Posts in Category: close up

Nature Phonography: Spring is coming!

I continue with my experiments in iPhone nature photography. I have changed the name of the series from “Nature Phone” to “Nature Phonography,” which is, I think, a more “clever” sounding moniker for when this eventually becomes a book 🙂 (No really. Not the clever part but the book part is definitely in the cards, once I learn all I can about phone photography in nature.) So this is the catkins on the bushes beside the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond Park here in Kennebunk, and indeed they are plumping up for spring. A good sign if you are as winter weary as I am, and eager for warmer days to be outside. Here I am experimenting with the Sirui portrait, short telephoto lens, which is a 60mm equivalent. My Moment thin case, which has a bayonet mount that works with my Sirui lenses and is much more elegant than using the Sirui clips or telephoto mount, came a few days ago, and this was my first time out with it. I had tried the “regular” Moment case which was a tight fit for the Sirui lenses. Evidently it was a tight fit for the Moment lenses as well since one of the “selling features” of the new Thin case, besides it’s considerabaly lower weight and bulk, is an easier mounting experience. I used the Apple Camera app and 2x digital zoom on the iPhone SE 2020. I find that if you keep the digital zoom to 2x or under, it is difficult to see any decrease in image quality at all. That gives me a 120mm moderate telephoto lens for close-ups of flowers and bugs. I am eager to try it on dragonflies. (And if I had a phone with a built in telephoto, it would extend my range ever further.) The lens is excellent and I am very happy with the results so far. This could easily pass for a shot with my Sony Rx10iv. 🙂 Auto exposure and focus. ISO 20 @ f1.8 @ 1/423rd. Processed in Pixelmator Pro.

Nature Phone: Calla Lily

Continuing with my adventure into phone photography, yesterday I was experimenting with the Sirui 60mm add-on portrait/short telephoto lens…mostly to see how it would work for dragonflies, butterflies, and flowers. This is Carol’s Valentine’s Day Calla Lily, by the light of a north window on a subdued day, using the Vivid HDR extension in the ProCamera app (but set to a “natural” rendering, not vivid). I am liking this lens on the iPhone SE. 🙂 My experimentation so far has convinced me that the Sirui lenses work better without a case on the phone…or as I have, you can modify the case so the area around the camera is bare. ProCamera gives me all the controls I am used to on my Sony. The only thing it lacks is user defined shooting modes (presets), so I am still looking at other photo apps. ProCamera also has extensive editing features…but I am finding it easier to AirDrop the photos to my iPad Pro where I can see them closer to full size and work on them in Polarr. iPhone SE 2020, Sirui 60mm lens, ProCamera Vivid HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.


We have some of the biggest Bittersweet vines I have ever seen growing in the pines at the edge of our yard. I mean big! 5 inches in diameter near the ground, with shaggy, deeply patterned bark, and growing up the tree to the very top, 50 feet or more. The berries are way up there. In fact I did not identify the vines as bittersweet for many years, until I saw the berry cluster one day in the top of the tree. These ripe berries fell to the ground under the tree and I found them when putting up my photo blind for a session the other day. They make a striking still-life in the grass and pine needles. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent using Sony’s full-time macro. This is full frame…only cropped horizontally. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

New England Aster

New England Aster, Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine — Sometimes things just work out…right place, right time, and ready…and you bring back a satisfying image from one of your photoprowls. This is pretty simple, just the single flower head in Maine September afternoon light, against a dark background…but the effect, at least to my eye, is memorable. Sony Rx10iv at 513mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Something different…

This is a different kind of photo than I normally post…or take for that matter, but I could not resist this purple pepper from our garden. We have a very short growing season here on Brown Street, due to the effects of the tide coming up the river on our micro-climate, but we did manage to grow this somewhat magnificent pepper this year. Carol brought it in when it began to pull the pepper plant over. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at about 80mm equivalent. HDR mode. Nominal exposure: ISO 2500 @ f8 @ 1/30th. -1 EV to hold the highlights as much as possible. Program shift for maximum depth of field. Hand held.

Blazing Star just opening

When the flower head of Northern Blazing Star is fully open it is difficult to see the structure of the actual flowers. This head is just open enough to see individual blossoms. Northern Blazing Star, as I remind you every year at this time, is a plant with a very limited and rapidly shrinking range. Here in Maine, it is mostly found on the Kennebunk Plains, a remnant sand plain kept open by wildfire in the past, and now maintained by the Nature Conservancy. It is often called “the Blueberry Plains” because of the wild blueberries that grow there. They did a prescribed burn of the section where I go most often last September, and the Blazing Star, which is fire dependent, is coming back strong this year. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Double flowered Day Lily

Almost all the native (or if not native, at least fully naturalized and gone wild) Day Lilies in our yard are “double flowered.” It is apparently a mutation that produces one flower inside another…similar to the “double roses” that are grown commercially. I don’t know if the Day Lilies were that way when planted, but they have been ever since we have lived here. Ours are also late blooming. The yard around us have lilies at least a week before we do every year. But that could just be our yard, and where it sits in relationship to the river and the road, and how much shade it gets. ?? Anyway, I wait patiently for our double Lilies every year, and enjoy them when they do bloom. Sony Rx10iv at 78mm equivalent, using Sony’s full time macro. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Wood Lily Close

I went back out to the Kennebunk Plains yesterday looking for Wood Lilies and dragonflies…this time to what I think of as the “back” side of the plains…the area along Maguire Road where it runs up toward Route 99 and the “front” side of the plains. I was, again, surprised to find that many of the lilies there were already past their prime. It seems to be an early bloom this year, and the lilies on the back side of the plains, for whatever reason, are always a bit advanced over the lilies on the front side. This is a smallish lily growing all by itself, and I zoomed in close for the shot. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. You will have to indulge me on Wood Lilies. I have several more shots to share, but they only last a few weeks and then they are gone for 12 months. 🙂


The parking lot and trail at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge here in Southern Maine has been closed until just this past weekend, so I have not been able to check on this year’s crop of Jack-in-the-pulpits near the bike rack were they have been growing for several years. Now that the parking lot is open, I stopped by on my eBike to see what was up. I suspect the first plants were transplanted as part of a “wild garden” concept, which has since gone completely wild. The Jacks that grow there are the largest I have ever seen…way larger than I could have ever imagined Jack-in-the-pulpits could get. The oldest plants are over 3 feet tall with many pulpits…and some of the pulpits themselves are 6 inches in length. The leaves can be a foot long. These are really big plants. And they are spreading. There are now two smaller plants along side the bike rack that were definitely not there last year. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at various focal lengths (the Sony has full time macro focus). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Wood Stork close up.

Who you calling ugly! The Wood Stork, seen here close up at Orlando Wetlands Scenic Park in Christmas, Florida, USA, is, it is safe to say, not a pretty bird. It is majestic. It is interesting. It is, for those who appreciated such things, even beautiful. But it is not pretty. I remember how excited I was to see my first Wood Stork, years ago, in Georgia. It was only a glimpse through dense brush, but it was certainly memorable. In Florida, they are common in most any wetland, and I have, by now, been really close on several occasions. Every sighting is still memorable! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.