iPhone-powered European photo essay

shotDo not photograph the pickled mussels on Jægersborggade.

That’s my take-away from this brief photo essay from travel writer Alex Robertson. Why else wouldn’t they appear in this otherwise beautiful gallery, taken entirely with an iPhone (in portrait orientation, no less)?

Alex’s enviable career (seriously, I hate him) has him traveling and writing for the New York Times, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Guardian Unlimited, and Condé Nast Traveler. In a recent blog post, he recorded a journey through Milan, Turin, Ivrea, Aosta, Sion, Copenhagen, Malmö, and Lund (See? Hate him.) using his iPhone as his only camera.

Alex called the experience a “plus for convenience [but] minus for quality.” I think his shots look great, but there’s no doubt a pro DSLR would have done stellar job.

As for the “fantastic” pickled mussels, I’ll take Alex’s word on it.

Road Trip: Boston (Updated)

Boston

This weekend I’ll be traveling to my beloved Boston to see a dance performance with my daughter. It’s about 85 miles away from home, so a quick day trip will do. Of course, I’ll have my iPhone with me, and I’ll share how I use it every step of the way. Watch for updates over the weekend and a wrap-up on Monday. I’ll see you in Boston!

Photo Credit: Werner Kunz via Compfight cc

Update: Bad news. Tropical storm Andrea has cancelled our plans. One member of our party is stranded in LA and Boston is expecting heavy rain and 40mph winds on Saturday–not ideal conditions for walking around. Next time.

The iPhone Traveler Pt. 10: Shoot and edit vacation video with an iPhone

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I use Apple’s own camera app, simply called Camera, for shooting video with my iPhone. It does everything I want and is easily accessible from the iPhone’s lock screen (via iOS 5.x). Here’s what I love about shooting video with Camera.

First, it shoots HD video (720p on the iPhone 4, 1080p on the iPhone 4S and 5). Image stabilization goes a long way towards reducing the shakiness of hand-held shots and cropping lets me to perform minor edits before sharing with iMovie on my Mac or iPhone. To shoot some video with the Camera app, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Camera to launch it.
  2. Move the slider in the lower right-hand corner to select video (slide it to the right).
  3. The “shutter button” in the center acquires a red status indicator light. Frame your shot and tap the shutter button to begin recording video.
  4. The red button blinks during recording and a time stamp appears in the upper right-hand corner.
  5. When you’re finished, tap the shutter button again. The red light stops blinking and the video file “jumps” into the camera roll.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind while shooting video with your iPhone. First, It’s almost always better to shoot in landscape orientation (iPhone on its side) than portrait. The main reason is the aspect ratio will look much better on your TV, as you’ll be able to avoid large “black bars” on either side of your video.

You can record video with either the forward-facing camera or the rear-facing camera. You cannot switch while you’re shooting, so make your choice before you begin. Also, there’s no way to zoom in or out while recording, so frame the shot you want first.

Apple has added a nice feature by letting you use the volume up button as the shutter button. Hold your camera on the landscape orientation so that the volume buttons are on top. Tap the volume up button to begin recording (it resembles a “+”) and again to stop. This is feels much more natural than reaching for the software shutter button on your iPhone’s screen. Lastly, you can view your video quickly by simply swiping to the right. The Camera app will slide away and you’ll go right to the camera roll. That’s much easier than exiting Camera and tapping Photos.

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DODOnotes giveaway

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I have been a DODOcase customer since the original iPad was released in the US. I love these great-looking, high-quality cases. In fact, my first DODOcase actually saved my iPad’s life. [1. Note that the DODOcase is not an impact case. A healthy dose of luck was also in play here.] If you read the site, you know that I also love paper. That’s why I think DODOcase’s latest product, DODOnotes, is so cool.

It combines a gorgeous case with a handy, nice-looking notebook of Mohawk Superfine Paper. I have one and can tell you that it’s quite nice.

I also have one for you.

It’s a black model, made for an iPhone 5, with the notebook included. I’m sure you’re going to love it. To enter the giveaway contest, complete the form below. Here are the rules:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before June 6, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive a black DODOnotes case and notebook for the iPhone 5 valued at US$13.95.

Evernote as all-around travel companion

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I realize it’s de rigeur to squawk about how taking photos of important or memorable things is the kind of thing an idiot does instead of “taking in the moment” or “actually being present,” but I’m a pretty firm believer in taking photos of cool things I see and experience when traveling. Perhaps that makes me a philistine, but whatever.

It won’t surprise those who know me to find out that the vast majority of my spiffy travel memories begin their lives in Evernote. Truthfully, most of them never leave.

Sure, Evernote lends itself nicely to organizing travel-related documents—flight and hotel confirmations and the like—and it’s hard to argue that having all such minutiae tucked away inside your smart phone does help one breathe a little easier when trying to herd cats travel with small children.

But the memory capture thing is, if you ask me, a far more compelling Evernote use case for itinerant iPhone operators. If you’ll allow me to present my case…

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Travel iPhoneography: Big Sur, California

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Jim Hill shares this great photo, shot in Big Sur, California. Taken with an iPhone 4.

Today is Memorial Day in the States and I’m taking the day off to visit a National Park. Where ever you are, get outside and enjoy just a little bit of this planet we call home.

Travel iPhoneography is a weekly series of photos of our beautiful world, taken with an iPhone. If you have one you’d like to share, let me know at [comments at 52tiger dot net]. I’d love to feature it.

National Geographic shares iPhone photo tips

When I was a kid, visiting my grandfather in Oneida, New York meant browsing his collection of National Geographic magazines. I loved them, and hoped I’d be a Nat Geo photographer some day. That didn’t happen, of course, and years later I still have such admiration for the photos in that publication.

Recently, the site shared some tips for better iPhone photos. One suggestion is to keep your composition simple:

“When shooting with your iPhone, always look for easily readable patterns. Everything in the image should contribute to the mood and emotion you want to convey. Pattern repetition creates a rhythm that the eyes like to follow. Remember that photos sent to other phones will be viewed small—another reason to keep the image simple and clean.

I took this photo, with its simple pattern of cups and saucers, in a small restaurant in the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland.”

Great tips and even better photos are here.

Why must you turn your iPhone off during takeoff?

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Many people don’t understand why they’re asked to disable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. So why do you have to turn your iPhone off? I got an answer from an airline pilot I happen to know:

“Some older aircraft do have extremely old school radios. Some do not even have GPS. So the FAA has decided two things:

  1. Since it is too contradictory for passengers and flight attendants to discriminate what aircraft they are on, and what should be the corresponding announcement, the same one is used for all aircraft.
  2. The FAA can not take time to test every new device as it’s released. In fact, such testing falls to near the bottom of its priority/to-do list.”

There you have it.

Photo Credit: Sprengben [why not get a friend] via Compfight cc