Trees and Rivers

A week ago I was trying to find this cedar grove in one of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  Sadly, it was closed due to a fire near the area.  I decided to take the moment to look at the Coeur d’Alene River.  I think it is quite beautiful and majestic.  With yet another “sorrow”, I had left my camera at the school.  So, I decided to use the Camera++ app on my phone.

This app enables me to manually adjust the focus and ISO rather than relying on the slow auto-focus and the possibly sub-par ISO auto-picking.  Even with setting the white balance manually within the app itself I still had troubles capturing the beauty of the scene.  Because the app gives me JPEG’s rather than raw files, I am unable to adjust the white balance and exposure to my heart’s content without loosing some of the photo-realism.

The smoke in hanging in the air prevented me from getting a good white balance setting, so I had to adjust it manually in Lightroom.

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In all of these photos, because of the exposure, vibrancy, and white balance changes done, one can actually see evidence of “tampering” by looking at the sky in the shots.  It’s sad, because I don’t get over there often and the scene really is magnificent.  That reflection in the water is so detailed.  The first photo really depicts it the best.  It really is king of inspiring.  The fall colors and the lush, rainforest-qualities of this area make in almost irresistible to not take photographs, even if they come out sucking.  Sad really.

I need to buy myself my own DSLR.



This is probably the most photo-realistic shot taken.  It also is probably the best one.  On the photos above taken of the river, many adjustments had to be made so that I could bare to even really look at them.  This one really didn’t need much.  It was really cool being able to manually focus on my smartphone, something that I had really not done before.


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These photos were some that were taken at English Point.  The second and fourth ones are by far my favorites.  The second one has an interesting appeal to it that I cannot quite put my finger on.  It is just pleasant.  It has a lot of detail, not a lot of blur, and not much digital noise.  Of course adjustments were made on all of them, but this one had the easiest time making the transition from unprocessed to processed.  The fourth one, on the other hand, needed some adjustments.  Not that it was bad before.  I could see potential in it.  It just needed a little spicing up.  I saw that the way the sun was shining through the trunks and branches of the trees that it could look very nice, but the lighting and vibrancy of the shot needed to change.  After a few adjustments, it looks quite fantastic.  Actually, probably the most important thing that I did to it was changing the contrast in order to make it pop.  These, unlike the others, were taken a week or so before with a “real” camera.

In summary, I should’ve brought my camera home so that I could’ve really made some nice photos.  I missed an opportunity that will never be quite the same to capture the beauty of the river.  When I was there, though, I was able to capture some beauty, but not by taking photos of it.  Those photos really don’t fit the scene.  I meditated on the river bank.  Through that I was able to capture the sounds and images associated with the beauty of it in my mind.  The most interesting thing that I find about photography is that when one is doing adjustments in Lightroom one is able to relive the scene again.  If I is just looking at it, I do not really experience it.  When I edit it, I have to recall the scene back to memory so that others may experience a part of what I experienced.  In that sense, photography becomes something of a pleasure for me when I am experimenting, when I am not trying to appeal to others, but to myself alone.  So, really, by experimenting with the Camera++ app on my phone I was able to take pleasure in the input, not the output.


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