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How To Photograph The Upcoming Solar Eclipse Using Your iPhone

The iPhone can be an option to use if you are considering taking pictures of the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st, 2017.

The United States will have a historical event take place throughout the states on August 21st, the total solar eclipse is scheduled to be in view, some will be able to view the eclipse partially, while others in total, it all depends on which state and region you live in. If you just so happen live in any of these 14 states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, you should be about to view the entire solar eclipse. The viewing time will also play a factor on where you live as well, the Oregon region (PDT) should be able to view it at 10:17 a.m., the Nebraska region (CDT) around 1:12 p.m., the Tennessee region (CDT) around 1:27 p.m., and the South Carolina region (EDT) around 2:41 p.m.

Now for a few rules or guidelines to follow if you are planning to use your iPhone to capture the moment. First, be sure to wear protective eyewear, preferably ISO-certified eclipse glasses so you won’t damage your eyes. When using the iPhone built-in camera app or a third-party app, make sure to disable flash, and use the automatic exposure settings, if you do have to make adjustments select a focus point, and perform any manual adjustments from there.

It’s also best to avoid using digital zoom pass 1x on most iPhones, and 2x on iPhone 7 Plus since this will cause the image to distort without improving the details of the image.  Another suggestion would be to download an app which will allow you more flexibility in setting your desired exposure factors. One more option is to use a clip-on telephoto lens, you might have to experiment at night before the eclipse date to get a feel of different shots of the moon to see how large and detail the moon appears in your shot. Most of all, have an enjoyable time watching and taking pictures with your iPhone of the solar eclipse.

Source: appleinsider, eclipse2017.nasagov                                                                                                                Photo credit: courier-journal


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HEVC and HEIF in macOS High Sierra: Everything you need to know!

The next macOS supports two new compression formats also in iOS 11. Here's how they'll save you drive space and reduce streaming bandwidth.

Our Macs are getting slimmer all the time, but the photo and video files we pack them with aren't on the same diet. Well, until iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra debut, that is. Both new operating systems will support two codecs designed to double the amount of compression that can be applied without losing quality.

Here's what you need to know about HEVC and HEIF and how they work in High Sierra, which is in developer and public beta now.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

What are HEIF and HEVC?

HEVC stands for High Efficiency Video Codec, and HEIF is High Efficiency Image Format. HEIF works as a still image container for the HEVC codec, which is the successor to H.264. In fact, HEVC's other name is H.265, but Apple is going with HEVC.

What does HEVC do better than H.264?

HEVC is designed to save space and bandwidth, which will be more and more important as more 4K and HDR video becomes available to stream. Apple says the standard can compress 4K video files to 40% of the size without losing quality, which will let iOS 11 and High Sierra users store more of their own videos before running out of drive space. Alternatively, you can keep an HEVC video file about the same size while doubling the amount of data, which will decrease the bandwidth needed to move 4K and HDR video around.

What about HEIF? What's its benefit?

HEIF has an added benefit too: It can store groups of images as a single file. This is especially handy for things like burst photos or keeping an edited image and the original in the same file. It's also a natural fit for Live Photos (including the new Live Photo options debuting in iOS 11), which act as one photo in your library, even though they contain multitudes.

Remember, Apple's computational photography approach in iOS means the camera is capturing multiple frames every time you press the shutter, then combining those for a better-looking result. Tricks like long exposure effect in iOS 11's Live Photos and the iPhone 7 Plus' Portrait Mode work the same way. HEIF containers can keep all that data wrapped up, fully intact, to send back to your Mac running High Sierra for more editing.

Are these replacing H.264 and JPEG?

No, not yet. They're the next generation of those standards, but when you export a video to post to YouTube, it's going to be H.264. If you email a friend a photo, it's going to be a JPEG. Right now these are under-the-hood improvements that shouldn't break compatibility or cause formatting headaches for end users. You'll use your devices and apps in the same way you always have.

Will HEVC video look better?

If you compare an HEVC and a H.264 video side by side, yes it should. AppleInsider recently transcoded a movie trailer with H.264 and H.265 encoders in HandBrake and found the HEVC (or H.265) video had fewer compression artifacts and smoother movement. HEVC compensates better for faster motion, for example, which should be especially welcome news to fans of action films and sports, once more content starts streaming in that format.

