In my first post, I covered four basic suggestions for better phone photography.  Today I’m getting more specific.

Number five: Light can be an issue.

I’ve found light to be something that takes practice and that doesn’t always come out right
with a phone camera. Depending upon where I tap, ground or sky, the photo might be darker
or lighter than it actually is. Take one each way and see what you think. This is also a good
time to use editing to adjust the light to the way it really was…or just to the way you want
think it looks best.  The following photos are unedited so you can see the difference.



or dark

or dark

Number six: Phone cameras can take great macros. But it might take some work.

Sometimes it takes a bit of work to get the focus right. You may have to tap on the spot you
want several times or you may have to start with the focus a bit further away, then move in
and tap again, rather than just zooming in and shooting. Don’t be discouraged. Check your
photos after taking them to see whether or not the focus is correct. I have to take along my
reading glass in order to be able to do this!


Number seven: If you’re trying to get the focus on something thin, you may have problems
and it may take extra time. It’s even possible you won’t get the shot you want.

The camera wants to focus on the biggest thing and that’s usually the background. Keep
tapping on what you want to photograph and don’t be discouraged. A few days ago, I was
attempting to take a photo of the coils of a grapevine. It probably took me 2 or 3 minutes to
get the camera to finally focus and get the picture I wanted. Sometimes it just won’t happen.
Go back with your SLR camera and adjust the focus if you really want that shot!


Number eight:  Try turning your camera upside down sometimes.

Sometimes a shot from above isn’t all that interesting or doesn’t show depth. You can’t
always get down low enough to compensate. Turn your camera upside down and take the
photo. You’ll be surprised at the different it makes.  The first photo is taken from above.


I got this photo by turning the camera upside down.  I like them both, but the upside down photo gives a very different look.

photo 1(122)


Number nine: (Related to number eight.) Try taking the shot from a lower level than
you’d usually use. Put the camera waist-high and see the difference.

Everyone take photos from face height. That doesn’t make it bad but you can sometimes
get a more interesting shot if you take it from waist-high, especially when taking landscape
shot. Try it both ways and see the difference.  These photos show the difference.  The first is taken from a normal view, standing with the camera at eye level.  In the second, I’ve lowered the camera and the shot becomes more interesting.



Saturday I’ll wrap up my hints.  See you then.

There were no punkins/pumpkins in the park last week when I took an early morning walk, but there was plenty of frost, at least until the sun rose high enough to touch it.  I thought it would be fun to pair a few of the photos I took with James Whitcomb Riley’s poem.


When the Frost is on the Punkin

By James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.


They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.


The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!


Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Think you can’t get quality photos with a phone camera?  Think again!

I got my first smartphone less than a year ago and the camera is one big reason why I love it. Prior to that purchase, I used my iPad, which also took great photos but took a lot more space to carry. Now I use my iPhone almost exclusively and just about all the photos on my blog are taken with it. I do own a really nice Nikon, but haven’t yet taken the time to figure out all the bells and whistles.

I had a bit of a learning curve with the iPhone and from comments on the blog, I’ve realized this holds true for at least some of my blog followers as well. So here are the first of a few thoughts on taking good/great/better photos with a phone camera. Although I use an iPhone 5S, I imagine that most phone cameras are somewhat similar and certainly many of my hints will apply to all of them.

Number one rule: Take your phone/camera with you everywhere!

You can’t take a photo without a camera. The big advantage of a phone camera is that it’s so simple to carry. When I walk in the morning, I put my phone and a few other necessities in either my fanny pack or coat pockets. The few times I haven’t, I’ve always regretted it and seen photos I wanted to have but couldn’t take. Can’t emphasize this one enough. Take your camera with you all the time!  And use it!

Take your camera to lunch.

Take your camera to lunch.

 Number two: Take pictures. Lots of them.

The beauty of digital is that you can easily get rid of photos that you don’t like or that don’t turn out well, even those you inadvertently take of your foot or while moving. Yes, I’ve had plenty of those. It’s not like in the past when you had to pay to have photos developed, whether or not they turned out well. You won’t regret taking too many photos, but you’re likely to regret the ones you didn’t take.  Don’t be too quick to delete weird or accidental photos.  They can be used in places, such as the Oddball Photo Challenge.

Taken just for fun during the 2013 Tour de France after noticing how the TV looked from one angle

Taken just for fun during the 2013 Tour de France after noticing how the TV looked from one angle

Number three: Learn to really look at things and look at things you don’t normally see.

One of the compliments about my photos that I treasure is that my photos made someone look at things around her that she never thought would make good photos. I’ve paused while baking to take a picture of melting butter or drops of molasses in sugar. I take lots of pictures of shadows and reflections, through water glasses, and all sorts of “different” things. Look at shapes, colors, and lines. See raindrops and bugs on flowers. There are millions of things all around you that are just waiting to be photographed.

In the kitchen

In the kitchen

Number four: Take the picture when you see it.

If you don’t, you might not get it. A few days ago, there was frost on the plants when I started my walk in the park. But less than half an hour later when I walked back, the sun had risen just high enough to melt it. I captured some glorious photos but if I’d waited, I’d have missed them. One day I took a shot of a tree covered with yellow leaves and glowing with the sun behind it. Two days later, many of the leaves had fallen, completely changing the shot. Don’t wait (unless you’re driving!)

This frost was gone when I walked back.

This frost was gone when I walked back.


Thursday:  talking about light, macros and more.

Since this week’s theme for the Phoneography Challenge is “Challenger’s Choice” (and one of those choices is “Animals”),  I couldn’t pass up photos of these cuties found near my s-i-l’s house.  They were on the other side of the field, not responding to our blandishments to come closer.  I told my s-i-l how my grandfather used to call his cattle and by gum, the donkeys came right over.  Never knew my grandfather spoke French.  :-)




After church and football, my favorite part of Sunday is the Oddball Photo Challenge.  My entries this week start in France, help assuage my hunger during a 9-hour Lufthansa flight, then end up back home at Trader Joe’s as autumn hits.  Enjoy!

Camouflage?  Oriental tats?


These snacks were awesome and they had a cute wrapper, too.


Oddball pumpkins at TJ’s


Coming Tuesday: the first post with hints for taking better photos with your phone.

Bill suggested re-posting this poem which was my first entry for Friday Fictioneers, where each week authors post a 100-word story based on a photo prompt.  This prompt showed a ruined house in the middle of nowhere.  This was what I wrote over two years ago.


He looks out…
sees space,
sees opportunity;
feels freedom.

She looks out…
sees space,
sees emptiness;
feels loneliness.

He looks down…
sees crops,
sees growth;
feels anticipation.

She looks down…
sees dryness,
sees obstacles;
feels discouragement.

He looks inward…
sees challenge,
sees work;
feels tall.

She looks inward…
sees questions,
sees work;
feels uncertain.

He looks toward her…
sees beauty
sees courage;
feels tenderness.

She looks toward him…
sees caring,
sees fortitude;
feels  resolution.

They look outward…
see opportunity,
see hardship;
feel purpose.

They look together…
see the sunrise,
see each other;
feel love.




Image  —  Posted: October 25, 2014 in Quotes
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