Category Archives: iPhone


The assignment I gave out on the second day of the Achieving Your Potential as a Digital Photographer workshop was to make a photo of something so that it looks like something else. In other words, change something to something new. In other words, metamorphosis.

Bathtub Landscape via IPhone © Harold Davis

Bathtub Landscape via IPhone © Harold Davis

My response to my own challenge: this abstract image I think of as a landscape with a highway and a canal, shot using my iPhone facing a bathtub at Urban Ore, and processed on the spot on the iPhone using the Plastic Bullet app.

I think the workshop was a great success. There will be ongoing follow-up sessions using webinar technology to make sure that action plans actually get implemented! I am very hopeful that metamorphosis will apply in the most positive way possible to the wonderful participants in this workshop, as well as to the imagery we made.

Working with my mobile “fun” camera

Saturday was a gray and moist day in Berkeley, California. I took the kids out to a playground up higher in the coastal range, and all of a sudden we were in the middle of a cloud, with light but persistent precipitation. While the kids played in the sand, I used the camera app on my iPhone to snap a photo of the eucalyptus trees in the fog.

Virage © Harold Davis

Virage © Harold Davis

Standing under a sheltering tree, I processed the image on my iPhone in about five minutes, using Filterstorm, Plastic Bullet, and the 60s Square Virage filter from Lo-Mob.

I don’t think my need for high resolution, an optical viewfinder, and a variety of “real” lenses is likely to be satisfied anytime soon by my iPhone camera—but what you can do on a mobile “fun” is great and pleasing in its own right!

About the time I finished processing, the day grew even wetter—and by parental fiat we decided to bag the playground before everyone got soaked to the bone.

Kate Rose is doing fine!

From time to time I get asked for a follow up on the story of Katie Rose from people—both strangers and those I know—who remember how she was born. Katie Rose is doing just fine, which counts as a major miracle in my book, considering that she was born at one pound with complete cardiac and lung failure. She’s shown here via a recent iPhone capture in the playground.

Katie Rose in the playground via iPhone © Harold Davis

Katie Rose in the playground via iPhone © Harold Davis

For me, whenever things seem hard in the world or I am unhappy, I remember that miracles do indeed happen in real life—and Katie Rose is here to prove it!

Related: The Story of Katie Rose book; Katie Rose category on my blog.

Tokyo Stairs

Before heading to Kyoto on the bullet train, I spent a little time in the morning wandering around Tokyo. These stairs were to a pedestrian walkway over Chuo-dori in the Ginza district.

Tokyo Stairs via iPhone © Harold Davis

Tokyo Stairs via iPhone © Harold Davis

Noriko tries to poison me

Well, not really. In actual fact, Noriko took me to a wonderful, varied and seasonal dinner at a restaurant with no external signage in the Gion district of Kyoto. The kind of restaurant, and meal, that tourists can generally only dream of having in Japan.

Fugu via iPhone © Harold Davis

Fugu via iPhone © Harold Davis

I was half way through a tasty dish of some kind of baked fish with a subtle barbecue sauce when Noriko said, “Don’t worry, they are licensed here.”

I must have looked blank, because she continued, “This is Fugu!”

I must have still looked blank, because she said, “You know, Blowfish. It’s also called ‘Pufferfish.’ The poison fish.”

Licensed to what? Licensed to kill?

“There’s no danger,” Noriko continued. “The poison is near the intestines. The only people who die are those who eat the intestines anyway, because they are greedy people and the intestines taste so good. The government licenses people who serve this fish.”

At which point she translated our conversation for the immaculately clad-in-white, smiling and bowing chefs behind the counter, who thought it was hilarious. I pantomimed doubling up and keeling over from the poison, which they thought was even funnier, then allowed as I trusted them.

I told Noriko I wished I’d known about the fish before I’d eaten it so I could have photographed the dish with my iPhone. She said, “In that case, I’ll order it prepared a different way. But after you photograph it, you must eat it, you know.”

You can see in the iPhone shot above that the slices in the second dish of Fugu are so thin they are translucent.

Thank you, Noriko!

Fly Day

What day is it today? For many of us it is “Fly Day”—no matter what the calendar says. And while flying, what better way to while away the time than to photograph the airplane wing with my iPhone, then play with the results (this iPhone image was processed using the Plastic Bullet, Lo Mob, Filterstorm and Snapseed apps).

Fly Day © Harold Davis

Fly Day © Harold Davis


This statue was resident in the lobby at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris when we held the 2013 Photograph Paris with Harold Davis workshop. It amused me to snap an iPhone photo, more or less from the viewpoint of the front desk.

Derrière by Harold Davis

Derrière © Harold Davis

Happy Fisheye Family

Every once in a while a photographic gadget comes along that is simply so silly, and such a kluge, that I have to try it! After all, photography is about having fun, and not just about making “serious” images. In that spirit, I ordered a set of auxillary lens for the camera in my iPhone from the always-fun Photojojo.

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The set of lens arrived via UPS in an envelope with a plastic dinosaur. I’m not sure what message the dinosaur was intended to send, but it was kind of fun—part of the point of the affair. The set comes with a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens that unscrews to reveal also an extreme macro lens, and a fisheye lens. Note that the zoom facility within the iPhone itself is purely digital, and doesn’t provide any optical differentiation; hence, the desirability of a set of auxiliary lenses that do work optically.

