iPhone Cloudscapes

While taking a walk in our community, we noticed very low huge cloud formations. They were quite impressive, so I shot a series of images with my iPhone 11 Pro. Most were panoramas shot with multiple images to be assembled in Photoshop for the final image. I do not usually use the pano feature in the iPhone because it distorts the left & right ends of the image giving a “bowing distortion” in the middle. Most images were shot with the 6mm lens with digital zoom added in the iPhone. I never really used the digital zoom feature much before, but it actually worked out quite well, especially for clouds.

The featured image is a single shot with the 6mm lens with 318% Digital Zoom added on the phone. I was photographing from a distance because if I got closer the trees blocked more of the bottom of the clouds and I only could photograph the small top cloud section.

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Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 4.3mm lens, 195% Digital Zoom Added, 3 Image Blend in Photoshop


Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens, 168% Digital Zoom Added, 4 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds_#9_3img_6mm_134mm digitl zoom_v1

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 260% Digital Zoom added, 3 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds ip11_Pro_6mm_318percent Digital zoom

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 318% Digital Zoom added, 3 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

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Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 213% Digital Zoom added, 5 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Clouds 3_iP11_Pro_6mm +213_digial zoom_

Cloud Panorama, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens with 214% Digital Zoom added, 5 image Panorama, Blended in Photoshop

Vermont Cloudscape Panorama

This is a 4 image Cloudscape Panorama from a previous trip to Vermont. Images were shot @ 47mm with a Canon 24-105mm lens. I did not want to shoot wider because of buildings below & blank sky above which distracted from the main cloud formations.

Iridescent Cloud

This colorful cloud is called an iridescent cloud. When you see a cloud like this, you know there are tiny ice crystals or water droplets in the air. Larger ice crystals produce solar or lunar halos, but tiny ice crystals or water droplets cause light to be diffracted spread out creating this rainbow like effect in the clouds. We photographed these clouds when we were at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland.


CloudBurst At Blackwater

I liked these clouds by the lookout platform at Blackwater NWR. It reminded me of a starburst, but with clouds. I decided to leave the top of a small tree as a center point for a visual center to draw your eye. Three images @24mm, combined in Photoshop with layered masks for blending the three images.


Blackwater River Panorama Landscapes Near Sundown

When we were going to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, we planned for the first day to include the sunset and the second day to be there for the sunrise. Usually they are very dramatic and colorful at Blackwater NWR. Normall we go to the end of the Wildlife Drive for sunsets and the beginning of the Wildlife Drive for sunrise. The sunrises are better on the Little Blackwater River. While the sunsets are better by the Blackwater River. While we were on the Wildlife Drive heading for the far end, we noticed and liked the colorful clouds on the Blackwater River so we stopped and shot a few panoramas as the sun was getting lower. Even with 12mm or 24mm lenses, it still did not give me all I wanted in my shots. So I shot a series of images handheld, to blend together to get the view I wanted. The featured image was a series of shots in a vertical format to blend together. I wanted to include more sky and reflections in the water. The image below was a series of images shot horizontally to blend together.  With 12mm or 24mm lenses it seems like you have to shoot the images with a lot more overlap on each image than with longer lenses. Also instead of using Photoshop to automatically align and blend the images, they come out better to manually align each image manually and make soft edge masks to blend together for the final image. Photoshop tends to really distort the few images on each end and distort the edges badly, especially the extreme images on each end. The clouds and reflections then look really distorted and warped.


Cloud Panoramas From Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

We went to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge outside of Cambridge, Maryland to see what subjects we could find to photograph. These images were taken along the Wildlife Drive. The Eagles were scarce, only saw a few in the distance, but we kind of expected that. But in the Winter months Blackwater has one of the highest numbers of Eagles in the Northeast. So we were concentrating on Dragonflies, other birds, panoramas and sunrises & sunsets. The featured image was 4 Horizontal shots @24mm, assembled in Photoshop. With wide angle lenses for panoramas, I tend to overlap more than when using long telephoto lenses. The wider the focal length the more overlapping shots I do. These images were shot on or near the long Observation Platform along the 4 mile Wildlife Drive. The above featured image was 4 horizontal shots @ 24mm. On the right side of the featured image you can see part of the Observation Platform. These images were taken with the Canon 24-105mm lens or the Sigma 12-24mm lens. The Blackwater NWR includes more than 28,000 acres of tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and loblolly pine forests, managed freshwater wetlands and croplands. The Blackwater & Little Blackwater Rivers flow through the refuge so I guess that is where they got the name Blackwater NWR.

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3 Horizontal Images @ 24mm

BWR_LookOut_Pltfrm_v3_3img_pan 24mm_vert

3 Vertical Images Combined For Horizontal Image @ 24mm


4 Vertical Images Combined For Horizontal Final Image @24mm

BWR_Lit_BlkWtr_River_from Observ_pltfrm_v1_MAL6065

3 Vertical Images Combined for Horizontal Final Image @ 24mm


4 Vertical Images Combined For Vertical Image @ 12mm



Bird Shaped Clouds

This series of cloud images reminded me of birds in flight. They sort of looked like a bird’s body and outstretched wings floating by in the sky. I tried a few cropping and focused on a few different cloud formations.
Bird_Clouds v2_80I9575Bird_Clouds_80I9564Bird_Clouds v1_80I9568Bird_Clouds v1_80I9571

Smoking Tree?

During our walk at the Plainsboro Preserve, we noticed this tree with a cloud formation right above it. It looked like a column of smoke coming from the top of the tree. For some reason it just amused me. The feature image was 1 shot, while the one below is a two image panorama.

Tree Clouds v2

2 image vertical panorama shot @ 14mm (m43 format)


Sunbeam Through Opening In Clouds

While I was working on files from a previous visit to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland, I came across this image of a sunbeam shining through an opening in the cloud cover. I used a 400mm lens to isolate the beam so it was more prominent in the image. With a wider view, the sunbeam did not seem to stand out as much. I think the beam as is, is prominent enough against the clouds and I did not want to enhance the beam to make it stand out more, opting for a more natural look.

Early Morning Rays v1 BWR_43G0370

Double Sunbeams, 400mm f/4 with 1.4x Teleconverter 

Early Morning Reflections

I liked the early morning light and the reflections of the trees and sky in the water. I was traveling light and only had a long lens for birds, so I shot a series of images and combined them in Photoshop. In some ways it is confusing and busy looking, but I still liked it anyway and thought it was interesting.  Only needed a few touch ups to fine tune the image. It was a quiet day for the birds, but I enjoyed being out in the fresh air and seeing what else I could find.

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