The Road

February 13, 2017 – This part of the road I walk as part of my daily exercise routine screams “Take my Picture!” just about every time I head back up it towards my house. While sometimes I carry my Fuji XT-1 when I walk, more often than not it’s my iPhone 7 Plus that I use most when I’m out and about. “Found” pictures are all around you and you shouldn’t pass them up only because you only have your phone with you!

February 13, 2017 – A Paducah and Louisville Railway local…

February 13, 2017 – A Paducah and Louisville Railway local greeted me as I finished my 4 mile walk this afternoon here in Richland, Ky with PAL 3807 leading. I did this shot using my iPhone 7 Plus. I’ve always said the best camera to use is the one you have with you!

April 9, 2014 – iPhone Challenge – Timelapse

04.09.14 iPhone Challenge-Timelapse

Today’s photo is of my GoPro camera setup for my first long-term timelapse production I’m doing for the Habitat for Humanity of Hopkins County. They’re building a duplex and I’m shooting a timelapse on the whole project that will be shown at their fundraising banquet later this year, and other locations I’m sure.

I’ve done short things before, but this is my first long-term project. So far the camera has taken about 22,000 still photos that have been combined into a total of about 9 minutes of video. With the exception of bad weather, (crews don’t work), that represents 8 days of shooting from about 7am till about 3:30pm everyday. Tomorrow is the last day of the blitz, where they get the duplex built, under roof and most of the exterior building work. There’s been a group here called “Care-a-vaners” that go around the U.S. spending two weeks at different Habitat sites doing this. They’ll leave this weekend and local crews will take over from where they leave off.

Since most of the work is moving into the inside, I’ll be placing another GoPro camera inside one of the duplexes to shoot sequences of the inside work as well.

For those friends of mine that are wondering about how I powered this camera for so long without using AC power, it’s because of the battery you see on the pole here. It’s a Allpowers 20,000mah Power Bank Universal External Powered Backup Portable Battery Charger that’s designed to charge cameras and phones using a USB cable. I bought it off Amazon for $25 and it does a fantastic job of keeping the camera and WiFi batteries fully charged as the camera works through-out the day. It has five LED lights on it to indicate it’s power level left and I think the longest the camera ran for was 9 hours straight and the lights only dropped to three, which indicates that I still had 60% of the power left. If you use a GoPro to do timelapse and are looking for an alternate power source, this really works. However, the battery isn’t waterproof. I covered the battery with heavy plastic on the days rain was in the forecast. I used a underwater housing from GoPro and had to modify it (cut and opening) so I could plug-in the USB cable from the battery. After plugging it in I wrapped duct tape around the plug to insure that rainwater didn’t get into it. It worked like a champ as it’s rained on the camera and battery several times during the shoot so far.

Here’s a link to the battery: Amazon

After all the shooting is done and the video is edited, I’ll be sure to post it here on my blog.

Photo shot with the iPhone 5s and post processing was done in Snapseed.

January 14, 2014 iPhone Challenge – Color my world

01.14.14 iPhone Challenge-Colors-Web

I think I have passed this building everyday for many years and until today I never really noticed the bold graphic design that the siding made and the clouds in the sky helped to balance the top off the building for a nice photograph.

Contrasting from yesterday’s black and white photo, this one screamed color at me when I first drove past it. Of course I came back. Bold and bright colors can help make a impact in your photography so always be on the lookout for places where you can use them.

Photo was shot using the HDRpro App and then processed in Snapseed for the final image.

January 13, 2014 iPhone Challenge – The visit

01.13.14 iPhone Challenge-Damion and Davie-Web

Today I caught my nephew Damion just visiting with his uncle Davie. Not sure just who enjoyed the visit more, me, Damion or Davie. I decided that I wanted to do this photo in black and white so the color didn’t distract from Damion squatting down on the floor. We all live in a color world, but sometimes a photograph works much better in black and white.

There’s many black and white apps available for the iPhone that actually shoot your photo in black and white and while I have several of them I shot this photo originally in color with the phones native camera. After looking at the color version I decided to process it as black and white.

Most of the post processing was done in Snapseed, but I did bring it into Photoshop and do a little tweaking in the highlights and shadows.


January 12, 2014 iPhone Challenge – Open Doors

01.12.14 iPhone Challenge-Church Doors

Today’s iPhone Challenge picture was shot at First Christian Church here in Madisonville, Ky where I have been a member since I was about 2 or 3 years old. I go here every week to “Recharge my batteries for the week ahead.”

