Photography Travel

The Camera in Your Pocket

I love shooting with a digital DSLR with a great lens and in my mind they are both a requirement for getting professional quality images while on vacation. But there are some times when lugging around a backpack full of gear gets annoying and I just want to lighten my load and give my back a rest.

Since I upgraded to my iPhone 5s, I have found that in many instances the iPhone handles the job quite nicely and is less hassle than a DSLR. The one other great thing about having a camera in your pocket it allows you to shoot as much as you want. I believe this is key for becoming a better photographer. The more you shoot, the better you will get a feel for how to compose images and what works from an artistic standpoint. The one challenge is to not merely take snapshots, but to look at the scene and determine what composition will make the best impact on your viewer.

If you are an avid photographer, a good challenge might be to put down your pro gear and shoot with an iPhone for the day like I did in this post one day in Seattle. I took it one step further and shot in B&W mode too.

Below are some examples of images shot with an iPhone 5s. All the images below are edited with Snapseed for some added visual effects. Don’t be afraid to play with various programs and edit your images. Most pros run their images through Photoshop before sending to clients, so don’t feel as if its cheating or you should just leave your images as they are from the camera. You’ll find some great tweaks in Snapseed such as the HDR Scape mode. I always bring this mode down to about 25-25% via the slider as I don’t like how artificial it looks as 100%. The Coffee shop and Wine shop images below was enhanced in this mode, just enough to make the colors pop a bit. I also like to play with the Grunge and Drama settings and experiment a bit.

When the digital age came, I resisted moving from film to digital. Then I didn’t want to touch my images with Photoshop, I was still trying to be a purist. Now realize these are additional tools to bring our photography to a more professional and polished level.

Northern coast of africa as seen through plane windowNorthern coast of Africa as seen from the plane. It’s so much easier to pull out the iPhone as opposed to unloading a camera bag to get a shot like this.

Boat on canal in AmsterdamCanal in Amsterdam

AmsterdamCanal boats in Amsterdam

imageWine shop in one of the many narrow streets in Amsterdam


“Coffeeshop” in the red Light District of Amsterdam

image Bike parking lot at the central train station in Amsterdam. This composition worked great having the subject in the foreground and with her violin case it even added more impact. Some times patience pays off to wait for the shot.
imageElephants in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania

Morning sunrise in AfricaEarly sunrise in the Serengeti

Panoramic view of Ngorongoro crater in TanzaniaI use panoramic mode a lot when I travel. Learn how to use this mode and you’ll create some impacting images. This is the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the 8 natural wonders of the world. 
imageLunch view of Ngorongoro Crater from the Serena Lodge

imageMaasai children inside a classroom at a village we visited.

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