Woodland Photography: Blog https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Woodland Photography (Woodland Photography) Wed, 13 Apr 2022 17:13:00 GMT Wed, 13 Apr 2022 17:13:00 GMT https://www.woodlandphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u665972410-o922162348-50.jpg Woodland Photography: Blog https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog 90 120 "Smartphone" Photography https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2022/4/bccc-smartphone-photography Photography with a “Smart” Phone  

The best camera is often the one we have with us - our smart phones.  The quality and features are improving rapidly.  How do you make the best use of this tool?  We start with the basics of photography and then deal with the specifics of how to get the best photos possible.

Download Notes (Word Doc):

    Download Word Doc

Photography Basics

  • Vertical or Horizontal? 
  • Watch to keep image/horizon “level” (can be corrected in post)
  • Follow “rule of thirds” 
  • Take multiple images and edit for “keepers”.  Throw away the rest
  • Don’t be static.  Walk around and consider different angles and distances
  • Move closer whenever possible rather than “pinching” to zoom in
  • Have lighting source such as the sun behind you in most situations
  • As you position people consider the background, example: avoid poles growing out of someones head
  • Flash is very limited.  Keep subject 4-6 feet away

Optional Features for Photography

  • “Portrait” mode
  • Burst mode
  • Panoramas
  • Timelapse
  • Slo-motion (see below in video)
  • Scanner

Phone Camera Settings and Tips

  • Check for fingerprints, lint, etc…  Use lint free cloth if at all possible, never wipe with your fingers
  • Camera photo settings:  Main Settings, Camera, Format:  High Efficiency(smaller file size) or jpeg 
  • Camera video settings: Main Settings, Camera, Record Video: 1080p HD 30fps or 4k 60fps.  Also Record Slo-mo 1080p at 120fps
  • Storage capacity for video is limited in most phones
  • For actual image capture the “automatic” capabilities are usually fine
  • Going manual…

Editing Photos

  • Phone camera app - basic image correcting and cropping
  • Adjust exposure, color, tint, etc…
  • Crop options: square, 16:9, 5:4, 7:5, 4:3, 5:3, 3:2
  • Option to rotate, flip, etc…
  • Filters
  • Crop to “zoom” in on subject (reduces quality of image)

Video Capture

  • Horizontal is the “norm”, but for specific usage you can shoot vertical video
  • Frame your subjects similar to still photos
  • For someone speaking on camera you will need to be as close as possible for the phone camera mic and avoid loud locations.  External mics can be purchased that allow for more flexibility and better sound quality
  • A tripod is suggested for many situations or go handheld but try to avoid “shaky” video
  • Put on your directors hat to position people and coordinate movement of camera and subjects

Video Editing

  • Simple trimming can be done in the camera app.  Other apps allow for more extensive editing options

Other Smart Phones Tips and Settings

Woodland Photography   www.woodlandphoto.com

Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwIoKlcxzbdEbTuyqmfhE1Q/videos




(Woodland Photography) business iPhone photography smartphone video https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2022/4/bccc-smartphone-photography Wed, 13 Apr 2022 17:00:09 GMT
You Went to Iran? https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/you-went-to-iran Words and Images by Mark Woodland


When I’m asked about interesting travel destinations and I mention Iran the reaction is often, “you went to Iran?”.  Granted it is not a typical country for Americans to visit.  So how did this happen?  Well I have a friend and coworker that has always wanted to go, but he knew getting a visa wouldn't be easy.  He mentioned this to an Iranian we met at a conference and they said we just needed an invitation to a wedding in Tehran.  It turns out they had a relative getting married in a few months, and with typical Persian hospitality we were invited!  Our visas were approved and we booked the trip.

I would describe Tehran as Istanbul meets Madrid.  Traffic was way up there on the white knuckle scale.  Why they even paint lines on the road is a mystery.  It was interesting when our driver took a detour up onto the sidewalk to get around slow traffic.  Thankfully no pedestrians were harmed.