My photography has always spilled over into all aspects of my life… church and my faith are just two of them. I video the service as many of you know each week and anyone who has followed my photography know that a lot of my photos have come from my life here in this house.

I thank God for the creative talents he as given me and I only pray that I have and will continue to do these talents justice.

I’ve had people, that haven’t found their faith, ask me over the years how I can believe in something or someone that I can’t even see or photograph? It’s not any different than the wind… you can see the effects of it all around you, but you can’t actually see the wind itself. For me God is the same way. I may not be able to see or capture a image of him on my camera, but I continue to capture his presence in the many people I encounter along my photographic journey.

Peace to everyone on this day and I pray that you have a place to recharge your batteries!

January 11, 2014 iPhone Challenge – The window view

01.11.14 iPhone Challenge-Bedroom Window

Today’s iPhone Challenge photo is the view from the chair I spent most of my afternoon in as I worked on installing and setting up a new computer for my sister. The one she’s been using for several years was one that I built and it started to develop issues that were going to not really be economical to continue upgrading.

I got so wrapped up in the process that I almost forgot about shooting my daily challenge photo and decided to look around the room to find something that made an interesting photo for me and this is what I came up with.

It was shot using the HDRpro Application on the iPhone and then I processed it using Snapseed and applied the HDR Scape filter to it before adding the border.





January 8, 2014 iPhone Challenge – Frozen Leaf

01.08.14 iPhone Challenge-Leaf frozen in ice

Sometimes when I head out to search for a scene that inspires me enough to take a picture, I have no idea where I’ll end up or what I’ll be shooting. However, today I knew I wanted some sort of picture that shows the frozen water that has taken over most of the lakes and ponds since the Arctic Vortex pushed all the cold air through-out the region. So, I decided to head to Earlington’s Loch Mary Lake to see what I could find there.

I walked along the shoreline looking for something that said “photograph me” and I found this one area that had shrubs and other things when I spied this little leaf sticking half in and half out of the ice and I knew I had what I was looking for. I ended up taking the case off my phone, turning it upside down and putting the phone right on the ice so I could get a real low angle with the bring clouds in the background to illuminate the leaf.

Post processing was done all in the phone, using an Apps called Dynamic Light and the border was added using Snapseed.

January 7, 2014 iPhone Challenge – Leading lines

01.07.14 iPhone Challenge-Sebree Power-Web

One of the basic rules of composition is leading lines and it’s one of my favorites. Add a set of wobbly railroad tracks and anyone that knows me knows I’m in heaven. The only thing that could be better would be a train coming toward me in the photo, but the steam billowing out of the power plant at Sebree, Kentucky helped to make this picture for me.

I always like the look of this plant and on my way back from Richmond, Ky today I decided to jump off the parkway to see if I couldn’t get a good shot of the steam. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your viewpoint, I couldn’t find a spot I liked closer to the plant. So I pretty much gave up the idea of getting a shot and headed on over to US 41 to head on toward the barn and perhaps a different photo for my iPhone challenge.

As we crossed over the CSX railroad crossing leading up to the plant I glanced down and saw this photo. I didn’t get much more than a quarter of a mile up the road when I turned around and went back to shoot this photo.

Shot with my iPhone 4S using the HDRpro App and processed using the Snapseed App.

January 6, 2014 iPhone Challenge – Shooting in the Arctic

01.06.14 iPhone Challenge-Nashville Artic Weather.-Web

Well, that’s what if felt like today anyway, the arctic that is. I hope today’s picture gives that feeling perhaps.

I went to Nashville today to pick up my niece Chrystal who was returning from a Christmas visit to her son, Brad and his family, in Colorado.

This being the first day of the Arctic Vortex that has brought extreme cold further south than it has in a very long time I decided to head to Music City early so I would have some time to shoot some “Urban Landscapes” for a “film” challenge I’m doing this year also. (Those challenge pictures will be posted the end of end of each month.)

I’ve been to Nashville a lot over the years, but today my sister, April, and I wandered around areas that I’ve not been to before as I was looking for things that said “Urban Landscape” to me. That’s also where this photo creation came from.

It’s a scene along the river just down from the Titan’s Stadium and with the temperature being 7 degrees at that time, not counting the chill factor, I really didn’t spend a lot of time shooting this scene on my iPhone as I couldn’t wear my gloves and operated the touch screen very well. It’s on a dock that runs along the river under a walk bridge and the wind was whipping off the water pretty good so I shot about two frames of this scene.

