Adventures in iPhoneography

I’ve now owned three different iPhones, but I did not pay much attention to their cameras until recently.  That changed, however, when I went to Iceland earlier this summer on a photo workshop led by Tony Sweet.  Knowing that Tony is an “iPhone art photography” guru (he’s writing a book on it), I upgraded to the iPhone 5s before the trip and challenged myself to shoot with the iPhone as well as my camera throughout the trip.  Here are some things I learned:

1)  Sometimes the iPhone gave the only useful image from a location — as at the base of the triple falls at Kirkjufell, where I was unable to keep the lens on my Nikon clear of water drops no matter how often I wiped it.

Triple falls at Kirkjufell.

2) When I pulled out the phone at a location after being “done” with my camera I found compositions with the iPhone that I had missed.  For me the moral of this story is to be more diligent about working locations!

Abandoned farm near Bergamot; iPhone HDR

3) Processing images on the iPhone using the apps that Tony introduced and demonstrated gave me a chance to play with effects that I might not try (or have tools for) in my Mac-based postprocessing environment.  Using the iPhone to shoot and process helped me “get loose” and become more open to a variety of creative urges.  The challenge for me is to bring some of this spontaneity and sense of play back to my DSLR shooting and processing.

Svartvengi geothermal power plant; multiple effects  using Snapseed

4) The iPhone is a great tool to explore panorama compositions — either with the pano function of the  Camera app or by stitching a series of separate images together using an app such as Autostitch — before going to the bother of setting up camera and tripod.

Hoffelsjokul panorama; multiple exposures assembled with AutoStitch.

Jokulsarlon panorama; iPhone camera pano.

Since returning from Iceland I have struggled once again to remember that the phone is also a camera (old habits die hard!), but I now know that even when the only camera I have is the iPhone I can still make images with impact.

Pike Place Market (Seattle, WA); multiple effects using Snapseed.