Shooting birds and animals hardly leaves me opportunities to photograph landscapes at sunrise or sunset, not to mention that I don’t even have an appropriate lens to attach to the camera.

But as they say, these are only excuses. And that is perfectly right, because in my pocket I have a really good camera phone, which can easily cope with a part of a DSLR’s tasks.

I’ve been traveling a lot in the last month, and I visited some of my favourite places – Madzharovo in East Rhodope mountains, the Srebarna reserve, the region around Devin in West Rhodope, and to top it off, today we made a refreshing trip to Cherni vrah on Vitosha Mountain.

In these places I took the general shots (documentary landscape photos) with the mobile phone. I used software additionally installed on the phone for HDR (Pro HDR), and post-processing only consisted of NR for some of the shots.

The sunsets along the Arda river valley in Madzharovo are unique, and the landscapes turn out almost surreal. It was so beautiful, I stopped at almost every turn of the road on the way back to gaze at the tender sunset. I had a wonderful trip in Madzharovo, but I was actually there to shoot Griffon vulture and Egyptian vulture.

I had another task to complete in the Srebarna reserve, but I managed to photograph Ferruginous Duck (photos coming soon), Oriole, European Roller and other birds, as well as an incredible sunset and Moon rise – that also on video (I will process it when I have the time). There were Bee-eater holes on the road to Srebarna itself, which could be shot from the car directly from 3-4 meters, but I didn’t have time for those. And finally, on a meadow at sunset I saw a wild Pheasant, but my camera battery was down and I couldn’t take a picture.

Here is a landscape with rapeseed that I shot with the phone. I also shot Yellow Wagtail there, my pants turned all green, but the pictures came out nice. I hope to fix them soon, too :)

And finally, today’s trip to Vitosha, Cherni Vrah. My wife and I took our backpacks and took the roundabout road from Aleko to Cherni Vrah. Without hurrying, and with all the stops to rest and take photos, we got there in 2 hours. The five kilometers to the top are not a serious challenge even for untrained people, but for Goodness sake, fellows – don’t start that journey in sneakers and short-sleeve t-shirts! Up there it’s still winter – bring long-sleeved clothes, a hat and some dry clothing in your backpack. Today we felt cold even with hats and thick clothes on us. Some 20 minutes below the summit, the weather becomes much milder, but on the peak (some 2300m altitude), factoring in the wind, it feels like 5-7 degrees.

To my great surprise, there were a great many birds under Cherni Vrah. I definitely saw and heard many Black Redstarts, which in some places allowed me to come up to a distance of 6 meters. I also saw several Dunnocks and some Buntings, but I didn’t have a camera or binoculars so that I could identify them, as well as some birds with a white belly and black wings, which, I think, also had black heads. I hadn’t seen them before and I can’t identify them, but I intend to come back with equipment to photograph them. It’s worth the trip to there with a lens, you can even use the lift to reach the top, so that you have to climb less, especially if you’re carrying ‘heavy tele-artillery’.

It was partly cloudy and the sun was painting fantastically through the clouds. The phone camera managed well and I made a few more landscape photos.


(the second row consists of vertical frames and the thumbs don’t match the underlying shot)

All pictures are taken with Apple iPhone 4 and include exif information for the curious.

People have taken pictures with their phones for a while, but for the last year, the market has offered very good camera phones that can, with the appropriate software, create ‘miracles’. Except for Apple iPhone 4, another well established telephone with a quality camera is Nokia N8, which even has more megapixels than the iPhone.

A great advantage is the fact that once pictures are made with the phone, they can be uploaded directly to sites and social networks (facebook, picasa, flickr, etc.), sent to friends by e-mail, etc.

It is true that camera phones don’t make a remarkable bokeh, but given that such good photos can be made with minimal effort, it is no dilemma for me whether I should shoot with the phone in the future, or look for a wide-angle lens for the camera, which also happens to be pretty expensive.

Colleagues that shoot birds are also reminded of another detail – when I go to shoot birds with the heavy equipment, the last thing I think about is unloading tripods in the middle of a field, as I’m tired of carrying equipment and shooting.

Since landscape photos are mainly for memory’s sake, I can easily recommend shooting with the phone, naturally, given that yours has a sufficiently good camera and you have good HDR software installed, that can compensate for the low dynamic range of the camera’s matrix :).


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Comments to “Some great places in Bulgaria seen through the cellphone lens”


  1. zlatinka zlateva
    July 25th, 2014 14:26

    Изключително красиви снимки, уникални и майсторски направени! Не само за този раздел ,но и в другите. Удоволствие е да се гледа тази красота, която си заснел и информацията, която данваш. Много полезен и впечатляваш сайт си направил Николай. Поздравления прилятелю! Пожелавам ти още много творчески успехи и лично щастие!


  2. Nikolay
    July 30th, 2014 12:56

    Благодаря много за отделеното време. Радвам се че снимките са ти доставили удоволствие, това е целта :)

    Не влизам често да администрирам постовете, съжелявам за забавянето на отговора.

    Поздрави,
    Ники


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