A Bold Move – Why I Sold My Canon Gear

Sometimes people do the craziest things. I tend to be a pretty conservative fellow — you know, err on the side of caution, that sort of thing. But recently I made a decision that will, in a small way, change my life. Well, the photography side of my life at least. I have decided to become an iPhone only photographer, or an all out iPhoneographer.

I’ve had some sort of Canon DSLR for that past thirteen years and have enjoyed them immensely. My Canons have been great tools for capturing some pretty nice photos and there are much better cameras out there than the ones I’ve owned but I have also been having a lot of fun taking pictures with my iPhone, and the challenges that come with it.

You might say taking photos with an iPhone couldn’t be any easier. I mean really, you just point… and click, or tap, and voila, you have the shot, right?

Edited with Polarr Photo Editor
This photo was in a gallery exhibition

Well, let me tell you, if you’ve never tried to get a really good photo with an iPhone, it isn’t that easy. Sure, it isn’t rocket science, but getting a shot that has the potential to be confused for a DSLR image has its challenges and using an iPhone has its limitations.

Speaking of limitations, some of you reading this might be thinking I’m off my rocker for leaving the DSLR scene with all of its possibilities to a very limited one in that of the iPhone. I knew that full well going into this. And believe me, this isn’t a spur of the moment decision. I have been mulling over this for probably two years now. I was just waiting to see if that “ah ha” moment would ever come to push me over the edge of uncertainty. That moment has been manifesting itself in a few different ways over those two years.

I began this thought process when the iPhone started to get good at taking photos. For me that started in October of 2013 when the iPhone 5s was released. The technology in that thing was very cool. It was the first iPhone that, when you tripped the shutter, would take a series of four images almost simultaneously, instantly analyze them and give you the sharpest one. I was impressed, but what impressed me more was the quality of the photos I was taking. And no, I realize they aren’t DSLR photos, I get that. But for images produced from a PHONE, they were pretty good. The continuing evolution of iPhone cameras kept increasing my faith in them as something I could use exclusively. The increase from 8 MP to 12 in the 6s was all but the icing on the cake for me and since I get a new iPhone every two years, I’m very excited to see what the 2017 model will have. Oh, and that’s a good point too. I get a new camera every other year!

Digging deeper into why I took this plunge, there are my reasons for taking photos in the first place. I’m not a professional so I don’t make a living doing photography. I don’t often print my photos, although I’m a firm believer that it helps to improve one’s photos. For the type of photography I do, I really don’t need a fancy full frame DSLR and big, expensive, top quality lenses. My memories and my works of art are generally reserved for my own menagerie of pixels stored on a hard drive both at home and abroad (my backups), and the ones I deem worthy are shared for you and anyone else who cares to take a look at them on a small handful of online portals. A good friend of mine once referred to me as a “social media” photographer, which is arguable, but I prefer to be called a “photographer,” just like anyone else who creates photos with a camera.

With an iPhone I can explore various types of photography all on the same device, and a versatile arsenal of apps allows me to do things like instant HDR, black and white, or even an upside down view camera style of photography just to name a few. It’s like having a darkroom right in my pocket. The limitations of the iPhone with regard to taking photos is, in my opinion, balanced quite nicely with the ever expanding possibilities for creating art provided by the thousands of people who create the apps available to us.

I spoke earlier about not needing expensive lenses and such. I don’t. But I have acquired a set of lenses that I can attach to my iPhone to expand my photographic experience. Again, the quality is not like that of my Canon stuff but I’m ok with it. The close up work I can do
with the macro lens was probably the IMG_2157
final deciding factor for making my switch to iPhoneography. I never did own a macro lens for my Canon so I hadn’t experienced the world up close but I’m loving it, and this little kit of lenses cost less for all five than the cheapest of Canon lenses.

I could go on and on about what I like about iPhoneography but I’m sure a lot of those who began reading this have already moved on. If you are still here, thank you for your interest. I want to close by saying that I hope my peers don’t think any less of me as a photographer. I still know the craft. I’ll still help those in need whenever I can, and I will still learn from other photographers just as I have for most of my life. I know there will be times when I won’t be able to do what my peers are doing in their photography, but that’s okay, I’ve already accepted that. Currently I have two goals for my iPhoneography. Well, okay, one goal and one dream. The goal is to capture an image of the milky way. The dream? Well, it’s a long shot, but my dream is to be featured in the Apple World Gallery where, if selected, one of my images will occupy billboards around the world and be printed on the back cover of thousands of magazines. The goal is more likely to happen than the dream but hey, there’s nothing wrong with “shooting for the stars” now, is there?

