If you own a smartphone you have one camera with you at all times and may have up to five. Smart phones such as EVO, iPhones, and others allow users to upload multiple camera apps, in conjunction with the standard camera app the phone comes with.
With higher optical quality mobile device cameras and a variety of creative apps, everyday photographers are finding smart phones a great way to be express their visual creativity. Many of the camera apps have controls and settings that rival compact point-n-shoot cameras.
The Daily Herald photography staff, armed with mobile device cameras, set out to record one of the most colorful and longest running fall color season in the Chicago suburbs. Many of them also shared a few images on their Daily Herald Facebook page.
The staff used EVO smart phones and iPhones with a variety of creative apps -- including free versions of android camera360 and retrocamera available on the android market and among the top five free android camera apps listed by androidauthority.com.
Paul Valade, Lake County photo supervisor, created an early 1960s-looking image of fall colors in Veteran Acres Park in Crystal Lake with an EVO smartphone using RetroCamera App.
Photojournalist Bev Horne created an image expressing the extreme color range at Morton Arboretum in Lisle in October, using an iPhone camera app set to vibrate color.
And Mark Black created a pop art image by shooting a bright red oak leaf resting on green grass at Hidden Lake Forest Preserve in Downers Grove with the free FxCamera android app set to the Andy Warholizer mode.
Christopher Hankins, Fox Valley supervisor, created an extremely colorful photograph of a bright maple leaf surround by green leaves on the west side of Carpentersville. The color saturation was created using the Little Orange Box setting with Retro Camera Plus for Android.
I used the Pinhole Camera setting with RetroCamera app for Android to create an image of a rudbeckia flower in a birdbath with a negative style frame. I also took an unrealistic image with an EVO smartphone -- the Hoffman Estates water tower framed by red leaves near Whispering Lake in Hoffman Estates. The extreme color range and saturation of the trees and sky was created using the Camera360 app for Android with High Dynamic Range, HDR, selected.
My top tip for great fall color photographs with any camera is setting the white-balance to "sun" instead of the automatic setting AWB. The auto setting will cause the camera to color correct, and decrease the saturation. My number two tip is don't forget to set it back to AWB before shooting indoors!
With weather more typical of the first half of October than early November, according to Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist at WGN, photographers still have a few more days to capture this fall season's glory.
"Highs this late in the season are hardly common in Chicago" said Skilling, so take advantage of it.
If you would like more tips for taking photos with a cellphone camera, the New York Institute of Photography, NYIP, website has interesting and creative ideas; or contact me via e-mail.