Blackberry Q10 + camera phone image filtering and panoramas.

It's not really that surprising that filtering and the digital simulation of retro processes has become popular with camera phone users. It helps to disguise some of the 'quality challenged' results that these small sensors produce. And somewhat strangely, old-fashioned has become 'modern' and 'hip'. 

But then anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with Photoshop can also produce their own variations. Here's just a few ideas I came up with pretty quickly for my Blackberry Q10 files.



Fun? Sure. But Creative? Well I'll leave that up to you, but lets just say I'm not sure that messing around with the contrast and colour to produce effects that look like faded prints or converting to black and white doesn't strike me as adding much to the rich history of photography. And just like the 'horrors' of Cokin filters in the 1980's and 1990's the longevity of these 'looks' is somewhat open to question. How appealing the content of our facebook pages with heavily filtered 'selfies' will be in years to come remains to be seen. Let's just say I'm keen to retain my unfiltered originals for long-term storage.

But if we are talking about filtering and so-called 'creative options' what about these?

Instagram and Hipstamatic actual filtering and Photoshop work to make them look like that. Are they 'artistic?' No of course they aren't. Are they 'creative?' Don't make me laugh. Are they fashionable?' Unfortunately yes they are, though for the life of me I can't see why. 

The point is this stuff is easy, commonplace, been around for years and yet somehow millions of people feel inclined to do it. The shot above with the boats is an Instagram creation. Below is the original. Unfiltered, untouched and straight as it came off the phone.

I know which I prefer.

And now back to photography.

I've no reservations about creating panoramic compositions with my phone. It strikes me that's a very useful and aesthetically pleasing way to increase resolution from a limiting set of options.

My Blackberry has no in built Panorama function, so these were created using multi images 'stitched together' in either Photoshop's Photomerge or PTGui. Readers who've been following this blog for a while will know that I'm quite keen on Panoramas, though I've shot very few recently. I've started again out of a desire to get higher resolution images from my phone and also because I've discovered that using the small jpg. files from the Q10 I can create these panoramas very quickly and easily.

I've always liked this extended framing and the way it distorts reality but in a pleasing way. I like the way I can create what appear to be natural looking images but which are in fact optical illusions in that it's impossible to actually see views like this with our eyes. 

So I guess I'm somewhat unusual in that I use my basic camera in my phone to create 'straight' shots. And it does work for that. Obviously far too 'old-hat' for many of the phone photographer fraternity, but I like them and more to the point others do too and pay me to use them. 

Crazy filtering will of course pass and as I've written before I think the better camera phone pictures get, the less inclined people will be to ruin them. However there may be some time before that happens and in the meantime I suspect we will have to get used to photo trash insulting our visual sensitivities. 

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