Mind the Gap!

It has been a very long time since I have paid any attention to blogging about photography. Here we are three plus years down the road. Over the next little bit I will fill in some gaps and talk about some of the things in my world of photography. I hope you will find future me more prompt!

Olloclip iPhone Case

I have been using my iPhone for a lot of photography lately and I like having more options for lenses.  I have a set of Olloclip lenses for my iPhone and I really like to have some sort of case on the phone.  Olloclip sent me one of their cases to test out.  Their case fits well and leaves the ports on the bottom of the iPhone open for use.  Any headphones will work and the iPhone will sit in the Apple docking station to charge.

Bottom of the iPhone in the case.

I the field the lenses slide right onto the case making it simple to change lenses or use the camera without a lens.  

In the field with a lens slid onto the case.

In the field with a lens slid onto the case.

The case really works very well.  The only issues I have are with the height of the edges of the case over the front of the phone makes swiping from the edges harder than I would like.  As with using the lenses without the case you also have to remove the lens to use the front facing camera or to make a "normal" phone call.  

The small sizes of the lenses and the fast attachment and removal process make this a very interesting addition to the iPhone photographers tool kit. 

Photography and the iPhone 6s Plus

The new iPhones have improved cameras and they can capture images in greater detail and in broader lighting conditions than ever before.  I am excited to see what the device can do for my photography.  Here is but one example that I am very pleased with.

Finding Fall  © 2015 Bob Fairbairn Ltd. 

Finding Fall

© 2015 Bob Fairbairn Ltd. 

Many other professional photographers are using iPhones to make great images and more.  I found the testing / demonstration video by Austin Mann to be particularly wonderful:  


There have been many reviews and comparisions but Austin Mann has captured the nuances of the devices for us.  His review can be found here: 


I cannot add a lot more to the phone review but using the system for photography is getting better and better.  With the new Photos applications on IOS and MAC OS and the Apple iCloud photo sync and storage system I can now have all of my images and videos in the "cloud" and have full access to them on all my devices.  I can grab a 10 year old family photograph, and edit and share it from just about anywhere.  The iPhone photos are autmatically synced back to my MAC Pro, etc.  I can import files from my pofessional cameras and keep on the system also.

The editing tools in Photos for Mac are very good and the IOS version is not slouch!  Apple got this one right!  This is a complete photo mangement system for individuals to keep their memories safe and to share with others.   Photos does not fully replace professional management and edting tools but it covers most of the bases.




The iPhone and Google + “Stories"

I enjoy using my iPhone 6 Plus for my “fun” photography as well as a production tool.  I like what Google has done with Picasa and Google+ so I have setup my iPhone to auto-upload photos and videos to Google+ to use one of my favorite features of Google+ where it automatically constructs visual Stories from your images and videos you upload.  Typically within 24 hours Google + will create a story of my shoot. You can edit the story that they create and share it with others.  It is an interesting way to be able to share your photography with others.  Here is an example from a photo walk I did the other day after a nice snow:




Photography with the iPhone 6 Plus

This past summer I wrote several posts about using my iPhone 5s as my primary camera.  I have recently moved to the iPhone 6 Plus so I am continuing and expanding the series!

The team at OlloClip provided a set of lenses to use in my photography.  Their new lenses have a neat snap-in holder that clips to a lanyard for simplicity of carrying the lenses.  

I am posting images and the story to Instagram, so follow along.

Ready for action! macro, wide angle, fisheye, and telephoto / normal with polarizer

Ready for action! macro, wide angle, fisheye, and telephoto / normal with polarizer

Lessons from using the iPhone as my "only" camera

During the week I was on vacation I used my iPhone 5s for as much of the photography as possible.  The camera is credible and the images are mostly satisfactory.  I tested a couple of the Olloclip lenses with some success but carrying them and getting them on and off of the phone is out of scope for most people.  Taking the tripod and remote release stuff is over the top! But with the Joby and the release I was able to get some nice little macro images that were fun to take.  


I also used the iPhone for several videos of the natural areas on the lake we were staying.  I will continue this series with some more images, videos and information.

Using the new Google Photo Sphere app to create panoramas

Google released their new application for the iPhone that takes 360 panorama images.  The images can be uploaded to Google for use on Google Maps and in your photo library. The application is really easy to use but managing the images Google + and Maps is little bit of a challenge. Make sure to edit your image data to get the geo-location right and name them properly.  This may not display properly on all web browsers.

Protecting images from loss while traveling!

