White Crab Spider In Garden

I was looking in our gardens for praying mantis photo subjects since our gardens & flowers are beginning to look a little worn now. We seem to have a large amount of mantises this year in a variety of colors and sizes. But as I was searching I noticed this White Crab Spider on the center of this flower. I was using an iPhone 11 Pro using the 16×9 image format with the Camera +2 app. The Camera +2 app seems to work better for getting closeup shots of subjects instead of using the standard Apple Camera app. It seems I can even get a little closer with this app. It also has a series of other shooting option selections. My favorite is the macro option in their series of options. When using the iPhone, I usually set it for the 16×9 format for taking images, plus it gives you more cropping choices while working  on your files. I also set Photoshop to open the jpeg images in Adobe Camera Raw to pull more detail from the iPhone files, which works quite well. I was not impressed with the HEIC Raw file option. Did not really see much difference in jpeg vs HEIC raw files, they just took up more space on the iPhone. It also enables you to fine tune the iPhone files and add sharpening, noise smoothing, etc. before you open them in Photoshop rather than trying to do this after the file is opened.White_Crab_Spider_v5_yard_iP11_4_3mm_lens_26mmFF_v2_camera+2_app

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Camera + 2 App screen (options)

Night Photos with iPhone 11Pro

We were taking an evening walk in our community to get a few more steps in before settling in for the evening. It was a pleasant evening and the sidewalks were well lit. As we were going by the Meeting House, I decided to try a few night images with my iPhone 11Pro. It is supposed to be pretty good in low light, but have not really tried it at night. Here it was actually dark and I was surprised how good the images were straight out of the iPhone. It seemed to automatically somewhat balance nicely the highlights & darkness. Especially since there was a wide mix of darkness, spotlights and ambient lights along the sidewalk. I have tried shooting Raw files on the iPhone 11 Pro, but did not see that much difference so I just shoot jpegs with it. But I do have my Photoshop setup to open jpegs as raw files so I can pull even more detail and have more adjustments from the jpeg file before I actually  open them in Photoshop. I have not seen a significant difference on the jpeg files in image quality doing this and have printed these kind of files quite large. It goes against my normal work flow of shooting Raw files on all my other cameras. I was using the iPhone 11 Pro’s 4.3mm lens (Full Frame FOV equivalent ~26mm). The featured image is also 2 vertical 16×9 images blended, side by side to get a little bit wider view. When I am photographing with the iPhone I usually always use the 16×9 format. The image below is basically from the same spot but I just turned around from photographing the featured image. I was pleasantly surprised at the images because the exposures were 1/30 sec. on the Meeting House and 1/8 sec. for the image below. The exposure actually seemed much much longer and you could see some blurry movement during the beginning of capture on the phone’s screen. But I guess the phone was doing a lot of processing & adjusting of the image as it was saving the final file.

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180 degree Opposite View from where I was standing

Garter Snake Shed Skin

As we were taking a walk in our community I noticed a shed snake skin in the grass near the sidewalk. The featured image is a closeup side view of the head area. Images were taken with my iPhone 11 Pro with the 6mm lens, 4:3 image format, (Full Frame Field of View equivalent 52mm). I never have seen a shed snake skin before in person, only in photos. It almost has the look of a 3D computer modeling display!


Full view of shed skin – iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens, 16×9 format


Closer image of Head Area & Some Body, 6mm lens, 16×9 format (with slight crop of image)

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Closeup Head & Eye Area of shed Garter Snake Skin. iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens, 16×9 format, cropped slightly.

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Another Closeup Head & Eye Area of shed Garter Snake Skin. iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens, 16×9 format, cropped slightly.

As garter snakes grow, they must shed their skin. Unlike other creatures like humans, a snake’s skin does not grow along its body. Its scales are made of keratin, which is the same protein found in our fingernails. When garter snakes slither along the ground, their scales scrape on rocks, dirt and other debris. This movement is important to help snakes shed their skins. Snake skin usually sheds off in one continuous piece, starting around the lips and ending at the tail.

The young garter snake grow rapidly as they feed on prey items such as insects, amphibians and earthworms. As they grow, they have to shed their skin approximately every four to five weeks. As they mature and grow into full-sized adults between 2 and 4 years old, the amount of shedding declines since they are not growing as rapidly. Mature garter snakes shed a few times each year, due to wear and tear on their scales. In a healthy garter snake, the entire shedding process takes a little longer than one week.

Shedding Skin –

The initial shedding process involves the garter snake secreting a milky fluid that helps separate the new skin from the old skin. A garter snake hides and won’t eat since he is blind when he sheds. When ready, a garter snake rubs his mouth on the ground to help push up the older skin. He then slowly makes his way out of his old skin by slithering along the ground, encouraging the skin the retract inside-out as it comes off in one piece.

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Garter snake that was by the shed skin, photographed the next day. It seemed like we interrupted the Garter Snake eating it’s shed skin.

