Warp Speed Photo Technology

I have a friend who made a reputation for himself as a creator of large-scale photographic panoramas using large, heavy equipment, and at one time he had three galleries who exclusively represented his work. Along came Photoshop. He refused to budge from his fine niche in the the film world. The result: his career has fallen by the wayside, because it’s so easy to create amazing panos in Photoshop. The same thing is happening now. Digital photography technology has evolved at a mind boggling rate.

Just in the last year or two the photography world has changed yet again, with the advent of high quality point and shoot cameras along with smartphone cameras and the seemingly endless apps that accompany these. Many of us carry our phones everywhere, which means we are “there” for the moment. The phones and new cameras are tiny and portable. We are seeing more spontaneous images, always a great deal of fun.

Of course, any technology can be abused. Users of smartphones still need to be aware of such niceties as composition and exposure. As I write this, most phones are only capable of 8 MP images, which means huge enlargements are not easy. At the other end of the digital photography spectrum, I use a Nikon D800E, capable of detailed enlargements five feet across. But for everyday work, my little iPhone brings much joy.

The attached image was taken this past summer in Alaska. Heavy rain was falling, I was tired and not really wanting to haul a big camera around. However, I grabbed my little Nikon AW100 (waterproof) 16 MP point and shoot and began wandering around the ruins of an old cannery, entranced by the rotting pilings. At home, I uploaded this image to my iPad, did some post processing with Snapseed, and replicated an image with a sepia/black and white feel I might have made 30 years ago with my old Nikkormat and PanatomicX film, spending a lot of time in the darkroom with specialty papers and selenium toner (nasty stuff!).

Taku Harbor, Alaska

The world never ceases to fascinate. I look forward to teaching some smartphone workshops in late spring and will be enthusiastically exploring this medium for a long time to come.