Will every device with iOS 11 capture photos and videos in this format? And that's how they're stored on the Mac?

Not all the devices. To capture HEIF and HEVC files, you'll need an iOS 11 device with an A10 Fusion chip or better: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2017. All Macs running High Sierra can encode and decode those files, so when you transfer them to your Mac, they'll stay in the same format until you decide to export them as something else.

Redmond Pie has a full rundown of the hardware requirements for HEVC and HEIF support in iOS 11 and High Sierra. It's definitely worth a look if you have older hardware. But at the end of the day, these are under-the-hood format changes that shouldn't directly impact your workflow.

I heard newer Macs have an advantage with HEVC?

You heard right. Newer Macs, including the late 2015 27-inch 5K iMac, the 2017 21-inch iMac, and MacBooks and MacBook Pros from 2016 and 2017, will support hardware acceleration for coding and decoding HEVC video. The Kaby Lake chips in the 2017 laptops also support HEVC decoding. Hardware acceleration means faster encoding times in pro apps like Final Cut and Motion, and longer battery life when you're playing back HEVC video.

Older Macs running High Sierra will still be able to play back HEVC video, but the process is a little hardware intensive,

Could HEVC help 4K video come to the iTunes Store and Apple TV?

That's very likely the roadmap. Right now, the iTunes Store and the Apple TV max out at 1080p content, but when Apple does make the jump to 4K, HEVC will reduce the bandwidth needed to move those files around.

Apple isn't super late to this party just yet. Right now, Netflix and Amazon have some 4K and HDR content available to stream, but you're usually stuck using the built-in Netflix app on a 4K smart TV. Amazon's Fire TV set-top box supports 4K videos over Amazon Prime Video, if it's connected to a 4K TV.

Tim Cook did hint at more Apple TV news coming later this year, so maybe a new Apple TV box is in the works. Now that Apple's dabbling in its own TV shows, that would be a natural place to start. After all, Netflix and Amazon's original series make up the bulk of their own 4K offerings.

Will third-party image and video editors support HEVC and HEIF?

It's not an open-source standard, so software makers woud have to license the patents to use the codec. H.264 worked the same way, but right now HEVC is more expensive. Of course, Apple tends to drive adoption, as it did with H.264.

Settling on a 4K codec isn't so easy. Google currently uses V9 for 4K video on YouTube, but Apple's Safari browser doesn't support V9. The Alliance for Open Media is working on a codec called AV1 which should be out by the end of this year, but Apple hasn't yet committed to natively supporting that either.

More questions?

The High Sierra betas don't fully support HEVC and HEIF just yet, so the picture is still coming together. If you have more questions, let us know in the comments.

10 best Instagrammers to follow if you’re obsessed with iPhone photography!

Looking to get a little bit of photography inspiration from your Instagram feed? Here are 10 of the best Instagrammers to follow if you're OBSESSED with iPhone photography!

Taking photos with your iPhone can be a bit tricky from time to time, but if you have the right inspiration in your back pocket (or your Instagram feed!) then snapping mobile masterpieces can get a little bit easier.

Here are 10 incredible iPhoneography photographers who are worth tapping the follow button for in 2017!

1. @dcim.ru

A post shared by Dmitry Markov (@dcim.ru) on

Торшер настольный купил. Социализируюсь потихоньку.

A post shared by Dmitry Markov (@dcim.ru) on

Russia. Matisse.

A post shared by Dmitry Markov (@dcim.ru) on

2. @leoleoparis

3. @kevinruss

Fish river canyon, Namibia

A post shared by Kevin Russ (@kevinruss) on

Found flowers out west yesterday with @yasminemei. Stepping on rocks to avoid damaging the delicate

A post shared by Kevin Russ (@kevinruss) on

Tombstone territorial park, Yukon

A post shared by Kevin Russ (@kevinruss) on

4. @brahmino

5. @spoonforkbacon

6. @kimhaggstrom

b l o o m

A post shared by Kim Haggstrom (@kimhaggstrom) on

In a land so full of color, it's the rare monochromatic moments that catch the eye. || Essaouira Morocco