Many of the women were in full burqa; although some wore colorful head scarfs and had to be careful to keep any hair from peaking out.   It reminded me of when we started our decent into Tehran.  Before the seatbelt sign came on we saw ladies  getting scarves out of their bags from the overhead bins.  This was to prepare for passport control and then onto the streets of the city.

The first night in Iran we had a fantastic Persian dinner with live music.  We didn’t have a lot of time in Tehran before the wedding, but we did get to drive by the former US Embassy and discreetly took photos without stopping.  The wedding and late night feast was a wonderful experience.  Our generous hosts had arranged for us to get to see more of the country; which meant meeting before dawn to catch a flight to Shiraz. 

At the time of this trip in 2004 we were surprised that at the airport there was no x-ray screening for in-country destinations. Shiraz was hot and dry and we struggled to fight jet lag and the effects of the late night wedding.  After a nap we hit the streets and one thing that stood out was the nice parks with people relaxing on the grass or just strolling along. 

Many times people would stop us and ask if we were Americans.  Guilty as charged... Everyone was very friendly and we had to decline many invitations to tea given our tight schedule.  More than once during our encounters a man would lean close and whisper that they didn’t like George Bush, but then quickly add that they also weren’t happy with their own leaders.  Our tour guide (and gov’t minder) was friendly and we tried not to give him any trouble.  A short bus ride from Shiraz took us to Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire. It was once known as the richest city under the sun and was built by the Achaemenid King Darius I (550-486 BC) and his successors.

The watchful gaze of the Ayatollah was everywhere.

Our next destination was Esfahan.  Here we spent time at the huge 17th century Isfahan Royal Square and enjoyed views of the Siosepol Bridge as well as strolling across the Khajou Bridge.   

The trip was too short and my heart goes out to so many inside and outside Iran who want to see a change in their country.  It is obvious that most people just want to have a “normal” life without being oppressed.  Given the recent crack down on protests it looks like it isn't going to be easy.  

(Woodland Photography) iran people persian photography travel https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/you-went-to-iran Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:15:33 GMT
To Catch a Gator https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/to-catch-a-gator When someone talks about seeing an alligator you would assume they are on a golf course in Florida or a bayou in Louisiana. My wife Cheryl and I were visiting Merchants Mill Pond State Park in North Carolina, and we were surprised to hear about a gator that had been reported there.  I was also surprised that Cheryl took it as a mission to go find him!  


The 760 acre millpond is a favorite destination of ours.  We've been renting canoes and paddling through the maze of bald cypress and tupelo gum trees for many years.   It isn't unusual to see turtles sunning themselves on logs and then plopping in the water as you drift by.  It turns out that this is also what the alligator will likely be doing - using the sun to warm that cold-blooded metabolism. 


The park is home to a variety of frogs, turtles, water snakes, beavers, mink, river otter and bobcat.  There are over 200 species of birds as well and it is a stop for spring and fall migrations. 


There are many opportunities for capturing scenic photographs.  On this perfect fall day the changing colors of the leaves combined with Spanish moss made for some nice images.  Of course getting a shot of the alligator was now high on the list.    

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We were told about a general area in the millpond to look.   We followed markers that show you the trail through the trees.  Cypress “knees” occasionally bump the bottom of the canoe.  We were really surprised when we drifted around a clump of bald cypress trees and there he was.  I’ll let the photo speak for itself as to his size and general description.


We kept our distance of course and after taking a few photos left him to enjoy his afternoon in the sun.  Mission accomplished in finding the alligator of Merchants Mill Pond.   



