More street photography with the iPhone and VSCO Cam [Street]

"The best camera is the one you have with you".  Truer words have never been spoken, and I have to say that I'm loving the combination of my iPhone and VSCO Cam for street photography.  The day I forgot to bring my camera with me over my lunch break was one of the first times I thought "Know what? I'll just use my iPhone.  I have this pretty cool app that I can process the photos with, so why not?"  Man, this works.

The thing that gets me the most is when I carry my phone no one pays any attention to me.  They don't know I'm taking their photo at all, and if they do, they certainly don't let on.  

I was in a forum recently and mentioned the incredible burst-mode in the iPhone, and was surprised by the response that "That's why iPhone photos have no soul". I call bullshit. 

The truth is that using some basic stealth shooting techniques and making use of the wide angle lens, I'm getting very soulful results, in my humblest of opinions anyway.

Do you suppose people would be as loose and expressive if they knew I was taking their photo?  

The honest truth is that I'm not sure that I would have access like this with a full size camera.  I don't think people would let me in.  When I walk past them, finger on the trigger, I smile, say hello, and then I'm on my way.  I haven't been intrusive at all, and the expressions I get back are honest rather than posed. 

As for the app, VSCO Cam is brilliant.

The basic app is free, available for both Apple and Android devices.  You can take photos through the app, but sadly it disables the volume control as a shutter button and doesn't support burst mode.  Because of this I stick to the iPhone's camera app then import the images to VSCO Cam for editing.

The app comes with some number (I've forgotten how many) basic presets that give you a starting point for your photos, and they look great, not hipstagram-ish.  You can edit lots of global settings like exposure, contrast, shadows and sharpness to name a few.

 I went and bought the rest of the presets that didn't come with the free version, and it only cost me $7.  Once you get your head around the editing tools and find the filters you like to use the best, image creation becomes effortless.  I've actually filled up my iPhone's hard drive already, and need to make some more room very soon.

If you would like to see more of this kind of work, feel free to visit my "Grid" at  This is a small collection of the photos that I take and share using my iPhone and the VSCO Cam app.

More updates coming soon!

Halifax Pride Parade 2013

I'll make the top bit short, since there's a lot of photos for you to view!  Today I went downtown and checked out the Halifax 2013 Pride Parade and WOW, what a fantastic event.  I didn't expect it to be over an hour and a half, but that's not a complaint.  I took almost 900 images, but don't worry, I culled out my personal favourite 30.  If you want to see some more of the photos, go and see them on my facebook page, Tim Lingley Photography, and while you're there, hit the like button too ;)

Happy Birthday Canada! (Delayed due to weather)

Lots of people curse the cellphone revolution.  I know that I've been walking along, and had someone glance up from their cellphone at just the last minute to avoid walking into me.  I was glad I had my phone last night, because instead of the view you see above, I was positioned here, quite a bit further up the harbour:

Now this would be a pretty good vantage point to shoot the fireworks coming off the bridge!

While checking my facebook account to see where some of the Sackville Photography Club members had positioned themselves around the harbour, I was a little concerned.  Either they were in the wrong place or I was... Then someone on facebook actually said "They aren't firing from the bridge this year, there's a barge in the harbour!"

I really should have been paying more attention when I was on the ferry.  Oh well, thanks to Glenn Euloth, who saved not only my butt, but some of the other photographers' butts as well.  Good thing I was on facebook while I waited!

Here's the setup shot after running 500 yards or so down the shoreline:

Some people have told me this is the best part of Dartmouth.  At least it's a good vantage point for the show!

I think next time I'll figure out where the show starts before I go.  Perhaps next time, the fireworks will actually be on Canada Day, so I can post a more timely blog post!

Some technical details:
5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.  Manfrotto tripod with a ball head.  Fuel: Shwarma wrap from Mezza (previously Venus Pizza) followed by an Iced Cap.
Top firework shot: ISO100, 15s shutter, f/8, 30mm.
Bottom firework shot: ISO100, 6s shutter, f/5.6, 27mm.

Happy Canada Day!

Game of Thrones Self Portrait

The new season of the HBO series Game of Thrones has started up, and with it a series of character posters were released.  Seeing as I haven't done a self portrait in a while, I decided to "Fire and Ice" myself with the tutorial found on the 500px blog here.

The one thing that I probably should have done is get my face nice and dirty, but for the most part, I'm fairly happy with the results.  
I become one of the "Doomed" characters...

Here's the original portrait, in which I simply tried to look menacing or tough.  I think I need some more light in the eyes, but that's what photoshop is for, right?

Here's a black and white version as well, as processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. 

If you'd like to do one of these, they're dead simple.  The longest part for me was putting a beauty dish and light on a stand!  After that, I took about 6 shots, and chose the best one.  The backdrop for these photos was a black bed sheet that I bought about a year ago for just this purpose, and it works wonders.

Go check out the tutorial and give it a shot!  Try to look your meanest too, it's a tough life in George R. R. Martin's world of Ice and Fire.



Last night was the monthly Halifax Photo Society meeting, and instead of the usual proceedings, we did some photography!!  The organizers, Alan and Rob had brought in some props to photograph, namely some incense and a black backdrop.  (There was also a fishbowl and some ink, but I wasn't really happy with the way the shots turned out)  Some really fun abstract photos ensued:

Some techy stuff: These shots were done with a single off camera flash, bare bulb, about 90 degrees to the left of the smoke.  The flash was flagged so that it wouldn't spill onto the background, and it was also zoomed in as far as it would go.  Gels were used to get the colour and the focus was achieved by holding my hand above the smoke and letting the camera focus.  I used aperture F6.3, ISO400 and a shutter speed of 1/80 to 1/160.  The flash was on manual mode, firing at 1/8 power and triggered with pocket wizards.  

In terms of setup, the camera was on a tripod for stability and consistency.  The backdrop was simply a piece of black construction paper or bristol board (black coated foam core, a black sheet, anything will do, really, as long as your shutter speed is high).  The background was placed about a meter back from the smoke source.

Sometimes, the really cool stuff happens when you least expect it.  I held my finger in the smoke for a minute to disperse it, then removed it, fired a few shots.  I didn't see this until I got home!

More coming down the pipe this week!  Cheers!

Edit: after working with this a little more at home, I created this image:

I was so happy with this result I decided to upload it to InterfaceLIFT, a page dedicated to providing free downloads of awesome backgrounds.  If you want, you can see the image here and vote on it if you have an account.  Thanks!