Tag Archives: travel photography

Google Pixel 2 and Clips cameras have special potential for travel photography

2017-10-07

Google has introduced two cameras that will interest travel photographers: the camera in the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL smartphones, and the unique intelligent camera in the Google Clips product. Both cameras make use of artificial intelligence software technology, setting them apart from competition at the moment.

Google Pixel 2 smartphone with 12.2 megapixel camera and AIGoogle Pixel 2 smartphone.

Google Pixel 2

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are high-end smartphones from Google that come with a 12.2 megapixel camera. The special feature in the camera is that it lets you capture images like photos taken on a professional camera where the subject is in the foreground and the background is magically blurred. Usually, that kind of images are taken with SLR cameras that come with changeable lenses and sharp optics, but the Google Pixel 2 can do it with a fixed lens.

The Google Pixel 2 comes with optical image (OIS) stabilization feature, a rare but valuable thing to have on a smartphone camera. The feature automatically reduces shake and movement when taking a photo, resulting in sharper images and better pictures in low light.

The camera on the Pixel 2 smartphone uses artificial intelligence software technology to create the blur effect. The software recognizes the main subject in the frame, and slightly fades the background. In order to recognize what is foreground and background in an image, the Pixel 2 combines two images (the photographer takes only one frame and doesn’t notice anything) allowing the software to conclude the depth. The result looks the same as a portrait photo taken on a dedicated high-end camera.

Google is not the first company to apply this technique to smartphone photographs: the Apple iPhone X has the same feature.
Google Clips camera with intelligent photo capture

Google Clips

The Google Clips is a totally new kind of camera. After you switch it on, the camera takes photographs by itself. It doesn’t snap a continuous stream of images at preset intervals as some life-capture cameras do, but the Clips monitors what is happening around it, who is in the frame, and is the situation worth taking a picture. The magic is achieved by artificial intelligence software that decides when to take a photo. It also decides the settings for the image capture.

For instance, set the Clips on a kitchen table, and it learns the faces of a family. Then, it can take photos when something interesting in the kitchen is happening.

The Clips is a standalone camera, which means that it doesn’t need a connection anywhere to work. All the intelligence is inside the unit, and all the photos are stored in its internal storage.

It is the camera owner’s choice which images he or she decides to share once the photos have been imported to a PC from the Clips. Battery life is only three hours. The price is $250.

What is Artificial Intelligence and what it has to do with a camera?

Google Clips camera with artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a software technology that seems to be able to make conclusions like a human. If ordinary software applications can only respond “yes” or “no” to a question, AI software systems are trained to take into account more variables. Speech recognition and image recognition are the first popular applications for the AI technology. Since AI systems are made of software, humans have coded them, and the quality of the systems depends on the engineering skills of the system designers.

What does this all mean to people who are photographing their travels?

First, it means that photographers who are carrying multiple cameras and/or lenses may consider leaving a camera or a lens home. Since the smartphone, in this case the Pixel 2, can take good enough close-up images of subjects, for non-professional photographers it is an easy decision to drop extra weight from the luggage.

Second, the Google Clips has new kind of potential for the future. At the moment, Google says the camera learns the faces of a family, and the product is focused on delivering photographic moments for the family. That’s fine. The potential is that once the camera and its AI system are developed further, they may be used for other applications as well.

Street photography is an obvious application for the Clips. Capturing images of street life, subjects in animal parks, events in leisure parks, or what happened during a cycling trip or kayak tour are some examples of the other applications.

The Google video for the Clips camera that highlights the family aspect of the product:

Ebook news digest: literary tourism, digital libraries, ebook cover designs, travel photography kit

2017-07-26

News on ebooks, writing and photography

Luzenac, France, Pyrenees, bookcrossing library
Libraries Gone Digital: 4 Ways Libraries Expand Your Reach As An Author
Digital Book World

Yes, libraries are a good channel for distributing ebooks to readers. An ebook publisher who has the distribution agreements in place (for instance, Klaava Media) can deliver ebooks to libraries. It depends on the individual markets how the revenue models (if any) work.

