Twenty-twelve, my second daughter was born so even more of my mobile photos are filled with pictures of the kids to embarrass them with in the future; crying baby face, bath-time soapy hair, singing along with the My Little Pony theme song in the car.
I used the iPhone 4S [wikipedia.org] all year, having gotten it at the end of 2011, the 8 mega-pixel camera was a definite step up from the 5 mega-pixel camera of the iPhone 4 and even more over my old iPhone 3GS’es 3 mega-pixel camera!
As I said last time, in good light the iPhone 4S took very good photos. Low light was still an issue, has been up to this day, night mode on the newer iPhones just over does the noise reduction, the photos look good on the iPhone screen but not when viewed on your computer or TV. But photos taken in even halfway decent light look great. It still makes a big difference if you can set the phone on something to keep it stable though.
The first photo I chose for 2012 is a photo where I had a stable surface to set the phone on when taking the shot. And this photo is actually one of the sharpest mobile photos I’ve ever taken, just a random snail in my condo:
Next up two shots of the housing blocks across the street from me, one in full daylight and one in late afternoon golden sunlight. Both look great:
Next we have a couple of lower light shots that worked well, though you can see the graininess if you look. First, a shot taken in Changi Airport while waiting for a late night flight. This figurine was clipped to my work bag for years. At some point I lost him, not sure where. He was seriously beat up even in 2012:
Last two: Escalators at Paragon shopping mall on Orchard Road here in Singapore and looking up at an art installation in Millenia Walk shopping mall’s main atrium.
Most of my interesting snapshots for 2011 are from in and around Suntec City [sunteccity.com.sg]. I started working at an office in Suntec in 2010 and have been there ever since… though I mostly work from home since the COVID-19 lock-down and at this point I don’t have any plans to go back to the office day-in and day-out. Once in a while to meet people is enough.
My oldest daughter started day care in Suntec in 2011. I would pick her up at 6 each day and we would wait for my wife to pick us both up. next to large koi pond at Suntec. The first photos I chose for 2011 is from one afternoon while we waited. Next to the koi pond there was a restaurant with a red neon sign and on this particular day it was quite dark at 6, cloudy but not yet storming. At 6PM the outdoor lights in Singapore are not on (most are on automatic timers from about 7PM to 7AM, being very close to the equator the day is almost exactly 12 hours long, shifting less than 15 minutes (see here [weatherspark.com]). The dark clouds and lack of streetlights allowed the neon red to turn the pond into pool of glowing red blood:
I always wanted to get that shot with my DSLR but the few times I went back there was too much sunlight or white lights from the streetlights. I never got lucky and the koi pond is long gone now, a victim of renovation.
A few months after my daughter started daycare we had to change centers as the one in Suntec close. They arranged an offer to transfer all the students who wanted to another center in Millenia Walk [milleniawalk.com] just next door. So for the next few years I walked over the Millenia most days. Millenia has a bunch of sculptures around it and one in particular I had to pass by every day. It’s a tall spiral of stacked square marble by Philip Johnson [wikipedia.org] and it’s positioned in such a way that it catches the late sun during the golden hour. I took many photos of it over the years that my daughters were in day care in Millenia Walk. This is one of the best:
Given the time of day, 6PM and it being a weekday (Wednesday the internet tells me) the next photo was probably also taken when I was walking over to Millenia:
Then, in October, the iPhone 4S [wikipedia.org] was released. And a serious jump in camera quality, from 3 megapixel to 8 megapixel. 8 megapixels is a respectable digital camera, you can actually print photos at this resolution out as standard size photos and they look good. All assuming you had good light, but at this point the iPhone entered an era where it was as good as a mass market point-and-shoot. And since other phones had even better cameras by now this was really the end of the dedicated point-and-shoot as a viable product. You can still get them ten years on but now there are only a few models to choose from. Back in 2010, 2011 there were dozens and they were quite popular. Yet another gadget the smartphone subsumed.
