NYC Based Artist Takes Palm Pre Photography to the Next Level | webOS Nation

NYC Based Artist Takes Palm Pre Photography to the Next Level 25

by Robert Werlinger Wed, 14 Apr 2010 11:57 am EDT

Image Credit: Caleb Freese

For photography work, most people set their camera-equipped phone aside and start hammering away with their dedicated point-and-shoot or DSLR, but this isn't always the case for New York City based artist Caleb Freese. Palm’s Facebook page points us the work of Freese, who splits his time between making art in Brooklyn and guiding rivers and mountains, has been doing some rather striking nature photography work using the Palm Pre alone. The phone’s camera is generally regarded as being good (just ask our forum members), but the thought of using it for professional work is an intriguing one indeed.

Why use the Pre instead of a dedicated SLR? “I’ve always thought carting a SLR detracted from my enjoyment of nature, so I’ve found myself relying on the Pre”, says Freese, continuing “What started as quite the accidental process ended up having stellar results. This also explains why all the cell photos are of nature”.

Like most brands of photography, you won’t arrive at these results using just the Pre alone, and Caleb sheds some insight into the methodology that makes his work look the way it does: “I take Panoramas. Between 2 and 20 photos will often make up a shot. I then stitch them together in Photoshop, adjust the contrast and call it good.” Beyond those tweaks, you’re not going to find any other kinds of touch up work. The reason? “I’ve found cellphones can provide a particular aesthetic, often exaggerating or producing an effect I’d describe as a less literal reproduction, but more mood or atmospheric”. Freese also touches on something that most Pre owners are familiar with, namely that the Pre excels in outside shots.


ananimus likes this.

Very cool. And agreed. It's quite nice having a camera phone that's so usable. I scarcely take photos to begin with, but knowing my phone will amply suffice makes me happy.

Nice job on the photo stitching, too. Some damn nice consumer cameras by Sony have some impressive photo stitching algorithms now. My buddy was saying there's some new one that will stitch like 100 frames together, full res, at something like 10 fps. You just pan the camera around and the lil bugger does all the rest.

I wouldn't ask for it on a simple camera phone, but Freese's shots remind me how pretty a few pictures and a little Photoshop time can be when the moment strikes!

Agree with above written comment that you have very well explained about photo stitching. It would be helpful for me if you shared some more points related to DSLR. Thanks.

Akaweddings Photography

that's pretty cool

I hope pre-2 comesout w better night time sensors.

Like for low light? Yeah, that's hard in general to do with the small sensors they stick in phones.

Incidentally, as tiny as the Pre/Pixi are, I wonder what they could pack in if they made it slightly bigger again. Bigger camera sensor and bit more battery perhaps? Although I do like how the Pre disappears in my pocket.

Agreed that the Pre has a decent camera (when you hold still), but this guy would get much better pics from any number of pocketable point-and-shooters. My best guess is Palm is somehow compensating him for his efforts.

I dunno. I'm of a mind with this guy and probably not alone. I think a big draw for smartphones is not carrying a lot of stuff (phone, gps, camera). Some folks just want to get around with light pockets but like having that stuff handy. It's liberating, but still nice when your one Swiss Army knife gets a little sharper than your last one.

But you're right. Maybe his photos will be a gateway to him going full blown photographer. K, I'll stop thread jacking now.

Hey article, nice to meet you:

I also really like the output of the camera on my Sprint Pre. I usually take pictures for fun. one time, I was in a plane taking pics of the sky view, the clouds and the sun set and they looks really nice. This past summer, i was driving from Sacramento to DC and taking pics of the mountains, deserts, including the salt deserts in Utah and other beautiful landscapes on the way while driving at the speed of 70 to 90 mph but the photos still looks perfect. You cant even tell that rhey are camera phone pics.

i wish it took better close photos... a focus of some type would have been a good idea :( but yes, outside in good light, it does take great pictures.
just don't try to take a quality picture of a fortune from a cookie ;)

I hear that's bad luck...

imagine if sony buys palm how great those pic would be from a webos phone

I take quite a few pictures with my Pre and I am constantly impressed with how good they turn out and I get many compliments on them.

I got compliments for the pictures taken with my pre as well...

Great idea to promote the specs of this phone...instead know the rest.

I actually think Pre's camera doesn't take very good photos unless you're outdoors.

... And you'd probably be wrong. Over recent years there have been a number if what I'd call grunge photographic movements - plastic lens holga cameras, use of out of date film, cross processing etc.

The common characteristic is the use of the imperfection as part of image. Any camera (including the pre) fits in.

Indoor stuff is hit or miss. I know if I use the flash, skintones get way too muddy. But outdoors, I have trouble after cropping vacation pics deciding what I shot with my Pre vs. what I shot with my 12mp Canon after loading them to websites.

Nice shot(s), great stitching and composing.

Cell phone images as art isn't new. Check out Flickr - there are tons (just pick a model). Chase Jarvis (major commercial photog) authored a book 'The Best Camera Is the One That's With You'. It's all pictures taken with an iPhone (and post-processed heavily in 'Shop). This isn't really news. Except that the images were taken with a Pre.

... and not post processed.

I've been doing this for a while using Autopano Pro to stitch things together.


There were some issues with color balance earlier although it seems to be much better now since 1.4.0. I've also run a bunch of pictures through Lightroom and have been pleased with the results. It would be nice to have the option for mobile phones to output RAW DNG files at some point though.

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the camera isn't half bad. Last summer a week after I got the Pre on the release date from Sprint I had to judge a skateboarding competition (im a low level pro skateboarder) well I forgot the camera and needed to take photos of the competition for the shop I ride for that also was throwing the comp. Well all I had was the pre so I figured what the heck it's better then no photos. I started snapping away on still shots and was amazed at the quality I was getting (i was outside and it was sunny) then on a whim I decided to take some skating photos. The Pre's camera actually got those clear! Me and an actual photog were amazed at the quality and there were a few shots my shot was better then his Cannon professional gear he was lugging around. Long story short the phtog went and got himself a Palm Pre a couple days later first because he was watching me effortlessly go from texting, emailing pics and then taking pics with the ease of sliding my fingers and secondly he said it would be nice to have that camera for shots where he can't get the gear out in time. There's also been a lot of times I post pics on facebook and people can't tell the difference between my cell phone and regular camera. I get the question "when did you break the camera out cause I don't reember you with a camera that day" I tell them I took it with the Pre and they are floored.. All you people that want to down on the abilities of this phone need it be the camera or other things just like to complain and start fights you must be bored. If your phone can't take good pics then it's you because if your on a Pre so am I, and so is this photographer doing these pics in this article. Same phones me, him and a few others seem to get good shots but you don't seem to huh? Then your issues with bad photos is operator error. Just like all the other features on this phone. People complain about some features not working right but then you get more people coming back and saying they don't have problems... But you all are using the same phone.. Sounds like operator error to me, or you just want to complain about something. Or you must have some kind of "special" Palm Pre that is different from everyone elses Palm Pre made in the same place same hardware same OS...... An alternate universe Pre... A Palm Pre from Bizzaro land.. Lmao

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