The Future of Photography?

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Click this link:

http://www.lytro.com/pictures/lyt-37/embed?bgColor=0xffffff

Click on the photo in different areas to change the focus. Is this for real?

Read about it at TechCrunch.

Do I need to print another photo ever again?

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Photo credit: Me!

I was browsing at Staples this week and considered buying some photo paper for my inkjet printer. I used to love printing my favorite photos, especially letter-sized. And recently I went on a photo-shooting binge. But the urge to print was gone. There are just too many sharing options now that don’t involve paper. I upload pictures to Facebook, Flickr, and Imgur. I use Instagram and Picplz, which also allows me to share on Twitter (and Facebook and Flickr). I post photos to Tumblr, which is the best blogging platform for images. With the exception of Flickr, all these options are free. I have a Flickr Pro account, which I paid for so I could liberate old photos the site was holding hostage. I also store some photos in Dropbox and Gmail. My video needs are met for free by YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Every week there seems to be a new photo-sharing or storing service being launched. Wherever there is an Internet connection and a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, anyone will be able to view my photos. As long as there is an Internet, some of my photos will be out there somewhere. My one printing exception currently is Postagram, which offers to print and mail Instagram photos as postcards for 99 cents a piece. I do that because it’s novel and fun – and cheap. Will I print a photo again? I have a nice printer, so I can if I want to. But paper is expensive, and ink is very expensive. There must be a new free or super-cheap printing service being launched with venture capital money. I’ll poke around and see what I find.

Switching to vacation mode

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I’ll be in California till the end of the month, so I won’t be posting about tech stuff unless it has to do with photos I take or using the iPhone on the road. I’ll be experimenting with photo apps and I’ll try to share some of the results here. What is that thing in the photo above? That’s a donut shop and car wash. Classic SoCal.

Tracing the origin of online photos with TinEye

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 Photo credit: Mohammed Abed

I saw this photo on Reddit with the only description being a one-word thread title: “War.” The top commenter in the thread said it was a picture of an Israeli white phosphorous attack. I wanted to find out for myself rather than take an Internet commenter’s word as the truth. I ran the photo through TinEye, the image search engine, and got 90 results. Thankfully, one of the sources was The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. The article highlighted compelling photography from 2009. This picture was taken in Gaza and was indeed documentation of an Israeli attack:

This photograph shows white phosphorous shells being fired by the Israeli military into a school building where civilians were sheltering in classrooms.

I mentioned TinEye in my previous post, but I wanted to highlight it here. No every search is successful. More often you will simply discover that a photo is all over the Internet. But in this example, I didn’t have to rely on an anonymous commenter. Also, I wasn’t checking the background because I had an interest in whether or not it involved Israel. I was curious because it is an incredible photograph.

Photo! Solution? Make Better!!!

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Nick Bilton at The New York Times noted on Monday that the iPhone 4 was fast-becoming the most popular camera being used for Flickr, the photo-sharing site. If you’ve reached your Times paywall limit of stories, you can just go to the Flickr graphs here that he cites in his blog post. Before I got the iPhone 4, I used to carry a camera bag containing my Canon PowerShot SX 1 IS, which is one of the best point-and-shoots just below the DSLR category. I still take it on special trips and vacations, but I don’t carry it around on a regular basis like before. The iPhone 4 camera is that good. I also carry a bendy Joby hand-held tripod that I carry in a pocket.  The iPhone 4 picture quality is impressive, but half the fun is in all the photo apps. I’ve written about the popular ones, but tonight I went on a downloading binge for crazy photo apps, particular ones from Asia. I have several now that put Hello Kitty-type cartoony decorations on pictures. Another one puts the face of a woman you photographed into a maid outfit. Fetish apps! I also downloaded several panorama apps, including the new Microsoft Photosynth, which looks pretty awesome. I have a big trip to California planned for next month with stops at Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, and Big Sur, and I plan to go bonkers with my photography and tech. I’ll let you know how these apps work out as I test them to see what works. I can’t wait to use the maid app!