Columbus Day at Rock Brook

The New Jersey state offices are closed for Columbus Day. I consult for the New Jersey Courts so I a holiday as well. After helping out my wife's office with some networking issues, I drove up to one of my favourite spots in Skillman. I parked at the Rock Brook along Hollow Road. I brought only my iPhone and my tripod. I have a smartphone holder clamped to the centre column of my tripod. I usually use it to hold my iPhone when I am doing long-exposures using the Trigger Trap app and dongle. But it also works nicely to keep my iPhone so that I can use as the primary camera. That's what I did. All the images below were captured on my iPhone 6 with either the native camera app, vividHDR or Slow Shutter. I imported the TIFF images to Adobe Lightroom, applied profile correction, and a Hazy Pop matte filter.

Apple iPhone 6

I was surprised by the number of leaves on the ground. The trees were still mostly green, and the air temperature was moderate, so I was surprised that many leaves had fallen from the trees. The leaves were soft, not crunchy as I had expected from how brown they were.

It was quiet as I made my way down to the water.

Apple iPhone 6

As I approached the edge of the brook, leaves and trees gave way to the multitude of rocks that provide the brook its name. There were few leaves on the ground here. Mostly grass that found a way to thrive between the stones. I could hear the water flowing nearby.

Apple iPhone 6

I imagined that in a few weeks as the cooler air and dwindling sunlight causes more leaves to change colours and fall, the rock bed will be covered in orange and red.

Apple iPhone 6

While I set up the tripod near the "falls", I saw a few frogs hopping around. This one decided to keep me company. I very carefully set the tripod up so that I could get a close. I wish I had one of those Moment zoom lenses for the iPod. It took a few tries before the frogs were comfortable with my presence and sat still long enough for me to grab a few shots.

Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone | Apple iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 | ISO32

The "falls" is just a stack of large boulders that have formed a natural dam in the brook. The water pours over the rock, and I shot these images using the Slow Shutter app to give the water that silky smooth look you get when shooting long exposures on a DSLR.

Apple iPhone | Apple iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 | ISO32
Apple iPhone | Apple iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 | ISO32

While the Slow Shutter Cam captured the "falls" I looked around. I noticed this stack of rocks. I guess someone was down there before me and decided to add some artwork. I like it.

Apple iPhone 6

My iPhone Photography Bag

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I almost always have a camera on me. Some time ago, I started keeping a packed camera bag and a tripod in my car. It helped me satisfy my photography urge when inspiration found it’s path to my eyes. With the camera always nearby I could pull over, stop, and capture what I saw. On my lunch break, I could walk around capturing moments throughout my day. The funny thing is, I noticed that I still captured more images with my iPhone than with Nikon.

It’s true; the best camera is the camera you have with you. But what has also become true, at least for me, over the last few years is that the best camera is the one that allows me to process and share my vision at the moment. This article by Daniel Korpai has some great tips that I have incorporated into my instant photography workflow.

With the introduction of iCloud Photo Library, there is a new smart album in the Photos app: Favorites. When you’re browsing through your images, you can find a little heart icon (?) under every single picture. Tap it, and Photos will automatically put that photo in the Favorites album and also make sure not to delete those in case you have the Optimize iPhone Storage turn on under the iCloud Photo Library’s settings. Go through all of your images in the Photos app and tap the little heart icon when you think you might want to process that particular image in the future. In the Favorites album, I then go through for a second time to review my selected images one more time, to make sure I only keep the very best.Daniel Korpai

That's a new tip for me, and I have started using it. It makes cleaning up the mess in my iOS photo library much more manageable.

iOS 8 added the ability to pass images onto a third-party app for editing. The images undergo non-destructive edits which means I can always undo. I mostly use the Afterlight app. It has lots of filters, but I rarely use any of them. But it has a few editing tools that I love. I have a few other apps, but few of them are available as editors from the photos library.

This is why I reverse this process. Instead of opening a third-party app, find the image you want to edit in the Photos app, then pass the photo to the other application with the help of an iOS Extension created by the Workflow app.

I started doing that last week. I created a Workflow to pass images from Adobe Lightroom Mobile to a few of my apps favourite, including Instagram.

beer, flight

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My workflow is simple. Capture an image with the native camera app and either use share sheets or workflows to pass the image to another app, usually Afterlight, for processing. I use other camera apps for specialised captures. I have a camera app for creating HDR images, long exposures, one for macro photography, and a few that allow for manual control of the camera. These are organised into an iOS folder named simply Cameras.

My most used camera apps are:

  • Native iOS Camera
  • vividHDR
  • Slow Shutter
  • Stay Focused

Apps that I use for post-processing are organised into an iOS folder called Darkroom. This includes, Photogene, an app I consider the Photoshop of iOS, Afterlght, VSCO Cam, Snapseed, Darkroom, and Image Sizer to change images to fit Instagram's square format.

My most used editing apps are:

  • Afterlight
  • VSCO Cam
  • Photogene
  • Image Sizer

Daniel uses VSCO Grid to publish his mobile image, but despite the square format, I prefer Instagram. It's easy to post a picture to Instagram and simultaneously share to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare.

Please read the article. The author mentions a few apps that I may download, try out, and perhaps add to my iPhone photography bag.

I regretted leaving the DSLR at home

I noticed the colour in the sky when I walked out the door. I hesitated momentarily, making the quick decision to continue without my camera. I ran late and didn't want to get stuck behind the school bus. I regretted my decision.

I pulled into the parking area near the small boathouse. I shot this one on my iPhone 6 using vividHDR. The one below was shot using the native iPhone 6 camera app. I also did some minor editing in Adobe Lightroom Mobile.

17 December 2014 · Apple iPhone 6 · iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2

I had stopped carrying my DSLR kit with me because, in winter, I expect the weather to be bad. I also know that I will be well on my way to work when the sun starts to rise. I know I will be driving home in the dark. I know that it is unsafe to walk around with an "expensive" camera in the area where I work.