Where did my favorite iPhone camera trick go?
iOS update moved it; Zion Photowalk, Palm Springs, timelapse & Roku
For years, Apple's iPhone Live Photos has been my favorite smartphone camera trick. But now the tricks are seemingly gone!
But it’s not. Apple just decided to put the tools in a new place. So let me bring you up to date so you won’t get lost trying to find it.
Apple first announced Live Photos way back in 2015, as a gimmick that added 3 seconds of video footage to a still photo. But they were hard to share, and Live never caught on in a big way.
However, one feature of Live Photos which I have put to great use is “Long Exposure” mode, the ability to transform a body of water into a dreamy shot, with long flowing water., just with one camera click. Look at these two iPhone 13 shots, back to back, one without the effect, the other with it.
To do this is simple. Old way: we took the photo in Live Photos, opened the Photos app, swiped up on the image, selected Long Exposure, and then watched the computational photography engine do its magic.
But in iOS15, the operating system upgrade released recently, when you swipe up, we now get info about where the photo was taken, what the file name is and what time I snapped the shutter.
Cool info, but there's nothing magic about that.
New way: you still start by making sure the Live Photos round button on the top right of the screen doesn't have a line in it, and the yellow LIVE tab is visible.
Next open the image in the Photos app. At the top left of the page, you get the little notice that your image is a Live photo. Put your finger over the tab, and it brings up a drop down menu. Like before, you still get three choices for jazzing up your Live photo. You can leave it as was originally intended, to give you three seconds of video over your still image, or two other options. Loop shows the three second clip in a never ending loop, while the Bounce clip goes backwards and frontwards over and over.
Watch the above video, which was shot and edited by the great Jack Culkin, and you can see how it works.
Apple should have given fair warning about the change, but it didn’t. However, I think it made the right decision in changing things up. Swiping up was a pain. This is easier. And it will hopefully encourage more folks to give Long Exposure on Live Photos a try.
When last we spoke about Zion National Park, I had spent a week there in April, before the start of the summer crush, filming an episode of Photowalks. That episode is live now on YouTube, and I hope you’ll all check it out.
While in Springdale, the tiny town on the outskirts of Zion, I met a really interesting photographer named Jason Butler, who runs the fabulous local DeZion Gallery, where he shows off his work and others. In the episode, we talked about how to great shots of the Narrows and other great area hikes, as well as the art of night star photography. I also had Jason on the companion Photowalks podcast, which I encourage you to check out to hear more about his life and photography.
Tech news highlights
Why I would think twice about using a Roku device. The maker of the most popular streaming devices seems to get in too many financial arguments with content providers. Right now, it’s arguing (a lot) with YouTube, and is threatening to throw the channel off the service by the end of the year. It recently also tossed Spectrum for eight months. Roku may be right in its fights, but I’d rather have a less argumentative device. Roku tends to make the least expensive, most reliable streaming players. But then again, Amazon does a great job with Fire TV, and doesn’t tend to get in as many fights. And you never hear a peep from Apple.
Those new Macs: Speaking of Apple, I’m still in sticker shock over those pricey new laptops announced this week, which start at $1,999 and $2,499 respectively (and go all the way up to over $6,000 once loaded!) I’m thrilled that Apple is returning those much needed ports to the devices and adding all that power. I may even buy one, even though I know my final price will be in the $3,000ish area. Yikes! Meanwhile, 9to5 Mac answered the musical question, what new devices Apple didn’t announce this week.
Sony’s new A7IV. For the last 3 years I have used the Sony A7III as my professional camera, to cover events and portraits. It’s a fantastic workhorse, but is starting to show its age. This week Sony announced the successor, the A7IV, it costs $500 more, but has higher resolution and a flip screen on the back. That’s something those of us who run around and make videos where we talk directly to the camera find very attractive. I’m definitely upgrading!
My favorite moment from the week: Apple’s brilliant video making music out of computer start-up sounds.
Two tweets of the week
My drone had a holiday circling the Manhattan Beach Pier. It’s like I was on a boat. But I wasn’t.
Never under-estimate the power of timelapse photography. Check out the fake lighthouse in Long Beach, California, which I enjoyed as part of the Night Hawks outing with the Paul’s Photo gang.
It’s not every day you drive down the street and notice a pink lifeguard tower. Or wake up early and walk a Manhattan Beach Pier that’s draped in purple lighting.
The occasion? L.A. County is promoting breast cancer awareness month, and encouraging folks to use the hashtags #Paintitpink.
Palm Springs. Two photowalks, morning and evening
We’ll be in Palm Springs for two free photowalks on 11/13, in the morning by the Sonny Bono statue at 9, and then we’ll meet in a cool spot to photograph the windmills at 4 p.m. Signup to join me on the walk here. And don’t forget to tune on 11/11, when the Palm Springs Photowalks episode debuts.
Finally, check out Ruth’s latest on that great new bagel place in Culver City, Wise Songs. Have a great weekend, let me know your thoughts on today’s edition and don’t forget to watch the Zion Photowalk episode (please!)
Thanks for reminding me about that long exposure feature!