Normailly I bring a laptop, external hard drives and more on vacation to process images and to back things up. On this trip I did not bring the laptop but I did bring and external SSD hard disk and an interesting device from Toshiba called the Canvio Wireless adaptor for external hard drives. This little device comes with a power supply that runs the wireless adaptor and a connected USB hard drive. There are some limitations on format for the drive but nothing complex.

When powered up and a drive connected the adaptor makes the drive available for wireless access. Toshiba has an app but I am using a app called PhotoSync so I can simply transfer my images at will to the hard drive or say from the iPhone to the drive to the iPad. This is a great way to keep my images backed up while on the road. PhotoSync does a whole lot more but for this case I am only using a portion of the apps features.

It's like having my own private cloud service without the need for internet access.


iPhone camera extras to enhance image taking

The iPhone has a fixed lens, you cannot zoom or get really close. While on vacation I thought it would be interesting to try the Olloclip lenses with my iPhone. I have the 4-in-1 and the telephoto / circular polarizer.


These lenses clip onto the iPhone 5 or 5s to give you different views. I have mostly been playing with the 4-in-1 as a macro lens so far.


This is a lot of fun but as with any macro lens any movement makes it hard. So using a Joby tripod really helps. I mount the iphone in the glif adjustable mount. A remote release is a great idea. You can use the volume up button or your Apple ear-buds or other device.



iPhone as: My Camera

I am taking some time off of work this week with my wife at a friends cottage in northern Wisconsin. For vacation I made the decision to use my iPhone as my primary camera. The overall experience is refreshing and enjoyable. I have captured many little moments and have already shared some of them with family. It is still very exciting to actually be able to share images with friends and family while still on vacation.

I have been using both the native camera application and Camera+ for capturing images to provide a mix quick images and gaining some flexibilty in controlling exposure. I have also edited a few in Snapseed befor sharing. The image in this post is un-edited.

There have been some challenges; I did not get much in the way of fireworks images which was disappointing. I learned a few things to try next time. Also it is not good idea to let others take images with Camera+ without a lot of training....great sky, dark faces.....

Many of the images I am capturing are from various boats, docks, etc. and I do not have a waterproof case for my iPhone which is somewhat nerve wracking.



Using the iPhone as a one of my "primary cameras"

After reviewing my images for the last year or so I am finding that I need to do a better job of capturing the important moments in my life and while my professional photographic tools are great for the job I ALWAYS have my iPhone with me and I really need to get a lot better at using it!  To that end I have been practicing with taking and EDITING images on my iPhone and iPad.  

 My other problem is sharing images with family and friends.  So many different services that are not about my photography or my family. So Lots of research and reporting to do!  Follow along as I expand my work into the land of the iPhone.  And some family members who just need prints.

Here are three things as a kickoff: 

http://www.mobiography.net   (An iPad / iPhone magazine about mobile photography)

http://skipology.com  ( The website of a photographer in the UK who shares a lot of help)

http://davidmolnar.com/free/  ( David has a new eBook on iPhone Photography that I recently reviewed)




Looking Backwards

Over the past few weeks I have been studying the iPhone camera and what it can do as a primary camera.  I decided to look back in my library of about 34000 digital images that I have saved over time to see what I am using to take pictures with, cameras, lenses , etc.  I have owned iPhones since the original and I only have 1620 images saved from their cameras.  Upon review there are quite a few that are nice, need to be shared, printed, etc.  Many are of life events that would have been taken with “a camera”  A bunch are logging something:  purchase ideas, a picture of a white board with info on it, plants at the garden center for review, etc.  A few are learning and experiementation.  

As I look through my library I find that I am saving stuff I do not need to, I have a lot of images I need to SHOW people .

Just for fun:

1620 iPhones

3195 Canon10D  

4555  Canon 40D  

1460  Canon 7D

1011 Canon S95

6082  Olympus

4528 Panasonic

6918 Sony


Time to make a change?  

iPhoneOnlyPhotography Book Review

iPhoneOnly Photography

by David Molnar




The iPhone and its camera have been with me since the original iPhone in 2007.   After reading the preview release of “iPhoneOnly Photography” I volunteered to write a review of the full book for David. 


David’s book takes the reader through a process of expanding their photographic savvy  by introducing some basic terminology and photographic process steps or “rules” to make better images.  The book covers many photographic situations and how to make your best images in each of them.


In each chapter David gives the reader a challenge to develop new skills and to increase his or her photographic vocabulary.He has also included many images and words of inspiration from other photographers using the iPhone.  Seeing the work of others encourages the reader to read on and do more with their camera/phone.


