Category: Photography

iOS 8, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, was released this week. One of the features that I was most excited to try was the time lapse functionality that has been added to the Camera app. I tested it out and found that the quality of the video is quite good, but there are no options to control the time lapse other than starting and stopping.

First off, here’s a 24-hour time lapse video made with the Camera app and an iPod Touch running iOS 8:

24 Hours from Jeremy Brooks on Vimeo.

As you can see, the Camera app has done a good job compensating for the changing light over the course of the day. However, the video moves quite quickly, since 24 hours have been compressed into about 23 seconds.

While there does not appear to be a limit on the length of the time lapse session, it appears that the resulting video is limited to about 23 seconds. In my testing, time lapse sessions longer than about 5 minutes resulted in a 23 second video.

However, there is a workaround to allow time lapse videos with the Camera app that are longer than 23 seconds. Simply make several consecutive time lapse sessions of the same length, and then join the resulting videos together. Unfortunately, there currently is not a way to automate the multiple time lapse sessions, so you will need to set a timer and stop/start the video each time.

Here is the result of two 6-hour time lapse sessions put together:

12 Hours of San Francisco from Jeremy Brooks on Vimeo.

Time lapse is a great new addition to iOS 8, and it is very easy to use. Hopefully Apple will add some additional options to control the way it works. Give it a try, and see what creative videos you can make!

This year, I decided to skip the “best of 2013” list. Instead, I have compiled ten of my most memorable images of 2013. These are images that bring back definite memories of a time and a place. They are images that I have remembered all year, and images that have stuck with me for one reason or another. In no particular order, here are my 10 most memorable images of 2013.

“And When We Kiss, The Sky Is On Fire”
Iceland – March 2013
To be honest, I could have picked 10 images from our trip to Iceland for this post. Travel photography is always memorable, but Iceland is a whole different level. Around every bend are amazing, dramatic, beautiful views. The northern lights are an experience that is impossible to describe. This self-portrait is my favorite of the northern lights images from the trip. All my images from Iceland can be seen in this Flickr set.

“The Very Definition”
Paris, France – June 2013
I went to Paris for work during the summer. I had a chance to get out and shoot while I was there. This image was made along Rue de Rivoli in the late afternoon. When I look at this image, I can feel the warm air and hear the sound of high heels echoing through the walkway. You can see more of my images from Paris on Flickr.

Ogden, Utah – October 2013
My grandmother turned 93 this year, but she can still play the piano beautifully. This is her playing with her great-granddaughter. I regret that I have never been very good at capturing friends and family with the lens. This is a rare exception.

“Everything Stops Eventually, Some Things Sooner Than Others”
Reno, Nevada – January 2013
In January, I made a trip to Reno to spend some time with my parents. My father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer late in 2012, and they were in Reno for his treatment. It was a difficult time, and this particular image brings back many memories of my short stay there.

“Eternal Flame”
MLK Memorial, Atlanta, Georgia – January 2013
We visited Atlanta in 2013, and went to the MLK memorial. To be honest, I didn’t particularly care about seeing it. Once we were there, however, I was surprised by the magnitude of emotion that exists in this place. It is a very powerful monument, and a feeling I will not soon forget.

“Food To Take Home”
Atlanta, Georgia – January 2013
It is difficult to pick a single neon sign from the hundreds that I shot during 2013, but this one in Atlanta stands out. It is a wonderfully preserved example of a classic American diner, welcoming people day and night.

“Ask About What Might Be”
Jill Tracy at Cafe du Nord, San Francisco, California – September 2013
I was pleased to have an opportunity to shoot one of Jill Tracy’s performances at Cafe du Nord this year. Her shows are always memorable, and having the opportunity to capture the performance is something I always appreciate.

“Jessica And The Lamp”
Hotsy Totsy Club, Albany, California – August 2013
Jessica Maria, co-owner of the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, was the local winner of a cocktail competition, and was invited to compete in the national contest in Lima, Peru. I was asked to make some images of her in the club for promotional material. This is one of my favorites from the shoot.

