Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beijing Olympic Park

I took on a photography project last week in Beijing. Given the large crowds of people in Beijing, I knew that time-lapse photography would be fun to create and watch.

One essential piece of equipment for creating time-lapse photography is something to keep the camera pointed in the direction you want and to keep it very still. Ordinarily that  piece of equipment would be a tripod. I rarely even use one at home, and I never travel with one.

I was forced to improvise. I had some success using a few 1 yuan coins to prop up the camera at the desired angle. Unfortunately it was a bit breezy, and the wind kept knocking over the camera. I rummaged through my backpack to find something better suited for the task. Ultimately I found that propping up the camera against a water bottle worked exceptionally well.

One thing that I like about not using a tripod in this video was that it forced me to shoot from the ground. I think the shooting from ground level make this video more interesting looking that shooting from 3-5' off the ground.

The other thing about shooting from ground level is that doing so drew a lot of attention from the people around me - or should I say behind me. You can't see it in the video, but the whole time I was shooting, there were half a dozen to up to twenty people standing behind me (and behind the camera) watching inquisitively. Alas none of the people are likely to see the video any time soon. The video is hosted on YouTube, YouTube is owned by Google, and Google is one of the main targets of the GFC.

The cold breezy night and crawling around on the ground reminded me of the efforts required to get the Chinny shot years ago. The big difference in this case was that I wasn't crawling around in penguin poop. :-)

On the way home from the airport, I saw about a half dozen billboards for the iPhone 6. Each featured a striking photo scaled up to billboard proportions. Underneath the photos the caption read "Shot with iPhone 6". [ BTW... I think it sounds totally pretentious the way apple never uses the articles "the" or "an" in front of the word "iPhone". ]

I assume the point of the ad campaign is - at least in part - to tout the high resolution of the iPhone 6 camera. The photos did, indeed, look mighty impressive. But there was one thing that quickly jumped out at me about the photos in the ad campaign: they're all daytime shots.

I love the versatility and portability of shooting with an iPhone. One thing that almost always disappoints me about the iPhone, however, is its poor performance in low light conditions. More often than not, I find any nighttime shots I take to be far less than stellar.

Given the poor low light capabilities of the iPhone, I'm rather pleased with how well this video turned out.

BTW... The video was shot on an iPhone 4S. Thinking of upgrading today. Happy Birthday to me. :-)

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