An afternoon at Merrifield Gardens – October 1, 2021- another iPhone adventure

The place is called Merrifield Gardens which is garden center/landscaping business which always has great photo opportunities and of course great things to buy. This time I took my iPhone 11 Pro Max mounted in my Shiftcam Progrip for a quick fall outing. The images were shot with several different apps and minor adjustments were done in the iOS photo app.

Gear Used: Iphone 11 pro max, Camera Plus 2 camera app, Halide camera app, Ios camera app, Ios Photo for processing, Shiftcam Pro Grip


I have been endeavoring to reduce my gear input for several years now and for the most part I have been pretty successful. I went from full mirrorless camera systems to one rangefinder and one lens combination and for a while that was a perfect set up. While it is great to have a bunch of lenses and interchangeable bodies the age old problem of what do I take and how do I carry it always drove me crazy.

And now after several years of playing with iPhone cameras I took the leap and made the decision to jump into the world of mobile photography feet first. I have become so overjoyed with the quality of the images and the apps and controls that allow me to capture the images I want with virtually no fuss, no weight, and no having to decide what I am going to roam the streets and country side with. It is just my iPhone and a couple of add on lenses (which I rarely use) and I am off to a wonderful creative day.

I do know that at this time a mobile device cannot quite take the place of larger sensor mirrorless or Dslr equipment but non pro and pro photographers more and more are embracing the benefits of having a system in their pocket. I know I do and I have been in this business a very long time and I have evolved into accepting the fact that my iPhone can pretty much do everything I need to do from studio to street photography. I am a convert.

This is a perfect time of year to create wonderful misty/moody images

Whether you use the lastest dSlr, mirrorless, or phone cameras, we are now in the heart of Fall season and the opportunities are not just to capture beautiful colors but take advantage of could be some of the most wonderful foggy ahd misty conditions as well.

Her is an article on just how to do that.



1. Tripod / Support:will need a tripod to hold your camera steady. This can be a regular tripod or if there is no place for a tripod then something like a Joby pod.  For this find a ledge or a wall to lean against to try and be as stable as possible.  If you are using a tripod, turn off image stabilization.

2. Extra Batteries:long exposures drain batteries faster, Having one or two extra fully charged batteries could make or break a successful shoot

3. Extra memory card: Just like with batteries, it’s best to always have a spare whenever you are out doing photos just in case one fails or simply get filled up.

4. Small flashlight: Illuminate the dials and controls on your camera. Finding stuff in you camera bag.

5. Cable release or remote control to take the pictures to make sure there is no camera shake at the slow shutter speeds

.6. If you can, scope out the area you want to shoot from and then get their early on the day of the fireworks to secure your position.

7. You are going to want to shoot the fireworks as early as possible, because as the fireworks continue there will be a lot of smoke in the air later on.  And smoke will effect the quality of the image. you should stand at a spot that gives you a maximum of 45 degrees view angle relative to the ground.

Now for the basic shooting details

You want to be working in manual control of your camera

Set your lens aperture to f8 or f5.69.

You want to shoot at a slow shutter speed STARTING AT 3 SECONDS.

Shutoff Auto focus. FIND A DISTANCE POINT YOU CAN AUTO FOCUS ON.  DO THIS AND THEN CHANGE THE CAMERA TO MANUAL FOCUS. Or wait for the first fireworks and then just manually focus on that and that becomes your point for all other shots

Shut off your flash

 Choose the lowest ISO possible.  This helps to keep the shutter speed slow as well to eliminate noise.

Use the right focal length to help eliminate too much of the foreground from being in the picture.  This means you want to know where the fireworks are going to be in order to get the right composition.

White Balance:  If you are shooting in Raw leave the white balance at Auto.  If you are shooting in Jpeg only, use the daylight setting.

 Metering: I find that use what is called Matrix or Multi zone metering to be the best.

If your camera has Long Exposure Noise Reduction, TURN IT OFF.

Coming Full Circle with my Fuji X system

I was getting to write an article and it was going to be titled…COMING FULL CIRCLE WITH THE FUJI X SYSTEM…That is until I read an article on the Digital Camera World web site written by David Cleland and his experiences.

I started with the Fuji line of cameras back in 2010.  Prior to that I owned Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Panasonic system products all of which were very capable image makers.

The first Fuji X camera that came to market was the X100, fixed lens mirrorless camera.  It was beautiful in its retro design which housed great digital features.  It was small and light weight, simple to work with and required no preparation to take with me everywhere.  It also produced incredible images.

As time went my and Fuji introduced new X models I was at the head of the line to lay down the green and get the latest and greatest.  I had the X pro 1, Xe1, Xt1, X pro 2, xe2, Xt2 and a multitude of lenses, and yet my original X100 was always around my neck.

Fast forward to today, all of that Fuji gear is gone and replaced with one camera. That camera is the Fuji X100f and the Fuji X wide angle adapter lens for that camera. That’s it.  How much more minimal can one get and still produce high quality Jpegs and Raw files?

So here is that article I mentioned above.  It pretty much says it all.

In the last year Fuji did update the X100f camera to the X100V which based on user reviewers is incredible, but I think I shall stick with the F at this stage of my life.  Fuji has added some great technology to the camera which for me is a bit too much.​

Black pro mist, a story


I was here for the birth of modern digital cameras and I have used a lot of the brands that are out in the market place today. They are all great. They are all very capable and are truly technological miracles doing what they do and that is to allow photographers to create outstanding images.

My life in photography goes back many years. I started as a young child in my father’s darkroom and my journey has been non stop ever since.

In its early stages, based on my experiences, digital images could not hold a candle to film images. They were lacking in dynamic range and could not record as good as film in shadows and highlights. But if we move forward to now that is a mute point. Digital has in many ways surpassed film in its ability to produce images that are near perfect if not perfect almost all of the time in pretty much every shooting condition.

And there is the rub, at least for me but also for a lot of other still photographers.

Lens designs have radically changed and through the technology of computers in lenses and in cameras lenses have all but eliminated lens defects, the same defects that actually added character to an image. In the same direction camera sensors have evolved to a level of virtual perfection along with in camera computers to provide razor sharp images.

For years now we have delighted in these crystal sharp, near perfect representations of the world around us in but is it really the world around us. It seems to me that when digital sensors reached about 12 megapixels we had already gone beyond what film could give us in regards to exposure range but still maintained a certain granularity, texture that film always provided. At 16 megapixels we were right on the edge of digital film looks and clinical disaster.

And here we are today. We, for all practical purposes have left the magic of film and old lens designed with all of their supposed imperfections and now with megapixels exceeding 24, 36, 50, and higher levels combined with computer controlled lens optics have attained the hard clinical look that seems to give us images beyond reality.

Feature movie makers must know something we do not know because they still use film for the most part for the big productions and actually seek out older lenses just for their aesthetic look. But they also want to give their viewers a truer to life experience.

For years and years movie makers and now video shooters are using a proven method of give it us just that. There are many variations and makes for these devices but the one I am using now for still photography is called the TIFFEN BLACK PRO MIST FILTERS. They come in several strengths and give us back some of the inherent qualities that older optics and film gave us.

This is the Tiffen web site that explains these filters a lot better than I can.

Throughout the history of photographer their have been incredibly talented women who hid their talent in their attacks. This is a story of one such amazing photographic artist.

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