Google Photos created an animation from a number of photos I made outside the McDonalds in Douglas last year around this time of the year.
This is (most of) Automattic. We’re in the town of Whistler, Canada for the annual Grand Meetup. The company is growing every year, from tiny origins when a small group of us hacked away on a couple of servers to almost 500 now!
In the old days the company portrait was easy. The first one was us seated around a large table. I remember well the one in Breckinridge, Colorado. The whole company fit on the stairs leading up to one of the houses we had rented.
In recent years it’s been a challenge. This year Rose Goldman Simon and I scouted the town of Whistler for suitable locations. Rose had already been around and picked out several so I helped to narrow it down. We’d need:
- Somewhere high up for the photographer to stand so as many people as possible could be seen.
- Tuesday, the day this was made, was a lovely bright day, but that would play havoc with the photo. We needed a large shaded area.
- It needed to be close to where we’re staying. The further away we had to walk the more complicated it would become.
We narrowed it down to two locations. One in front of a local store where there’s a nice courtyard and this location above. This won out despite the fact that sunlight would be shining on the camera lens but a large whiteboard helped keep the sun off. Ironically as people dispersed after the shoot, the shadows crept up past where the camera was which would have simplified things!
Final development of the photo was in Lightroom and Affinity Photo.
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:
That’s pretty good for a photo taken by a Nexus 5 at ISO 1635. Lightroom settings were as follows:
- Temp: -1.65
- Tint: +59
- Exposure: -1.65
- Highlights: -100
- Shadows: 100
- Whites: +2
- Blacks: -29
- Clarity: +22
- 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!
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!
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?
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.
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!
Near the other end of the pitch there was a lot more room and we met up with some friends there.
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.
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!
Swimming in it is quite the experience!