I kinda had the idea of processing the image the same way as yesterday’s image and was really interested in how the sun and clouds were going to turn out. I’m pretty happy with the end results.

I used the native camera, an App called Painteresque and another called Snapseed, all to produce what you see here.

January 5, 2014 – A little Magic Scrooberizing

Approaching Storm
Approaching Storm

This year’s iPhone photography challenge is as much about venturing out from my normal photography to see what I can produce creatively with the iPhone and the many Apps that I use. Tonight’s picture was done with a couple different Apps, or actually three. The native camera, an App called Painteresque and another called Snapseed, all to produce what you see here tonight. The title above pertains to one of the processes the Painteresque App goes through.

First, I’ll be honest and say I totally forgot about shooting my iPhone photo for the day until I looked up from my computer and noticed that it was almost dark outside! For me, the dark and the iPhone are not two things I like to put together as I hate to use flash and with the iPhone the darker it gets the more noise you get in the photo unless you use flash.

The wind and snow had started to fall and so I thought perhaps a shot of the trees in my yard against the last light of the day might provide for an interesting photo. So I shot a series of the tops of the trees that I liked and made my way back into the house to thaw out.

I liked the way the trees looked, but I wanted a more blurry, movement type effect and so I thought I’d see what I could do with the App called Painteresque and after trying several different style effects I finally settled on the one called Painteresque 1. It was close to what I was thinking in my minds eye, but not quite. I saved the photo with the effect applied, opened that one back in the App and then applied it a to the image I had saved to get this final photo that I’m happy with.

The only thing I did in Snapseed is apply the border. The watermark was applied in Photoshop where I cropped it to the right size to post to the web.
I’m really pleased how this one turned out and I’m excited to try some of the other effects as the year goes on and also some of the other many Apps that I’ve not really played with that much that I’ve bought.

January 3, 2014 – Snow storm shoppers

Photography by Jim Pearson, (c) 2014
Photography by Jim Pearson, (c) 2014

My sister and I went by Kroger tonight and while walking through the store it seemed that there were isle after isle of shoppers. For a second we couldn’t understand why there were so many people there shopping at 3 in the afternoon, and then it hit us… there’s a winter storm threat for our area!

It amazes me to this day how people stock up so much when there’s a threat of an incoming storm, but I guess having lived through the Ice Storm of 2009 where most folks in the region was without power for up to two weeks or more, it’s a little more understandable.

We weren’t two of the storm shoppers however! We just stopped by to pick up a few things, or perhaps a few more things after we realized the weather was moving in.

Being in the military for 24 years and living everywhere from Norway to Alaska it just doesn’t seem to bother me as much as it does most folks I guess. Anyway, it provided my picture for the day.

January 1, 2014 – The Clouds

Photography by Jim Pearson, (c) 2014
Photography by Jim Pearson, (c) 2014

As if I don’t have enough photography challenges for the New Year, I’ve also decided that I’m going to post a picture a day that I’ll be shooting with my iPhone. There’s no specific theme, just what I find daily that I like along my path.

I’m a sucker for clouds and every-time I see a nice formation I just have to pull over and find a spot that makes for a pleasing picture for me. This photo was shot off of KY 70 as I headed into town to take some pictures of my great-great niece Elaina for another challenge that will be posted next Monday. I just love the way the clouds were just rolling across the sky.

I did all the post processing with this picture using the Snapseed Application. Hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with the world!

December 1, 2013 – Year long photo challenge

12.01.13 Christmas-Damion

December 1, 2013 – This month’s photographic challenge topic is “Christmas.” I used my iPhone to capture this photo of my nephew Damion trying to figure out what was hanging on the end of the pews at church today. Last Christmas he wasn’t quite old enough to realize what was going on. Please feel free to share!

This image was shot with my iPhone 4S. Exposure info: 1/17 sec f/2.4 at ISO 400 at 35mm.

Nightcap a good camera app for low light

A complaint I have with my iPhone 4 is how badly it shoots photos in low light, without a flash. Well, “Interrealtime” has come out with a camera app for both the iPhone and iPad that has improved the quality of shooting in low light by leaps and bounds over most others I’ve found.

It’s called NightCap and is available in the iTunes Store for $0.99.

As we all know most cameras, SLR or Smartphones, all struggle to capture photos in low light. As the sun sets and the light drops off pictures tend to become dark and grainy in most instances when shooting by available light, especially with the iPhone’s native camera.