Eastern Garter Snake In Garden

We had started to put a few plants in our gardens yesterday so we went out to take a look today. We were surprised to see an Eastern Garter snake stretched out along the edge of one of the garden beds. The featured head image was shot with an iPhone 11 Pro, standard 4:3 format, 6mm lens (Full Frame Camera Field of View  equivalent focal length = 51mm). I then switched to the 16×9 image format with the 4.3 lens (Full Frame Camera field of view equivalent ~26mm) to get an image of the whole snake along the edge of the garden bed. All focal length info listed above are from notations from the equivalents listed when opening the images in Adobe Bridge & Camera Raw info. It is nice to have such a versatile camera in a phone you usually always have with you. Between the 3 different lenses and different image formats it comes in handy for those unexpected image opportunities! Is it as good as a “Real” Camera? No, but if  you are careful and use Adobe Camera Raw carefully, it does an amazing job! The more you use it the better the results. Especially for multiple image & multiple rows for landscapes!

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You Never Know What You Will Find In Your Yard

I was surprised to see these bones under a tree in the corner of my yard. There is a wooded area on the other side of my sidewalk where we used to see a lot of turkeys, deer & foxes. But it is chain linked fenced from the larger woods beyond. The featured image is also a 2 image iPhone panorama.

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2 image panorama, assembled in Photoshop, iPhone 11 Pro

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7 Image iPhone Panorama

Another panorama from our trip to Florida in February. For this panorama I chose to shoot with the 1.5mm lens on my iPhone 11 Pro. This would be an equivalent field of view of 13mm on a full frame camera.  I shot 2 rows of images, top row 4 images and bottom row had 3 images.  Somehow I miscounted on the bottom row, but it worked out anyway. I selected the files and adjusted the phone jpegs in Adobe Camera Raw before opening them into one layered file in Photoshop. I have my Adobe Camera Raw setup to open jpegs as raw files with settings. I tried setting the iPhone to shoot HEIC raw files, but that just slowed down the camera and did not see much of a difference in quality only a much larger file size. The panorama images below are multiple images in one row, combined and blended in Photoshop.


Another Multi-Image version of the same view. This time a one row, multi-image blend shot with the 1.5mm lens.       (Each Image in Series Full Frame Equivalent 13mm)

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2 image iPhone panorama, shot with 4.3mm lens.                (Each Image in Series – Full Frame Equivalent 26mm)

Another Lake Woodruff NWR Landscape

Here is another 2 image iPhone Landscape panorama from our visit to Lake Woodruff NWR in Florida. The 2 images were brought into Photoshop on 2 separate layers, then I let Photoshop align and blend them into one final image. In this image if you look closely you will see 9 Black Vultures on the path. The images were shot with the 4.3mm lens (full frame FOV equivalent would be 26mm). In previous visits years ago the vultures would sometimes follow you around on the paths. When this first happened it was a little unnerving to have a large bunch Vultures follow you for a quite while. As we walked they were making a hooting noise. At least this time they flew away if we walked close.

6 Image iPhone Panorama

On our trip to Lake Woodruff NWR in Florida I relied on my iPhone 11 Pro for my wide angle or panorama images. I am really liking the quality of the images I get from it for my panoramas. It was a lot easier to walk the trails without carrying 2 larger cameras. Especially in the warm Florida heat. The above featured image was taken with the 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Field of View equivalent would be 13mm). I do not use the panorama feature much on the iPhone 11 Pro because of distortion in the iPhone panorama image on the ends of the image and some warping in the middle of the image. I prefer to shoot a series of regular individual images and then assemble my panorama in Photoshop which reduces the strange “warping” in the center and on the far ends. Plus I get very large files for printing.

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8 image iPhone Panorama, 4.3mm lens (Full frame FOV 26mm)


3 image iPhone 11 Pro Panorama, 1.5mm Lens (Full Frame FOV 13mm)

Below are examples of Panorama Warping when using the Panorama feature on the iPhone 11 Pro. The wider the lens you select, the more distortion in the file. The ends are farther away so you get a “bowing look” in the middle. And the ends “fall” back away giving a bending look. Plus when shooting individual images for the panorama or stacked panorama, I get a very large detailed file for printing.


14 Image iPhone Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Landscape Panorama

For this landscape I used the 1.5mm lens on the iPhone 11 Pro and shot 14 images. (Full Frame Camera Field of View equivalent is 13mm). I brought the files into Adobe Camera Raw to adjust the files and pull out detail and balance my settings. Than I open them into one layered Photoshop file with each image in a layer. Next in Photoshop I align and blend Automatically the 14 images into one final blended image. I still have layered sections and save the layered file just in case I need to touch up something. Then I flatten the image for the final image.

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

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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

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4 Horizontal Images, Vertical stacked Panorama, 4.3 mm lens

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