Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Felipe Santana on Unsplash

A brief sneak-peek at what we can expect to see for photography on the new iPhone 12 Pro.

When the iPhone 11 Pro was announced everyone focused immediately on the new wide-angle lens which made complete sense as the new capability did give the new iPhone a big advantage over the previous generations. However, other capabilities such as portrait mode were given only minor updates and still to this day suffer from some seriously valid quality issues. …


Image for post
Image for post
The sky has totally been replaced in this image…can you tell and does it even matter?

Let’s talk about Sky Replacement. In some circles, artificially removing the sky in photos and replacing it with a more appealing sky is viewed in a very negative light. Others, specifically landscape photographers, seem to view sky replacement as a necessary evil as you don’t always get the sky you were hoping for, and not everyone has the time to go back to an exotic location for a re-shoot. So, who is right? Is sky replacement evil, or is it just another tool in a photographer’s toolbox?

So, what exactly IS sky replacement? Sky replacement is exactly what it sounds like, using a photo editing tool such as Enlight Quickshot ( iOS) or Luminar 4 ( Mac/Windows) to replace the sky in a photograph with another more interesting (or more “dramatic”) sky. In the past, this was done using Photoshop by masking the sky and then manually loading up a replacement sky into the mask. Sounds simple but in reality, it was anything but mostly due to how much extra editing you had to do in order to make the sky look right. Everything from colors to which direction the shadows were going, all had to be carefully managed in order for the replacement sky to not stand out as a post-capture edit. To help make the final photo look right it was common for a photographer to re-visit the same location on a day when the sky looked better just to ensure that the replacement sky was a good fit. The bottom line is that up until recently sky replacement was an advanced photography technique that virtually nobody did very often. Just getting the mask right in Photoshop was crazy hard and often ended in tears. …


Image for post
Image for post

One of the main advantages of smartphone photography is the easy access to all the latest computational photography tools. These tools, often in the form of apps, and sometimes directly built into the smartphone camera itself enable the photographer to enhance images well beyond the capabilities of the hardware. In a modern smartphone these technologies perform minor miracles in taking what would be average to poor image and video quality and raising that bar up to near-DSLR levels. …


Image for post
Image for post
OpenAI

Are Natural Language Processing transformer networks useful for helping you improve your writing? Maybe, but not for the reasons you might think. They’re not just some technology-driven thing. In fact, many of the problems they’re designed to address actually have very little to do with technological advances at all. The efficacy of this type of AI technology is directly related to how much information it’s able to extract from a given stimulus. The more information it’s able to extract, the better the results.

Just in case you missed it, the above paragraph was written in-part by a Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm called GPT-2 which was created by OpenAI expressly for the purpose of natural language text generation. In the text above (and below) anything that is bold was written by the NLP algorithm. The ability to leverage machine learning algorithms such as GPT-2 to autocomplete text during word processing is something new that until now I had not had the chance to try. I complete get the concept of having the computer co-write, as it might help with both better word choice and for some, might even improve grammar for others, but I was highly skeptical of the overall usefulness for writing common articles and blog posts. …


Is Apple’s “Deep Fusion” image processing a Game Changer? Let’s see what happens when you put the iPhone 11 Pro with the new “Deep Fusion” beta up against a similarly priced DSLR.

Image for post
Image for post

I know what you are thinking. Why do we need yet another iPhone vs. DSLR comparison, where the DSLR features pro glass and has a full frame sensor? We don’t, and I’m not going to subject you to such a pointless comparison. What I will do is compare the new iPhone to something that is much closer in price, and far more likely to be equipment you might actually own, a Nikon D7200 DSLR. The Nikon features a 24MP crop sensor which is widely regarded as having excellent dynamic range (see DXOmark for details). I’ve been shooting with the D7200 for several years now and absolutely love it when I’m in the mood for the whole DSLR experience. It’s a solid camera that can be had for under $1000 new, often with a kit lens, and much less used. Sure, I could have pull out a Nikon D850 but that’s really not a fair comparison as many posts and videos keep demonstrating. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by ev on Unsplash

There is no doubt in my mind that artificial intelligence will change the world. There are already plenty of examples one could use to prove that these changes are taking place right now, today, and in our daily lives. What gives me pause, and sometimes even keeps me up at night is how nobody seems to understand that while AI gives us amazing capabilities it also takes away some fundamental human rights in exchange for those capabilities. By far the most important is our right to privacy. True enough, Facebook has already eroded much of the privacy we once had but AI ensures that no matter how much we attempt to keep our family, daily lives, and deepest secrets private; it can root out the truth from even the tiniest amounts of data. …


Image for post
Image for post

To say the new iPhone 11 Pro camera system is amazing simply does not do it justice. This is a major leap forward in smartphone photography with serious implications for professional photographers.

It is no big secret that I am a huge fan of smartphone photography. I love having such a powerful camera in my pocket. It gives me a type of freedom that I will never have with my Nikon DSLR or my Fujifilm X-series mirrorless camera. I can shoot, edit, and then post, all a single device in only a few minutes. Before we had smartphones, we had complex workflows that took hours. Now, with the new iPhone 11 Pro, we have abilities that have no equal in the dedicated camera market. Features such as; Smart HDR, Night mode, and Portrait mode all hide what can only be called a true revolution in photography. This new “computational” approach to the photographic capture process changes everything. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Justin Main on Unsplash

Because we are stereotyped that way.

So there I was, stuck at yet another wedding holding my camera, waiting for the perfect moment to grab an epic shot of the bride and groom on the dance floor when suddenly the “official” wedding photographer walks up to me and says “stop taking photos, I’m the photographer here”. Many professional photographers are just that, professional, but there are others who for some strange reason choose to be something else entirely. Why are these photographers so unprofessional? Is it a stereotype? …


Image for post
Image for post

How much of a game changer is a wide-angle lens on the iPhone? More than you think. And when combined with the current standard and zoom lenses a wide-angle lens is nothing short of amazing. The ability to shoot from an effective 18mm (or wider) all the way to 2x zoom makes the iPhone one of the most versatile cameras ever to fit in your pocket.

To be fair, this is not the first time we’ve had a wide-angle lens on an iPhone. Starting with the original Moment Wide lens there has been a solid 18mm option for virtually all iPhones since even before the iPhone 6. The catch? …


Image for post
Image for post

Is it? Is photography and all things related having an oversized impact on the environment? After reading multiple stories recently on the impact of too many visitors at various national parks and how Instagrammers are ruining things for locals at many historical sites, I’ve started to think that maybe there is some truth to this assertion after all.

About

Robert Rittmuller

A devout technologist, I write about AI, cybersecurity, and my favorite topic, photography. https://www.rittmuller.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store