“Scott Pavilion Street”
Winnemucca, Nevada – October 2013
This year we took a road trip, driving from San Francisco to Ogden across Interstate 80, and returning on Highway 6 through the middle of Nevada. It was a drive filled with beautiful, desolate spaces, and lots of vintage neon. This particular motel had signs at every freeway exit, pointing travelers to a decent spot to spend a night.

“Everywhere And Nowhere”
Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Iceland – March 2013
This is a glacial lagoon, formed where a glacier meets the sea. The scenery here changes rapidly, and is never the same twice. Iceland is a remarkable place, and is easily my most memorable photo experience of 2013.

And those are my most memorable images of 2013. Thanks for looking!

Transamerica View Book

December 15th, 2013 Permalink

Last year, I made an image of the Transamerica building when I got to work. The images were all made with the Hipstamatic app on random settings. I ended up with 256 different images. All of the images from the series can be seen in this Flickr set. The images are now available in printed […]

Last year, I made an image of the Transamerica building when I got to work. The images were all made with the Hipstamatic app on random settings. I ended up with 256 different images. All of the images from the series can be seen in this Flickr set.

The images are now available in printed form from MagCloud. The printed book includes all 256 images, presented four per page. In addition, selected images have been printed full page. The printed book costs $25.00. You can also order a digital copy for free. To get your book or digital copy, just click on the MagCloud logo below.

Transamerica View

By Jeremy Brooks

106 pages, published 12/15/2013

This book contains 256 images of the Transamerica Building in San Francisco which were created during 2012 for my Transamerica View Project.Each image was made from the same location with random Hipstamatic app settings. It is a unique view of one of San Francisco’s best-known landmarks.

It’s here! The Kickstarter project to make a book from the Transamerica View 2012 project is now live!

Last year, I started a project to document my daily view of the Transamerica Pyramid. I used my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app to make an image of the view every day. The result was 256 unique images of the Pyramid. I had always envisioned that the project would take on a physical form, either through a series of prints or a book. After considerable research, I have decided that the best format is a 12″ x 12″ 72-page full color photo book. This size will allow plenty of space for four images on each page, and there will be enough pages to dedicate a full page to some of my favorite images from the project. The book will be printed by Oddi, a company with many years of experience producing high-quality art catalogs and photo books.

Printing a book like this is a large project, and I need your help! If you would like to help make this project a success, please consider backing it on Kickstarter. You can donate any amount and receive a digital copy of the book. For donations at the $10 level and up, the rewards range from a postcard to prints to a poster to the book itself.

If you would like to see all the images, they can be seen here.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the project. Tell your friends! Tweet it! Post it on Facebook and Google Plus! Let’s make this happen!

At the beginning of 2012, I decided to take advantage of the awesome view of the Transamerica Building from the offices I work in. Every day when I arrived at work, I used my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app to take a picture of the view. I used random settings, rather than using my favorite settings, just to make sure there was some variety.

Over the course of the year, I made 256 images. This makes a nice 16×16 grid, and since Hipstamatic images are square format, the resulting grid is a square.

Taking on a year-long project that requires a photo nearly every day is a challenge. Not every image was particularly interesting to me on its own. However, the resulting collection of images as a whole makes the effort worth while to me. In addition, there is the satisfaction that comes from completing a project.

Why not try it yourself? If you have a smartphone, you have all the tools you need. Just select a view that you see most days. Maybe the view from your office window, the view from your daily commute, or the view from your home. Set an alarm to remind yourself to make the photo every day. Get in the habit of posting the resulting image to Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, or another site that allows you to share photos. Once you get in the habit, you will undoubtedly find yourself looking forward to this part of your daily routine.

When you post your image, include the tag “dailyview”. It is fun to look at this tag on Instagram or Flickr and see all the other daily views that people are posting.

What if you miss a day? Don’t worry about it! Just keep going. Over the course of the year, you will still end up with a great collection of images. And who knows… you may decide to keep up your daily view project for a long time to come!

