Monday, June 13, 2016

What's The What?! - iPhone Photography Pt One

iPhones and features such as panoramic mode are giving photographers new possibilities.
The quality of camera on the new iPhones is fantastic.  Gone are the days of grainy blurry shots.  The new cameras are crisp and clear and give great results.

Fast Access To Your Camera
As well as clicking the camera app on your phone, you can get fast access by swiping up from the bottom of your screen.  The camera will appear on the lower right side.

Camera Focus and Exposure
Focus can be adjusted by tapping on the area of the screen where you want the primary focus.

You can adjust the exposure of your picture by tapping around on different parts of the screen.  For darker pictures tap a light area of the screen, or tap a dark area to lighten things up.

Picture is overexposed and out of focus.

Exposure is corrected by tapping on the roof of the van (a light area)
Manual Adjustment
When you tap an area of the screen the small yellow frame appears with a sun next to it.  Slide your finger up and down to manually adjust the exposure.

Note the yellow sun to the right of the focus/exposure box in centre.

What's All This On My Screen?

TOP - L - R:  Flash, HDR, Live Photo, Timer, Camera
BOTTOM - L - R:  camera modes
Top Row:  Symbols - tap to turn on or off
Flash - self-explanatory!
HDR - provides a way of greater dynamic colour balance.  Check here for more details, tricks & tips
Live Photos - captures 1.5 seconds before and after the picture (kind of like a mini video)
Timer - you have a choice of none, 3 seconds or 10 seconds.
Camera - choose forward or rear facing camera

Bottom Row:  Camera Modes - slide to select
Time Lapse - takes a series of pictures over a set period and condenses them into a movie
Slo - Mo - great for sports videos.
Video - self explanatory
Photo - self explanatory
Square - crops all images so that you shoot them as squares
Pano - click here for a detailed post on panoramic photography

Effects - indicated by the three interconnected circles
a selection of different effects to play with.

More Photography Tricks and Tips?!  Check Out Our iPhone Photography Series ...
Part Two    - Panorama Mama!  Getting the best out of panorama mode on your camera
Part Three - Editing With Snapseed! A great app to bring the best out of your pictures.
Part Four  - Going Further.  Great manual control app and online app and tutorials

Monday, June 6, 2016

Tweens, Teens And Screens!

Screen media is very much a part of the lives of teens and tweens (Figures 1 and 2).  Only 6% of students do not use it outside of school.  A 2015 survey (The Common Sense Census: Media Use By Tweens and Teens) conducted by Commonsense Media revealed some interesting facts about American tweens and teens and how they use screen media.  Although the study was conducted with American students, in a country as connected as Korea, we are likely to have similar results.  Here are some of the findings of the census - all good food for thought.

Source:  The Common Sense Census, 2015, p.15

Once music and television are taken out of the mix, the survey revealed a wide variety of screen activities and users.  These can generally be condensed into the following categories:

Source:  The Common Sense Census, 2015, p.16

Social networkers and gaming teens were found to spend the most time with screen media, averaging up to 7 hours of use a day (although they may be media multitasking, which brings the time down somewhat).  Different user groups use their screen media in different ways (see figures 3 and 4).

Source:  The Common Sense Census, 2015, p.17

Gender Differences

Watching tv and listening to music are the most preferred activities for both boys and girls.  Outside of those activities there were marked differences in usage between genders.  Video gaming was big amongst teen boys (who spend about 56 minutes per day, compared to 7 minutes for girls), whilst reading was a preferred activity for girls.  Girls also tend to spend more time on social media.

Mobile Devices Dominate
Mobile devices are fast becoming the preferred screen media device with tweens (41%) and teens (46%).  This has ramifications for parents who like to monitor their child's internet use, as it is much harder to do this on mobile devices if they are using apps.

Social Media
Interestingly, for all the coverage that social media gets, only 10% of teens chose it as their favourite activity.  This is not to deny it's importance in their lives (45% of teens use it every day), but other activities are more enjoyable and hold greater interest.  It is highly like that social media accounts are checked in and out of as opposed to people staying in there for long periods of time browsing.

Consumers vs Creators
"Only 3% of tweens and teens digital media time is used in content creation ..."
For the amazing creative capabilities tweens and teens have at their fingertips, it seems most are consumers.  This is a challenge for us as both parents and educators.  As parents, are we giving our children iPads and iPhones from a young age, with a game or movie to "keep them quiet and entertained"? If so, then we are fostering a consumer mindset.

What if we were to load some creative apps and ask our children to create with them?  What possibilities might we unleash?  Recently a colleague told me that after learning to use imovie for a science project her daughter came home on the weekend and disappeared into her room for a few hours, returning later with a persuasive video on why they should get a second cat.  Her daughter not only created one video, she did a trial run first with another one, practicing interviewing her toys - in the second movie she interviewed her brother!  They will probably get a second cat ...

Just over half of teens surveyed stated that they are multitasking with tv (51%), social media (50%) texting (60%) or music (76%), whilst doing homework.  Most respondents think that this has no impact on the quality or work or how efficient they are with it, contrary to published studies.

In summary, the study said:
In sum, media are an enormous presence in young people’s lives, a huge claim on their time and attention, and an element of their lives that is well worth our continued attention. (Commonsense Media, 2015, p.30)