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October 2011 theme:  Using the iPhone 4 camera and Pro HDR app:

Often one is stuck without a camera and proper gear – however one can still get extraordinarily good results with a phone camera – for instance for quality images on the iPhone Pro HDR is a superb app and recent updates have taken it a step further. Pity compact cameras don’t do this! Maybe some do? The only downside is that you have to hold the iPhone very still as it effectively takes two images – one under- and the other over-exposed and then combines them.

Escalator reflections - iPhone & Pro HDR - Sean Larkan

Creative use of the HDR feature:

You can however have some fun with this feature – if you take a photo in an area that is not too brightly lit and there are moving subjects you can get some great surreal artsy blurry results. Essentially the camera focuses on the main image and moving people or things are only part-recorded as a blurred image. See the results here – it is worth experimenting with this!

Escalators at Chicago's O'Hare airport - iPhone Camera and PRO HDR app - Sean Larkan

You can get similar results (when you don’t have something that is moving – by simply moving the camera between the two shots!

Umbrella in shop window - iPhone & Pro HD app - Sean Larkan

Turboprop - iPhone & Pro HDR - Sean Larkan

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September 2011 theme: Cheung Chau Island, a shortish ferry ride from Hong Kong or Kowloon, provides a wonderful break and peaceful experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city proper.  The island is a photographer’s dream. When I presented at the LawAsia conference in September I had hoped to take another trip out there but didn’t make it – instead talked a conference delegate into taking his wife there.

Ask for the tea-lady’s cafe – a short walk half-way across the island – she is a great character.

There are very few tourists (at least when I was last there a few years back) and the locals, while friendly, act as if you don’t exist, which is great. I found the best images were obtained by quietly sitting somewhere and waiting patiently for things to unfold. People soon seemed to get used to me and forget I was there. Where people were included I generally asked their permission first and most were quite happy.  Hardly anyone spoke English but that was no problem. (for the technically-minded I used a Canon 1DS & pro lenses & Photoshop & Nik midnight & other filters for finishing – taken in about 2004)

A typical shopfront on the island - no cars allowed! What a pleasure!

As you quietly wander about, all manner of fascinating scenes unfold before you.

I passed this old guy enjoying the harbour scene - an hour or two later he hadn't moved - the blokes seem to do quite a lot of this on the island!