Archives For Photos by Jeff

Photos captured by Jeff Carlson

Rails

Looking through the monorail tracks to the Westin Hotel, downtown Seattle. (Click for larger view.)

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Foggy Morning Pajamas

A foggy morning provided a few minutes of good photography as my daughter and friends (here, her friend Ainsley) looked out our hotel room window at Great Wolf Lodge. Taking most pictures of these girls needs to be surreptitious these days, because they want to mug for the camera instead of pose. (Click the photo to view it larger.)

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Pudding Creek Trestle at Sunset

I love running across photos in my library that I’d forgotten about. I need to allocate more time to going through back albums. (Click the photo for a better, larger view.)

The Pudding Creek Trestle in Fort Bragg, California once carried lumber by train, and has since been refurbished as a walkway.

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Up Early for Snow in Seattle

After it snowed a few inches overnight, we were up early (thanks to the 8-year-old, very early) to go experience it. The people in this house were awake, too.

The cold weather today made me think of this photo from December when it snowed here in Seattle. It’s sunny and a brisk 31 degrees F outside now, but friends in Portland are digging out of a foot of snow from the last couple of days!

Stay warm.

iPhone, 10 Years Ago

January 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

My contribution to this day in history: the first iPhone at Macworld Expo in 2007, in a glass case with a very burly guard next to it.

Ten years ago today, I was in the audience at Macworld Expo for the unveiling of the first iPhone. Steve Jobs’s lead-up to it during the keynote is classic Steve, and yes, it was an exciting moment. My first thought was, “Finally, someone is doing a mobile phone right.” I was happy just to see the phone features, like easily adding a third person to a call and listening to messages via Visual Voicemail without having to navigate a phone tree. Here’s what we wrote at TidBITS at the time: iPhone Seeks to Redefine the Mobile Phone.

My colleague Glenn got a briefing and actually had a few minutes of hands-on time with a prototype (which had a plastic screen at the time), putting him into rarified air for a few months. See iTouched an iPhone.

That said, the price was high at the outset, and I was mostly-happy using a Palm Treo as my mobile device, so I didn’t think I needed an iPhone right away. Within six months of the iPhone being released (it didn’t ship until June of that year), though, I gave in and bought one. I don’t regret it for a second. And it still works:

Iphone still works 10 years

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360fly4k in hand

Following the publication of my guide to The Best 360 Degree Camera at The Wirecutter, I sat down with Chuck Joiner at MacVoices to talk all about it. We cover why someone would want a 360-degree camera in the first place, some background on how I went about making the final selections, and more.

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Group test2

Here’s something a long time coming. I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new guide at The Wirecutter: The Best 360-Degree Camera.

This is by far one of the most interesting projects I’ve done. 360-degree cameras capture the entire sphere around the photographer, in stills or video, which is great for getting a better sense of a scene beyond what a typical photo frame offers. But this photography also has many challenges, such as where you the photographer appears—many of us are happy to hide behind the camera, but in this case there is no “behind” the camera.

It was also a challenge to set parameters, because the cameras we chose for final testing take different approaches to the task of capturing a 360-degree scene. They’re not like most cameras where a lot of the features are the same from model to model and you look to see which one has better resolution or low-light capabilities. For example, the Ricoh Theta S, Nikon KeyMission 360, and Samsung Gear 360 each use two extreme–wide-angle lenses to capture two images, which are then stitched together in the camera as one image. However, the 360fly 4K designers opted to use just one lens to avoid the stitching altogether, which unfortunately means you end up with dead area in the image where the lens can’t see.

When viewed in the cameras’ apps or in a few locations online such as Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube, you can explore the entire scene by dragging the image. If you’re on a mobile device, some sites like Facebook enable you to turn your body and move the device to view everything. It’s a very cool effect! (The image below is hosted at Flickr and should be interactive. You can also see a few more at this Flickr album.)

theta_vancouver_bw_etool

In the end, it wasn’t just image resolution or form factor that made one rise above the others, but a combination of hardware, software, and experience to capture the images, and then the process of doing something with the files (which has its own complexities). I’ll let you read the guide to see which one was the winner. I was surprised, and I was the one doing the research!

360-degree photography is really in its early days, and I think this category will get even more interesting in the near future as customers decide what to do with the cameras and manufacturers cater to those whims. In the meantime, the shots you get can really stand apart from traditional cameras in many ways.

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Low light iphone 7

Following up my appearance in Adobe Create with tips for holiday low-light shooting, I’m happy to share… another tip for low-light shooting! In a total coincidence, Jackie Dove contacted me the other day wondering if I had any advice for shooting with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. You can read my tip in this article for Tom’s Guide: 6 Pro Tips for Taking Better Pictures With Your iPhone 7 Plus.

I opted to buy the iPhone 7 instead of the Plus, even though the Plus has a cool dual-camera system and Portrait Mode, because I find its size to be just too much for everyday use. But I’m loving my 7 so far.

Ellie holiday downtown

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Xmas unwrapping1

The holidays offer a ton of prime photo-making opportunities, and many of those can be challenging. Shooting groups of people? Capturing Christmas morning? Getting details in low-light situations? Yep, I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have too.

Adobe Create contacted me and a few other photographers recently to ask for some holiday photo tips, which are now published in a new article at Adobe Create: How to Shoot Great Holiday Photos. My contributions include lighting for Christmas morning (a technique I learned from David Hobby’s Strobist blog), shooting outdoors in low light, and getting good (and spontaneous surprise) reactions in group shots.

Happy holiday shooting!

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Rainy Seattle holiday

Holiday lights in downtown Seattle reflected in the rain.

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