I recently completed one of my photo projects for 2012, the Color Challenge. The concept was to pick one color each month, and then shoot photographs based on that color. Each month, pick your nine best shots and share them.

This resulted in 108 images, which can be seen in this Flickr set.

I have also published a print book and an ebook containing the images from the project. The print book can be found on Blurb, and the iPad ebook can be found in the iTunes store. If you don’t have an iPad, there is a PDF version available for download here. The print version is available at cost, and the electronic versions are free. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons.

If you have never done a year long photo project before, I encourage you to try it. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to pick up the camera and shoot, and it always feels good to complete the project. Keep an eye on for some new challenges coming in 2013!


June 14th, 2012 Permalink


Made this one by shooting with my iPhone through a Diana lens, then processing in Camera+.

My Photo Workflow

March 18th, 2012 Permalink

One of the questions I get asked quite often is how I process and organize all my images. I have tried different tools, including iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom. Each of these tools has strengths and weaknesses. iPhoto comes preinstalled on a Mac and provides basic photo editing and organization tools. Aperture and Lightroom pick up where iPhoto leaves off, offering more advanced editing capabilities, seamless integration with third-party plugins, and much better performance when dealing with large libraries. I have been using Lightroom since January of 2010, and it has become my favorite tool for photo processing and organization.

Over the last two years, I have developed a workflow that allows me to quickly pick and process images, automatically find images that need to be processed, and locate any image quickly. My workflow can be broken down into four parts: Import, Process, Export, and Backup.

Step One: Import
The first step is to import images into Lightroom. I keep my Lightroom libraries on external mirrored hard drives, and import images into folders named by the year and month, for example “2012-03 Photos” would hold photos from March of 2012.

Some folders in Lightroom

I have Lightroom convert the images to DNG format upon import. If the images I am importing all have something in common, for example if they are all taken at the same event or location, I will specify keywords for the images at import time. Importing images into folders for each month helps to make the next step more manageable.

Step Two: Processing
Processing involves looking at the imported images, rejecting images that are unacceptable for some reason, adjusting images that I want to keep, and adding keywords. To make it easier to track which images I have not yet processed, I use Smart Collections. A Smart Collection is a virtual folder that contains all images that meet specific criteria. Smart Collections allow you to filter your images in many different ways, and the contents update in real time. I use Smart Collections to group images from specific photo shoots, images for specific projects, images that need to be processed, and images that are ready to be uploaded. Images in Smart Collections are just pointers to the images in your image library, so images can appear in multiple Smart Collections without taking up extra disk space.

I make a Smart Collection for each month of images, naming it with the year, month, and “Undeveloped”. The criteria for the Smart Collection includes all images captured that month, with a rating of less than one star, and a pick flag that is not rejected. The dialog in Lightroom looks like this:

In this example, the Smart Collection will contain all the images that I have taken in March of 2012, and that I have not yet processed. When I am ready to process images, I click on the Smart Collection that I want to work on and start looking at images. Images that I know I do not want to process get marked as Rejected by pressing the “x” key. When I reject an image, it immediately disappears from the Smart Collection, and the next image is displayed. When I find an image that I want to keep, I switch to the Develop module (option-command-2) and make adjustments. When I am satisfied with the adjustments, I switch back to the Library module (option-command-1), add Keywords to the image, add a title, and rate it with three to five stars, depending on how strong I feel the image is. Once I rate it, the photo disappears from the Smart Collection and the next image is displayed. By using this simple reject/rate technique, I let Lightroom keep track of images that need to be processed, freeing me to concentrate on the images themselves.

Some Collections in Lightroom

This workflow also ensures that I have added keywords to every single image that I have processed. Adding keywords to images is very important. Without keywords, photo management quickly becomes an impossible task. But when keywords are added to every image, it becomes a simple matter to find any image without having to remember when it was taken or what folder it might have been saved in. In addition, most photo sharing sites automatically parse the keyword data, making it easier for potential clients to find your images online. I always include the location of the image (City, County, State, and Country), information about the subject (Neon, Architecture, Graffiti), and keywords describing other things about the image. I would rather have too much information here than not enough. If you build your keywords in a hierarchy, Lightroom will automatically add parent keywords. I have created lists of location keywords from USGS data which can be imported into Lightroom. When I add “San Francisco” as a keyword, Lightroom adds “San Francisco County”, “California”, and “USA” for me.