Literary Tourism: Travel The World’s Book Towns
Bookriot

A book town is any community that has relatively big number of bookshops, and perhaps book related events are organized in town as well. Here is your guide to a few renowned book towns across the world.

5 Excellent eBook Reader Apps for Ubuntu
OMG! Ubuntu

Oh my – what is Ubuntu, you might ask? It is a popular Linux system that you can download and install on your PC to replace whatever operating system (often Windows) your computer is running. Ebook reading applications are available for Ubuntu, but why on earth Calibre is regarded as an excellent ebook application is beyond my understanding what a good app should be.

Your Story #84: Submit Now!
Writer’s Digest

A writing contest where the maximum number of words is 25. Deadline August 21.

Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast
Klaava Travel Guide

Sweden’s West Coast near Gothenburg is where the Swedes like to spend their summer vacations. After July, when they have gone back to work, there is room for us as well. Worth a visit. The guidebook tells more about the region.

Best kit for travel photography
Amateur Photographer

A travel photography kit for serious amateur photographers.

e-Book Cover Design Awards, June 2017
The Book Designer

Ebook Cover Design Awards have been chosen in fiction and nonfiction categories. Take a look at the winning cover designs.

Forget George Eliot: now it’s male authors disguising their sex to sell more books
The Guardian

J.K. Rowling used initials on purpose, because the wisdom was that women authors wouldn’t sell as well as men authors. Well, the tide may have changed as the article points out.

This poet is writing one million letters to strangers
Metro

One million poems is plenty of work, but that’s what a young poet has set out to do. If you want a poem from her, the article has an email address where the poet receives requests.

Ebook news digest: guide to writing a nonfiction book, visual travel stories, PayPal for iBooks

2017-07-18

News on ebooks, writing and photography

laptop on table with papers and pen
The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Publishing a Nonfiction Book
Writing Tips Oasis

An extensive article on planning and writing a nonfiction book that starts with a Table of Contents. Klaava Media’s publishing team was sold – the importance of the Table of Contents is also one of our most popular articles. Here is a writer who knows about writing a nonfiction book. And yes, writing a book is that much work as the article suggests.

How to Tell Better Visual Stories with Travel Photography
Digital Photography School

Telling a story with images has a beginning and an end just like telling a story in writing. The article provides tips for an opening image, and for other types of pictures required to tell a travel story.

Microsoft is giving away millions of eBooks that can be downloaded for free
Techworm

Free ebook downloads for techies. Technical guides for people who are dealing with Microsoft’s products at work. If you are looking for free ebooks, why not try Traveling in Scandinavia?

The top 5 gadgets for remote work and productive workations
Meri Sorgaard

Only 5 gadgets – in addition to an obligatory laptop and smartphone? That’s quite a feat.

Review: Sony DPT-RP1 PDF Reader and Digital Notepad (Video)
The Ebook Reader

The Sony DPT-RP1 is an ereader, but not an ordinary one. It has specifically been designed for reading PDF documents and ebooks. That’s why it has a huge screen for an ereader – 13 inches. Here is a review.

What is the X-Ray Feature on Amazon Kindle?
Methodshop

A reminder on the usefulness of X-Ray feature on the Amazon Kindle ereaders and reading applications for tablets and smartphones. Other Kindle features explained as well.

Because travel is much more than exciting destinations
Travel User Guide

A user guide for travel? That’s what this is – tips, advice and reviews.

Apple is now accepting PayPal on the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, iBooks and iCloud
Hardware Zone

PayPal is my and many other people’s preferred method for payments on the Internet, and now everyone can purchase ebooks from the Apple iBooks store using their PayPal accounts. Excellent.

