Photography

Beautiful evening light on the Apple iPhone 12 mini

Great light on an evening walk

I took a walk after work the other day, the first time I had poked my head outside all day, and was pleased to find excellent golden light. I made a number of photos on that walk with my phone.

My new Apple iPhone 12 mini

I had recently upgraded my phone to the new Apple iPhone 12 mini. My iPhone 6s no longer held a charge all day, even after I replaced the battery early in 2020. Also, thanks to Apple’s planned obsolescence, my phone had taken its last major iOS update. In time, the apps I use would stop updating, and some would stop working.

A small rant: I was happy with my 6s. It did everything I need from a pocketable Internet device. I did not want a new phone. Apple’s latest iPhone features are interesting, to be sure, but I don’t need them.

I briefly considered chucking it all and getting a Google Pixel, a capable Android phone at a reasonable price. I also considered buying an iPhone SE, which has the same basic body as my 6s with up-to-date innards at a not unreasonable price. But then my carrier offered me a surprising sum to trade in my well-used old phone on any iPhone 12.

That brought the iPhone 12 mini into play. I dislike large phones — my one gripe with my 6s was its size. It took up my whole front pocket and could not be used entirely one-handed. The 12 mini is noticeably smaller than my 6s (though larger than my old iPhone 5) and is more comfortable to carry and use. It’s also less expensive than the full-sized 12 and the plus-sized 12 Pro.

Great light on an evening walk

But back to my walk. Whenever I unexpectedly come upon something lovely, I’m always grateful to have my iPhone in my pocket. All three of my iPhones have had smashingly good cameras — not perfect, but what camera is? As long as you have at least decent light and don’t mind its wide-angle ways, you can get the photograph.

Great light on an evening walk

You can pinch the screen to zoom the iPhone camera, but it’s a digital zoom. At phone screen sizes the zoomed images look all right, but at larger sizes fine details can be lost. I haven’t used my iPhone 12 mini enough to be sure, but it might yield better zoomed photos than any of my previous iPhones. The camera app now shows how much you’ve zoomed; this photo is at about 2x.

Great light on an evening walk

Here’s the same scene at 1x.

Great light on an evening walk

The iPhone 12 mini has a second camera with an even wider lens. The camera app shows it as “0.5x.” I’m sure this camera is most useful to photograph large groups of people. It’s hard to tell what the subject is in this photo, but at least the sky is dramatic.

Great light on an evening walk

I’m confident I could have made equally good photos with my 11-year-old Canon S95, and probably even better photos with my wife’s newer Sony RX-100. But neither of those compact cameras are as pocketable as my iPhone.

Great light on an evening walk

This photo has color that reminds me a little of classic Kodak color film. The iPhone 12 did a pretty good job of capturing the details of the branches.

Great light on an evening walk

Apple has improved its cameras, sometimes massively, with each generation of iPhone. I expect my 12 mini to get shots my 6s used to struggle with, especially in low light.

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Evening light over the back yard

Evening light on the back yard
iPhone 5
2012

It seems like ages ago that all of my ash trees died and were removed. But it was just two summers ago.

Before that, my wooded back yard was lit only in the evening, as the sun set. And what beautiful light I would sometimes get!

Yesterday I moved the last of my things out. I’ll spend some time cleaning the house over the weekend, and will close the sale on Monday.

Film Photography

single frame: Evening light on the back yard

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Sunset at the fair

Sunset leaving the State Fair
iPhone 6S
2017

At Christmastime last year I got an email offer from the Indiana State Fair to buy tickets at an incredible discount. So I bought four. Naturally, come July I’d forgotten all about it. Another email offer came to buy more discounted tickets, and I bought four. And then I discovered the email confirmation from the Christmastime purchase. Indiana State Fair, I’m wise to your ways now!

Margaret and I and some of our kids used six of the tickets the day before my 50th birthday. I figured I’d never make time to use the last two tickets, but then a Thursday evening opened up unexpectedly while the Fair was still running. Margaret and I headed right down there after work.

It was a lovely, cool evening. The sun had almost finished setting as we were leaving. This was the view across infield parking. Typical of Indiana sunsets, the colors were lovely. What made it remarkable were some unusually low clouds that the fading light silhouetted.

This day I brought no good cameras, as Margaret and I just wanted to soak in the fair and in each other. Thank heavens for my ever-present iPhone.

Photography

single frame: Sunset leaving the State Fair

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Indianapolis sunset from the National Road bridge

Sunset over the White River on the National Road bridge, Indianapolis
Apple iPhone 6s
2016

I shot this on my wedding day. My bride and I stayed Downtown on our wedding night, and we took a sunset stroll through White River State Park along the path of the old National Road, which the park took over. The old bridge over the White River hasn’t carried cars in decades. It’s a seven-span closed-spandrel concrete arch bridge built in 1916.

Photography

Photo: Sunset over the White River

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Sunset at 80 kph

Irish sunset at 80 kph
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

Margaret was driving. The sun was setting; the sky gave up brilliant oranges. My camera was in the cupholder, ready.

Photography, Travel
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At the Fair

The fair at dusk
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 800
2015

Film Photography, Photography
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