Three times during the week I went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. to take photos (see above) with the five megapixel Nokia N95 that I received courtesy of Nokia as part of the Nokia Bloggers program.
I wanted to create a musical slide show similar to the one I created comparing the photos from Research in Motion's BlackBerry 8300 "Curve" with its 8100 "Pearl."
I have now posted a Vietnam Veterans Memorial slide show on PhotoShow as well as embedding it here (see below). There are almost 60 photos with each one displaying for six to ten seconds.
By the way, I think it looks much better if you click "Full Size" -- that gets you to the PhotoShow Web site -- and then click "View Large" in the site's viewer to watch the, duh, larger size (assuming you have a broadband connection and a fast enough computer).
Also, Internet Explorer sometimes streams better for me than Firefox (my browser of choice). But it could be just my computer. (The music is off by default, but available by clicking the speaker icon.)
N95 versus digital/film cameras
Using the N95 -- or any camera phone -- makes me realize how much I miss digital and film cameras with their optical zoom and wealth of settings. The N95 has a
n optical digital zoom, but who uses that?!
At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial I really missed having an optical zoom because there were photos I simply couldn't get or I had to severely crop areas of photos to get the exact image I wanted that was blown up with reduced resolution. Luckily, the N95 is five megapixels so that higher resolution helped tremendously in producing acceptable cropped images. I'm a big fan of cropping!
(All of the images in this slide show were taken on "Automatic," although for a few photos I used the "Vivid" color setting -- but didn't notice any difference. I didn't use the flash. Except for those that were cropped, none of the images in this show were modified in any other way. No brightness, contrast, sharpening, etc. I want you to see what the N95 produces without software enhancements.)
The lack of an optical zoom and no image enhancement are reasons you'll see images that don't look anywhere near, uh, "picture perfect." But in this slide show I wanted to convey a certain emotional element, so I have used photos that (I believe) are good enough but not necessarily good because of being too dark, poorly focused, etc. (see below).
(Frankly, I might have been able to get a better shot if I didn't snap it so quickly. I really wanted to take more and closer photos of that veteran, but it wouldn't have been appropriate.)
I could have moved closer (the N95 lens is fairly wide angle) or shot more images of certain people, but the human being part of me (I won't discuss the other parts!) uncharacteristically won out against the photographer in me and rebelled against sticking the N95 into someone's face. The Memorial is a sad place for a lot of people, especially during this Memorial Day weekend, and I didn't want to act as if the visitors were tourist attractions.
So I shot some photos from afar and ruthlessly cropped photos (see below) to get small segments larger images.
And, some of the images would have been better if I were a better photographer. My incompetence, unfortunately, figures into the image quality.
Good quality images
However, egomaniac that I am, I think a few photos are pretty good, such as the one of the "wall" at the top of this article. Also, many images I shot were static and no movement was involved (except for mine, sigh, especially when I was crouching to get an object on the ground).
Indeed, the N95 can take very good photos; it's my favorite camera phone and favorite cellular phone in general.....for the time being.
(Courtesy of Nokia I have the 3.2 megapixel N93 that has a 3x optical zoom, and it would have been interesting to compare the same photos taken with that. But I didn't want to juggle another camera; I also took the two megapixel BlackBerry 8300 but didn't use it for these Memorial photos.)
PhotoShow online versus desktop
For the slide show comparing the BlackBerry 8300 with the 8100 I used Simple Star's online photo slide show application. When I posted/embedded the slide show I noted that I would prefer more control.
Simple Star's public relations firm read my article and, as a result, Chad Richard, Simple Star's CEO, was nice enough to send me a link to download the company's $39.95 desktop version, PhotoShow 5. So that's what I used for this Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
PhotoShow 5 is easy to use (I didn't read the manual, but I will) and it does offer much more control than the online applications. I think I'd like even more control, such as being able to display individual images for more than ten seconds and more up/down/left/right pan-and-zoom options.
(I'm a pan-and-zoom kind of guy. Too much time watching Ken Burns documentaries.
But overall, PhotoShow 5 is an easy-to-use and fun package that can produce great musical slide shows (my efforts notwithstanding!) with lots of special effects, interesting transitions, etc. There are loads of standard templates plus ways to customize slide shows.
Indeed, I can see that many people wouldn't want to spend the time to select the parameters for every image and, instead, just use a template. It can take a long time to pick the timing, special effect, transition, music, etc. for every image.
As I mentioned previously, I like PhotoShow's online selection of music; PhotoShow 5's selection includes all the online selection plus additional ones.
I expect I will produce more PhotoShow slide shows using other camera phones.