Posts in Category: Nature Phonography

Nature Phonography: Looking closely in the forest

I took a short ride on my trike yesterday, and an even shorter walk out into the forest along the way to see what I could see and to play with the Sirui lens set on my iPhone SE 2020. I have the Moment thin case, so mounting the lenses is just a twist. I got out the 10x Macro lens for its first real world test. I was surprised at the depth of field…much greater than I expected, but still shallow enough to isolate a subject against its background. You need to be able to get really close to your subject. This not a “telephoto macro.” The main trick is to keep out of your own, and the phone’s shadow. Overall I am impressed. This lens is going to be a lot of fun, if I can remember to use it. 🙂 A bit of moss with a pine cone embedded from beside the trail made a vivid macro still life. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 10x macro on the Moment thin case. Stock Camera App on Auto. Processed in Apple Photos.

Nature Phonography: Looking up, Bluebird.

Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The other way to get impressive results with the iPhone SE 2020 and the Sirui 400mm mounted on the Moment thin case, is to use 60fps 4K video clips and capture frames after the fact. Since I am still in the experimentation phase with this phone and lens (and case) combination, if the bird cooperates I generally try to shoot some still frames, using ProShot at 1/500th or 1/1000th of a second when shooting hand-held, and then switch to 4K video for a few seconds or more of video. I use Lumafusion on my iPad to select and save frames at the full 4K resolution. It is quicker to just take a screen shot in the built in video player, but then you are limited to the resolution of the screen, and, if you crop at all, to even less pixels. I process the captured frames as I would any image, in Polarr and Apple Photos. The results are never going to equal the output from my Sony Rx10iv, but the more I play with the Sirui 400mm on the iPhone, the potential I discover in it, as a photographic tool.

Nature Phonography: Waiting for the thaw

This is one of my favorite views near home. This pond is right off busy Rt. 9 between here and the Wells Town line. The ice will not hold out long now. I like the contrast of the tree bark, the still expanse of the water (frozen here), and the bright green of the evergreens. I am still experimenting with the Sirui 18mm wide angle lens on the Moment thin case. The trick with the Sirui is that it has to be exactly centered over the phone camera lens to give good results…but when it is perfectly centered it is very fine indeed. The Moment case does the job of centering the lens every time, so there are no unpleasant surprises when you review the photos for the day. So much so that I am going to have to stop saying I am “experimenting” with the lens. The Sirui 18 has become part of my regular photo kit. Why not? It is super easy to carry, I have always enjoyed the 18mm perspective, and the results are fine. 🙂 Sirui 18mm add on lens, Moment thin case, iPhone SE 2020, standard camera app auto. ISO 20.

Nature Phonography: Bluebird again

Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I have set up the backyard bird blind feeders, and over the next few days when the temperatures are going to get up into the 50s, I will taking the blind out to see if I can get some Nature Phonographs of birds without a double glazed door between us 🙂 This shot is from the comfort of our kitchen through the glass. I am learning the limits of the tiny sensor in the iPhone SE 2020. Even at low ISO, on close up shots like this one, taken with the Sirui 400mm attached, the sensor does not have the resolution or image structure to render fine feather detail. I am sure detail is also limited by the diffraction of the tiny lens. It is not so obvious in landscapes, or even in macros, but in long telephoto shots I am, so far, coming up hard against the limits of what the phone camera can do. At least the phone camera in the iPhone SE. I may have to invest in a phone with a larger sensor before this is over, just to see what can be done. I wonder if anyone rents phones? Still there is a ways to go in testing the limits of the iPhone SE that I already own, and, considering that I did not buy it for its camera, it is doing okay. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 400mm lens on a Moment thin case. ProShot camera app, with a custom preset, Auto White Balance, 1/1000th, and Auto ISO with a 400 upper limit. ISO at 32 in this light.

Nature Phonography: Mousam at Roger’s Park

The Moment thin case makes mounting the Sirui lenses easy on my iPhone SE 2020, and though I am learning the limitations of the camera in my phone, it works very well with the 18mm equivalent wide angle lens for landscapes like this one. The built in camera app with its “smart HDR” produces (or perhaps “reproduces” is better) lovey scenery. While a few of the camera apps for iPhone have more sophisticated HDR programs, I am not yet convinced of the need for them. This is the Mousam River at Roger’s Park, a great place for fly-fishing. It is a rare day when there is not at least one fisherman in waders in the water. This day one of the fishermen was all kitted out in the latest LLBean or Orvis gear and being followed by a photographer with a full commercial rig. I suspect the Mousam is going to feature in this year’s catalog or on their website. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 18mm wide angle on a Moment Thin Case. The program chose ISO 20 @ f1.8 @ 1/1312th. (By the way, don’t be fooled that ISO 20. ISO20 is about equivalent to ISO 100 on my Sony Rx10iv with it’s much larger sensor, and probably close to ISO 400 on a full frame DSLR. ISO is always relative to sensor size.)

Nature Phonography: Mousam at Roger’s Park

The Moment thin case makes mounting the Sirui lenses easy on my iPhone SE 2020, and though I am learning the limitations of the camera in my phone, it works very well with the 18mm equivalent wide angle lens for landscapes like this one. The built in camera app with its “smart HDR” produces (or perhaps “reproduces” is better) lovey scenery. While a few of the camera apps for iPhone have more sophisticated HDR programs, I am not yet convinced of the need for them. This is the Mousam River at Roger’s Park, a great place for fly-fishing. It is a rare day when there is not at least one fisherman in waders in the water. This day one of the fishermen was all kitted out in the latest LLBean or Orvis gear and being followed by a photographer with a full commercial rig. I suspect the Mousam is going to feature in this year’s catalog or on their website. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 18mm wide angle on a Moment Thin Case. The program chose ISO 20 @ f1.8 @ 1/1312th. (By the way, don’t be fooled that ISO 20. ISO20 is about equivalent to ISO 100 on my Sony Rx10iv with it’s much larger sensor, and probably close to ISO 400 on a full frame DSLR. ISO is always relative to sensor size.)

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.