It is hard to capture the visual effect of a mass of flowers, especially delicate flowers like the Trout Lily, but a low angle ultra-wide shot is about as effective as you can get. iPhone SE2020 in the Moment thin case with the Sirui 18mm lens. Standard Camera app on Auto. Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine.
The Sirui 18mm, or any ultra-wide add on lens (or even the built in ultra-wide on some phones)…in this case along with the the native Camera App on the iPhone SE2020, is a real cloud machine. The auto exposure with “Smart HDR” engaged does an excellent job of rendering cloud drama. You will see, however, some lens perspective distortion if you angle the camera and lens (the phone that is) up to include more sky. Note the birch clump in the lower right hand corner. If I were to correct for the vertical perspective error, and attempt to maintain the full width of the sky it would look like something like the second photo…and cropping out the black would cost me sky, which is the subject of the photo after all. 🙂 Which is why we have learned to live with that the strangeness in our images whenever the sensor is not parallel to the ground or perpendicular to the horizon. 🙂 Whatever camera the images were taken with.
Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk Maine. The iPhone SE2020 takes full resolution panoramas up to 360 degrees. Add the Sirui 18mm for some extra height and you can get impressive results. This panorama is over 14500 pixels wide (shrunk to 2000 for posting here). That is a huge file and a huge image. It is not quite 360 degrees because I lost some when straightening the horizon. Panoramas are something that I have to remember to do, and they are difficult to display and view effectively, but can be impressive. Native Camera App in Pano mode.
Nothing technical about this photo. Just a nice landscape with water from the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve. iPhone SE2020 with the Sirui 18mm on the Moment thin case. Native Camera App. Auto.
The other thing you can do with Live Photo, is, of course, create an animated gif or a short video. On an Apple Device, the gif or video will loop…so for things like flowing water it can be quite interesting. Depending on where you view this, it may or may not loop, but you can get the idea. Essentially a Live Photo is a short video of frames before and after your shutter press. iPhone SE2020 with Sirui 18mm lens on the Moment thin case. Native Camera App. Live Photo. Converted to video in Lively.
The Apple Camera App does this “live photo” thing. I have not yet figured out exactly what it is actually for…why anyone would use it most of the time. Or maybe it is more why I would use it, any time. I have experimented with it for photos of active birds using the Sirui 400mm and it has potential there…but not as much as actually shooting in 4K video and taking clips. One of the other things it does is to simulate a long exposure…for things like flowing water. I had to experiment with that, and I had a chance yesterday when I biked out to Emmon’s Preserve on the Baston River in Kennebunkport. Above you see three renderings of the same little fall of water. The first is the standard shot lifted from a live photo and processed in Apple Photos. The second is a “Vivid HRD” from ProCamera, also processed in Photos. The third is the same live photo from the Camera App, with the “long exposure” effect engaged. I have never been a big fan of the “silky water” effect, but it can be interesting. I will leave it to you to decide whether the iPhone Camera App does a good job with it.
My trike is still in the shop getting its electric assist installed, so I am doing more walking these days. This view of the lower Mousam River is from a wood road off Brown Street. Right across there is an actual manicured overlook along the Bridal Path where it passes through Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge land, but this is a more natural setting for the river, on an interesting weather day. Sirui 18mm lens on the Moment thin case on the iPhone SE2020. Native Camera App, Auto.
One advantage of the Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 is the amount of foreground you can include in your landscape images. By limiting the sky to the top third of the image, you can create landscapes with a lot of foreground detail and an interesting perspective. Of course the same advantage applies whether you are using the Sirui, or the ultra-wide lens built into your phone, or even an ultra-wide on a mirrorless or DSLR style camera. Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case. Native Camera App on Auto.
I am enjoying having a ultra-wide angle lens in my pocket. I have always like the 18mm perspective, and I invested in a Sony mirrorless body and the Sony 20mm and ultra-wide converter as my “landscape” camera to take on my over-seas journeys…but I find that I do not carry it around home. One extra camera. The Sony Rx10iv reaches 24mm and it is too easy to just grab it and go. Even when climbing mountains in Costa Rica or Uganda, looking for birds or gorillas, the extra camera was cumbersome. With the 18mm lens on the Moment thin case in my iPhone SE2020, having the ultra-wide perspective with me all the time is not an issue. The phone is there anyway, and the lens is just a tiny lump in one of my pockets. 🙂 I am sure I would feed the same way about a phone with the ultra-wide built in. iPhone SE2020 with Moment thin case and Sirui 18mm. Native Camera App. Auto. This is the grounds of an extensive estate which has recently been acquired by the local National Wildlife Refuge, Rachel Carson, to use as their headquarters (and to protect a prime section of the banks of the Mousam River).
Distortion, or the lack there-of. One of the surprising things about the Sirui 18mm lens on the iPhone SE2020 and the Moment thin case is how little distortion there is both across the field and at the edges of the field. If you have used other wide angle add-on lenses for your phone, or even the native wide angle lens if you phone is equipped with one, you know that this level of quality is the exception, not the rule. This shot did require some “vertical perspective” correction in Polarr as the 18mm perspective tips verticals back toward the horizon if you have the camera pointing up at all, as in this case, to catch more of the sky drama…but that is just something all lenses do whenever the sensor is not perpendicular to the horizon. It is so common in photographs that we generally do not even see it. Architectural photographers, who care about such things, use special lenses which eliminate the vertical tilt. It can also be corrected in many photo editing apps. iPhone SE2020 with the Moment thin case and the Sirui 18mm lens. Native camera app on Auto.