iPhone 6S low light RAW photographs

One of the great new features that came with iOS 10 is full RAW support for any iPhone with a 12MP camera, i.e. the 6S, 6S Plus and the 7, 7 Plus. As a photographer, this is a welcome addition because of the increased latitude RAW files allow for during post-processing. After using it for a few days, I decided to head out this weekend and make a few photographs to see what the newly unearthed RAW access can do.

The issue with any iPhone till date — but really, not an “issue” in the true sense of the word — was that the photos made were jpg files, or, as some apps claimed, tiff files. Nothing better was even available. When you make a picture with any camera, the light data collected by the camera sensor is of incredible value to the photographer. Having this light data as-is means you have a RAW file. The problem with shooting jpg is that as soon as the data is collected by the sensor, the device itself makes the first calls regarding the best exposure and outputs a somewhat lossy jpg file while discarding any unwanted data in a bid to make file sizes more tolerable.

From a user experience perspective, this is great. First of all, RAW files are huge: a regular photograph on my iPhone occupies one to two megabytes of space while a RAW file is at least 10MB or more. Second, most people are not serious photographers and could not care less about handling RAW files, let alone spending time processing them to look and feel just right. Continue reading

Sunset on Mars is blue

We are so accustomed to certain things in our daily life that we rarely wonder if they are the universal norm. Take sunsets, for instance (yes, I planned on getting straight to the point) — they are orange. Worse still, they are supposed to be orange. Or red. We associate warm colours with sunset, but the same sun on our neighbour, Mars, sets coolly.

I woke up to some feverishly exciting photographs this morning, sent in by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The land-based experiment vehicle which landed on Mars on 6th August 2012, sent back its first picture of the sunset 956 sols later. (A sol is one Mars day, which is roughly one earth day.) Continue reading

Re-creating old times: part I

For some reason I happened to re-visit my old website (more my blog than my website, if  you think about it) and like a king would feel looking at the ruins of his city after a battle — all tattered and untended and yet familiarly hopeful — I stood there, staring, turning page after page and feeling vaguely happy yet nostalgic about those times, reading those articles and how I kept writing even when my daily readership was less than 1,000.

Old to new

It is a combination of good writing, even if I say so myself, and emailing readers like they mattered and addressing issues close to me that brought this world from that old blog/site to this one, perhaps a hundred-fold bigger, more vast, deeper and with a readership that has (even if not in comparison to incorporated websites) blown sky-high.

And I cannot say I do not like it this way.

The three photographs

As I scrolled around that old blog I came upon three photographs I had put up on three different occasions.

If not for my good pal, Raghul Selvam, I would eventually (read: currently) never have bothered to organise my photographs offline as I have done now to some extent.

Unfortunately, these three photographs do not fall into that set and I am afraid I may not have even one copy of them offline. In any case, what else I reflected on was that I made these at a time when I made all my photographs with my trusty, tiny, now-hardly-adequate Canon point-and-shoot. Continue reading

Guide to buying a digital point and shoot camera

Or, how I bought a great camera and how you can too!

There are way too many p&s cameras out there in the market and almost everybody seems to portray their products as more worthy a buy than another. But how much can we bend before we break?

I faced the same problem when I was contemplating on which camera to buy, and after a few weeks’ repeated consideration which required quite a lot of endurance, I finally ordered one. But I learned an extensive lot in the process: terms I never new existed, stuff I never knew mattered and more stuff I never knew meant nothing. And most importantly, what one’s itinerary ought to be on the map of confusion that is the market of cameras. So this is my two cents on what you ought to consider when you buy the next digital camera. Rest assured I have covered everything there is in this brief, yet informative, guide filled with all you need to know. Plus my own experience from a few days ago!

Is what I have now not good enough?

Perhaps the first question one needs to ask themselves is whether they need  a digital camera at all. A few good reasons you can convince yourself is because the images are output digitally, which means they are easier to handle and you do not have to wait for an entire reel of film to run out before you develop it (if you really like to hold it physically.)
That said, and if you already have a digital camera or a mode of shooting digitally  (I had my smartphone) do you need a new one? Continue reading

Munnar and INO: Day 2

Nothing much went on today. Remember that lovely thing from yesterday? Well I decided I can’t forget it. So I’ll live with it. And yet, do not ask me to expand on it.

I awoke and typed out a couple of pages of my script and then readied myself quickly to do nothing through the day. I decided that since I was on a holiday, I would rather do nothing (by nothing I refer to writing my script and reading some books) than go sightseeing. The point in taking a vacation is to cut yourself off from your daily schedule, not make things more rigid. So I was at my informal best and seemed to like it.

By afternoon, I was hoping to go out at least for an hour or two so I set off on a drive. Not stopping where everybody does or visiting places tourists frequent, rather just driving. It looked like six o’clock when it was actually three and began raining like I was in a rainforest. It happens. And not everything  can go right all the time.

So these were some pictures I managed to click with my tablet. (My camera wisely chose to stay back home.)

[Also visit ?Day 1 and Day 3?]

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