Category Archives: iPhone

Still Life with Silver Bowl

Sometimes the beautiful things are all around us, like this group of fruit in a reflective bowl. This version was processed on my iPhone with Plastic Bullet, Lo-Mob, and Snapseed:

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

Still Life in Silver Bowl © Harold Davis

This version of my image was made using the Waterlogue app:

Still Life and Watercolor © Harold Davis

Still Life and Watercolor © Harold Davis

Incredibly Attractive Highly Repellant

Of course, this leads to a grammatical question: Is the implied subject female or fabric? Methinks it could be either, or maybe both.

Incredibly Attractive Highly Repellant © Harold Davis

Incredibly Attractive Highly Repellant © Harold Davis

Sketches with Waterlogue

The iPhone is probably the best camera there is for quick sketches. For one thing, it is pretty much always with me. For another, it is quick and easy to use, and surprisingly capable. But the best part is the “digital darkroom in the little box”—the fact that I can creatively process my photos right on the iPhone. There are hundreds of wonderful post-production apps, but one of my favorites is Waterlogue. Waterlogue doesn’t work for all images, but when I am looking for a dreamy final image that resembles a water color painting it is certainly my go-to app. Here are some recent sketches by Harold and Waterlogue, from top to bottom: Path in the Park and Stairs, both photographed in the Little Town of Prague; Bicycle 1 and Bicycle 2, photographed in the Old Town of Heidelberg, Germany; and Banks of the River, the Nekkar River where it flows through Heidelberg at the end of a warm summer’s day.

Path in the Park © Harold Davis

Path in the Park © Harold Davis

By the way, if you are curious, this effect can be achieved in Photoshop also with images made on a real camera, most commonly using the Topaz Simplify and Impression plugins. But it’s hard to quarrel with the immediacy of an iPhone app.

Stairs © Harold Davis

Stairs © Harold Davis

Try to consider when creating this kind of image: how will it look when blanketed with softness? Is this truly a water-color-like image, or is it something that needs harder edges? If harder edges are better, then you should be aiming for a more photographic look rather than something painterly.

Bicycle 1 © Harold Davis

Bicycle 1 © Harold Davis

It is good to be back in Heidelberg, where I am teaching a workshop. Coming back to a city I already know a bit where I have some friends is a little like coming home!

Bicycle 2 © Harold Davis

Bicycle 2 © Harold Davis

Banks of the River © Harold Davis

Banks of the River © Harold Davis

The Prague Golem

I found this cabinet containing the Prague Golem at the entrance to Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery. Fortunately, the cabinet appears locked. I hope it stays that way, at least while I am still in the Czech Republic. Although the single, small padlock may be a little puny to restrain a Golem, such as the famous and notably nasty Golem created according to legend by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel back in the late 1500s.

The Prague Golem © Harold Davis

The Prague Golem © Harold Davis

Gem of the Drakenberg

Wandering with the kids over to Indian Rock I came across some really nice spiral specimens of Aloe polyphylla. The plant is originally from Lesotho near South Africa, and is sometimes called “the Gem of the Drakenberg.”

Spiral © Harold Davis

Spiral © Harold Davis

I snapped an iPhone photo, and processed it while the kids played in the rocks. Then today I couldn’t resist going back with the big camera! Processed, like my Agaves, to look as much like an etching or a lithograph as a photo.

Gem of the Drakenberg © Harold Davis

Gem of the Drakenberg © Harold Davis

Views of Japan

Hokusai, the famous Japanese woodblock print artist of the Edo period, created many views of Japan that included Mt Fuji, but the one shown here was probably not in his contemplation as they didn’t have air travel back then. I made the photo on an internal Japanese flight from Tokushima on Shikkoku Island to Haneda Airport near Tokyo.

View of Mt Fuji © Harold Davis

View of Mt Fuji © Harold Davis

For my own homage to Hokusai in the context of San Francisco, check out my book 100 Views of the Golden Gate.

As part of a chapter in the new book I am working on, related to black and white photography, I’ve been looking through my photography of Japan. These are some of the iPhone photos I’ve found, mostly of subject matter that I also photographed with conventional, high resolution cameras.

