I like to challenge myself and break out of the box to try something different.
After reading Rad Drew’s recent article “So You’ve Got It, But Do You Use It?” I decided I needed to use it. I am referring of course to the iPhone 6 Plus that I invested in a few months back.
I looked at the Photos section of the phone and saw I had 11,280 images on it. Wow! I primarily use the iPhone for snapshots, images of events and evenings out, family photos and pictures of my cat. Yes, Pixel has her own folder and there are a lot of images of her. (She is very photogenic). Kind of funny how all those photos over the last few years add up.
The iPhone 6 Plus (like a number of other phones) has a very good camera. It also does a fine job on videos as well as slow motion photography. Using the iPhone for this stuff is a lot of fun and I find myself sharing short movie clips as well as sending text messages with images to friends and family quite often. The best video of my wedding during the recent Antarctica trip was shot on a mobile phone by one of the expedition staff. Also, surpsilingly is how well the iPhone adapts to changing light and scenes. It is most forgiving.
I use my iPhone to photograph the location in parking garages where I leave my car. I photograph my meals when out at a nice restaurant (why I don’t know). Maybe because I can, or because I have the iPhone camera with me all the time. The iPhone has amazing capability. Like many Apple products, it just works. It focuses close, gets exposure and focus right just about all the time and is so simple to use. I never would have thought I’d be shooting so much with the iPhone and having so much fun with so many of the apps that are available for it. I’m also amazed at how often I am sharing my photos with my wife, family and friends. With a swipe of the finger I can post images online to Facebook and my blog. I can do panos, square images, even HD video.
So, on a recent rainy Friday, my friend and iPhone guru Rad Drew called me and asked if we could go out shooting for the afternoon. The weather was pure crap and I thought “why not?” There is something about shooting in rainy weather that has its own charm. And, since I am doing a review of the new Fuji 16-55mm lens, which is supposed to be weather resistant, I thought why not go out and put it through its paces. Off we went and after 45 minutes of driving we found our first location. It was a lake with boat docks and fog coming off the rapidly melting ice. I shot the image with y Fuji X-T1 and the 16-55mm lens and while doing so decided I will shoot everything we do that afternoon with the iPhone too. It wasn’t hard. I’d set the tripod up and shoot with the Fuji. Then I pulled out the iPhone and placed it on top of the camera and shoot with the iPhone. There were a number of shots that I didn’t even bother to get the Fuji out for and just shot with the iPhone.
I started playing with some of the apps I had installed that I hadn’t used in a while. First I made images with the iPhone and then switched over to the Hipstamatic app. What a fun app to use. This little app shoots square images (which are fun to begin with) and allows you to pick a combination of film types and lenses to create certain effects. You can save the favorite combinations and call them up at will any time you want. I have really started to enjoy Hipstamatic and have been shooting a lot with it over the last few weeks.
The other two apps I used are Pro HDR X and AutoStitch. ProHDR X creates HDR Images by doing two separate exposures and combining them together. The effects are wonderful especially in contrast and backlit scenes. I found myself switching to all the apps and doing a variety of captures. AutoStitch does some great stitching of images and can accommodate multi row stitches very cleverly.
The normal way I work when shooting with the iPhone is to capture my images, using whatever app I choose. Then when I get home the images all magically sync to the iCloud and become available on all my devices. I can see them on my Apple TV, iPad and computers. I tend to edit images with my iPad Air sitting in my easy chair with the TV on in the background. Since most of the time the TV shows are not that interesting I end up getting a lot of editing done.
My primary app for most of all my editing is Snapseed. Never has there been a cooler and easier way to edit images. If you haven’t tried this app on your mobile devices, you need to. I select the images I want to work on and make selective adjustments and/or global adjustments. I add effects like grunge or drama. I can put borders on the image and then save back to the camera roll or post it to social media like Facebook. At the same time these newly saved images are synced with my iPhone and other Apple devices. Once again it just works.
I have an Apple TV and have the screensaver set up to use my photos that are stored on the iCloud. When friends visit we just turn the big TV on and while we are socializing, images are appearing all the time on the TV. In addition to we usually use the Internet Radio or iTunes part of the Apple TV and play music. Since the TV has its own great sound system we have a whole AV show going.
I’m having a lot of fun shooting with the iPhone. I recently traveled to New Orleans to scout out locations for a workshop we will do there next March and did a lot of images with the iPhone while there. I have shared some of these below in a small gallery. Keep in mind all of these images are in addition to what I shot with my Fuji X-T1 on these two trips. The iPhone is fun, easy and allows for some creative and easy editing. It doesn’t replace a good RAW file though and what can be done with it.
I see a lot of iPhone images on the web. Many are over done, over processed, over grunged and have way too many adjustments made to them, at least for my taste. Believe it or not I am somewhat a bit more refined on overdoing the image these days. I have now started to make some 11×17 and 13×19 prints from my iPhone images and will feature a selection at my gallery’s open house in four weeks. Will it replace my other cameras? No, but it will supplement them.
I have also been loading these images to Mylio. Mylio is an interesting photo sharing site that ties all your images together. I use Mylio as a platform to share my favorite images. It’s so cool to have the images on my iPhone, iPad and other machines all synced together. It is kind of redundant in ways but there are a lot of features like albums, people, calendar and location that make it work very well for mobile phone photographers. The Luminous-Landscape crew are visiting the Mylio offices next week to do a number of interviews and we’ll have more on Mylio on our site in the future.
Inspiration can be found from a few of my friends that are highly skilled iPhone shooters and have extensive image collections that are worth viewing. One of the first pioneers with the iPhone was Dan Burkholder. Teri Lou Dantzler does some amazing work with the iPhone. My very good friend Harry Sandler has done some incredible images. We recently featured an article by Rad Drew and his work is very interesting. His commitment to this type of photography has yielded some beautiful work and recognition for himself. Take a look at some of the work by these photographers. I’m sure you’ll find some inspiration for trying something new and different. There is no question they are defining a whole new area of photography and expanding the boundaries of photography.
In closing, we at LuLa are making a commitment to this type of photography. While recently looking at the camera industry sales (and being told by the big guys that mobile photography is eating up a huge chunk of their business) we feel that we can’t ignore what is going on any longer. LuLa will be starting a forum topic on iPhone and Mobile Photography. We are seeing our readers and ourselves using the phone more often to capture images taking place around us. Our hope is that we can all share advice on this area of photography. There is no avoiding it. Mobile photography is here to stay and will play a bigger part of our lives everyday.
By the way the Fuji and the 16-55mm lens did real well in the rain. We’ll have a hands on review in the coming weeks on this new lens.
We have also started a new topic on the Luminous-Landscape forum for iPhone and Mobile Photography. This will be a good place to post your questions, images and experiences with the Luminous-Landscape readers.
Below is a small gallery of iPhone images made in New Orleans. Yes, I am having fun!