(Woodland Photography) https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/to-catch-a-gator Tue, 09 Jan 2018 15:27:38 GMT
The Lost Roll of Tri X https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/the-lost-roll-of-trix Ever find a roll of exposed film and not have a clue how long ago you shot it and what might be on it?  I'm getting back into processing b&w film and found just such a roll of tri x 400 and decided to develop it.  I was thrilled to find images of my grand daughter who is now 21 years old, which helped me to date it pretty accurately.  Here's a favorite...

img238cMystery roll of tri XKaela bath time

(Woodland Photography) https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/the-lost-roll-of-trix Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:10:05 GMT
To The End of the Earth https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/to-the-end-of-the-earth Words and Images by Mark Woodland


Smoke filters through the thatched roof and begins its decent down the ridge.  Seemingly in unison, clouds block the tropical sun's intensity and bring the promise of mist and rain.  This weather phenomenon goes largely unnoticed by the Yalis: a post-cannibalistic tribe who live 8,000 feet up the steep slopes of the Snow mountains of New Guinea. 


       If there are many places left on earth that can still be considered remote, the village of Lolat is high on the list.  It took two flights from Jarkata across the thousands of islands that make up the Indonesian archipelago and we still weren’t close to the village.  It took another plane ride inland from the coast and then a chartered ride by helicopter to bring us to this point.  The view from the air is breathtaking.  We swoop over raging white water between lush green canyon walls and past spectacular waterfalls in a Hughes helicopter.  Our other option for this last leg would have been a three day trek by foot through the mountains, where every step taken is either up or down through rocks and mud.  The pilot keeps an eye on the descending clouds hoping we will make it to the small clearing and land before loosing visibility.


       The Hughes is loaded to capacity with our three-man television crew and gear, in an area smaller than the interior of a Volkswagon Beetle.  We were making this trip to produce a special program about the fateful encounter 20 years ago between the Yali tribe and two Australian Christian missionaries, Stan Bruno and Phil Masters.  

       We are assured the Yalis will be kinder and gentler to visitors today.  Producer Paul Petitte, videographer Mike Pearson and I step off the helicopter into another world.  The present day Yali’s are no longer cannibalistic, but you wouldn't know that by looking at them.  As we clear the blade wash we see two segregated merry-go-rounds of dancers.  On one side the men are yelling and rattling spears. The Yali warriors coat themselves in pig grease, wear feathered headdresses and top it off with bones through their noses.  The thing you can't miss is the pointed gourds that are lashed on and over their genitals.  On the other side the women wear only grass skirts and have painted markings on their bodies.

       Our hosts are Art and Carol Clark, Canadian missionaries who had at that time worked with this tribe for over twenty years.  After we do some initial recording, the Clarks pull us away and suggest tea and cookies at their place - tea and cookies!?  Inside we find a comfortable home built in stages from materials flown in by helicopter.  We had passed a school, church and work shed that are the only structures other than the Yalis thatched roofed huts.  Over tea we ask Art and Carol questions.  The most obvious one is: "what's the deal with the gourds?"  Even after all this time they don't have a clear answer - it's just something they do.


             After our break we get right to work re-enacting a raid by another village's war party on men from Lolat working in the fields. Mike took the lead with our production camera.  I was very happy I had brought a small rangefinder for some personal shots.  The inevitable rain catches up with us as we move to a steeply cascading river for the scene where the two missionaries were attacked. Our Yali actors are told to charge down the riverbed that is strewn with large boulders and shoot arrows over the camera. Mike uses an umbrella to keep rain off him and the camera, and thankfully it isn’t needed to deflect any arrows that fly overhead. 




         For each scene Paul gives directions to the Clarks, who then translate to one of the Yali for him to relay to the others.  The women line up along the riverbed off-camera and watch impassively with that look most women get on their faces when men are “playing”. 


       During the down time between takes I help Mike and look up at one point to see a scene that to this day is seared in my memory.  Of the tens of thousands of images in my lifetime as a photographer it is something I still can’t believe happened. A spontaneous group shot of the tribe just standing there as if they are posing just for this shot.  


