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Jul 16, 2015

On Smart Phones vs Real Cameras - Also Some Lily Photos

Our lilies were in bloom and it was time for me to make this year's photo of the pink ones. The orange lily photo will be made today.

Unfortunately, my setup was postponed by the much needed rain. No complaints here. It gave me more time to think and execute it. Did you know that shower curtains love to float? I sure didn't until I tried to line Fiona's pool with one to serve as my enchanted pond. Thankfully, I had enough attractive stones and glass ornamental stones around to weigh it down and complete my photo. I was a little concerned about the weight of all that water and stones sitting on our patio table, but it held up. It wouldn't be necessary were I able to get down on the ground to make the photo. Thankfully, this worked.

Now, I know that a current smart phone can make some pretty excellent images. I also know they have their limitations. There our technologies being developed that may, one day soon, allow them to trigger flashes or other external light sources. You are still stuck with the fixed focal length, a screen that's difficult to see in bright daylight, which makes composing and exposing correctly much more difficult, and there is no compensation for a larger sensor size and the appearance it can provide.

I say this because I've seen a fair amount of content online from both sides. One insists all you need is a smart phone, but I argue that they are not able to produce the image below that I was able to with a DSLR. The other side demands high resolution photos not from a smart phone. I don't know exactly what the definition of high resolution is but mine has the same resolution as most current mirrorless DSLRs. This camp that I am thinking of, Lac Pelletier Regional Park who is rebuilding their website, has requested photos from visitors. I would argue that the resolution needed for a website is minimal and that a properly exposed JPEG from a phone would be perfectly adequate. This is especially true because they probably are looking for scenic photos, not shallow depth of field portraiture.

This is irrelevant to me, though, because all they are offering is photo credit, no remuneration. If you were considering contributing, I urge you to demand a proper licensing fee. You are worth more than credit. Credit will not repair your camera, replace it, pay the bills or feed your family. But, I digress.

My point was that the second shot I made of the above behind-the-scenes photo was actually quite nice. But it certainly was nothing compared to the final product as seen below.

  Photograph Enchanted Pond Lily by Jay Scott on 500px

I have been teaching a couple of young people to learn to use their cameras. This also includes using their smartphones but it emphasizes the difference in the capabilities between tools. A phone still does not have any variance in the available focal length, without adapters that will greatly degrade the quality of the image, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its place.

I was complaining earlier about not being able to get down on the deck to make the photo above. Countless times, in order to get that nice lower perspective, all I have had available to me has been my smart phone. I argue that the better angle was more important than impeccable image quality, especially if it were simply a photo to be shared online. Certainly there are times that I've made the effort to get my DSLR down where it was necessary to make the wanted photo and also make it with the best quality available.

Regarding a phone's ability to work close-up, you can get a pretty decent close-up shot with a smart phone but the technology has yet to make it capable of a true macro photo. Below are examples of pushing macro to the limits. That photo above? This is the same flower's stigma, stamen and petal. No, the image quality isn't perfect because of the amount of glass and adapters involved, as well as the laws of physics limiting the clarity of light at this scale. But it's still pretty amazing to see something that magnifiedhim.

  Photograph Ultra Macro Lily Parts - Stigma by Jay Scott on 500px

I was hoping to use this combination of tele-converter, telephoto lens, reversal ring and backwards 50mm lens to photograph Mr. Spider but after realizing how razor thin your depth of field is, and how precise your focus has to be, I don't think it would be possible for me to make happen. Maybe if I find a dead insect, that won't move, get away or bite, I might give it a try.

  Photograph Ultra Macro Lily Parts - Stamen by Jay Scott on 500px

Now that our pink backyard lily has been photographed it is the orange lily's turn. I feel like the result of the pink one was better than anything I've produced with lilies so far. Here's hoping I can turn the orange lily photo into something that will be tough to beat, next year. Keep your eyes on the site for that photo in the next few days.

  Photograph Ultra Macro Lily Parts - Petal by Jay Scott on 500px

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