Shooting snow with an iPhone

>, geekery, osteoarthritis, photography>Shooting snow with an iPhone
Icy fence

Icy fence

[dropcap]So[/dropcap] you know I can’t pass up something as gorgeously photogenic as crackly, melting ice over snow in my backyard, right?

Right. I can’t. And I didn’t.

I thought about schlepping Darius-the-Nikon and all his gear out to the backyard for a shoot…but the “melting” part of the above description gave me pause: Darius is not exactly waterproof.

kneebrace-2Besides, my left knee and I aren’t always on speaking terms. Last summer he* got cranky enough to put me on crutches. Apparently a diving accident and an ancient knee surgery have eliminated half the cartilage in my knee. This has made getting around the desk–let alone getting around a block–problematic.

Thanks to the wonders of medicine, AKA cortisone shot and a fancy knee brace named Clarice (left; three guesses as to why she’s covered in cat fur), I’ve so far staved off knee surgery and stayed mobile.

I’d like to keep it that way.

So instead of lugging Darius & Co. around, I grabbed tiny, lightweight Iphigenia-the-iPhone and headed out to see what she could do.

Turns out, she doesn’t do badly at all.

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An iPhone 5s is really meant for snapshots, not formal photography, but they could teach “real” cameras a thing or three. I loved touching the screen where I wanted to focus. Using my fingers to zoom in and out, zeroing in on the subject, felt very natural, too.

Also discovered–by accidentally shooting 79 frames of the same water droplet–that holding down Iphigenia’s shutter button turns her into a motor drive. Stop motion, here I come.

Of course, I missed the ability to control depth of field, to bracket my shots, and finesse exposures and white balance. Possibly Iphigenia does all that, but it’s not obvious how (to me, anyway).

And let’s face it, an iPhone is not exactly an ergonomic shooting platform. YOU try delicately tapping the shutter “button” without moving that thin, flat box out of focus…while plunking down your iffy-but-braced knee on an ice slide. In the wind. And icy rain.

Fortunately, they make tripods for iPhones, and mounting brackets for existing tripods. It kinda kills the portability factor, but if I keep shooting with an iPhone I’ll probably need one. And also one of those “touch” gloves–Iphigenia needs bare fingers to work her touch screen, which meant that my hand got pretty cold during this shoot.

But overall, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

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*Some other time we will explore the psychology behind my tendency to apply male gender to annoying bugs, broken technology and misbehaving body parts. If I don’t get off the subject now I’ll ¬†probably start wondering if I should cover my knee’s eyes when I shower or something.¬†

2015-11-07T22:01:40+00:00

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