iPhone 6 Plus cameras have limitations too

There’s a certain point on an iPhone’s camera where the lack of ambient light will result in a significantly grainy image. The sensor sensitivity can only do so much in terms of retrieving information in low-light situations. It’s interesting, however, to note that if you wait just a few minutes later, the amount of grain drops significantly, allowing you to capture a much cleaner image in the dark.

I typically stay away from taking any photos in the dark with my iPhone for this very reason, but managed to experiment during one of my sunrise shoots earlier in the year, when I took images every so often in the dark. The results surprised me because despite the darkness, there was a point where I was able to capture a useable image.

Useable image?

When I refer to an image as being useable, I typically mean that the raw image from the camera is clean enough for me to edit with, yielding in an image that I would be able to post online. If an image is already so grainy to begin with, editing that will yield in an even grainier image that I wouldn’t be too happy about. Grain is great when you want them in there, but for the most part, I don’t.

The following photos have been taken with my iPhone 6 Plus, but have been reduced in size in Photoshop.

The first photo:

Grainy image

Grainy image

The overall image is really grainy. It was taken in the morning at 7:18am along the lakeshore area. Since there is very little light, the sensor had trouble capturing a clean image. If you look at the skyline and cloud areas in the middle of the photo, you can see the grain quite well.

This next photo is a much cleaner image:

Cleaner Image

Cleaner Image

While you may still see some grain in this photo, there is significantly less overall. If you look in the same area along the skyline and clouds, you’ll see the details are much more noticeable. This picture was taken at 7:28am, just 10 minutes later from the previous photo.

If we take a closer look, you’ll see the difference even more. The following photos are 100 percent crops from each photo above.

100 percent of grainy image

100 percent of grainy image

And this is the full crop of the cleaner image:

100 percent of cleaner image

100 percent of cleaner image

And that’s just a 10 minute difference between the two images.

So if you’re ever caught in a situation where you need to take photos in low light situations, try and make the scene just a little bit brighter and see how your iPhone reacts to the added light. It may make a huge difference and yield in photos that are much more pleasing to the eye.

Flower season is here

Flower season

Flower season

One of the great things about having an iPhone with you at all times is you can take a picture at any moment. As I was perusing the local variety store, I came across a bunch of vibrant flowers. Knowing well my iPhone was capable of taking great macro shots, I stuck my iPhone literally right in the middle of the bunch and took a photo. This was the photo that I got, straight out of the camera.

This photo wasn’t even post-processed. I merely sized it down in Photoshop. The pink and purple hues are so soft and subtle that I may even prefer the raw photo without any edits to it.

Flowers can make for very colourful photography so don’t be afraid to get right in there to get the details of the petals and flowers.

Explore the unknown

Even in your own hometown, it’s exciting to explore areas that you don’t often frequent. It gives you an excuse to get out and enjoy the outdoors, and maybe get in some much needed exercise for the day.

Explore the unkown. iPhone 6 Plus. Edited in Snapseed and VSCOCam.

Explore the unknown. iPhone 6 Plus. Edited in Snapseed and VSCOCam.

I’ve taken many walks and runs along the lakeshore lately but what makes these trips more exciting is venturing off to places I normally wouldn’t go to. I often find myself taking turns to unexpected areas and sometimes even losing my bearings. No worries there, as I’ll always have my google maps with me!

You never know when you’ll find that perfect location for your next shoot so don’t be afraid to explore the unknown and find new places around your city.

Do you have favourite places in your city that you like to go to? Share them with me in the comments below.

Take a break and enjoy the scenery once in a while

Sunset by the marina in Toronto.

Sunset by the marina in Toronto.

When you’re out and about shooting all the time, it’s important to be able to pull yourself out of the business of it all and actually enjoy what you have in front of you. Not only does this refresh your mind, but it allows you to soak in the environment you’re in, perhaps giving you more of an appreciation for the spectacular view you’re always too busy to see.