I only have one photo from 2011 taken with the 4S to share. Taken at work during a conference call. A long time hobby of mine, during long conference calls, was to play with Buckyballs! (Note that the original (?) Buckyballs no longer exist due to a long running issue around safety in the US and a lawsuit back in 2012, but I’ll always call them Buckyballs. There are a number of companies still selling Neodymium Magnetic Toys [wikipedia.org], check out Zen Magnets [zenmagnets.com], you can see some of the amazing things people build in their gallery). Here’s a shot looking down a tube of Buckyballs:
Before we end 2011, I’ve got one more. I don’t do a lot of overt manipulation of most of my photos. I adjust the white balance, play with the exposure and curves, add a vignette, etc. but I don’t “photoshop” them for the most part. However, I do play around with more drastic editing some times, and on my phone I have an app called Camera+ [camera.plus] (they are on Camera+2 now, but this photo was edited with the original). Here is one photo that I messed with in Camera+ as it was not a good photo, but I was able to get something cool out if it after adding a bunch of filters and such:
This was taken at the old Suntec Convention Center, the enterance off of Beach Road, before the MRT station was built and before the Suntec renovations in 2012-2014. There was some sort of power outage that day creating dramatic shadows as people came into the Convention Center on a sunny day.
A new decade. But, ehm, same iPhone 3GS I ended 2009 [confusion.cc] with. The 3GS actually took some decent photos in 2010. Decent enough that I have actually uploaded some of them to my Flickr [flickr.com]. So here we go, my best mobile photos of 2010.
First up, two related photos. I have a enduring fascination for taking photos straight up at interesting ceilings. Too often people don’t look up unless they are told to. So maybe it’s the unexpected perspective or the fact that I don’t see many photos of ceilings but I have taken a lot over the years. Here are two from Singapore, old and modern.
The old, is the dome of the National Museum of Singapore [nationalmuseum.sg], with it’s blue and white stained glass windows:
The modern, is the glass cone ceiling of Wheelock Place on Orchard Road:
Enough architecture, now for some nature. Colorful, if dying, nature in the form of a fern leaf someone on a sidewalk in Singapore. Mostly leaves come in two colors in Singapore – Green or Brown, for a few week a year, if we have a good dry season, you can see yellow leaves but for most of the year it’s just Green or Brown. The fern leaf is unusually colorful.
Next up, more nature, but not from Singapore, this sunset was taken in Woburn, Massachusetts in the US. On a trip for a job, I was walking back to my hotel from dinner. You don’t get many dramatic sunsets in Singapore, we don’t get the low angle that the more northerly or southerly latitudes do, so I noticed that sunset every day in Woburn.
And I’ll leave it at that. Next stop 2011.
We started the iPhone era in 2008, camera quality went backwards, as discussed [confusion.cc] last time. I spent most of 2009 with the iPhone 3G so the photos are not great. Also, and most importantly, the vast majority of my mobile phone photos —and a lot of videos— are of my daughter, born in mid-2008. I gave up on the Sony camcorder I purchased to take lots of videos of her because it was too damn much work to edit them into something that I could watch on the TV or phone. The videos on the iPhone were small but they got used a lot more.
So, anyway, what photos do I have that are not of my wife or daughter or other people I know? Not much. Out of the 425 photos in my archive from 2009, fully 80% of of people. Not leaving much to choose my “best photos” from, but here you go.
First up, two shots, for side-by-side comparison of the weather on two days from my desk, ignore the reflection of the office lights:
Next a random shot of tree leaves… looking up against a cloudy sky for a silhouette effect. I like the trees in Singapore that grow up and spread a single layer of leaves over a vast area, like what we called “Rain Trees” in videos of the African Savanna. I’m guessing it’s not the same tree but same shape when you see them from afar. The single layer of leaves means you get to see this intricate pattern against the sky. This is not the best example, not is the photo high quality, even for the iPhone 3G camera as it was taken handheld so thing are a bit blurry. You could get better photos by setting the phone on a stable surface, but c’est la vie.
Here is a better example of what the iPhone 3G’s camera could do. I guess the light was better, as it’s a lot less blurry this time. The subject is… interesting. I assume I took it to show someone and have a laugh. For those not familiar, it is common in Southeast Asia to get take away drinks, hot and cold, in plastic bags with little plastic straps to hold on or hang on things. You see people carry them whenever you are near a food court of local coffee shop, you see them hanging from nobs and levers on trucks and taxis. And, once in a while, you see them left hanging from random fence posts or tree branches. They look like tree has a colostomy bags to me:
OK, one more. This is the only one taken on the better camera of the iPhone 3GS [wikipedia.org] I got when it was released in Singapore in late 2009. A bit Big Brother this cluster of cameras in Raffles place: