Once upon a time, there was only a nifty smartphone camera, and raw passion for capturing the colors of nature
Back in 2013, I changed my Blackberry phone to my first iPhone. While the former was already considered a smartphone, with WiFi capabilities, and offered connection to popular online chat services, the latter, my iPhone 5, felt to me like the real dive into the smartphone world we are so immersed in today.
At that time, I dare to say, there was no other device with such a combination of portability and decent imaging results from its camera module, that is, an 8 megapixel sensor and a fixed lens aperture of f/2.4, tuned to capture punchy colors and good contrast for JPEGs. This very same camera won me second place in a photography contest in my last year of studies in Taiwan. Losing the first place to a pricey full frame DSLR camera certainly felt more like the real first place (the third place was also a DSLR user).
Little to nothing did I know about RAW files, depth of field, or exposure settings at that time. But that did not matter much because that pocket-sized marvel did all the technical adjustments for every shot, everywhere I went, allowing me to focus on the composition. I got so accustomed to just pulling it out and using the camera shortcut in the same fashion a cowboy would quick-draw his revolver out of its sleeve.
On the other hand, this “camera system” had pretty evident shortcomings, namely, the futility of shooting in low light or digital zooming, two departments in which phones still struggle with to this day, delivering images that look more like weird watercolor paintings. Knowing this helped me to focus on the scenes I knew my “gear” could excel at, and stay away from those tricky ones that only dedicated, bigger, more expensive cameras could handle.
Making some justice to some of the most amazing colors and nature one can find
Luckily, I have always had a soft spot for landscape photography, something the iPhone camera has been good at in every iteration. The possibilities that this piece of hardware opened for me almost ten years ago to portrait the “skies of purple and gold” that can be witnessed in El Salvador almost effortlessly, and other similarly picturesque scenes allowed me to be more casual, almost unintentional with my photography.
In 2013, Instagram was still a somewhat indie, social network (still not part of the controversial digital conglomerate that it is today, trying to sell things ad nauseam), where photographers and hipsters started to pour their visual art. At that time, I also started my exodus from more mainstream digital social spaces to this photography-oriented one, posting my landscape views and learning the basics of photo editing. In fact, with some determination to scroll down my profile, some images in this gallery can be found posted all those years ago.
Hence, here is a gallery of JPEGs. With a new year beginning, it seemed appropriate to me to give some variety to this gallery section by changing continents and going back to my home country, back in time, and displaying some of the magic that happens there in the midst of mountains and valleys.
No planning or special equipment was used to get these images, just the natural light of the moment. They are the product of taking advantage of the brief time gaps while on duty, the escapades after the office, or as part of the weekend break in the mountains.
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