While on my walks along the lakeshore, I intentionally left my dSLR camera behind, so that I wouldn’t be so inclined to taking photos every second. Of course, I couldn’t leave my iPhone behind, so I still took a picture with it. But taking photos with my iPhone is a much quicker process than taking a photo with my dSLR, where I have to find the right settings, compose, focus, and shoot. An iPhone really makes that much of a difference. And I’m thankful for that!

A little bit of post-processing was done here to accentuate the sunset colours, and lighten the boats in the middle. All of this was done within Snapseed, where I used the Brush tool to selectively lighten areas within my image. My final edit was done within VSCOcam where I added a filter to balance the overall image.

Almost meeting a King and Queen at the AGO

I took a walk today and almost met a King and Queen. True story.

I was walking along Dundas Street slowly making my way towards the Art Gallery of Ontario, showing my Periscope followers the streets of Toronto when I noticed a large group of police vehicles stopped on the road. Someone came out from one of the black vehicles also parked along the street so I asked him what this was all about. He kindly told me that the King and Queen of the Netherlands are inside the AGO right now, and will not likely come out in the near future.

Meeting the King and Queen

Meeting the King and Queen

But since I didn’t actually meet them in person, I had to settle with taking a picture of their police entourage, which was quite impressive. There was a red carpet at the entrance to the Art Gallery of Ontario, but that wasn’t really picture worthy so I focused more on the impressiveness of the police motorbikes and black cars.

It was probably the largest entourage of police motorbikes that I’ve ever seen so seeing them lined down the street was rather interesting. I angled myself so as to try and get the complete line within my frame, as that makes a good guide for the eye to move within the photo.

I did intentionally wait until the streetcar was in my frame as well, as the lines lead up to the streetcar on the left, completing this photo.

If you had a chance to meet a King and Queen, would you have waited to see them in person?

We are becoming a selfie nation

With more and more people having access to mobile devices and cameras, the thought of holding a stick in front of you and posing is slowly becoming the norm. We see it everywhere now: on the streets, at home, in the office, up on top of mountains, roof tops, in the ocean, and anywhere else you can imagine.

It’s so common now that people don’t even think twice about others holding out a giant pole in the crowd for the sake of marking their presence in history. I have to admit that I am guilty of owning a selfie stick as well, even though I rarely use it.

We are becoming a selfie nation.

We are becoming a selfie nation.

While at the Door’s Open event the other weekend, I was walking in the Osgoode Hall grande library. I wanted to take a picture of the aisle with the books on either side. Right before I went to take a photo, I saw a shiny metal object slowly extending out from the left, and entering my frame. It was as if a robotic arm was extending to grab something—somewhat reminiscent to Inspector Gadget’s arm. I can hear him now, “go go gadget arm!”

When the arm stopped moving, I realized it was a selfie stick and the people were posing just behind the left bank of books. The scene couldn’t have played any better. This turned out to be a better photo than I had originally envisioned in my head, so I’m thankful I was there at the right time.

The library was quite crowded so I was happy that nobody else came into the frame while this happened.

Do you own a selfie stick? Do you use it everywhere? Are you part of this ever growing selfie nation?

Being at the right place at the right time

This is just a precursor of another post to come. I thought I’d share with you a glimpse of what I saw today just because I happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Being at the right place at the right time.

Being at the right place at the right time.

While wandering around the Scarborough Bluffs Park, I was Periscoping the view, showing the world the wonderful view that we have, when all of a sudden I hear loud noises coming from afar. I look to my right only to find a barrage of jet skiers making their way towards the beach area of the Scarborough Bluffs.

It was almost like something out of a movie, and I was in the front row watching everything unfold in front of my eyes. I managed to Periscope the entry, in addition to the jet skiers performing a little show for us above, as they swirled around and around in the waters, making waves and noise.

I managed to shoot many with my Nikon, but for this post, I leave you with one that I got with my iPhone 6 Plus. Another post will follow in the next few days, where I will show you the beauty of the Scarborough Bluffs (again), with all the jet skiers down below.

