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Shooting Winter Scenes: iPhone Photography

Photographically speaking, it's party time!  

This season of the year in the northern hemisphere - you readers down under have the same effect in June and July - is when the sun is at its lowest angle for most of the day.  Golden leaves that remain on the trees are backlit and have extra punch.  Winter seas are higher and storms bring in dramatic surf.  Shadows in the sand and on cliff faces are thrown into much higher relief and colors are naturally more intense and saturated.  It's all eye candy now.  

Go for it! Grab your camera and see what's out there and enjoy the lengthened "golden hours" of the day.

In comparison, summertime presents photographers with similar opportunities but only if you get up before dawn - let's say 5 a.m. or so - and get out to a visually exciting place before the sun begins to light it up.  Then, two hours later, that's it. You have to wait until sunset and later to regain prime photography conditions. Here on the Monterey Peninsula, summer fog and wind make for really variable sunlight conditions, throwing mist onto your lens and further flattening light in the middle of the day.  

I almost always have my iPhone with me.  In Hawaii I also had a small Canon PowerShot with me also, but even then about 85% of the time the iPhone images come out on top, and I tend to use them for this blog.  It's portable like no other, and when I'm taking a photo of people they don't usually feel as camera shy as if I were to point a large digital SLR at them.  The downside of the tiny lens in the version of iPhone that I have is the small pixel number - I think it's only three pixels while the newest model 4G has seven pixels.  Pixel count, up to a point, is good to have more of.  Optimum, I've heard, is somewhere in the 12 pixel area, but seven gives very sharp images if you keep the file size smaller.  


What I do struggle with when I use the iPhone is contrast and the blue cast that results from sky reflections on everything.  My most successful images result from overcast conditions or reflected light when I'm in relatively open shade.  I've had to teach myself to be aware of the horizon line when I shoot, too.  Often I think I've gotten a good shot and come home and discover the horizon is listing to starboard.  

I've got my eye on another small portable camera that takes the sorts of images I gravitate to.  Macro photography has always been appealing to me, and the Canon D12 can handle it incredibly well as it's able to focus as close as a half inch away from the lens.  The terrific bonus is that it's very small and can fit into the same pocket that my iPhone can.  

At home, I download images onto my laptop, file them for the day and edit very minimally using iPhoto and then post whatever works with the post writing I do.  Pretty cool.