Ebook news digest: ebooks in metro, tips for headlines, how to start travel photography

2017-06-10

News on ebooks, writing and photography

Murcia, bookshop of antique books
New York Public Library turns subway cars into mobile ebook libraries
Boing Boing

Some New York metro cars have been equipped with Wi-Fi signal that connects commuters to the city library for ebooks. Nice idea, since under the ground it is rare to get a mobile network or Wi-Fi signal at all. Library has come to the rescue of all the people who want to read, but haven’t downloaded any books beforehand on a smartphone or tablet.

9 tips for writing stronger headlines
Poynter

If you are fed up with headlines Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and similar organizations feed us, here is some level-headed advice to writers for composing their headlines. The advice is valid for headings featured in a non-fiction book as well.

Travel Photography Tips for Beginners
Nomadasaurus

The digital nomad couple has learnt their photography skills on the road during several years. The post features plenty of valuable tips and not only for beginners, but for all travelers who have realized that improvement is required in order to share the snapshots on social media.

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Kristen Lepionka
Writer’s Digest

An author shares a few lessons on the business of writing and working like a professional.

The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera
Klaava Travel Guide

A travel guidebook to southern France shows the best destinations to visit and the nicest places to stay.

The New 10.5 Inch iPad Pro | Bigger, Better, Faster, Smoother
SLR Lounge

A new Apple iPad tablet 10.5 inches in size that has the same physical dimensions as the 9.7 inch model. Confused? The display extends from edge to edge, making the screen surprisingly large. Many other improvements implemented in the new iPad, too.

Recommended Travel and Digital Nomad Blogs
Become Nomad

A categorized list of travel and digital nomad blogs.

It’s Not You, It’s Me: A Writer’s Reflections on Rejection
Bob Eckstein

If it is any consolation for a rejected writer, everyone, even the brightest stars have been rejected at some point of their careers. The article gives advice on managing the difficult time of rejection.

Ebook news digest: the birth of travel photography, ereader still rules, Lenovo’s new keyboard for writers

2016-09-04

Ebook news digest September 4, 2016

an office for a digital nomad in Bordeaux, France
Why I like my e-reader better than my smartphone (TNW)

Although the days of quickly growing the user base are over for ereaders, many book lovers still make the magic discovery how easy and convenient it is to read on an ereader. Here is a tech reporter’s story.

New European publishing rules could cost Google and Facebook (IT Pro Portal)

News publishers in some European countries, like France and Germany already have tried to get a piece of the revenue that online services, such as Facebook and Google generate from the publishers’ content. Some methods have failed, whereas in some cases Google has agreed to pay something to the publishers. Now, EU has taken the topic seriously and is planning a legislation titled Neighboring Rights that would give full control to the publishers to determine who can loan or reference their content. If this initiative moves forward, it is a dramatic change. It will mean big business model reconsideration for many online services.

Meet the Mother Daughter Duo Changing the Face of Digital Nomads
(The Huffington Post)

An exceptional proposition to become a digital nomad: mother with her nine year old daughter. One year in four locations, each on a different continent. Hopes are high at departure, so we would love hear from them after six or twelve months.

Lenovo launches Yoga Book: A tablet with touch keyboard, stylus that turns written ink into digital notes (CNBC)

A good keyboard is what most writers require from a laptop. You get the feel and the sound of the keys that are clicking and cracking. Perhaps it simply means that something is being done, but it can be satisfying. Lenovo has introduced another option for a physical keyboard: a touch-sensitive keyboard. The Yoga Book is a tablet/laptop hybrid that has a display where laptops usually have a display, but instead of a physical keyboard, there is another touch sensitive display that is used as the keyboard. We can’t wait to try this one.

The birth of travel photography (Daily Mail)

Never thought of it, but of course, images taken in exotic places were among the first photographs people wanted to have for themselves as memories. All right, perhaps selfies and portraits came first, but travel photography must have been a close second. Rare photos taken 170 years ago in Egypt have been discovered, and they were auctioned to the highest bidder. These pictures shown in the article may have started the whole travel photography hobby and business.

If you travel, write and photograph, perhaps you have a book in you that is seeking a publisher?