My Most Popular Photos

I thought I’d check out my most popular photos on Flickr and surprisingly, they’re both iPhone photos. The top ranked photo seems to get views just about every day. It’s a simple photo of a cup of coffee, which just happens to be one of the most popular beverages on the planet. I’m guessing the reason this image gets so many views is because people search for “coffee” on Flickr or in a search engine, and because I named the photo “Coffee”, it must show up. In fact, the photo had three views in the time it took me to prepare this post. This image has never appeared on the Flickr Explore page where you get a lot of “exposure” and it has received no “faves”, meaning no one has favourited it. The view count is currently sitting at 881.

The photo was taken with my iPhone 4s and edited in an app called Snapseed.

Here’s “Coffee”.

My favourite beverage.
My favourite beverage.

My second most popular photo is one I took recently with my iPhone 5s at a place called Saugeen First Nations Amphitheatre. It’s simply a bench sitting in front of a stone wall that has some vines and flowers growing up it. The image was also edited in Snapseed. 

This photo did make it to the Explore page. It still hasn’t caught up to “Coffee” but it has received some fave love by some thirteen out of 728 people who have viewed it.

I call this one “Amphitheatre Bench”.

Amphitheatre Bench
Amphitheatre Bench

You can see more of my photography at reddoor.photos

Someone’s Farm

Someone's Farm by gregmcmillan
Someone’s Farm, a photo by gregmcmillan on Flickr.

On a recent day trip to the McMichael Gallery we wanted to get some pictures of an old abandoned house. As I jumped out of the car to start our little venture, this farm across the road caught my eye. I spent all of about three seconds composing and shooting the scene.
The display at the gallery consisted of images by Edward Burtynsky and Ansel Adams. As you can see by the edit on this image, I was very influenced by Adams. I truly believe I will never be able to produce a black and white edit that would come close to Ansel’s work, but I will definitely be studying the Zone System in a lot of my future works.

Was Nostradamus Right?

I really don’t know what to make of Nostradamus. As a Christian, I reserve all my belief for the word of God as it is written in the bible. Biblical prophecy has always intrigued me, especially when I see how it has come true. Nostradamus made some bold predictions in his day, and arguably, most of them seem to have come true to this point.
To be honest, I haven’t really paid that much attention to his predictions, but one that has surfaced lately is quite interesting, and one might say that it may even have ties to the Mayans. It is as follows:

“From the calm morning, the end will come
When of the dancing horse
the number of circles will be 9”

Nostradamus 1503

It appears that this prediction – and I refer to it as a prediction, not prophecy – pertains to the Korean sensation Psy, and his massive hit YouTube video Gangnam Style. Do you see the correlation? Let me explain.
Korea, and I don’t know if there is any stipulation over North or South here, is known as the “Land of the Morning Calm” because the character script used to write the name Korea is often translated into English as “calm morning/sun”. Well, that pretty much gives us a geographical location for where this prediction is said to originate, “From the calm morning”. Psy hails from the Gangnam District in Seoul, South Korea.
Now the prediction gets a little sketchy for me because the next few words pertain to the end of something, but what? He just said “the end will come”. This, to me, is where I think Nostradamus makes a connection with the Mayans, specifically with the fact that their calendar came to an end. The first thing most people think of here is the end of the world, but we all know that didn’t happen. I think when he says “the end will come”, he is merely predicting the end of the Mayan calendar. But how can we be sure of that?
It is a well documented fact that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. Some people have taken this so seriously that they really thought the world would end on that day. I didn’t believe it for a minute. But something did indeed happen on December 21, 2012. Psy’s video for Gangnam Style, where he dances like a guy riding a horse, reached one billion views on YouTube. That’s a 1 with nine zeroes. “When of the dancing horse the number of circles will be 9”. Ok, this is where I got freaked out a little.
Nostradamus most likely had no idea that YouTube would exist, only that there would be a relation between Korea, the end of something, a dancing horse, and nine circles. I’m sure he knew that the circles might be part of a number, but there’s no way he could have pictured in his mind a guy who likes to “dress classy and dance cheesy”. I don’t know, maybe he was just phenomenal at guessing.
Or maybe Psy read the prediction and decided he would orchestrate the song, the dance, the fact that he didn’t stop all the copying of his style so it would get worldwide attention much faster, the timing of its release on YouTube so it would hit the billion views mark on December 12… nah.
Whether Nostradamus was accurate with his predictions or just plain lucky, only God knows. But I couldn’t help writing about this one. God Bless.