Misty Mountains © Harold Davis

Misty Mountains © Harold Davis

For example, the view of misty mountains long the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage on the Kii peninsula shown above can be seen more extensively in Distant Japanese Landscape.

The somewhat bleak courtyard shown next is in Koya-san, where I stayed for a couple of rainy autumn days as a guest in a monastery.

Autumn in Japan © Harold Davis

Autumn in Japan © Harold Davis

If you’ve ever visited Japan’s ancient imperial capital of Nara, you’ll know that the deer of Nara are a big touristic deal—which is why they are portrayed in the attractive design on the manhole cover that I found on a Nara side street.

Manhole Cover, Nara, Japan © Harold Davis

Manhole Cover, Nara, Japan © Harold Davis

I liked wandering around Nara. There was a great deal to look at, such as Kofuku-ji, a Buddhist pagoda temple with origins dating to the 669 AD, once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples. Today, even monuments as important as Kofuku-ji radiate a palpable sense of time having moved on, and despite all the hustle and bustle in Japan Nara seems like a delightful backwater.

Pagoda in Nara © Harold Davis

Pagoda in Nara © Harold Davis

An angel watching out for me

The barista at Farley’s in Emeryville, California makes the nicest designs in the Latte foam!

Coffee © Harold Davis

Coffee © Harold Davis

Floral Square

Last week when I have a composition on my light box I photographed it with a high resolution camera on tripod. Then I thought, why not do it using my iPhone as well. The results photographed and processed on my iPhone are shown here.

Floral square © Harold Davis

Floral square © Harold Davis

Flowers at a Restaurant

I photographed these orchids through translucent etched glass at the handsome Murray Circle Restaurant at the Cavallo Point Inn, part of Fort Baker in Sausalito, California. The location is right across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. If you are interested, you can read my review of the restaurant on Trip Advisor (opens in a new window).

Flowers at a Restaurant © Harold Davis

Flowers at a Restaurant © Harold Davis

Photographed using my iPhone camera app, and processed in Waterlogue.

Waterlogue and Harold Davis iPhoneography

The best camera to use is the one you have with you, and I pretty much always have my iPhone camera with me. My iPhone is not only a camera, it is also a digital darkroom. Please click here to check out my new virtual gallery of iPhoneography by Harold Davis.

So, carpenters know to get the right tool for the job. If I need a high resolution original to make big prints I am likely to use a 36MP full-frame DSLR with one of my superb Zeiss lenses.

But for quick, impressionistic water-color-like images, such as the ones shown here, my iPhone and the Waterlogue app are just the ticket! Waterlogue is certainly not the only iPhone processing app I use, but it is my go-to software when I am looking for a soft, dreamy water color look.

I shot this image at Monet’s Garden, Giverny, about an hour outside of Paris. I used my iPhone camera app. I used my bracket to place the iPhone on my tripod, and the ear bud as a shutter release. On the bus ride back to Paris, I processed the image on my phone using the nifty Waterlogue app.

Giverny © Harold Davis

Giverny © Harold Davis

Today the city of Cahors in the southwest of France is a slightly gritty provincial capital—but back in the middle ages it was fabulously wealthy. Protected on three sides by the river Lot, Cahors was nevertheless sacked, abandoned and rebuilt. But glory was never regained entirely (the Black Death didn’t help matters). You can see the remnants in the palaces and monuments of the old quarter, where today they have a wonderful fresh food market. I got my lunch today in this market. You really can’t beat a fresh loaf of bread, a tranche of locally made pate, strawberries and a tomato!

Pont Valentre Waterlogue © Harold Davis

Pont Valentre Waterlogue © Harold Davis

Cahors may have fallen to brute force and treachery during the hundred years war during the convoluted battles between French and English monarchs, but the Pont Valentre, shown above and below via iPhone capture, was rightly regarded as impregnable.

Over the years, I have photographed the beached and slowly decaying Point Reyes trawler, located near Inverness, California, by starlight and by daylight in the afternoon. This photo was by iPhone, made while my boys clambered over the wrecked vessel.

