Seagulls, the Lumia 1020 and 'zooming later'...

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It's all very well seeing something impromptu and wanting to get a great snap with the camera-that-is-always-with-you (i.e. your phone), but some subjects are much harder than others to photograph. Seagulls are one such, in that move so quickly that it's impossible to focus in the traditional sense. Andy Hagon, whose snaps are featured below, along with some tutorial comments of my own, seems to have got the knack though, with some rather impressive seagull snaps. He suspects - and I tend to agree - that only the 1020, of the current crop of devices, could have taken such clear and expressive photos.

From Andy's article:

Sometimes you just have to share. I was wandering around Roosevelt Island yesterday with my trusty Nokia Lumia 1020, and an opportunity arose that I took advantage of, with some quite stunning results. As we walked past a group of seagulls, they decided to take flight above us and start to swoop down as if we had fresh sardines on our heads or something! It was pretty scary for a few seconds, but then my Nokia Innovation voice spoke up in my head (yes it sounds just like Lenny!) so I grabbed my 1020 from my coat pocket and started snapping.

Now, please bear in mind that I had no time to fiddle with any of the settings in Nokia Camera, nor really take the time to hold the phone really still, I just wanted to get as many shots as I could before they all flew away.

So I managed to get a few good shots. But later on when I cropped some of these ‘angry birds’ I was pretty amazed to see just how good the detail was. The seagulls even seemed to have expressions on their faces, and I noticed that some of them had been tagged around the feet. I am not suggesting that any other device would not have picked up on any of these things, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that with the 1020’s rather large 41MP sensor, it would have led the pack if this was one of those ‘versus this versus that’ camera comparisons we see on the web all the time. 

Here's the pick of the bunch for me:

Seagull up close with the 1020

There are some other very decent photos from the moment in the article and here in Andy's Flickr set.

It's here that the Lumia 1020's 'zoom later' facility really comes to the fore - there's no way you can zoom in at capture time, since the gulls fly by far too quickly to be framed at all (I've tried, with the Nokia 808, where zooming is normally done at capture time). But, by pre-focussing (or setting the focus manually, something else you can do on the 1020 in the standard Nokia Camera interface), you can snap away at a block of sky with a fast moving gull within it and then 'reframe' later, to still end up with a 5MP (or so) photo with the subject much bigger and centred, with full quality.

Once you've 'reframed' like this and achieved such a stunning result, you'll wonder how you ever lived without this facility. Even every day snaps of people can be reframed in, spitting out 5MP shots that look closer and more professional - and, again, all on a fairly slim smartphone. Impressive.

Andy's got a great eye for a good photo, by the way, so keep an eye on his Flickr stream in the future.

Source / Credit: Nokia Innovation