Tag Archives: photography

Weeknote #15 – 14th June 2019

Senate House

Another Monday and another day back in London. The weather was awful, it’s June, it’s supposed to be dry and sunny, but all I had on Monday was rain and then more rain.

Tuesday was going to see me flying off early to Edinburgh for a meeting on Wednesday, however a last minute cancellation, meant that I changed my travel plans. I was also supposed to be going to our Harwell office on Friday, but that meeting was cancelled as well.

We had a short meeting about place, I mentioned in a previous weeknote about the Bristol One City project.

Weeknote #09 – 3rd May 2019

Having more time this week, enabled me to crack on with some reading and writing, as well as reflection about future events and meetings I am attending. I was reading and reviewing a range of internal documents.

One document I reviewed again was the government’s EdTech Strategy.

Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology industry

DFE Edtech Strategy

For me some key areas need further discussion and development, how does technology support learning and teaching and the importance of digital leadership (which is not quite the same thing as leadership).

Friday saw us discussing the usage of Teams in higher education as a… Well I was going to say replacement for the VLE, but that implies that the VLE is one thing and Teams is another thing, but they are not the same thing.

I have always thought of the VLE as more of a concept rather than a specific product. A virtual learning environment (VLE) can have a range of functions and services. Certain products and fulfil some of these functions, others may plug into the product or live alongside it. So you could have Moodle as your core within your VLE, but have WordPress connected in to provide a blogging platform and Mahara to be the portfolio tool.

Microsoft Teams has many functions that enable it to be used as a core of the VLE, into which other functions could be connected or plugged in. It has all the functions you expect from a VLE or LMS, such as content, communication (individual and group) and assessment.

Teams Apps

The Apps ecosystem certainly enables a much wider range of functions, though certainly apps and functions appear to be “missing”.

Microsoft Teams is the digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with all staff – all from a single experience in Office 365 Education.

There are already universities and colleges out in the sector using Teams as their VLE, I am interested in not just who is using Teams as their VLE, but also how they are using it, and how embedded it is into practice.

One of the feature of Amazon Photos which I use to back up my digital image archive is it shows what photographs you took on the same date in previous years.

Twelve years ago in 2007 I was drinking coffee at my desk in the old Gloucestershire College Brunswick building in the heart of Gloucester Anyone else remember BBC Jam?

BBC Jam mug

Fifteen years ago this week I was taking photographs of a building site to demonstrate the differences between a range of digital cameras.

This photograph was taken with a Sony Cybershot camera.

construction site

This one was taken with the digital photo feature of a digital video camera.\construction site

This was taken with a Canon EOS 300D DSLR.

construction site

I also used a proper DSLR lens with optical zoom to show the difference between optical and digital zoom.

construction site

This was taken from the same location as the photos above.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Fotopedia Heritage – iPhone App of the Week

Fotopedia Heritage – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Fotopedia Heritage.

This app was recently selected as one of the top 50 apps of all time in Apple’s new Hall of Fame. With 25,000 awe-inspiring photos, this much loved app has been called the world’s largest photo book, an inspiring travel guide, an entertaining teaching device and even a bed-time relaxation tool.

Created in cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Fotopedia Heritage provides a virtual passport to the hundreds of sites that constitute the world’s collective cultural and natural human legacy.

With our thanks to the Fotopedia community of photographers who created or contributed so many of the world’s most beautiful and representative photos, while curators carefully sorted and selected them to provide a stunning experience.

Free

I quite like photo browsing apps, the Guardian Eyewitness app for example is really nice.

What Fotopedia Heritage does is curate a series of photographs from various soures (including Flickr) and presents them as online slideshows.

What makes this useful for learners over just searching sites aimlessly is the curation of the images themselves. Imagine a Travel & Tourism student doing a project on Venice, well here are a series of images that show the beauty of Venice.

One of the issues I do have with the app is the navigation, it wasn’t entirely clear how to navigate the collections through the menu at the bottom of the screen. This is an ongoing issue I find with many iOS apps that there is an inconsistent approach to button and menu placement. It means that you need to learn how to use each app individually rather than learn how to use a standardised OS interface that can then be applied to each app. However that is not unique to iOS, the same can be said for Android, HTML5 Web Apps as well as Windows and OS X.

What’s nice about the images within the app is that it tells you the licensing so if you want to re-use the image (say in a presentation) you can knowing that you won’t be infringing copyright. It also means that practitioners can use the photographs too, for their presentations, handouts or learning objects.

You can of course visit the Fotopedia website via your computer, but the nice thing about an app is that it provides a focus for the user. It also has nice features that enable you to share or download the images you find that you want to use or keep.

It’s an universal app so will also work on the iPad and would make for a nice photo frame app with slideshows.

