Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pic of the day: Frustration

Well, my little project (or resolution, or whatever it is) has turned out to be at least a little frustrating. To recap, my original intention was to take and post a photo each day from my cell phone. The idea was to make this sort of a photo-autobiography in the sense that these would be images from my environment. The problem, unfortunately, has been that my cellphone camera seems to be very limited in what sort of conditions it can get a decent (by my standards) photo.

Take, for example, yesterday's F-104 photo. I've discovered that the cellphone handles photos best when there's plenty of light. But it seems like too much of it (in this case, the highlight off the plane's canopy) tends to blow out the white point and lead to the really weird color balance you can see in the photo. For purposes of comparison, here's a unedited shot I took at the same time using a Canon Powershot SD750 (click the photo for a larger version):

While this photo isn't perfect, it does reveal the limitations in my original cellphone photo. The hues are more accurate, and whites appear to be rendered a little more nicely. I get the opposite problem with low-light photos: I don't know if any cellphones include a flash, since (I would think, anyway) that would be a HUGE drain on the battery, so the camera's software has to compensate by increasing the exposure time (leading to blurs), or the ISO (which gives you graininess). Argh.

So... I suppose I have to decide whether to continue doing this according to my original plan regardless of the usually crappy photo quality, or to free myself to use whatever camera I happen to feel like using. Time will tell, I guess, but I'm going to violate my own rules today for this image, which I simply could not have gotten with the phone:

Eeek! Bones! A little backyard paleontology here... we've been taking out a deck that's falling apart in places and needs to be replaced with a small garage-type building. While pulling up some supports, I spotted these bones and thought I'd share them. My guess is they're rat bones (and yes, mom... I washed my hands afterwards), but I'm surprised I found them before the dogs did. This image was also useful, since it helped me discover that you can actually take something approaching a macro photo using a little point-and-shoot. Just zoom way out, back up a foot or two (like you would if you're doing this with an SLR and a long lens), and take several shots so that you've got a decent chance of getting the focus right. Cool.

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