Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday with my cell phone

Recently Steve (Scooter in the Sticks) (<-- click link) wrote about how deficient the photos were from his new Apple iPhone. So with this challenge in mind I set out to document my ride with photos taken with my Samsung Omnia multi-media phone, model i910. My phone has Windows Mobile 6 and can play many different types of video and has a very capable 5mp camera on board.

(Samsung i910 Omnia)

I take all of my photos at full resolution then downsize them using an Image Reducer freeware program able to process whole directories at a time. Very seldom will I crop, merely just downsizing them for web display.

Finally the rain stopped. We have been receiving torrential storm after storm for the past 3 weeks. Today we had a narrow window of opportunity to roll the bike out of hibernation. The roads were still a little wet with lots of mushy leaves on the ground. I decide to just take a little ride around our University of British Columbia which is on the western part of the city and winds along the ocean.

(Samsung Omnia i910)

From home, I take West 41st avenue west to Marine Drive where the speed limit changes to 80 kmh (50 mph). After a few miles you get to some twisty sections then you come around the corner and head downhill towards the beach area at Spanish Banks. The parking lot is nearly deserted this time of year. Temperatures are a pleasant 7c (45f). I pity those poor souls down in the southern climes who sweat and cannot live without their necessary air conditioning. There was a little spitting rain and there was no need to turn on my heated grips nor wear my heated vest, unlike those poor souls in Alberta where the temps (with chill factor) are dealing with lack of heat in the -5c range.

(Samsung Omnia i910)

In the background you can see Vancouver shrouded in clouds. If you peer a little to the left you can get a small glimpse of the mountains where it appears to be raining. Grouse Mountain is directly opposite the main city, and to the left will be Seymour Mountain. From the city centre you can be on the ski slopes and downhill skiing in a mere hour with a commanding view of Vancouver below.

(Samsung Omnia i910)

There is still a lot of pooling water around, especially on city intersections where the leaves have clogged the storm drains. Sometimes they create little lakes 2-3inches deep. You have to be very carefully to not find yourself going too slow in one of these lakes. When it is raining you cannot see these hazards for the wet roads make them invisible.
This particular phone actually has an autofocus lens, while others have "fixed" focus which is not as good. There isn't much zoom as it is digital only, not optical but it is fine enough if you are stuck for the camera in your pocket is better than the one at home. A fuzzy picture is better than no picture at least this is what I always say to myself.

I head over to Kits Beach (Kitsilano) to find a photogenic spot to pose my mighty V-strom DL650 (Wee) before the light fades. It is only around 6pm and I notice that darkness comes too fast this time of year.

(Samsung Omnia i910)

I was lucky to have found a spot in a nearly perfect spot with a city backdrop. There are many apartments in this area and parking is difficult. Immensely more difficult when you also have to fight for those wanting to get to the beach in the summer.

As I look over the incline towards the city I snap another photo with my cell phone.

(Samsung Omnia i910)

If it weren't so cloudy I would have captured a beautiful sunset with the warm glow of the sun reflecting off those buildings in the downtown core across the water. That's Kits Pool in the foreground and the treed area straight ahead is Kits point where we have a Maritime Museum. In order to get into the downtown core you have to travel over one of three bridges: Burrard Street Bridge, Granville Bridge, or Cambie Bridge.

My camera also contains a video recorder which records in 3g2 format. I downloaded a 3g2 to AVI converter so you can view using WMP.

i910 weekitsbeach.avi

(Samsung Omnia i910 video recorder)

Earlier when I was riding in the Jericho Beach area down by the Yacht Club I noticed a beautiful BMW 1200GS doing some manueuvers in the parking lot. Of course, like a magnet I had to head over in that direction. I passed the Beemer and looped to the other side of the the parking lot and stopped, and nodded at the rider. We introduced ourselves and I found out that Bruce is a new entrant to the riding scene having ridden for about 3 years. He took a riding course and purchased a C50 which he rode to Alaska on the Top of the World highway (I think this is the Dempster). He also took a bike tour to the Baja Peninsula last year with a local BMW dealer. I've always wanted to have one of those GS's, oh well, we can still dream . . .

