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Creepin' the Neighborhood & Tips for Shooting (with an iPhone)

Sand Plum Trail is a great place to walk if you like watching birds and seeing trees and listening to screeching children ride their bikes past you. I live about a mile or more from Sand Plum. I have found that if I walk there I can also look at all the pretty flowers people are growing in the neighborhood. I usually steal a quick shot or two with my phone, but yesterday I decided to take my real camera (Nikon Coolpix B500) and practice some of what I learned from David Molnar. I came upon a lady watering her flower beds, her name is Meryl (She said 'Merl' but I don't know if that the girly way to spell it so I'm doing it with a Y). I introduced myself and asked if I could take some photos of her beautiful flowers. She was so happy that I would ask!

I took several shots of her hibiscus so I could compare the quality of the camera shots to the ones I've taken with my phone. NO COMPARISON! The ones with the real camera are so much better. There is something about the iPhone that takes the color pink and just pushes them all together with little to no variation in tone.

By the time I left Meryl's house I felt like I might have made a friend. She was so very kind and thanked me for stopping to visit. I am going to print her a photo of one of her flowers and take her some tea. Maybe we can get to know one another, even go for a walk in the neighborhood.

Here is the comparison of Meryl's Hibiscus and the iPhone Hibiscus:

The Nikon gets a nice range of lights to darks in the pinks and the stamen stays crisp. The color is true to the flower as are all the other colors. The ISO was set at 400 to get the background blurred just a bit. It was 7:30pm so the sun was still out strong but her beds were shaded - perfect lighting.

Meryl's Hibiscus (Nikon Coolpix B500)

This one I took with the iPhone in almost the exact conditions: 7:30pm, sun was bright, beds were shaded - perfect lighting. The yellow is lost and the pinks are oversaturated, not true to the color of the flower which should be a deep red. In all my attempts to get the stamen sharpest, this was as sharp as I could get it.

iPhone Hibiscus

So in conclusion, the Nikon is by far superior to the iPhone for capturing truer color and broader range. HOWEVER, the camera can never compete with the accessibility of the phone. It's always in my hand, my pocket, my purse, or on my desk. Just because the camera takes better shots does not mean I will be abandoning the phone anytime soon. Instead of choosing between the two, I decided to get better at both. David Molnar has a great eBook called iPhone Only Photography. Here are some tips I pulled from it to share with you:



on the side of the camera instead of the touch screen button to click the shutter and take a picture. This can feel more natural than trying to make sure you don’t shake the camera or get yourfingers in front of the lens. This feature doesn’twork with all camera apps but it may earn you “cool points” with your friends and possibly a gold star from your parents.


instead of the front-facing camera whenever possible. The rear camera has a much higher resolution and quality at 8.0 megapixels in the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c, 5, and 4s. The front-facing camera on all the iPhone models, including the newer models, has a much lower-quality camera. The iPhone 5s and most of its predecessors

only have 1.2 megapixels for the forward-facing camera and is designed for streaming fast at lowresolutions (while using FaceTime, for example). Come on ... you know the rules, only two “selfies”per day anyway.


When you zoom in with your iPhone, it dramatically reduces the quality and can make the photos look pixelated. A better quality photo will be produced if you zoom in the old-fashioned way by simply walking closer to your subject. As a bonus, you can also breathe down their neck while saying, “You look reAALLL NIIICE” in a creepy southern accent. That’s what I do to my wife, anyway. If you can’t get closer, take the photo without zooming in—even if you think your subject is too far away. Remember: you can always crop afterwards.


unless you are in a very dark setting. We can brighten a photo if it’s dark when we edit it in appslike Snapseed or VSCO. The flash in the iPhone 5sis a big improvement over its predecessors withits amber flash that balances skin tones. However, flash is almost never pleasant when coming from a small light source like an iPhone flash. The largerthe light source, the more pleasant the lighting will be. And the smaller the light source, the moreharsh and unflattering it will be, especially when the flash is coming straight on for that deer-in-the-headlights look. For example, the sun shining through a big soft cloud is more pleasant than a harsh ray of sun in the middle of the day.

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