Point Reyes Boat © Harold Davis

Point Reyes Boat © Harold Davis

Photographed on my iPhone, and processed on my phone on the spot with the nifty Waterlogue app. Here’s another one:

Point Reyes Boat 2 © Harold Davis

Point Reyes Boat 2 © Harold Davis

The Royal Air Maroc plane to Lisbon was late to leave, as expected. Still, it was a relief to leave the chaos of Casablanca as we said goodbye to Morocco. Surely an adventure with many images to process, and much to digest. I captured this image on my iPhone, and processed it with Waterlogue.

Leaving Morocco © Harold Davis

Leaving Morocco © Harold Davis

Shadows

In this image, I used my iPhone to photograph and process the shadows of a Venetian blind projected by the late afternoon sun onto the linen curtains in my office. Note the shadow of the rectangular pole (used to open and close the slats) in the lower right, and the regular pattern of darker shadow at the apex of the curve made by the positioning of the curtains.

Shadows © Harold Davis

Shadows © Harold Davis

While it is great to travel with my camera, I believe—and I like to teach—that it is perfectly possible to be creative wherever you are, and that sometimes home is best.

Photographing the Point Reyes boat with my iPhone and the Waterlogue app

Over the years, I have photographed the beached and slowly decaying Point Reyes trawler, located near Inverness, California, by starlight and by daylight in the afternoon. This photo was by iPhone, made while my boys clambered over the wrecked vessel.

Point Reyes Boat © Harold Davis

Point Reyes Boat © Harold Davis

Photographed on my iPhone, and processed on my phone on the spot with the nifty Waterlogue app. Here’s another one:

Point Reyes Boat 2 © Harold Davis

Point Reyes Boat 2 © Harold Davis

Katie on the hiking trail

On a beautiful spring Sunday with glorious clouds and shifting light I took my four kids for a hike in Tilden Park. We parked a car near Lake Anza (Phyllis helped with the logistics), then drove to the trail head at Little Farm. We walked around Jewel Lake, ascended the Upper Packrat Trail, switched to the Memory Trail, crossed Canyon Drive, turned left on Selby Trail, and proceeded on Selby Trail back to the parked car. You can see a park trail map by clicking here (opens in a new window).

Katie on the hiking trail © Harold Davis

Katie on the hiking trail © Harold Davis

The route was probably about three or four miles, with plenty of up and down, and tired us all out. But the kids did wonderfully, with only a little whining from Katie towards the end, and only a little stick-and-sword play from the boys.

The image was photographed using my iPhone camera, and processed on my iPhone.

An amusement park for adults

Downtown Porto, Portugal’s second city, has aspects of an amusement park for adults, without being cloying. There’s a great river with boats of every kind, an old town with ancient structures—some a little scruffy, but nothing too disreputable—funiculars, cog railway elevators, and a number of bridges, including a great 19th century cast-iron structure coming from the incomparable Gustav Eiffel’s studio. Not to mention great food, and plenty of port wine to taste.

Ponte Luis I  © Harold Davis

Ponte Luis I © Harold Davis

On the Eiffel bridge—Ponte Luis I—cars are relegated to the bottom. The upper level is a vertigo-inducing walkway for pedestrians, and a platform for the light rail system.

Porto via IPhone © Harold Davis

Porto via IPhone © Harold Davis

It’s hard to imagine anyone not enjoying walking around the waterfront area of this city at night. As the wind and weather changes, so do the reflections in the Duoro River—but each time and in every way the view is charming.

Ponte Luis I  © Harold Davis

Ponte Luis I © Harold Davis

Interested in seeing the world with me, and making unusual photos in night time as well as during the daytime? Check out my upcoming autumn photography trip to the Sea-Girt Villages of Italy.

Related story: Travels with Samantha.

Succulent

Succulent © Harold Davis

Succulent © Harold Davis

Shot along the paths of Berkeley, California with my iPhone, and processed primarily using the Snapseed app iPhone while waiting for long exposures to complete. Having a camera and a digital darkroom in one’s phone means never being bored!