Anyway, let me introduce Bruce to you and I hope that he makes it over into our Blog community. I really like the colour of his bike. We probably talked for over half an hour and he told me he likes to read Riepe. When I mentioned Twisted Roads his eyes lit up and I was proud to say that I know Jack "r" . Of course, there may be times where it is probably better not know Jack, especially on Duval Street in KW where his reputation is MUD.

(Bruce & his BMW 1200GS)

. . . and of course, my mighty V-strom Wee in the background

All of my photos on today's post were taken with my Samsung Omnia i910 cell phone camera with Autofocus. There is 8gig on board memory, with an additional 8gig micro SDHC card installed.

Disclaimer: This is not a testimonial of the cell phone/camera's capabilites, nor is it a sponsored ad for profit. I do not sell phones nor do I have any vested interest with any dealer who sells phones. I am happy with its performance and it performs very well


  1. Yeah yeah we know you sell phones. However the pics aren't bad considering how cold it is. Better than hauling around that wooden thing on a tripod.

  2. Those side cases look really good on the much more elegant than those boxes on the Beemer! They also take away the top heavy appearance that a top box can cause.

    I have a Nokia XPress music with a fairly decent Carl Zeiss Tessar lens (smaller than a pea!)..I'll post some results soon.

    Can you play a bouzouki too?


  3. bobskoot, I'm very impressed with your camea-phone! You should never have an excuse for missing great shots--it produces clear, wonderful images. Loving your photography. The last pic, the wee and beemer are perfectly fitted!

  4. I think you are just trying to make me feel bad. You take better pictures with your phone than I do with my camera.

  5. Hi Bob,
    I know what you mean about the weather ... we've been sharing the same pattern here in Seattle. Oh so nice to get out on 2 (or 3) wheels and clear the cobwebs from the helmet area ;-)

    Camera phones are great for web work in particular. You've done a nice job promoting your Samsung. I like the idea of always having a camera nearby.

    By the way, I really like your new banner image of the twisty road in SW Washington. Very nice addition. I suspect Jack "r" will want to appropriate that ...

    Say hello to the local Uke player.....


  6. I agree that your pictures look great. Well exposed and plenty of resolution especially for blog posts.

    I have to admit that I take way more pictures with my cell phone (iPhone 3GS) than any other camera. For me it is what I always have available. The tap to focus/exposure control is a real improvement over the previous version and apps for stitching, Photoshop & vibration reduction app allow for some messing around with the image before posting directly from the phone. I have never even tried the video feature. Most video opportunities are at low light levels and the tiny sensor means lots of noise.

  7. Dear Bobskoot:

    I'm glad that you provided the video in this chapter of your blog. I didn't understand that I was initially looking at a "pool." I thought it was a flooded parking lot on the water's edge.

    The camera on my Blackberry Storm annoys the hell out of me, as does the rest of the phone. I prefer the little pocket Nikon I have, which doesn't get nearly enough use.

    Mr. Pefley is correct in that I am looking for a better representation of Twisted Roads for my banner. There is a classic choice not far from here — about 200 miles — but I will want stiffie to take the picture.

    Was Bruce/Brian (The GS rider) really familiar with my stuff? I am amazed. It was nice of you to mention that.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  8. I am probably one of the few leftover dinosaurs who actually use a cell phone for making phone calls. But my device is a Blackberry which might explain things. Your phone camera shots are exceptional. I especially like the the pic with the Beemer and your Wee in the back. The Wee looks so nimble compared to the BMW.

  9. Mr Conchscooter:

    I happen to like that wooden thing on the tripod, but at nearly C$8.00/shot it is very expensive to use. When we purchased that smartphone it had the best cell phone camera on the market.


    I think the Beemer ones are stronger as they are made of very solid steel (Jessie) and I like the top loading feature. Of course being the IAM graduate that you are the side cases would only get in your way and stop you from "filtering"
    And Happy Birthday again. Oh how nice it would be to be 52 again.


    If you only knew how many cameras I carry, and I seldom use the camera in the phone. This was just to rebut Steve's post about the iPhone not being very good. I think of the smart phone as a small computer in your pocket and I often use it for internet access


    Moral of the story: If you want to take better photos, then upgrade your phone & get one that does video too


    The rain is very depressing. Duncan had over 3 ft of flooding and we were there on our ride. I think the flooding goes all the way to Lake Cowichan, so I hope that Dick is doing alright. Like yourself I've been taking the car, but there was a window of opportunity on Sunday. Imagine, the rain actually stopped for a few hours.

