Lake Woodruff NWR Sunrise

When we were at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge I mainly used my iPhone 11 Pro for landscapes. I did not want to carry 2 larger cameras, so I used long lenses on my main camera and relied on my iPhone for landscapes. I have found that when shooting a series of images to blend for panoramas, you have to overlap the images even more on the iPhone than with a regular camera. I did not want to use the panorama feature on the iPhone because you usually get an odd warped distortion or curved section in the middle of the panorama even if the subject is straight across from you. I think this is mostly because of the extremely small lenses for the sensor in the iPhone. I also used the 16:9 format in the iPhone for many of these images instead of the standard 4:3 format.

The featured image is 3 horizontal images stacked vertically. I shot these with the 1.5mm lens, 4:3 format, iPhone 11 Pro. (Full Frame Equivalent is 13mm)


4 horizontal image Panorama, 1.5mm lens


7 horizontal image Cloud Panorama, 6mm lens

LW_Pano_iP11_1_5mm_8img pano_1_20_set3

8 Image Panorama, 1.5mm lens (At corner of path where path turns 90 degrees) This is also the look you get when using the built in pano feature in the iPhone even if it is not at a corner, but is a straight horizon in front of you. It distorts the sections right in front of you because  it is closer to the lens. That is why I shoot multiple images and assemble them in Photoshop.


2 Image Panorama, 1.5mm lens


3 Image Panorama, 4.3mm lens

LW_Sky_ v21_4_3mm_iP11Pro_4img stack_v1

4 Horizontal Images, Vertical stacked Panorama, 4.3 mm lens

15 Comments on “Lake Woodruff NWR Sunrise

    • Thanks Tom! Lake Woodruff NWR is one of our favorite places to photograph and wander around! Never know what you will come upon! Thanks again!

    • Thanks Donna! It is one of our favorite NWRs. It is extremely flat so landscapes and Cloudscapes are fun to photograph! The Wildlife is Great also!

  1. Wow, Reed. These are great shots using an approach that I would never thought of doing–i.e. photostacking with iPhone shots. I know that this is an approach that you use with your bigger cameras, so I guess that it did not take much of a mental leap to adapt it to the iPhone. I had noticed the warping that the pano feature creates in the built-in method, but had not really thought about overcoming it by shooting multiple overlapping shots. I guess that I need to have more of a mindful approach when considering a landscape. 🙂

    • Thanks Mike! The iPhone 11 Pro Camera is the best iPhone camera I have seen so far. Especially if you shoot HEIC raw files in the iPhone or set your system to open jpegs as “raw” files. You can pull out so much more than a normal jpeg. Also you can open them much larger with the faux raw data. Because the lenses are so small you get better results by using more overlapping images than you would on a larger format camera. Plus the more you use this technique, the better your results are and are more predictable!

  2. Beautiful panoramas, amazing how good these iPhone 11Pro cameras are. I guess in some years we will not be carrying these heavy cameras and lenses anymore…

    • Thanks Greta! On this trip I only used the iPhone for landscapes. Usually I would have had another camera with a short zoom for landscapes. Made it a easier to photograph not having to carry 2 large cameras all day! One for a long telephoto lens and the other for wide angle lens.

    • Thanks Steve! The Phone 11 Pro does a nice job! Especially if you open the files in Adobe Camera Raw! Amazing what you can get out of the files!

      • Yes, I’ve used the iPhone, both my old 6 and now the 11 for panos They still disappoint me when there is a bright light source in the sky but everything else works great.

      • No, I have not tried that yet. I did a couple of shots in the new format but didn’t realize it and made a fool of myself trying to share some work shots with a company for product replacement and they couldn’t open the files. I eventually figured it out and set the phone camera to raw. I’ll eventually switch back and give it a try.

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