Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Art Of Oneography: Manual Mode–Getting More From Your M8


Ok, I have to admit to double dipping this post, but it seemed like a good one to do it with. I was asked by a Twitter follower what “Oneography” was. My answer was pretty simple, “It is the creation of art using your HTC One device.” Just like Lumiaography as well, Oneography is the use of a mobile device to create some amazing images. My Oneography blog features shots from both the M7 and the M8 for Windows, but the information in the post is just as relevant to those of you with Lumia’s as well. It’s all about what those manual controls do, and how to have a bit more fun with image taking. So, here you go.


As most of you know, the HTC One M7, M8 and M8 for Windows have a unique camera. These devices use an “Ultrapixel” instead of a Megapixel. By increasing the size of the light receptor, it allows for more information to be captured, which should translate to better images. Of course, sometimes and always don’t work in photography, and Oneography is no different. Depending on your situation, an auto-exposed image may work fine for you, but when you need that extra bit of creativity in your images, step out on the ledge and see what your One can do.


The first slider on the left in manual mode controls the white balance. Pushing this setting up, will bring more reds into the lighting and pushing it down will cool the color tones and bring more blue into the image. This is one simple way to add some amazing colors to sunrise and sunset shooting. It can also be used to balance against harsh lighting that creates unreal looks. By cooling or warming the color tone, you can really bring the image back to a natural point when the auto settings fail to do so.


The next useful control is on the far right of the sliders. The focus slider allows you to set the depth of focus and turn off the autofocus settings. This will allow you to shoot faster images at a set focal point, rather than waiting for the autofocus to catch up with you. This brings action shots to the realm of possibilities. Try shooting a basketball game or your kid’s soccer match in a set focal length. It will turn out amazing once you get it down.


The next three sliders are all basic exposure controls. You have the EV compensation control, which will over-ride the sensor setting and allow you to make an image darker or brighter than it was originally. The exposure compensation control lets you control that extra bit of light you need to make or break an image. Remember, negative numbers make the image darker and positive numbers make the image brighter.

The other light controller in this setting is the ISO. The higher the ISO number is, the more light the sensor captures across the board. This can be very useful when shooting in the dark. Be careful with this setting though as the higher the ISO goes, the more digital noise will be found in the image. Digital noise is that ‘grainy, discolored pixel look’ that many darker images suffer from. This is caused by the auto setting of the ISO going too high to try and capture the image. Keeping the ISO lower in some darker images can also yield some excellent photos.


The 5th and final control on the HTC One M8 camera is the shutter speed. From the fastest to the slowest, you can capture many events with just altering the shutter speed. The top of the slider is the fastest setting, while the lower section will hold the shutter open longer. Fast shutter speeds are used for action shots, mainly to ‘freeze’ time. Longer exposures can be used for things like nightscapes, fireworks or special effects. This is the setting where it is fun to grab a mobile tripod solution and have some fun.

Remember, when you are getting ready to go on your adventure, don’t think too much about how many images you take or how many ‘bad’ ones there are. If you walk away from a #HTCOneLife weekend with 10 great shots, it was obviously an amazing weekend! If you walk away with one great shot, you still had just as much fun trying to get the other 9, so don’t sweat it and try again next week.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or find me on Twitter and drop me a note.

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