Interealtime’s solution was to develop an app that gives the camera time to capture more light – longer exposures in photography terms. Nightcap brings true long exposures to the iPhone, up to 20x longer than the built-in camera app. I’m truly impressed with the difference.

The screen for the camera is pretty standard and you can turn the flash on or off, switch from front to rear facing camera. Click on the settings wheel in the right lower corner to change from Auto to Manual mode. You can also preview your most recent picture by clicking on the icon in the lower left of the screen.
Nightcap takes full resolution pictures in either fully automatic or manual modes. In automatic mode it’s as simple to use as the built in camera and in manual mode it’s a lot more powerful. The results in low light area like night and day as you can see by these two examples I shot at a recent meeting of the Western Kentucky Photography Club.

The iPhone camera is limited to a fairly short exposure time which is roughly around 1/20th of a second. Nightcap extends that up to a full 1sec exposure, and this difference can produce a good photo when the built-in camera barely sees anything, unless you use a flash.

Also, even where it’s bright enough in low light for the built-in camera the image can still be very grainy (noise) due to the exposure being very short and the camera increasing it’s ISO to a high level. The problem here is higher ISO levels can also increase the noise (grain) as well. Since Nightcap can use a longer exposure it doesn’t need to boost the ISO as high which results in a clearer photo with less grain.

This being said, with any camera in low light it needs time to focus, and focusing can be slow in very low light. They are working on improvements to this and updates will be available to those who purchase the app through iTunes.

Of Course longer exposure times mean the camera is more susceptible to shaking. It’s important to hold the camera still when shooting in low light! For best results stabilize yourself against a solid surface, take several shots and pick the best one, or use a tripod or stand. There’s many adapters available to attach your iPhone to a tripod.

Also, fast moving objects will blur with longer exposures! However with experience you can take advantage of this to produce amazing photos this way. Try following a moving object with the camera while shooting, get it right and you’ll have a clear subject against a motion blurred background creating a real sense of movement.

Click to view larger version
Far left, photo with built-in camera on the iPhone 4 with flash off, at right, same scene with Nightcap App in automatic mode. Nothing was done to the photos after they were shot for this post. I can only image how much better the Nightcap photo would be on the new iPhone 4s with it’s improved optics.

The screen for the camera is pretty standard and you can turn the flash on or off, switch from front to rear facing camera. Click on the settings wheel in the right lower corner to change from Auto to Manual mode. You can also preview your most recent picture by clicking on the icon in the lower left of the screen.

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, and iPod touch 4G (iPod touch with camera)
* Requires iOS 5.0 or later

ClassicPAN… a great iPhone application

I’ve always enjoyed shooting panorama pictures and for a long time I did so with a Fuji 8x17cm camera and currently have a 4×10 Patrick Alt view camera, but here lately I’ve been using a application for the iPhone called ClassicPAN which I’m really having fun with. The conventional iPhone camera stores picture files at a 4:3 aspect ratio, but ClassicPAN stores the same photos in a 9:4 panorama format cut at the top and bottom, resembling the output of a classic camera.

The app pretty much does what the Fuji and my 4×10 cameras do and that is take a picture where the film size actually crops a standard photo into a panorama. ClassicPAN takes the image (full frame) and basically crops it into a 12.96″ x 5.76″ image @200 ppi and shot with the iPhone 4’s 5.1mp camera you get pretty good quality for printing.

I have noticed that I’ve had to make shooting adjustments as the app does include more than you see in the application when you take the photo. I’ve gotten used to this and just preview the resulting image after shooting and if it’s not framed just like I want it then I just shoot another photo. I know I could just open the full frame photo and crop it in Photoshop or a similar program, but that wouldn’t be the same for me.

Other things about ClassicPAN is that it comes with is 13 film options ranging from Normal Negative to one called X-Proc Color and each of them have their own distinctive look. It also has an exposure compensation setting that ranges from + or – two full stops. It also has a set of five filters that you can put on the lens which are clear (skylight), red, yellow, green, and blue for another option for effects, plus the camera also uses the built in flash on the iPhone 4.

To enable the app to save your created pans in the highest quality make sure you go under your iPhone settings and select the ClassicPAN settings and turn on High Quality Prints and any other options that you find there.

For $1.99 I really don’t think you can go wrong in adding this app to your collection. Below are a few photos I’ve done with ClassicPAN. Click Graphic to visit App Website

Here’s what the app looks like:

photocrati gallery

Here’s some ohter Images I’ve done with the camera.