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Forget the Tripod and leave the DSLR Home! An iPhoneography experiment

Maybe next time I'll just leave my entire DSLR rig home. I won't forget my smartphone because I may need it for GPS & traffic. Oh,... and perhaps the occasional snap-shot or two right?

Wrong. How about whipping it out for some serious panorama photographs like the one above, not snap-shots but images that present a more artistic look, something similar to the results from a pro camera. So while shooting this-morning, I found myself reaching for my iPhone while waiting on long exposures from my DSLR.

Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, CT

Lighthouse Point Park at Sunrise, New Haven, CT Captured with an iPhone 7 Plus

The first thing I realized was this is really good light for a smartphone - overcast and diffused. Not having to worry so much about highlights gave way to push the limits on my mobile device and see what I can create afterwards in Lr Mobile; keeping the entire shoot within the constrains of the mobile environment.

So the shoot went something like this: clean lens, panorama mode, compose, tuck elbows in tight, feet planted while twisting torso to pan - yeap, something like that. No images to stitch afterwards, no time spent leveling my tripod and ball-head (in beach sand none-the-less) and no overlapping for each image - just a swift torso pan. I’m sure I looked like a guy on the beach doing some strange exercise.

Later that day, I balked at downloading my DSLR images and reached instead for my iPad Pro where my images would be waiting for me in the cloud. Let's get to work...

The Lr Mobile platform feels and functions much like the desktop version. I'm quite impressed with the ease and results I'm getting, even when shooting JPG's. As you can see from the below screen captures, there's a handy histogram, all the same sliders and in the same order as the desktop version. But what really blows my mind is how easy and functional dodging & burning is with the brushes, radial and gradient tools.

After some basic adjustments and brushes for slight corrections, I was basically finished and pretty satisfied with the results. Watermark? While Lr Mobile offers a generic text option, there's an easy way to add your custom watermark. Adobe has several mobile apps outside of Lr and Ps. Adobe's "Photoshop Mix" mobile app gives way to layering and other sorts of blending creations and can be downloaded in the app store. By simply bringing over your image from Lr, you can easily add your signature png image as a layer, then resize, position, adjust opacity, text, etc.

So if you're up for a challenge, or perhaps inspiration is calling and you're "DSLR" is at home, don't forget the device in your pocket has a camera that can capture the moment that would have otherwise passed like the clouds. In all honestly, I'm not ready to ditch my DSLR, but the smartphone certainly offers an alternative or 2nd camera option.

So to wrap up, here’s a DSLR version from the same morning in comparison to the iPhone version below it.

Made using a Nikon D500. 7 vertical RAW images, stitched and processed in Lightroom

Made using an iPhone 7 Plus with the panorama option

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