Overall an app that allows you to browse some wonderful images, and for some courses these images will be really useful for the learners and practitioners on them.

Get Fotopedia Heritage in the iTunes App Store. Update: no longer available

100 ways to use a VLE -#50 Showing a photo album

A photo album is merely a collection of photographs (or images). They may be connected they may not. A series of photographs is a useful way of displaying how to undertake a particular activity or as a way of showing instructions.

For example showing learners the techniques for a recipe can be enhanced with a series of photographs that shows the different stages within the process.

The learner can then click an image to see an enlarged version.

This example made use of the Lightbox Gallery plugin.

By placing a photo album on the VLE it makes it very easy for the learners to find and see them, but also unlike an online photo service such as (the free version of) Flickr won’t have restrictions on the number of albums (sets) you can have and therefore could potentially confuse the learners about which images they should be looking at.

Having said that if you have a Pro Flickr account or are using another service such as Picasa then embedding a collection of images into the VLE can be done easily using the provided embed codes that these services provide. This is a set of images I have on Flickr that makes use of the iPhone Paper Camera App.

The disadvantage is that, of course clicking the images takes the learner away from the VLE, but they could probably find their way back.

Retro Camera – Android App of the Week

Retro Camera – Android App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at various Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.

This week’s App is Retro Camera.

With Retro Camera you’ll take delicious old-school pics your friends will drool over. 5 cameras, 5 sets of vintage vignetting, film scratch & cross processing effects for that off-the-hip analog look. Inspired by the old Lomo, Holga, Polaroid, Diana & toy cameras whose iconic styles we treasure. Instant Nostalgia now free.

Retro Camera comes with 5 different cameras:

The Bärbl – An East German classic, naturally faded with a scratched film and medium vignetting, the perfect all-round choice.

The Little Orange Box – The Soviet Staple with aggressive cross processing and scratched square film. It’s crappy plastic lens leaks in light and exhibits strong vignetting. Black and white option for even more emotion.

Xolaroid 2000 – Its inspiration is obvious! We love the candid snapshots this camera produces – you simply can’t fail, every shot is a keeper. Blue / Green cross processing effects and timeless contrast. Black and white option for that classic touch.

The Pinhole Camera – A DIY gem and more unpredictable than Schrödinger’s cat. Full bleed developing and vignetting through the roof, be sure to give this cardboard chimera a go.

The FudgeCan – The perfect rig for outdoors; developed on square film that wasn’t quite stored… or developed right. But therein lies the charm that’ll make your pics with this beauty, memorable and instantly nostalgic.

Free

On my iPhone I have lots of camera and photography apps and they can be used to create some nice photographic effects, Instagram is one I use a lot.

The Google Nexus One does have a nice camera and if you want to get some nice effects for your photographs similar to the effects you can get with the many iPhone camera apps then you might want to look at Retro Camera for Android.

The App is ad supported, so you do see ads in the apps, you can buy the Pro version which is add free for £2.99.

There are five different cameras each with a unique effect.

The advantage of these kinds of apps for learners is that they speed up the process of taking and manipulating images that they want to then use in their assignments, projects, presentations and web activities such as wikis and blogs.

Of course you can get superior results using a proper DSLR and Photoshop, but though that may be the road that media and art students would travel along, students in other curriculum areas may not have access to the kit to do this. Those students probably do have a phone.

I was pleased with the results from the app and would certainly recommend it to anyone who has an Android phone with a camera.

CameraBag for iPad – iPad App of the Week

CameraBag for iPad – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is CameraBag for iPad.

A love letter to the analog era, CameraBag is the most popular iPhone photo filter app of all time, and has now come to the iPad. It instantly emulates photography’s most beloved and iconic cameras, film, and processing techniques.

CameraBag’s addictive approach skips hours of processing work and instead puts you in the role of an editor, flipping through a collection of polished, print-ready treatments, each with infinite variation. Simply choose the best one and save, e-mail, or upload it to popular sites.

CameraBag now takes full advantage of the iPad with a re-imagined interface, increased resolution, and innovative new features. The addictive Vary button offers a new take on the current filter each time it’s pressed, for infinite versions of each filter. It’s like telling CameraBag “Try the same look but make it a little different this time.” iPad users also get to mix and match aspect ratio and border styles across filters for fresh new looks.

£1.79

There are various image manipulation apps on the App Store. One type that is quite popular is the filter app. This isn’t an app for editing images, it is there purely to be used to apply filters to an image and then put the image somewhere.

Though the iPad doesn’t have a camera (unlike the iPhone) it is quite simple to get images onto the iPad, either through syncing with iTunes (and iPhoto) on your Mac or using the iPad Camera Connection kit.

I have used CameraBag on the iPhone and did buy it for the iPad. Unlike a lot of apps this is not an universal app and you need to buy separate apps for both the iPhone and the iPad.

