Posts in Category: nature

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.

Reach for it…

Tufted-titmouse: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Another bird in rain shot. This titmouse was certainly acrobatic…it was all over the perch and feeder, in all kinds of unlikely postures. Entertaining. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Taken through double-glazed glass. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 400 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV Exposure compensation.

Thief!

Grey Squirrel: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I use squirrel proof feeders at both my deck and (in season) my backyard bird feeding stations…but that does not keep the squirrels from trying. My resident squirrels have pretty much learned their lesson, but this time of year, when, on warm days, there are lots of roving bands of hungry squirrels moving through the neighborhood there are always a few who don’t know any better or who at least decide to give the feeders another try to see if anything has changed. I chase them away when I catch them at it. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Taken through double glazed glass. ISO 800 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV exposure compensation.

Bluebird in the rain…

Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Sometimes it all comes together. The slightly wet bluebird, the rain drop on the green hook, the greenish yellow bokeh, and the classic pose. This is a shot I might frame for the wall. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photo. ISO 1000 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV exposure compensation.

Chickadee in the rain…

Black-capped Chickadee: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — the Chickadees are out and about around the feeders rain or shine…more so in the rain in fact. They have looked a bid wet and bedraggled the past few days…but cheerful none the less. I have noticed a lot more bird song this week than last. Spring is coming, though you would never know it today. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 1600 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV exposure compensation.

Nature Phone: Bluebird at 400mm?

Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk Maine USA — Not a great photo, but an interesting photo in that it was taken with my iPhone, through a double glazed door, on an overcast day. Continuing my experiments with iPhone nature photography. How about birds and wildlife…generally the realm of long telephoto lenses? I bought 2 add-on telephoto lenses and I will do a comparison at some point. This is the best I have done (though, as above, not under ideal conditions) with the better of the two…the Sirui 400mm telephoto on my iPhone SE 2020. While it is not obvious in wide angle, macro, or portrait shots, the limitations of the tiny sensor in the SE become very, well, limiting when attempting a telephoto close up. Unless you use a tripod, (which kind of, in my opinion, defeats the whole purpose of using your compact phone) your natural instinct will be to increase shutter speed for a steadier shot, at the cost of pushing up the phone’s ISO setting…while you can not do that in the stock camera app, it can be done with any number of specialized camera apps. My experiments have demonstrated, however, that shooting at anything much over the base level 20 ISO will not yield satisfying results, at least with the iPhone SE. Action mode on one of the apps uses shutter speeds in the 1/6000th range, great for eliminating motion blur, but any detail is lost in the mushy, grainy, blotchy image quality, at ISO 640. Very disappointing. I have gotten better results just letting the camera choose both ISO and shutter speed and shooting a burst of photos from a monopod. The image above was taken in “live” mode on the iPhone, and then selected as the sharpest of the 15 or so frames the phone captured when I touched the shutter button. I am still experimenting. And, of course, while auto focus still works quite well through the 400mm telephoto, you do have to pre-focus the lens manually to get as close to correct focus as is visually possible. It is a juggling act, trying to focus, and shooting off a few shots with the volume buttons or by tapping the screen, and still holding the phone, even on a monopod, still enough to have any hope of a clear shot. With practice, however, it can be done, more or less. I am still hoping for a bright sunny day when I can get beyond the glass door and results that might be even better. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 400mm telephoto add-on lens, using a monopod, Auto Live Mode. ISO 32 @ f1.8 @ 1/121th (chosen by the phone’s camera app).

Always Chickadees

Black-capped Chickadee: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — sometimes I get the deck door open, even in winter, for some unobstructed shots of the feeder birds. The double glazing always just slightly diminishes the the amount of detail you can see in the image. This is an unfiltered view. Sony Rx10iv at 550mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 1250 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV exposure compensation.

Red Squirrel revisited

Red Squirrel: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — another look at destructive captain of cute…the Red Squirrel that visited our deck a few days ago. I have not seen it since so maybe it was just out scouting for territory on that particularly warm February day. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Taken through double glazed glass. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 400 @ f4 @ 1/500th. +1 EV exposure compensation.

Nature Phone: Pond along the road

One of my favorite views around home. I never feel totally safe stoping here as the traffic on Rt. 9 is zipping by constantly, but some days it is just worth hthe risk. 🙂 iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 18mm wide angle lens. Standard Camera app. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. .

Nature Phone: Mousam Marsh

Ever since borrowing a ZEISS 18mm equivalent lens for a trip to Europe many years ago, I have enjoyed the ultra-wide, not too wide, and definitely not fisheye, view of the 18mm. So, of course, one of my motivations for exploring photography with iPhone was the existence of many 18mm equivalent wide-angle clip on lenses. I have two, one of the ubiquitous cheap ones I bought as an example of the kind in a full lens kit for under $30, and then my Sirui which is rated among the best. Combined with in-camera (or in-phone) HDR the results are pleasing…if not comparable to my 18mm lens set on the Sony a6500. But then I did expect large sensor performance from the tiny phone sensor. This is the marsh down by the mouth of the Mousam River a few miles from my house. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 18mm lens. Vivid HDR extension in ProCamera. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.