A post shared by Kim Haggstrom (@kimhaggstrom) on

Day planning || Trinidad, Cuba

A post shared by Kim Haggstrom (@kimhaggstrom) on

7. @cocu_liu

Chinatown #sanfrancisco

A post shared by San Francisco | Cocu Liu (@cocu_liu) on

La Llorona #streetartsf

A post shared by San Francisco | Cocu Liu (@cocu_liu) on

valley view #throwbackthursday #shotoniphone7plus

A post shared by San Francisco | Cocu Liu (@cocu_liu) on

8. @missyoko13

{ Village de poupée }

A post shared by missyoko13 (@missyoko13) on

{ Transhumance }

A post shared by missyoko13 (@missyoko13) on

9. @littlecoal

midwest memories

A post shared by Eric Ward (@littlecoal) on

Twisted Toledo

A post shared by Eric Ward (@littlecoal) on

10. @irinahp

Who is your favorite photographer on Instagram?

Is there a mobile photographer on the 'gram that you simply cannot get enough of?

Let us know what their account is in the comments below so we can give 'em a follow!

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5 things you can do right now to support Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality

Looking to support today's Day of Action in order to help save net neutrality? Here are 5 things you can do to help.

At its core, net neutrality is the principle and belief that internet service providers (ISPs) should give customers access to all content, applications, and information available online without favoring or blocking any organization or website in particular. (Mike Tanasychuk)

Day of Action takes place on July 12, 2017, and if you don't really know what that is, it's essentially a global event that's been put together by Fight for the Future – which is a non-profit organization that deals with digital rights – in order to open a dialogue with the FCC regarding its plans to roll back laws surrounding net neutrality.

If you're someone who strongly believes in the cause and is looking to get involved in some way, shape, or form, there are a couple of things you can do to support Day of Action and save net neutrality.

1. Educate people — in any way possible

Whether it's in a brief conversation around the family dinner table, a post on Facebook to your friends, a retweet from your followers, or however else you choose to spread a message to the masses, educating people on what net neutrality is is key.

Giving people access to learning about what net neutrality is — and allowing them to come to their own conclusions — is important because not everyone may know or understand what net neutrality is, and if they do, they might have prior assumptions based on material from a not-so-great source.

Bringing net neutrality into conversation isn't all that difficult, and informing people about the issue casually (whether it be through social media, a conversation in the break-room at work, etc.) can be a good way to bring attention it.

2. Sign up at battleforthenet.com

You can sign up and join the protest at battleforthenet.com. If you do, you'll be joining hundreds of companies and organizations who want to keep the internet free for the entire U.S. to use and enjoy as every person sees fit. (Mike Tanasychuk)

Signing up and joining the protest against censorship is one direct step you can take in fighting the war against the elimination of net neutrality! You can even subscribe to Fight for the Future's newsletter to get updates about future campaigns if you want to stay in the loop.

3. Show people how much life would suck without it

It has been said that 80% of what people learn is visual. (Allen Klein)

There are a couple of companies that are doing this right now on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and it's not only scary to think about, but it's even more terrifying to see actually taking effect across platforms and programs that you've grown to love and enjoy.

Use your social media to retweet and repost people who are showing good, visual examples of what the future could be like without net neutrality. Show your parents and your family members (who may not fully understand what's going on) what their favorite websites might ultimately look like if net neutrality is eradicated.

4. Get in touch with a member of Congress

You have a voice, and you have the right to use it — so use it!

If you're someone who is genuinely passionate about the issues regarding net neutrality, then consider writing to a member of your local Congress to voice your concerns and opinions.

You can even write the the FCC and tell them what net neutrality means to you and how its absence would change everything for the worse.

You can even get out and take part in protests near you (peacefully, of course). (Mike Tanasychuk)

5. Go online and educate yourself!

At the end of the day, the more exposure you get from different points of view, the more articles you read on the issue, and the more sources you're able to delve into to get your information will be the key to helping you not only educate yourself on net neutrality, but educate others.

The ironic part about this is if net neutrality goes down the tubes, educating yourself on the issue will probably be nearly impossible…

So why wait until it's too late?

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