       After several takes we call it a wrap and head back to the village.  I watch the warriors literally dance over the rocks with their wide bare feet.  We slowly pick our way over the same rocks at a fraction of the pace.  A couple of smiling boys hover around us and actually point to where we should step.

       As fascinating as the Yalis are, it is a relief to take refuge back at the Clarks' house.   While we sit by the fireplace drying off and the grey light fades from the windows, the Clarks tell us stories of life on this remote mountainside.  Art and Carol's two boys loved life in the village during their summer breaks from school.  They hunted in the rain forest with the Yalis, and sometimes played practical jokes on them, like setting off firecrackers and scaring the tribe half to death.


       Other journalists and photographers have visited over the years.  Before our second day of taping begins, Art tells us the story of something that happened to a television crew from Italy.  The Italians gave their Yali "actors" a few lira after the first film set-up, thinking it would be a nice gesture.  The Yali mostly barter in pigs but began wanting money each time they did something for the TV crew.  After a few days the Italians started running out of lira and the Yali began using threats and intimidation when they didn't get "paid".  They even blocked access to the helicopter when it came to pick them up.  The pilot had to force a way through for his passengers.


       In an effort to avoid this from happening again, Art arranged for our “actors” to receive an agreed-upon daily wage for their work.  Midway through our second day we are ready to shoot the scene of a pig roast.  Paul agrees to buy the pig which is expected by the villagers.  It is carried squirming and bleating by its front and hind legs and held on the ground.  A warrior then shoots an arrow into the pig's heart from a few feet away.  It takes several more arrows before the squealing and squirming stop.  It is then dressed and placed into a pit which is lined with hot coals. A layer of wet leaves and soil cover it to hold in the heat.  After it roasts for a few hours Paul gets the first taste as the meals' sponsor.  The rest of the village follows, getting their portions passed to them in what is apparently an important pecking order.  The mood seems light as it once again begins to drizzle.

       When the picnic is over we see Carol with some of the Yali men engaged in an intense discussion.  She calls Paul over and says the men have words for him which he assumes means they are thanking him for the meal.  Carol reluctantly explains that some of the men have decided they want to be paid more money or they will quit.  Carol is clearly embarrassed, and scolds like a mother whose children won’t share with other kids.  But these “boys”  begin making a statement by gripping handfuls of arrows and hitting the shafts against their bows.


      We work our way down the steep muddy trail back to the house.  Paul soon joins us, leaving Carol to negotiate. The warriors get louder and you couldn't help but wonder just how much of a handle the Clarks really have on things.  Carol returns and tries to reassure us.   Later that day we try to capture a ritual where the boys get their gourds.  It is difficult to stage because the older Yalis who know how it is done have gone on strike.  As it is getting dark we do a bonfire scene to represent the Yali burning their fetishes.  It was this burning of their fetishes that likely was the last straw that led to Phil and Stan's martyrdom. I sense that the “striking” warriors are watching from the shadows as we re-enact this particular scene.  That, coupled with the earlier intimidation sparks my imagination about potential worst-case scenarios.  I keep thinking of that poor squealing pig being shot with arrows...

       The next morning with the tropical sun burning bright, the dark thoughts of the night before are gone.  We were scheduled all along to fly out to another village for a few hours.  The men who had gone on strike show up for work as usual, and when they find out we are leaving they become concerned that we are angry with them.  Carol decides to give them the impression that because they went on strike, we are going to another village to film.  When we return the Yalis are anxious to get back to work without any more fuss.


       There is one final location left to capture for our story.  It is too remote to reach on foot in the time we have left.  In order to save on fuel I go alone with our pilot, Len.  The helicopter lifts off the ground and pivots away from the village.  It then leans forward and we rush headlong over the edge of the several thousand foot precipice.  The door is off for unobstructed filming and as we bank to the right I get a spectacular view of the valley below.  I keep a tight grip on the camera and brace against the wind to maintain a steady shot.