This image contains the keywords Abstract, Architecture, Boston, Building, Cambridge, Distortion, MIT, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Reflection, USA, MA, United States, Gehry, Frank Gehry, Stata Center

You may wonder why I use three stars and higher for images that I have processed. What about one or two stars? I use one or two stars to rate images that were used as source images for other processing. For example, if I send an image out to Silver Efex Pro for processing, I will rate the resulting image with three or more stars, and the original image with one or two stars. This makes sure that I keep both the source and processed image, and removes the images from the Undeveloped Smart Collection. The images with three or more stars end up in a Smart Collection that is used in the next step.

Step Three: Export
Once I have a batch of images ready to export, I click my Smart Collection “Ready to Upload”. This collection includes all images that have a rating of three or more stars, and that do not contain the keyword “exported”. I export these images as high-quality JPEG files to a directory on my local hard drive. Once the export is completed, I add the keyword “exported” and the files disappear from the Smart Collection.

I then upload the images to various photo sharing sites. Every image that is exported will end up on Flickr. Selected images are also uploaded to other sites, such as 500px and Pure Photo. When I have uploaded the images, I delete the JPEG from my local hard drive. I know that I can export the images from Lightroom at any time, so I don’t feel that there is a need to keep the JPEG images. I know some photographers who also keep the JPEG images on external hard drives.

Step Four: Backup
My photo library represents a significant amount of time and effort over the course of many years. To ensure that my images are safe, I have a three-part backup strategy. The first part is to keep my images on external mirrored hard drives. In the event that a hard drive fails, I can simply replace it and rebuild the mirror. The second part of my backup strategy is a weekly backup of the external hard drive to a second external hard drive. The second hard drive is kept at a separate location. This helps to prevent the loss of images from theft of disaster. The third part of my backup strategy is the files that I have uploaded to photo sharing sites. If a disaster were to destroy both my working copy and backup copy, I would still be able to retrieve the JPEG images.

This workflow is the result of many hours spent in Lightroom, and reflects how I ultimately use most of my images. Some of the techniques may not work for you, or you may find ways to improve upon what I am doing. Let me know what you think, and how your own workflow compares. Happy shooting!

I will be presenting selected images from my “Feet On Muni” project at the Open Show iPhone Stories event at the Apple Store in San Francisco on March 15th. The event is from 7-9 PM, is open to the public, and will feature presentations from five artists. You can RSVP on the event page.

Feet On Muni started because that was what I noticed when I rode Muni. I realized that I was always looking down: Perhaps playing a game on my iPhone, reading, or listening to music, but always looking down. I was seeing people’s feet, but not the people. The more I thought about it, the more I noticed that there is little interaction between passengers. We seem to seek anonymity while crowded together in public.

These images attempt to reflect that sense of anonymity. We know there are people present, but we don’t know who they are. We could walk by them on the street and not recognize that we were riding with them on our morning commute.

On A Drinking Spree

A little more about Open Show, from their web site:

Open Show organizes innovative events worldwide where the public can see compelling work and interact directly with photographers, filmmakers and multimedia producers in high‐profile spaces.

We work with our network of local co-producers to connect, inspire and educate both creators and the public through academic institutions, media, non‐profits, galleries, studios, companies and other partners.

Lightroom’s hierarchical keywords make it very easy to tag your photos with lots of meaningful data. For example, when I tag a photo with “San Francisco”, it automatically inherits “San Francisco County”, “California”, and “USA”. It is too much work to enter all that data manually, so I used the geographic data from the USGS geonames website and wrote some scripts to transform it into a format that Lightroom can import.

Files are available for all 50 states, as well as associated areas and territories. You can also download data for counties within states. The data is available on my Location Keywords for Lightroom page.