iPhone photography

It’s a well known saying that the best camera you own is the one you have with you. More often than not these days, that will be the one in your phone.

Over the years cameras in phones have got better and better to the point where they can now do almost everything that conventional cameras can.

But there are a few exceptions. One of these is the ability to manage depth of field – to have some parts of a shot in focus and some not.

On our trip to Italy in 2014 I spent a day sightseeing around Syracuse and Ortygia with only my iPhone – a 4S. I’d actually forgotten to take my DSLR camera so the challenge was to get the best shots possible just using the phone. Overall the results were pretty good, but in a bunch of shots everything was in focus (the norm for phone cameras and not a bad thing) but the shots would have looked better if the foreground and background weren’t.

Retouching to the rescue. I used Photoshop to do the work but there are a bunch of other apps that can be used. In fact anything that can reproduce a “tilt shift” effect is ideal.

Tilt shift is a technique which makes a scene look like a miniature or model (an example is below). Not so many years ago this look could only be achieved using a special, and extremely expensive, camera lens. But with the advent of digital retouching it became much easier. It is also great for adding in depth of field to a shot where none exists.

I’ve included a couple of examples in the gallery.

Ten minutes down the road

Having explored as far afield as Radda in Chianti north of Siena and Buonconvento in the south, yesterday we strayed closer to home in Monteroni D’Arbia. This small hamlet is only 10 minutes from the cottage and is the centre of our small district.

We first visited on market day about 3 weeks ago when the main shopping area was filled with stalls selling everything from clothes to meat to household appliances. Every day of the week there is a market in another local town and, rather than them just being a tourist attraction, they are an important part of local life both economically and socially.

We attracted quite a bit of attention walking around, possibly because of our inherent elegance, but more likely because we had the girls with us. Daisy will, as you know gentle reader, take on any dog she sees be it Doberman or Chihuahua so our walk through the market involved a ballet of side steps and distractions as we spotted any oncoming dogs.

Without the market Monteroni D’Arbia is still a delightful place to walk and browse the local shops. It’s not a picture postcard Tuscan village but rather a good honest working town. We stopped for a drink in the cafe on the main road and Jean shopped for plants and containers for our front verandah over the summer. Once again our mix of bad Italian, sign language and the good nature of the locals triumphed and we returned home with everything we wanted – including takeout pizza and beer for dinner.

All up, a good day.