Thursday, March 1, 2012

... and now for something completely different.

This first day of March is exactly what I expect for this month- dark gray sky and near freezing. Have I told you that March is just the worse month of all?  Makes me desperate to find something to photograph. Aren't we all just ready for some real spring?  Birds, blooms, waterfalls.  Lots to find in spring but not in March.

So, I needed a challenge to get me out of this funk.  Took my iPhone and my little Canon G9 camera to see what I could do with minimalist equipment.  My goal was to get cell phone photos that were equal to the G9, or maybe to my DSLR with a wide angle lens. Can I do that?

Tried the nearby rail lines, but absent any trail traffic, it was pretty boring. So, I went into Corning and walked about.

Crossing the Centerway Bridge over the Chemung River, I came upon the Corning Incorporated headquarters building.  Inspiration struck me when I saw the reflections on the building's glass facade, and found something humorous in the foreground. Most photos benefit from something of interest close the viewer. What can I do with the iPhone camera? 

Do you see him?  Why, it's Fire Plug Man. Red hat, stainless steel eyes, nose like a beagle and lots of piercings with chains attached.  

Okay, told you I was desperate in March. This should prove it. Did get a few odd looks as I got down low to frame the photo.  That's okay by me.

Went on to the Centerway Square and the Corning clock tower.  It rained pretty heavily last night and there was standing water on the brick pavers. That could be another source of amusement. Standing water means reflections on a calm day.  So, there was another situation just made for the wide angle lens on the iPhone.

This was really working even if my fingers were getting numb.  I  pulled out the G9 since it has a zoom lens and experimented with a number of the reflecting pools until I found something that showed the conflicting perspectives of the bricks and the tower that are at greatly different distances from me. The zoom allows me to better isolate elements in the photo.

So far, I think the iPhone images stand up pretty well to the G9 results.  Now, at some point the cold got to me and it was time to go for relief supplies- hot coffee.

But, on the way, I walked past something I had completely missed earlier.  This time it was two differing contrasts pairs.  The building reflections are all mostly horizontal monochromatic grays that contrast with the warm colors of the two vertical sycamore trees. So there is the contrast of color to monochromatic plus the contrast of horizontal to vertical. Nice. Used the G9 for this.

But, I wasn't done yet because as I passed the one sycamore tree, I saw a burst of colors that could resonate in a iPhone image.

This would not work if it was not still very damp from last night's downpours.

I am impressed with what the simple wide angle lens can do in this iPhone.

If I show this to someone that has no hint of the subject, they at first don't see the tree bark but rather a modernistic image. I think I'll put some of these on my SmugMug site at high resolution in a gallery named:

I'll announce it in a few days. 

Never thought I could do this with a phone camera. Just have to get close, very close.

So, I did make it back to the car without freezing my hands and found my hot coffee at Wegmans grocery.  Drove home a happy man. Hope you enjoy the photos.

If you have a cell phone camera, give it a try.  You will be surprised. 



  1. Very cool. I didn't know until I read the paragraph that I was looking at a closeup of Sycamore bark - it looks like peeling layers of paint on a metal door. All of these have impressive color contrast.

  2. Such a pleasure to read and view your work, Paul: thank you for sharing! The images from cell phones I've used have reproduced beautifully, especially in close range, which has been helpful on the rare occasion when a camera is not nearby: for that 'quintessential moment,' when capturing the picture is paramount.