National Geographic photographer captures Scotland with his iPhone 5s


posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 1:06 PM EDT


Earlier this year, National Geographic teamed up with Nokia to shoot the Grand Canyon with a Lumia 1020, now the magazine has another photographer and another smartphone out in the field: this time Jim Richardson and the iPhone 5s.

Richardson, who usually shoots Nikon, opted to go minimal with his most recent trip to the Scottish Highlands, instead just bringing along his new iPhone 5s, and using it for photography. In a post on the NatGeo Proof blog, Richardson explains his initial frustrations with the limitations of the camera, but then growing to understand its strengths, and being able to enjoy the images that come out of it. It's something that anyone who's tried to learn a new camera can sympathize with. As he puts it:

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling to make pictures. Walking down the Royal Mile surrounded by all things Scottish nothing seemed worth a picture. Out of desperation I took a few glib shots. Awful! Surrounded by great subjects I could see nothing. Made me feel worse.

But, after becoming more comfortable with it:

With intense use (I’ve made about 4,000 pictures in the last four days) I’ve discovered that the iPhone 5S is a very capable camera. The color and exposures are amazingly good, the HDR exposure feature does a stunningly good job in touch situations, the panorama feature is nothing short of amazing—seeing a panorama sweeping across the screen in real time is just intoxicating. Best of all it shoots square pictures natively, a real plus for me since I wanted to shoot for Instagram posting.

As many people have said, it's not the hardware that matters, it's the photographer. And Richardson has shown that if you're comfortable with a device, know its limitations and its strong points, you can get a lot out of it.

You can follow Richardson's journey through his Instagram feed, with the images tagged ##proofscotland