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From phone to printed memory

Recently, I had the chance to make the trip out to Denver, Colorado for a quick weekend getaway. Being from Illinois (as flat as land gets) I wanted to capture some landscape photos of Denver’s mountain burb of Morrison, home of Red Rocks Amphitheater and beautiful sunset red canyons and other landscapes that a “flat-lander” like myself would consider mountainous. As we arrived all three Illinoisans look at each other and ask amongst themselves, ‘hey, who’s got a digital camera?’ Blank stares amongst the three of us as we look to our recently converted Denverite (Illinoisan by heart) tour guide who also announces that she now sees this kind of stuff all the time and thought we’d likely bring at least one camera. Simultaneously the three of us reached into our pockets and realized that we were armed with 5-8 Megapixel camera phones. Now I know all of the photographers reading this are scoffing, “A camera phone…really? So typical from the 24 year old tourist,” but read on. This may be of interest to you when your camera’s battery is dead, the perfect photo op presents itself and all you have is your trusty iPhone.

The first location we shot was the amphitheater, which was beautiful and a piece of art in itself. But we wanted more raw landscape so we decided to go on a short five mile trek on the Red Rocks trail. Instantly I noticed a sharp cliff with rolling hills capping in the background. So, I pull out my First Generation Motorola Droid (5MP camera) and snapped the photo, making sure I had a stable hand and settings adjusted to auto-light & auto-focus. I then decided to take a look at the photo on my phone’s screen, realizing I got a decent picture for the hardware I was using, which can be viewed below.

Photo taken with First Generation Motorola Droid about 1 mile from Red Rocks Amphitheater Morrison, Colorado

This picture was the best phone capture of the trip, so once I arrived in Chicago, I transferred the photos from my phone to my computer via e-mail, realizing the quality of the photos really weren’t too bad. I figured since the image was of decent quality I’d try to pull some editing magic with the NIK Software Complete Collection I was provided after product training and see if I could further enhance my favorite picture of the trip. First, I opened Photoshop Elements and the NIK Plug-in for Sharpener Pro 3.0. Using simple pre-sets, as I have minimal photo editing experience I auto-enhanced the photo, making sure the background was enhanced as much as possible. At this point the photo looked pretty good, but I soon realized the color and shadows could really use some attention.

I saved my work from Sharpener Pro and opened the Plug-in for Color Efex Pro 3.0. This is where I realized the power of NIK tools and its compatibility with the ‘photo newbie’ webmaster. I clicked amongst the pre-sets and was instantly drawn in by the Colorize option. A few clicks in editing shadow & light detail within the Colorize Pre-set and I had my end product, a beautiful image that looks like it came from a decent point & shoot with some quality photo editing. In reality the photo was taken with a 5MP camera phone and less than 10 minutes of photo editing. The results of my quick edits can be seen below.

Original photo above edited with NIK Sharpener Pro 3.0 & NIK Color Efex Pro 3.0

For those of you who may have limited resources at the time of an epic photo capture, know that there are options for bringing your pictures back to life, even if you have minimal experience in editing photos, you just may need to improvise. Although the quality may not be that of a DSLR capture I was able to convert a camera photo into a printed memory by simply using a 5MP camera phone, e-mail, editing software and a Canon PIXMA IP4000. If you wish to test out some of the editing tools from NIK for yourself click here and download a free 15-day trial, even if you’re not big into photo editing the tools are pretty cool to play around with!

Happy Printing,

Ryan- IT Supplies, Inc

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