A photographer’s iPhone camera roll is a total mess

Isn’t 8000 photos normal for a camera roll? I thought it was until very recently when someone mentioned that I may be a little trigger happy. But there’s a good reason for this—and here’s why I encourage you to mess up your camera roll too.

A Photographer's Camera Roll Is A Total Mess

A Photographer’s Camera Roll Is A Total Mess

It may not be for most people but that’s about where I’ve been hovering for the last year or so. It may look like a total mess to some people but I prefer to call it an organized mess. It actually makes sense in my head, and I’m well aware of which photos are what, and why I keep each photo.

Folders help

Folders are available for a reason: to better organize your photos in your Camera Roll. Dividing your Camera Roll with folders greatly aids in organizing your photos, so use them to your advantage. By default, many of the apps you may have may create folders of their own once you save from the apps. That’s an easy way to find photos that you’ve edited with that app.

Camera Roll and folders on my iPhone 6 Plus

Camera Roll and folders on my iPhone 6 Plus

Why so many photos?

One of the advantages of shooting with an iPhone camera is the fact that it provides a number of different ways to take photos: timelapses, panorama, video, HDR, long exposure, and so forth. And with so many apps available for editing photos, there’s no shortages of experimental editing opportunities.

That’s precisely why I may take several photos of the same scene at once. I always make sure to alter the view a little, or change the exposure a little, or change the focus a little, from one photo to the next. So while it may seem like they are all the same photo, they are in fact different in many ways. Taking a look at the first row of photos below, they are very similar photos of the cherry blossoms, but with slightly different compositions.

Similar photos but each with photo is slightly different

Similar photos but each with photo is slightly different

How do you organize them?

After taking some photos, I later go back and look at the photos I took for that particular shoot, choose which one(s) I like the best and favourite them so they get put in to the Favorites folder. Those photos are the ones that I later edit and upload to Instagram or Twitter.

It’s a simple workflow, but one that meets my current needs. I just need to be more vigilant in deleting those photos that do not get favourited. My problem with this comes in my thinking that perhaps in the future, I can always use this photo in another project of some kind.

This could also be a good time to looking into backing up my Camera Roll to an external hard drive!

Cherry Blossoms at High Park

Cherry blossom trees at High Park. (iPhone 6 Plus)

Cherry blossom trees at High Park. (iPhone 6 Plus)

It was an unexpected but pleasant visit today, as I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit the cherry blossoms at High Park today after work. I didn’t have my Nikon with me, so these photos are compliments of my iPhone 6 Plus, edited in Snapseed, and VSCOcam.

It had rained somewhat during the day, making it for a partly cloudy afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect and went with low expectations. The best part of going without expecting much is the fact that you’ll be pleasantly surprised no matter what you see.

The crowds were slim to none, which was excellent. People probably thought the same thing about the early afternoon rain and decided to opt out on this evening. Little did they know, the clouds moved away in time for the sun to peak out as it started sinking to the horizon.

To give some people around the world, a glimpse of cherry blossoms, I broadcasted my visit to the world, letting people as far away as Scotland and Columbia see the beauty of these cherry blossoms. Naturally, I gave some tips on how to best shoot these cherry blossom as well. You can read about those tips below.

Closeup of cherry blossoms (iPhone 6 Plus)

Closeup of cherry blossoms (iPhone 6 Plus)

To view the Periscope broadcast, which is only available until about 7pm EST tomorrow, click here! To all others, you’ll just have to admire the beauty of these trees with the iPhone photos I took during my visit.

Quick Tips On Taking Photos of Sakuras

Cherry blossoms only peak for a very short period of time. It is important to be able to catch these blossoms at their peak before the green leaves start to show up, overpowering the subtle beauty of the white and pink flowers.

Try and get up close and personal to get the details of the petals and flowers of the cherry blossoms. These details are attractive to the eye.

Conversely, you can also take an overview shot of the trees and surroundings to show how large the trees and blooming blossoms are. They make for more dramatic scenery, especially when the sakuras are at their full bloom.

These flowers are very fragile, so if precipitation is expected in the forecast, be sure to visit the cherry blossoms before rainfall.