This is a relatively simple app to use. Open the image, apply a filter, a border or crop the image.

You can vary the effect of the filter using the vary button.

Unlike other image apps, you can either save the image back to the iPad or e-mail it to someone (or a service if you can remember the unique e-mail for that service).

The filters are quite nice and work well.

This is not my favourite image app, but the simplicity does make it an easy one to use.

You Gotta See This! – iPhone 4 App of the Week

You Gotta See This! – iPhone 4 App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is You Gotta See This!

Ever been at a concert and wished your friends could experience the atmosphere with you? Ever been on a mountain top and wished your family could experience the same view? Ever thought “they’ve got to see this!” but simply taking a picture was not enough? Share your experiences with unique images taken in a unique way with your iPhone 4 (required) and “You Gotta See This!” Read on to learn how it works…

Simply start the recording in “You Gotta See This!”, swipe the scene up, down, left and right with the camera and share the image created by one of the five amazing themes on Twitter, Facebook or by email. Or simply save it to your camera roll for later presentation. (See a short tutorial video at our website.)

The app creates collages of images that you take by slowly moving the camera around in 3D space. The resulting images are somewhat similar to what is called “panography” or “Hockneyesque” (after the artist David Hockney).

“You Gotta See This!” uses the iPhone 4 gyroscope to determine the camera orientation while you record and positions the images it takes accordingly on a flat surface to create the spacial collages.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You Gotta See This! requires an iPhone 4. It will not run on iPhone 3GS, 3G and earlier models.

£1.19

I do seem to buy a lot of photo Apps, some I use quite regularly others I just use once or twice and others I kind of forget I bought!

So what of You Gotta See This!

This iPhone 4 App makes use of the camera and built in gyroscope to capture multiple images that are then placed in a collage. You can choose how the images are spread and then save the result to the iPhone or share via various social networking sites.

It’s a simple yet clever App that quickly creates an image that can be used to show off a place or an event.

It must be remembered that this is not a Panorama App.

Stitched panoramas are not seamless. This is by design. ‘You Gotta See This!’ is not a panorama app. The purpose of the app is to create what is called panorama collages or panography.

It creates collages rather than panoramas. There are quite a few Panorama Apps in the iTunes store.

I do quite like this App, it is easy to use and creates a fun effect and the results can be used on websites, the VLE, presentations, student work, etc…

FlickStackr – iPhone App of the Week

FlickStackr – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is FlickStackr.

FlickStackr brings Flickr photo sharing to the iPad. Designed from the ground up for the larger screen, it allows you to BROWSE photos in the Flickr universe. UPLOAD photos and EDIT your photos’ metadata.

£1.19

There is a free Flickr App for the iPhone (which I do have) however when I came to look for a Flickr App for the iPad, I wanted something that used all that lovely screen rather than the x2 of the Flickr iPhone App. I came across FlickrStackr and decided to try it out.

Now before you start shouting at me that the “iPad doesn’t have a camera” let me just remind you that there are quite a few photo editing Apps available for the iPad and you can also get a camera connector kit for the iPad that allows you to upload onto the iPad, photographs from a “proper” camera!

FlickStackr is an universal App and therefore if you get it for the iPad it will also be available on the iPhone in an iPhone version. This is (as you might expect) similar to the Flickr App for the iPhone. It allows you to go through Flickr as you would on the website through a standard browser, but is a much better experience than using mobile Flickr through the mobile Safari browser and that is the main reason to use the App over just using the web interface.

I can browse my photostream and find images. These I can then download onto the iPhone if needed.

I might be doing this if wanting to send images to another service, or attach to a blog posting using the WordPress App.

I can also go through my sets, this is useful If I was wanting to show some of my photographs to someone, I have sets of my Library and of the facilities in my college for example.

I can also use the App to upload photographs, and with the much better camera in the iPhone 4 I suspect I will be taking more photographs with it than I did with the 3GS.

The original reason I bought the App was that it was a dedicated iPad App and it does work very well on the iPad. I can view my photostream.

I can view individual images.

Browsing images is easy and quick.

Overall if you take photographs with the iPhone, or you have the camera connector on the iPad, and you have a Flickr account, it makes sense to have some kind of Flickr App on your iPhone or iPad.

The free Flickr App is going to be fine for what most people need, however if you want something a little better and £1.19 is not exactly going to break the bank, then I would recommend FlickStackr.

Get FlickStackr in the iTunes App Store.

Hipstamatic – iPhone App of the Week

Hipstamatic – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Hipstamatic.

