemple, headed into town where we relaxed for a bit before heading home.

A great night, if he plays in Cork again I’ll go but I’ll want to be more familiar with his back catalogue next time!

Photos are from my Samsung Galaxy S4 and a now ancient Panasonic Lumix FZ5 that was small enough to fit in my pocket, even with a 12x zoom! Please leave a comment if you’d like to use these photos.

Edit: I recorded a 24 second clip of the band playing “Wild Thing” but here’s a longer clip!

Three Days in Dungarvan

I spent the last few days in Dungarvan, staying in the Park Hotel with my family. It’s a really nice town, small enough that you can walk around it in half an hour but plenty of places to eat and drink.

I took my camera of course and almost always shot in b/w mode with my Canon f1.8 50mm lens. I cheated a little as I used RAW+Jpeg mode but I’m happy with the results. RAW lets me recover the colour information while the Jpeg records a useful b/w image I can check against during post processing.

I love that 50mm lens but rarely use it so a whole holiday was a challenge. With such a short depth of field it’s really important getting the focus point right. I usually used the center point or a side point rather than trust the matrix to pick out the right one!