Torrey Pines State Reserve Running Photos

iPhone, La Jolla, Panoramas, Seascapes

It is for views like this that I run. I’ve been running for 35 years and will keep running until my body can’t do it anymore. I estimate that I have run at least 32,000 miles (1.25 times around the Earth!) and it is views like this that keep me fired up for more. I have probably run the trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve (north of La Jolla, California) 1500 times or more during my life. The other night during my run I enjoyed one of the finest sunsets I have ever seen there. Clearing storm, golden light, clouds, wet sand. I had my iPhone strapped to my arm but I had no “real camera”. There was no one else on the beach and it appeared I had two miles of spectacular low tide beach all to myself which in San Diego is a virtual impossibility. I spent the last 30 minutes of the day composing panoramas of the golden waning light shining on the cliffs and breaking storm clouds with my iPhone. That night I fed a stack of 45 individual iPhone images to Photoshop. Photoshop cranked away all night making a panorama and the following morning the first image below is the result. I’ve checked it at full resolution and the quality is really impressive. Thanks for looking and keep on running!

Click any of the images to see them larger. In their full resolution form, all of these panoramas are quite large, made from 20-45 individual iPhone photos that are stitched together in Photoshop. Sizes range up to 10,000 pixels in length and 3800 pixels in height. In the images that include waves, there are stitching errors in the waves which are largely unavoidable. However, in the images that face away from the ocean there are few if any stitching errors and in my estimation the images are clean enough to print up to 30″ or more in length .

iPhone Panoramic Photography, #3


iPhone Panoramic Photos.

If you like these, be sure to see my first set of iPhone Panorama Photos and a second set of iPhone Panorama Photos.

Why do I shoot photos with the iPhone when I have a “real camera”? Quite often we are out and about scouting locations to shoot later in better light. The iPhone lets me take a record of the place so I can better plan my return. Sometimes the iPhone panorama results are pretty good in and of themselves. And simply put, spinning off a panorama with a phone camera is fun, my kids love it and I don’t blame them. The Autostitch iPhone app ($2.99) lets you make a panorama in the phone itself and then upload it to Facebook or email it to friends. I usually keep the original photos on the phone until I get home so that I can stitch the panorama using Photoshop CS5 on cylindrical or spherical photo merge settings. Then I judge whether its worth keeping or not. Below are some new iPhone panoramic photographs, made on a quick trip up the Eastern Sierra Nevada to photograph Mono Lake and Sky Rock. These are all shot with the iPhone 4 and stitched with Photoshop CS5. Each of these panoramic iPhone photos links to a 2000-pixel version, but the full size of the largest of these is about 5000 x 11000 pixels — pretty big. Last weekend I also made a mosaic image — like a panorama but not quite — consisting of 125 iPhone photos blended together, and the resulting composite image weighs in at a whopping 600+ megabytes!

I’m processing “real” versions of these images and they will be included in my main stock photography collection soon…

iPhone Panorama Photos, #2


Making iPhone Panorama Photographs.

See my first set of iPhone Panorama Photos.

Here are a few more iPhone panoramas that I’ve made recently. These panoramas were all shot with my iPhone 4 by my daughter (age 11) and took about 60 seconds each to make! Normally, I stitch the individual frames into a panorama right in the phone using the $2.99 Autostitch Panorama app. In this case, these were cool enough that I downloaded them to my Mac and stitched them again using Photoshop CS5 Photo Merge. These are “quick and dirty” panoramas, shot with the camera that I always have in my pocket by virtue of the fact it is also my phone — and yet the quality is quite good and in many cases these panoramas will yield fine prints.