    I was thinking that if you could have iPhone Wednesdays, then I could use my phone camera.

    Glad you like the twisty road. You should plan a ride down there one day, there's virtually no traffic


    I actually have more than enough resolution. The original photos are at 5mp and I downsized them to 1200x800 for uploading. My phone is also touch screen and you have lots of options to change exposure, focus, etc. If only it had a regular optical zoom

    I actually shot a short video at our club Christmas dinner a week ago. There was very little light and I think it came out very well, with very little noise.

    Contratulations for reaching the 1% elite group of walkers to reach 5,000 miles. I get tired just thinking about it

    Jack "r":

    There are some great roads in Oregon just waiting for you to photgraph. You know that Oregon has the best roads.

    I was speaking to Brian for a while and he asked if I every visited etc. I said yes but didn't post much but to check out where I had a ride report to Port Renfrew.

    Here is a link to my ride report. You may not have read it.

    I am registered on other biking forums with the name "bESS", better than "The Lindbergh Baby", don't you think ?

    I asked Brian if he visited Blog sites and when I mentioned Twisted Roads he smiled, so I mentioned that I knew you. If he had a scowl on his face I would have kept my mouth shut


    I never met a dinosaur before, "how do you do, glad to meet you" . I nearly bought a Blackberry but I wanted to have a touch screen with multimedia capabilities and also Windows Mobile 6 for spreadsheets.

    I know you were looking at a V-strom last year. They can be lowered an inch or two, and you can wear higher heels to help to reach the ground. I really like the Wee, I think of it as the Jeep of bikes.
    Novel Idea you have of actually using the phone to make phone calls, which I seldom do. I text and use it to send emails, and access the internet

  10. Random thoughts:

    Oregon does not have good roads. Repeat after me. Oregon does not have good roads. ( blogger friends warmly invited, though )

    I find myself kind of liking the way the photo on the header changes often. Weird.

    Photography is like many things. Many times it is less the equipment than the one using it.

    No matter what they say, it is definitely against nature to talk on something that looks like a calculator!

  11. im sorry that ive not been able to comment much recently, but i have been enjoying your posts and pictures bob. i hope that you have more dry weather to ride soon!!

    happy thanksgiving to you and yours!! ride safe and enjoy bob.

  12. OK, you win. Camera phones can make decent pictures. I just haven't managed it yet myself.

    I think I am going to pull out my wooden pinhole camera instead....

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  13. Err...I don't even have a mobile phone yet (thinking of getting one though) whatever pre-dated dinosaurs, I guess thats me...Plankton!!!

    I have to agree with CPA3485, you take better pictures with a phone than I do with my camera's, life is so cruel lol.



  14. Irondad:

    I am trying to absorb what you have written:

    "Oregon has the best roads, Oregon has the best roads, Oregon has the best roads" see, I've learned the secret. You're right about the equipment or lack of. Sames as with riding, I'll bet you can perform your magic on any bike

    Ms M:

    I hope you aren't too buried in work. You have been AWOL for a few days. Go for a ride, it'll do wonders for your well being. And get busy building that garage, then you won't have to worry about that wet grass. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, and eat lots of Turkey


    I'm only an amateur as compared to you. Once you know the limitations of the iPhone, then you will conquer it


    Glad you got your video working. I also purchased a new camcorder and learning new video editing software. Your video was great, it felt that I was riding along on your handlebars

  15. I certainly am glad 'n appreciative of the fact that ya finally decided to come outta hidin' 'n leave me some feedback, Bob. Contrary to popular belief, I'm always up to meetin' new web buds....just as long as they don't stalk, harrass or irritate the shit outta me on a regular basis ;-)

    And I've gotta agree with the rest of the gang.....ya DO take some hellified pics!

  16. MeanDonnaJean:

    I'll admit I was a little intimidated with your name, but you aren't mean at all. I'm really sorry for what happened to your friend and I hope they catch "him" (the killer), and thank you for stopping by. I'll be sure to visit you often