Want it fast?

In what seems like not too long ago, it took weeks to see what you took pictures of, and then it would take weeks more to enlarge, crop, print and mount those pictures. If you were sending them to someone else, it could add another week for mailing. During the 2+ years I lived in India, my folks wouldn’t get pictures for another month after that.

In this day and age of instant communications, the time it takes to take a picture and get it to someone with a computer/smartphone/tablet/laptop is less than an hour in any place with a cellphone tower. Imagine you are on an Alaskan cruise in Glacier Bay and you want to send a friend in India a picture you just took. Assuming you have a WiFi hook-up on-board, and most ships are so equipped now do (at a cost of course), using the Eye-Fi WiFi memory chip, you transmit your picture instantly to your smartphone, computer or tablet; the picture is either retained on the chip or deleted depending on how you set it up. You check the picture and then send it over the Internet to your friend, or friends, via email, social media, text or well, whats next?; all from the deck of the ship at sea!

This is one time I would not recommend taking pictures with your smartphone, especially if you would need to use the zoom. As I have said before, Smartphones are great for snapshots, but you give up a lot when you need the zoom to get into the scene for a special occasion or a memorable event. Digital zooms are essentially cropping machines in disguise, so the more you zoom, the less resolution you get. Note also that some smartphone camera apps have settings which automatically compress photos when sent over the Internet; even if they were transferred from another camera. This is usually acceptible for social media, texts and the like, but if the results are to be used for prints, especially enlargements, the results will be less than satisfactory.

But then there is that one person, like my Dad, who’s understanding of the Internet, computers and networking was limited to solitaire. For them there is Target, Walmart, Walgreen and any number of retailers with photo printing capacity. You download the files to be printed to the retailer, pay the charges with a credit or debit card, and give them Dad’s phone number and address. They call Dad when the prints are finished; about an hour later. Dad picks them up or if it is a long drive they mail them and Dad gets them the next day; 4×6, 8×10 and some do cardboard frames too.

I have found that some hotels in tourist areas, cruise ships and many photo shops around the world offer print services for a small price. These are very convenient if you take pictures and promise someone a copy. It can be much more convenient than getting someones email address. Even better, if they have a computer, use a thumb-drive and transfer the pictures that way. Or, if the other person has a compatible smartphone, use the Near Field transfer to transfer the pictures directly.

But what about video? Smartphones and most new cameras have high definition video capabilities as well as stills. The resulting video can be as good or better than dedicated video camera movies; unless the digital zoom is used and the images suffer the same way stills do, but in videos is less noticeable unless a projector is used. The drawback is that they take a lot of memory space. When taking videos it is sometimes best to use a memory card just for the videos alone; get the largest, fastest card the camera will accept.

With proper videography techniques, slow pan, and proper lighting, the resulting video may be able to provide some surprising advantages.

There are several sources for video editing software on the the internet; both to purchase and for free. Using this software, you can not only edit your videos to cut out bad segments and add titles, captions,music and the like, it is usually possible to capture individual frames to use as stills. Using this capability can render some really great candid shots for all kinds of purposes. Imagine that you are at a football game and you are videoing the action. One player makes an unusual move that would make a great action still. If you were shooting a still camera, you would more than likely miss the shot. Using still capture, you grab the shot and convert it to a JPG.

Videos can also be converted for posting on social media sites. Typically, videos destined for these sites are compressed before they are sent to the website. Most video editors will do that task easily.

4 thoughts on “Want it fast?

  1. Damned, but U R W I N D Y !! Considerable verbiage in such a short space! I may have to read this 3 more times to learn why I do not have to go to Walmart for printable pics. But, then, I’m better at bicycle fixin’ than camera stuff.

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