iPhone Panorama Photos


Making Panoramic Photographs with the Apple iPhone 4

First, a Bit of Background…

I recently shared a fun roadtrip with some buddies for a bit of fresh air and landscape photography at a handful of iconic American Southwest locations. Each of us had the iPhone 4 so naturally we spent a fair bit of time monkeying around with the iPhone camera, photographing one another in mock-extreme action photography situations involving cliffs, canyons, and other dangers. We got to talking about how photography has changed over the last 25 years, both the gear and the industry. Now, if you have been a photographer for a while you’ve observed many stock photographers take on new roles as tour guides, travel agents, website designers and software instructors — a trend motivated in large part by severely declining licensing fees and an explosion of photographers who need help with their photographic pursuits. And you have also seen continuing development of both complex high end dSLR and exceedingly simple consumer gear — all capable of rending high quality imagery. So we figured we would try to concoct a little humor and formulate an April Fool’s announcement for the world’s first “iPhone Outdoor Adventure Photography Tour and Workshop”, brought to you by the “Institute for iPhone Photography”. We would, of course, be the workshop leaders and highly reknowned “Master iPhone Photographers.”

The notion was to offer a workshop specifically tailored for iPhone photographers, at some of the most amazing locales on Earth. Sunrise and sunset shoots would be coupled with insightful and informative — and incredibly brief — lectures. Steve Jobs would offer 30 seconds of technical guidance and encouragement on “How to Press the Button on Your iPhone’s Camera App.” A two-minute presentation “How to Build Your Brand and Market Your Photography Using Social Media on the Internet” would be given by Mark Zuckerberg, walking us through the iPhone’s Facebook App. Adobe would conduct an “Photoshop for the iPhone” technical session using the Photoshop Express App (3 minutes). A 45-second lecture on panoramic photography with the Autostitch App would be followed by a 60-second panel on timelapse photography using the Timelapse App. A discussion on geocoding your photographs on the iPhone was considered but canceled because there is nothing to do (its all done automagically by the iPhone as soon as the photo is taken).

The first problem with our feeble plan is that the iPhone’s photos are too darn good. Seriously. We cannot make a joke out of them. When used properly, the camera in the iPhone 4 produces publication-quality images in many situations. Have you seen DeWitt Jones’ iPhone photos on Facebook? If not, you should follow him because the images are great. It is a constant amazement that such fine images can be made with such a tiny and simple device. Plus, if you love Hawaii like I do, you will find DeWitt Jones’ images a real joy. Check them out.

Our second problem: we learned that there is at least one fellow offering iPhone Photography Workshops, teaching people to use simple iPhone apps to take snapshots and turn them into amazing photographs. Clearly, we are behind the power curve on this one.

Cut to the Chase…

So, no April Fools Day joke this year. (2009’s joke is still online, although I removed the comments so that the poor folks that fell for it remain anonymous.) So, what is the point of this post? It is simply to share with you a few iPhone panoramas that I’ve made recently, in the hope that the potential this phone offers is motivation for those of you who own one to get out there and use it. These panoramas were all shot with my iPhone 4 and were stitched in the iPhone with the $2.99 Autostitch Panorama app. The result is, in some cases, images that are sharp enough and have sufficient resolution that they can be printed quite large without uprezzing the image to get there. (I consider 20″x30″ “pretty big” for an image that originates from a phone.) Each of these thumbnails links through to a 2500 pixel version so that you can judge for yourself how this app stitches the separate frames together. (Also, keep in mind that if Autostitch produces artifacts or stitching errors, you can always restitch in Photoshop CS 5 “Photo Merge” with usually excellent results.) Autostitch does offer in-phone cropping, but in some instances I show the uncropped version so you can see how well the Autostitch app handles a series of handheld images that are poorly aligned due to photographer dizziness. It is an amazing app that, for $2.99, seems a real bargain. Combine it with the free Photoshop Express app, which allows you to fiddle with exposure, contrast, hue and saturation and a few other things, and the iPhone photographer has the ability to produce great photos “in-phone” and then share them with the world in seconds, all without using a dSLR or computer. Granted, you can probably find some flaws in all of these images if you pixel-peep closely enough. The point is, consider the potential this camera and these apps offer to produce reasonably large prints. It’s there, now.