Monday, January 12, 2015

Eschew the Zoom

Not the name of my favorite indie rock group.  Not  the garbled translator function at work. Just one more recycled New Year's resolution.

Some previous December or other, I resolved to improve my iPhone picture taking skills.  As anyone who reads this blog regularly or views my projects on ravelry can see, that hasn't happened.  Once in a blue moon, I take a picture that is well-lit, well-composed, in focus, and true in color. Totally random blind luck. Most of the time it's dim, distracting, out of focus and looks like it's been dipped in last night's dishwater.

This resolution never got farther than line item in the inventory of lack.  No courses enrolled in.  No books purchased.  Not even a rudimentary google: better iPhone pics.

Never underestimate the usefulness of being too tired to knit, read, or rehang the clothes on those swell new non-slip hangers.  I wasn't too tired to let my fingers do the walking (and if you get that reference you must be almost as old as I am), and I searched for tips.  The   webby-verse is  chockablock with tips, ten to the nth power of tips.

I stashed a few in Evernote, but I only had time for a quick skim.  Did you know that the digital zoom in that smartphone is not very smart? It isn't really a zoom, but a sloppy facsimile, which leads to fuzzy pics. Clearly, this was news to me.

So no more zooming.  I will follow the advise to just get really close to whatever it is and snap away.

Or rather, I will hold the phone firmly in both hands, and remove my thumb gently from the shutter button because the picture doesn't get taken until the button is released.  Who knew? Probably everyone but me knew this, but now I have something else to try.

The results of my experiments so far, taken in winter window light, no retouching:
Eschewing the Zoom.
Zoom Flop.
Yes, the angle is slightly different--what can I tell you, I'm cockeyed--but yes, indeed, there is way more detail in the first photo.  I took another set of pics, and another light bulb went off in my head.

No zoom.


The amount of detail is different, but, duh, when you zoom you are dealing with the light at the camera position, not at the object's position.  In this case, the second photo is duller, with a much darker exposure.

Stay tuned for more adventures of the Ignoramus with an iPhone.

There are any number of tutorials and tips out there, but for sheer inspiring gorgeousness take a look at this photo gallery:  National Geographic iPhone Photo Tips

Friday, January 9, 2015

Practical Matters

I was wondering why the gift wrap was so hard to cut.  Oops! I was cutting the cord of my headphones.  Not the cheesy white earbuds.  The good full-size Sennheisers. They were lying on the table. Under the  gift wrap.  I didn't see them.  I managed to mend them, sort of, with some electrical tape, but I began to think about all the time I spend ferreting around after my devices, and all the times I have dropped them and whatever they are tangled in while bounding up to answer the old school landline in the other room.

I also began to think about what I really like to make:  problem solvers and practical items.  Here's a new one, a pouch on a cord to hold my listening device, so I can listen and knit without danger of strangulation. Or decapitation. Bonus: a finished object in the first week of the New Year.

I'll probably have to break out the neon orange yarn and crochet a few more. But while I like the end result, I think my on-the-fly construction method on this one was overly complicated.  Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crafty Resolutions for 2013

No, I haven't parted ways with consensual reality.  No, it's not a typo.

Back at the end of 2012 I listed some goals for 2013.  One of them was to learn Brioche Knitting.  I bought Nancy Marchant's book.  I enrolled in a Craftsy course.  But no Brioche. Not in 2013.  Not in 2014. Oh, sorry, you mean I actually have to pick up needles and yarn and do something?

It's a pattern.  My shelves are heaped with instructional materials.  My devices are stuffed with educational apps. Let's not talk about the oddball devices I've stockpiled:  the pom-pom maker, the tiny loom, the I-cord spool, the jewelry pliers.  I could start a  craft store with the supplies in my closet.

When it came time to think about what I wanted  to learn in 2015,  I didn't have to waste an iota of brain power. I had all these perfectly good resolutions left over from previous year-end dreaming, and  recycling is  a good idea, right?

So I looked up my Craftsy password, grabbed yarn and needles, and gave it a go.  Progress to date: a bit more than halfway through the sample swatch in Lesson 1.  That wasn't so hard now, was it?  Anyone else with a recycled resolution?