iPhone

Backroads Indiana

The road less traveled is almost always more interesting, especially for photography. And sometimes we're traveling real light, without even a full-on camera, just the iPhone. That's the theme of this story. 

Near Richland

Near Richland

At the very least, driving such routes is usually much slower than the highways, giving us travelers a chance avoid a possibly frenetic pace and may even reflect. At best, for us photographers, we'll have a chance to find some interesting compositions. 

Such was the case on a recent drive from Cincinatti, Ohio to Indianapolis, Indiana. I had the choice of a major interstate highway (72) or a country highway (52) running parallel to the interstate.   I chose the country. 

I think this was near Rushville

I think this was near Rushville

The wide angle view of the iPhone lends itself to the broad, big farm, countryside vistas in the U.S. Midwest. It nicely mimics the sweeping views the human eye perceives, at least my eye.

Near Rushville

Near Rushville

After a while, some of these panoramas begin to look the same. It's at these times, I wish I had my 'real camera', an Olympus OM-D E-M5, with me to better capture the nuanced differences from one scene to another. 

On Rte 46 over the Whitewater River in West Harrison

On Rte 46 over the Whitewater River in West Harrison

But iPhoneography it is for this trip and the idea is to see what interesting scenes the camera phone is able to capture.

Faraway farm Near Arlington

Faraway farm Near Arlington

Color iPhone shots convert nicely to B&W. I like to use Snapseed for post processing and the B&W conversion in this editor gives some pretty good results. 

Near Posey

Near Posey

Try it sometime. Travel with only your mobile phone camera. Use it as a self challenge to see what you can create. You might just be surprised. 

 

 

#iPhoneography #B&W #midwest #travel #travelogue #snapseed

Autumn Through the Small Lens

I usually travel with my 'real' camera, an  Olympus OM-D.  Not today. 

I prefer to travel ultra lite, especially on short overnight business trips. Typically I bring my Oly with a small, lightweight lens. Usually this is the sweet little Oly 17. Not quite wide angle, but wide enough to capture enough of a scene for compositional context. ...and the 35mm equivalency of that lens is sort of a classic length anyhow. 

image.jpg

Today I decided to really travel light and forgo the 'real' camera, instead depending on my new iPhone 6. This thing is a really great camera.

 These foggy, early morning, grapevines caught my eye as I passed a vineyard on the way to the airport this morning. Sure, I edited this shot with Snapseed on my first flight. But the image the iPhone 6 captured was good to begin with; it shows nice detail and clarity.


With each new iPhone, I keep saying how much the camera has been improved over the previous model. ...and each time I ended up quitting that camera and moving back to the 'real' one. 

This time might be different. The sheer quality Apple is squeezing out of this tiny little sensor is phenomenal. I'm so  grateful the Apple product team did not succumb to the megapixel race. With the processing and hardware tech around this sensor, the images it produces are better than many real cameras were just a few years ago. 

This encourages me, and I'm sure many others, to use this as a first shooter. In fact on this trip, it's my only one. 

While we're at it, here's another autumn shot from the iPhone, also tuned a little by Snapseed. Look at the rich color and detail. That's not Snapseed making those attributes, merely enhancing them. It's just good image quality from a good camera. 

image.jpg

As you can tell, I'm thrilled with the IQ this produces.

But what do you think? Tried the iPhone 6 yet?   

Help from an unlikely source

Though I normally have my OM-D with me at all times, when I do use the iPhone and get a shot I enjoy, I like to see if I can improve the JPG.  I expect the iPhone to give me much less IQ than the OM-D, so to that end, I brought this iPhone photo into Aperture for possible tweaks. 

Since I particularly enjoy B&W anyhow, I like the 'Noir' effect from the IOS Camera App, at least when used in certain scenes.  However, the iPhone blew out the highlights ...and in fairness, a very bright morning sun was shining directly on the white facades of the buildings.  Since it was bright day light, I wasn't expecting the blotches in the sky, which I'd normally expect with poor lighting, but that may be a side effect of the Noir filter. 

Straight from the iPhone;  overblown highlights, blotchy sky, IOS Camera Noir filter

Straight from the iPhone;  overblown highlights, blotchy sky, IOS Camera Noir filter

The JPG format really precludes major editing efforts, but I was curious what Aperture could do with this.  My goals were to reduce the overblown highlights and I hoped noise reduction might remove the blotchiness in the sky.

  • Highlight Slider
  • Selective burn
  • Skin Smoothing

Of course, noise reduction won't do a thing to JPGs, not sure what I was thinking there, duh.  Moving the highlights slider to the right did reduce some highlights, but didn't really fix the building facades.  But, selectively painting in some burn (darken) effect on the facades and the aft ends of the boats did the trick.

However, the real trick was the skin smoothing.  On a whim, I tried this on the blotchy sky   ....and it worked!  In fact, it gave the sky an unexpected creamy texture, which is a nice contrast to the rough patterns of the facades.

From the iPhone via Aperture:  Burn effect on facades + Skin Smoothing to remove blotches in sky

From the iPhone via Aperture:  Burn effect on facades + Skin Smoothing to remove blotches in sky

Some may not enjoy the effects these changes produce and may prefer the original, somewhat grainy appearance. We all have our unique outlook, none of which is definitively correct.

Whether you enjoy the use of Skin Smoothing on the sky or not, this is just a quick tip for others who may be looking to do something similar.