Digital photography never looked so analog. The Hipstamatic brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past! The Hipstamatic keeps the the quirks of shooting old school but gives you the ability to swap lenses, film, and flash settings all with the swipe of a finger. Characterized by vignettes, blurring, over saturation, discolored images, Hipstaprints have a casual and seemingly accidental snapshot feel. Pictures taken with the Hipstamatic have their very own look and unique character. Artistic and painted with light and quirk, Hipstamatic images are sometimes surprising and offer a delicate beauty turning any iPhone into an instant art making machine. Images can be uploaded directly to Facebook, Flickr, or emailed to your friends and family.

£1.19

This is one of the many camera or photo apps I own and is in the “fun” category. Basically it turns your iPhone into an old film camera from 1974!

Using a variety of lenses and “films” you can take some “old school” photographs.

It has a bit of a quirky interface that takes some getting use to.

I quite like the effects and can see some use for the types of images it produces.

Interesting (as is happening with many apps) you can purchase in-app upgrades.

Additional lenses, films, and flashes are bundled within the app as ‘Hipstapaks’ and start at 59p. Each Hipstapak includes multiple items.

This is a two edged sword for me, it makes the core app cheaper (or even free) however means for added functionality and features you need to pay an upgrade. Fine if you own the phone, less so if you have an institutionally owned phone and don’t have access to the iTunes account for the phone.

I like Hipstamatic but it is quirky and won’t appeal to everyone.

Black & White Camera – iPhone App of the Week

Black & White Camera – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is Black & White Camera.

If you love black and white photography, this is the app for you! Just take a photo or pick a picture from your photo library, you will get beautiful black and white art photos.

Features:

– Create black and white photos directly using iPhone
– Create black and white photos for pictures in photo library
– Automatically create and save to file
– Processed and saved in original size
– Fast processing & saving
– Polished UI, beautiful design

The pro version “Black & White Camera Pro” comes with flash to do fine grain brightness adjustment.

Free and £0.59 for the Pro Version.

I sometimes think the best Apps for the iPhone are the simple ones, the ones that do one thing well.

Black & White Camera is one of those Apps, you take a photograph, it converts it to Black & White and saves it as a new image to your camera roll.

Nothing more and nothing less.

It’s a free app, the pro version has a “flash” but that isn’t necessary for most photographs. If you want to use photographs from your photo library (for example on an iPod touch) then you can do that too.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I do like to use black and white images to illustrate posts. This App allows me to take a picture and use it in a blog article quickly and easily. The top image was created using this App.

PhotoForge – iPhone App of the Week

PhotoForge – iPhone App of the Week


This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is PhotoForge.

PhotoForge is a highly optimized editing and painting application designed for the iPhone and iPod touch. It can be used for image manipulation, retouching, effects, and color correction, as well as a painter’s tool. It is indispensable for creating original artwork, or editing photos on your mobile device.

PhotoForge is a superb photographer’s tool, providing digital darkroom capabilities that are second to none. It is also a tool for creating incredible works of art and illustrations. PhotoForge allows you to put together an image, combining filters, brushes, and effects. They may be hand-painted, or a composite of photographic images mixed with painting. The filters and effects can be layered to produce even more dynamic results.

£1.79

There are numerous art and photographic Apps in the iTunes Store, and I have bought a fair few of them. I like to edit photographs and though I will more often then not use my Mac, when I am out in the field, to be able to edit photographs taken with the iPhone ON the iPhone then these Apps make life really easy.

PhotoForge is one of the more complicated and advanced photo manipulation Apps on the iTunes Store, with lots of features and functionality. Sometimes you want a simple App and sometimes you want something with a bit more oomph.

Take this photograph that I took in Bristol recently. It has to be said that the camera on the iPhone (even on the iPhone 3GS) is not the best cameraphone I have used, the Nokia N95 took nice photographs, whilst the Google Nexus One takes really nice photographs. Anyhow so I took this image with the iPhone and as you can see the result was not brilliant, the sun was shining into the camera by the looks of it.

So using Photoforge, doing some cropping, changing levels and adding a few FX I got to this.

Now this is something I could use to illustrate a blog article or discussion forum on the VLE. It is the ability to create content, edit photographs on the iPhone that make the iPhone such an interesting and useful device for learning. It becomes more than just a phone, it becomes a tool that enables learning to happen, as well as lots of other things too.

There are numerous adjustments, tools and filters in the App. The main constraint will be how you can use the tools expertly enough with just your finger.

I am awaiting to see how I can use similar Apps on the iPad, though of course you will need to use the iPad Camera Connection Kit to get your photographs onto the iPad, though this does mean you can use a DSLR or other digital camera instead of the iPhone camera!

There are simpler Apps in the App Store and there are free Apps that do one thing (such as the B&W filter), however I do like PhotoForge, it is a powerful image editing tool and or what it can do on such a small device as the iPhone, it is well worth the £1.79 that it costs.