var ebf: Blog // by Eduardo Fonseca

UIPhotographer

It’s all Everaldo’s fault

I kept repeating this to myself as we were hiking towards some woods at 1am, trying to take this picture. The area around the Golden Gate bridge is always very cold for a Brazilian like me and after having a pizza feast with some wine, somehow the idea of hiking with lenses, tripods and cameras didn’t sound very compelling.

Aline was always into photography, but I never got very excited about it. I don’t have “the eye” for taking great pictures, so it was never my first choice when travelling or meeting friends. “Pictures? No thanks”.

Then Everaldo introduced me to the technical photography. Hey, that’s interesting. Lighting? ISOs? Exposure? Aperture? Lenses? Custom Camera Firmwares? I’m in.

The problem is that, being a developer, sometimes photography frustrates me:

The world is always changing

Digital photography lets you replicate a very cool cycle from programming: Compile, test, debug. Except… you can’t really debug properly, since you can’t stop, well, the world.

Sometimes a picture that was supposed to be about a landscape gets photobombed by a bird:

I wish I could just:

_bird.alpha	= 0.0f;

No such luck.

People just don’t stand still

Being able to photograph on manual mode is great… except when you really want to capture something happening in almost-real time regarding some living thing.

Pair that with a manual focus lens like the Helios 44m-4 and then you have a problem.

Darling, please stand still. Daddy is almost done trying to figure out the best ISO to take this picture, and of course, make sure everything is focused. Oh… you moved. The depth of field is very narrow, you know? Lets start again!

Everytime I start mentioning the Exposure Triangle, I lose the subject, just like when I’m trying to explain BDD to someone. Damn.

Oh the UI

Adobe, about Lightroom? I feel that the CIFilter API is more cozy than your fancy custom weird dark UI.

Now I understand why so many people try to make photo apps. Nobody cracked this UI yet. And the in-camera UI? Oh god.

The “good old cameras” are coming back for a reason. Their interface is simple and straight to the point. For me to enable multiple exposures on my Canon 6D, I need to dwelve into 3 layers of bad UI. Need to change the aperture? Turn this weird dial that’s also a navigation keypad.

Where’s the HIG for cameras?

But you know what?

Back to that night: after hiking so much, the view was amazing. Seeing the city from so far away made it all worthwhile. And even with a very big racoon coming our way, showing its teeth, we didn’t flinch - not because we are brave or whatever… our cameras were exposing!

I learned how to contemplate the amazing views and places I was visiting while my camera was capturing them.

It’s amazing and highly frustrating. Just like life.