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The way this accessory lens set attaches to the iPhone is that you stick a magnetic disk that has glue on one side onto your iPhone around the camera optics. If the idea of gluing something to your iPhone gives you the creeps, then this isn’t for you!

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Each lens is magnetized and snaps onto the magnetic side of the disk. This works reasonably well. So far, I’ve had most fun with the fisheye lens, shown in these images. The kids wanted their iPhone fisheye picture taken while they mugged for the camera, and I used a tripod to make a self-portrait.

Who knew that the audio cable of an iPhone can also double as a cable release? Maybe you do, but I didn’t. To make this trick work, with the camera app active and the ear buds plugged in, press the “up” volume button on the ear buds wire (indicated by the + symbol).

Well, if this all sounds pretty jerry-rigged, it is truly not the sturdiest setup in town. But it is fun while it lasts, and look at it this way: they laughed when Leica first introduced the 35mm camera, and also called it a “toy.” In photography, toys have a way of sometimes outlasting “serious” gear.

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Wonder whether I’ll be using these photos as blackmail when my kids are older? Me too. Here are some other fisheye shots of Katie Rose and the family from a few years back, shot with a conventional camera and the Nikon 10.5mm digital fisheye.

iPhonographie de Paris

San Sulpice © Harold DavisLuxembourg Gardens  © Harold DavisLa Tour Eiffel © Harold Davis

Moonlight on the Seine © Harold DavisSweet Treat © Harold DavisNotre Dame at Night © Harold Davis

Parc de Sceaux © Harold DavisParis Street © Harold Davis

Notre Dame © Harold DavisPain © Harold DavisVin © Harold Davis

Click here for information about the iPhonography de Paris portfolio. © Harold Davis. All rights reserved. Shot and processed on my iPhone 5.

An iPhone in Paris

I like to say that the best camera to use is the one you have with you. I’ll swear that photographers, and not cameras, make photos! So my iPhone camera is always with me—and it is fun to use it to photograph and process with immediacy.

Moonight on the Seine © Harold Davis

Moonight on the Seine © Harold Davis

I shot this view in Paris of the Seine River by moonlight looking towards the Ile de la Citie from the Passerelle des Artes using my iPhone 5 and the Slow Shutter Cam app.  I processed the image on my iPhone using Snapseed, Plastic Bullet and Lo-Mob. I particularly like the tied-off barges along the quai on the right.

Sweet Treat

I spent my last night in France at Auvers-sur-Oise on the outskirts of Paris. This location was convenient for dropping off my rental car at the airport the next morning, and also where Vincent van Gogh spent his last days, and painted quite a few of his great paintings.

Sweet Treat by Harold Davis

Sweet Treat © Harold Davis

In Auvers-sur-Oise, I stayed at the Hostellerie du Nord—described in the Rick Steves guidebook as “a small, friendly, polished treat for those who want to sleep in luxury” with a “seriously good” restaurant.

All true, but what Rick Steves didn’t convey was the flavor of the place as a rendezvous spot for Parisian couples who wanted a long, languorous and seductive meal before proceeding upstairs to one of the sensuous rooms. Mine was decorated with reproductions of Gauguin paintings of bare-breasted Tahitian beauties.

The atmosphere oozed seductiveness, from the omnipresent statuary of buxom women and Art Nouveau glass to the style of the dinner—formal and extensive, but slow enough and with so much variety that one wouldn’t really get overfull. As I ate I enjoyed playing the voyeur and watching the attractive and prosperous couples around me, and fantasizing about what would happen once the many courses were done. I would have liked to share my strawberry tasting dessert, shown above in an iPhone photo, while lazily thinking about the sweet treat that might follow!

Au Sauvignon

Across the street from the hotel and down the block, Au Sauvignon, a modest brasserie offered simple food and seats to watch the world go by. In the back, these narrow and steep stairs, lined with framed etchings, led to the toilet. This iPhone shot is looking back down towards the main floor and good cheer of the brasserie.

Brasserie Stairs by Harold Davis

Brasserie Stairs © Harold Davis

La Tour Eiffel

At night, the area under the Eiffel Tower turns into an exciting display of lights, colors and people—as you can see in this iPhone shot of this small carousel in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel, the king of all amusement park rides!

La Tour Eiffel by Harold Davis

La Tour Eiffel © Harold Davis

San Sulpice

San Sulpice is a marvelous, unfinished baroque church. It’s a few blocks from the Paris hotel my workshop group is staying in. The interior of this church was in an important scene in Dan Brown’s peculiar but popular book, The Da Vinci Code, which is largely set in Paris. The obelisk shown in this iPhoneograph plays a significant role.

San Sulpice by Harold Davis

San Sulpice © Harold Davis

I shot my image using my iPhone 5, and processed it using the Lo-Mob and Plastic Bullet apps.

Luxembourg Gardens

I am staying around the corner from the Luxembourg Gardens, a fun place to photograph with its harmonious straight lines of trees and flowers in their springtime bloom. This is an example of iphoneography, shot with my iPhone 5, showing one of the aisles of trees.

Luxembourg Gardens by Harold Davis

Luxembourg Gardens by Harold Davis

I processed it through Lo-Mob and Plastic Bullet while waiting for an appointment with a gallerist here in Paris. The good news is that I’ll be having an exhibit next April here in Paris, of my Botanique work and some monochromatic prints as well.