The iPhone has been a game changer in the ways we share our photography. Not only have these smart phones improved teaching photography during my photo expeditions but it also has created hours of entertainment with minimal processing time. Although the optical options are limited, the simple filters and unlimited sharing has more than made up for the quality limitations.
Reluctantly last year, I signed a two year contract for a new (albeit old model) iPhone 4s so I could fulfill my obligatory texting duty with other parents. Reluctant, because I was already feeling overwhelmed with media dealing with video and time-lapse photography. Quickly I realized that the iPhone was more of a practical camera than a fancy phone and it fulfilled that “instant gratification” of sharing my photography. However, the iPhone will never replace that “perfection” that DSLR cameras produce to appease my professional clientele.
Seven thousand plus clicks later, I have found the iPhone an indispensable piece of my professional camera equipment. Not only does it work as a social gadget with Facebook and Instagram but it also serves as one of my more practical devices that will predict sunrises, entertain you kid in a pinch or shut out the world with headphones. It also checks email, displays breaking news, finds your way home and even makes calls.
My top 10 images were selected for the subjects being really close and lit with well balanced natural light. The camera is a simple fixed 4mm f/2.4 lens on the iPhone 4s and the image quality seriously degrades if you digitally zoom or use in low light. The HDR feature is really cool and works well in contrasty conditions. Panorama and Square features added to the iOS7 operating system were great improvements and created lots of fun double exposures. The new “square” option has been practical for social media.
Perhaps the most useful applications for managing iPhone media is “Image Capture” which is included under Applications in the Mac OSX . A simple software that allows you to select the destination of your media being imported from your phone to your computer. It also allows you to batch delete unlimited amount of media from your phone. (CAUTION: You can inadvertently delete all you media with the wrong check box.)
Other practical “Apps for That” I regularly use:
The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) is one of the most useful photography tools with a GPS locator and a moon/sun calculator. Great for scouting locations months in advance and hundreds of miles away.
Miniatures is a silly but simple tilt-shift time-lapse app that creates cartoonish miniature time-lapses.
Snapseed allows you to add filters, spot focus, crop and frame your images.
Squaready simplifies cropping your images square for Instagram.
Enjoy my favorite ten iPhone photos from 2013 which were selects out of 5,000 still images that covered the gamut of subjects and locations. I am very thankful to National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions for assigning me to teach photography in wonderful worldwide destinations. The iPhone has been an integral part of sharing media during our Photo Expeditions and great entertainment for the guests.
Below is my favorite iPhone image of the year and was taken at sunrise on Easter Sunday on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. The perfect light was reflecting off of the building and water as a couple strolled down an empty palm-lined beach. Visually it all came together but what really made this special was I was on vacation with my two favorite ladies in paradise. Happy New Years and may 2014 be a wonderful year.