The book introduces us to multiple apps that expand our horizons of photography using the iPhone.  Many examples use both the Apple included camera app and others that enhance our ability to capture great images and preserve our special moments.


One of the key themes in the book is the introduction to post processing on the iPhone.  David uses the SNAPSEED  app to edit many of his images.  With example tutorials in each chapter to help achieve great results only using the iPhone!  The examples take a lot of space and may seem a bit long; but it is worth the time to follow along so you can learn how post processing actually works.


 David’s post processing methods help to remind the reader that for most of us we are trying to reproduce memories of things in our lives and that the camera sometimes needs some help.  The folks at SNAPSEED should have David design some pre-sets for them!



I have two criticisms of the book around what is not included. 


The book covers production and post-production but it brushes over delivery.  David does encourage sharing to the #iPhoneOnlyPhoto, but does not really help photographers share their work  Photographers need to share and to me that means not only posting images to the Internet it means PRINTING YOUR IMAGES for others!


The second area where David could help the community is how to save your digital images from loss.  Backup strategies that work for normal people so we do not lose our images!  Apple provides tools to help with this but they can be confusing and shedding some light on that part of the process is also important.


Both of these items would add to the length of the book and possibly dilute the focus a bit, but they are a big part of the process!  We have to preserve our memories!



In closing …


Thanks to “iPhoneOnly Photography” I will REMEMBER that with my iPhone 5s I have a capable camera and post production studio in my hands or pocket and it is with me all the time!


Photography has been my avocation for many years and of late is becoming a vocation.  The iPhone’s camera is a very powerful tool in my arsenal and David’s book is a great reference for everyone to get the most of of our iPhone images.


Bob Fairbairn




A great video session on processing an image in Lightroom 5

I have been using Apples’ Aperture for many years to process my images. I have only been using Lightroom as a primary photo editing and management tool for about six months so I still have a lot to learn.  This 30 min tutorial covers a LOT of ground on processing an image in LR5.  I found it very helpful.  The author goes through a series of steps to greatly improve an image he captures of a Lynx kitten.



The Art of Light

In my ongoing quest to produce better photographic art I study other photographers works and other art forms.  James Turrell is an artist who produces art with light itself as the subject. "I want to look at light, rather than have light illuminate another thing," says artist James Turrell. "I'm interested in the thingness of light itself, so that light is the revelation." 

Photographers use light as a tool to present our subjects; Mr Turrell's turns that inside out for us.  The following link to an 8 minute video about James Turrell's exhibit at the Guggenheim helps me to explore his artistic look at light as the subject:




Congratulations to the Veterans Conservations Corps of Chicagoland

Bob Clearing BrushStarting in 2012 I volunteered with the Veterans Conservations Corps of Chicagoland. Working with other veterans we helped at the Dick Young forest preserve to restore the land back to a more natural state. Their mission is comes very near and dear to my heart:

The mission of the Veterans Conservation Corps of Chicagoland is to make a positive difference both in the lives of Chicagoland veterans, and in the landscapes in which they live. This two-fold mission is accomplished through hands-on engagement in the restoration of our degraded natural lands. Our work is rooted in a deep sense of patriotism, and the belief that a country worth risking our lives for is worth preserving for future generations.

Just recently the organization received a Toyota  Together Green grant to continue their work for another year.  Congratulations to Ben and the rest of the team.  Myself and many other local veterans are looking forward to working with you this winter..



Launch Day!


I have just spent the summer months preparing to make photography my full time profession. I spent four days at Skips Summer School connecting with other photographers and learning new skills.  I have been working with my friends and family to ensure that we are all ready for this new adventure.  The web sites are up, Twitter is happy, Facebook pages have been created with basic content posted.

There is still a lot of work to do on the portfolio, the galleries, and the Artistwebsites pages.  Over the next few weeks the content portions of the pages will increase and more.  There will be announcements about new services, products, and partnerships.  And of course getting out there and taking more pictures!

I have to thank many folks out there for all their help and encouragement to kick this off:

My wife Linda for keeping the faith.

My Brother-in-law Mark of PixelPrintDesigns for the design help and much more.

Skip Cohen for lots of encouragement and great insights at the summer school last month.

There are so many others; here are a few of you in my thoughts:  Jeff C., Steven B., Tony T., John K., Keith M., Keith P.

Thank you all again.  In addition I would like my readers and followers for your patience and your encouragement in this.