       We follow a beautiful mountain stream that meanders down from the snow-covered mountain peaks and soon find the place where two beaches face each other at a bend in the river.  This is our landmark and it was here that the final confrontation was to have taken place. There is no place to land in the rugged terrain, but Len manages to put one skid down on a large log crossing the narrow beach and hovers.  I record the now placid scene, and on my cue he gently lifts off giving the camera an impressive crane shot.

       Later I learn more details of Phil and Stan’s last moments on the beach.  Once hunted down, Stan was repeatedly shot with arrows.  He would pull them out and break them in half until he finally died.  Phil was next and also shared the same fate.  Eyewitnesses that were part of the attempted rescue party said there were hundreds of broken arrows littering the site.  Apparently they were not eaten for fear of ingesting their evil spirits. Also, in order to keep their spirits from returning to their bodies they were hacked into pieces and scattered across the mountainside.  To learn more about these men and what follows you can read “Lords of the Earth”, by Don Richardson.

       This was literally the trip of a lifetime.  For a kid who dreamed of being a photographer for National Geographic, I was in heaven.  The camera I used was a Nikon 35TI and I shot with Kodachrome 64 film.  One side note is later on the same trip we went snorkeling and diving down on the coast.  At one point, too many divers with tanks sit on one side of the boat and it flips over.  Thankfully the camera and film were in a tupperware case and stayed dry and didn't sink.  Now that makes me want to have a tupperware party!


Mark Woodland


(Woodland Photography) adventure cannibal film guinea martyrs missionaries new nikon photography travel yali https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2018/1/to-the-end-of-the-earth Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:49:43 GMT
4k Video for Still Photos https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2015/7/4k-video-for-still-photos   P9940242bP9940242b           

My day job has me using the new Panasonic Gh4 for video.  While Panasonic did include a 4k photo mode that can be used in a similar way with specific advantages (that’s another blog post), I wanted to test shooting in regular 4k video mode.  The main reason for this was to also have the actual video clip to use for other things if I wanted.  Here are the video settings I used:

Rec Format – MOV

Rec Quality – 3840x2160, 29.97, 100Mbps

For the clip in my example I had a Metabones Speedbooster and a Canon 85mm f1.8 EF lens.  Normally when shooting video I would select a shutter speed of 1/60 for a smoother look.  Since I was trying to capture still frames I bumped up the shutter speed to 1/320.  This gave me sharper still images and allowed me to have a shallower dof by keeping the aperture at f2. 


As you can tell from this clip my subject wasn’t going to “pose” or even hold still for more than a second.  I only posted about half of it since you can get the point from this 20 seconds.  I went handheld so I could react to her moving around quickly.  One drawback to the Metabones/Canon setup is no autofocus.  I would have more keepers if I had used say the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 lens that has autofocus, but I wanted the look of the Canon lens and figured I would again have more keepers since I’m shooting 30 frames a second!

At 30 frames a second I had a lot to choose from. I imported the clip into FCP X.  I put the clip in the browser window and expanded it to full screen.  I could shuttle thru and also go frame by frame using the right or left arrows.  Once I had the frame I wanted I chose to “share” as a still image.  You have the option of a Tiff or Jpeg.  I chose Jpeg and imported it into Aperture to do some final tweaking and cropping. 

P9940242aP9940242a P9940242cP9940242c P9940242P9940242

The final photos are 3840 × 2160 (8.3 MP) unless you crop them.  Out of all the frames from the video clip there weren't that many more than what I've posted here that I liked.  Even at the higher shutter speed to get a sharp image was difficult.  I’m very happy to get these four and can't imagine using traditional methods to have this much success.   For still photography purists it is cheating of course!   But I don’t think there is any way of putting this genie back in the bottle…









(Woodland Photography) 4k Canon FCPX Gh4 Panasonic capture frame photography stills tips video https://www.woodlandphoto.com/blog/2015/7/4k-video-for-still-photos Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:42:47 GMT