Concert iPhoneography

By Jeff Insel

I am a very lucky guy, in my semi-retirement I found a job at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) as a driver for the Theater department (and now also a p/t Artist Coordinator). I am a very lucky guy because I’ve always loved live music – of all kinds. I get to meet and talk with the Artists and get to know them a bit. And, having an interest in photography, I sometimes get to take some photographs of the artists performing with my iPhone.

The biggest challenge is the lack of good light on stage, the second challenge is that the artists are almost always in motion. Most of the artists allow patrons to take photos during the first few songs and always without flash. I usually take photos from the wings at the side of the stage and sometimes from behind the stage if the stage door is open – usually because they’re using a sound monitor there and I have access backstage. It’s almost impossible to get good photos from the very back – 70 feet away – do to the concert lighting, though I often try.

The most rewarding part is often times, after the show, artists will be out front signing CD’s and posing for photos – which anyone can participate in so I often do as it makes for a fun collection, such as with Laurence Juber and Keiko Matsui below.

It’s fun to post the photos on Instagram and sometimes email them to friends and family who are usually envious of my opportunity. Sometimes I make collages and try different filters as with the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Del McCoury Band. Mostly it’s just fun to do and once in a while I get an interesting photo out of it.

Jeff Insel is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

iPhone or “Real” Camera? Which is better?

Author: Amy Horn

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between an iPhone image and a “real” camera image? Well, here is the test. I was waiting in a Northern Arizona University parking lot for students to arrive for a field trip and I noticed ice. For those that don’t know me, I love capturing images of ice. Instantly, I grabbed my iPhone 7 and built in camera app, placed the phone about 2 inches away from the ice and captured several photos. I still had a few minutes before leaving with the students, so I grabbed my new Olympus OM-D E-M1 MarkII with the 12-100mm lens (sensor equivalent 24—200mm). I zoomed in to 100mm (200mm equivalent) and stood about 12 inches above the ice and shot several images. Both shots were taken with non-macro lenses and here are the comparison images:

Both images are straight out of the camera. You might notice a slight difference in white balance from the different systems auto white balance. Unfortunately, I did not compose the images identically, but, can you tell which image is the iPhone image? Take my iPhoneography/Smart Phone photography class to learn the answer. Not really! The image on the left is from the iPhone and the image on the right is from the Olympus. When I examined these images close up, I have to say the only difference I saw was the white balance! Decide for yourself and compare your smart phone to a “real” camera. Sometimes that mobile phone can be quite a powerful option.

It’s not too late to join Amy in her iPhoneography/Smart Phone Photography class March 25! Follow the link to register.


Amy Horn is a lecturer of photography at Northern Arizona University and an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops. View her current teaching schedule at or

Instagram: amyhornphotographer
Facebook: Amy Horn: Horndesigns Photography

Life Happens … Even in Photography

Author:  Pam Henrichsen

Today when I started my day I noticed that I had 12,791 photos one my iPhone camera roll – that is totally crazy. But then I stopped to think about why I had so many photos. The answer is – Life.

Just like everyone else my life is very busy and I don’t carry my Nikon DSLR with me every where I go. So when I see something that catches my eye I take a picture. Why not?


The same rules apply when I am shooting with my iPhone as it does when shooting with my Nikon: composition, rule of thirds, exposure and the all important back up of the photos.  Yes, I don’t have as many exposure options but I can touch the screen to lighten or darken the image. I can control the flash, so the basics are manageable however limited. Composition is always a matter of perspective with either devise. And the rule of thirds is just the rule of thirds. I have my iPhone set to run a backup every few days so my images are safe and most of them live on the cloud.


In a perfect world, I will try to grab my Nikon when I have the opportunity to do so if I really want to capture the imagine properly. But a lot of times my subject moves, the sun has set or I just do not have access to my Nikon when that special moment presents itself.


As photographers we are constantly observing everything around us. When we see a shot that excites us, we take that photo. Even if that moment is when you are driving down the street and in the middle of the pavement somethings catches your eye. Stop. Capture that moment because ….

Life happens.


 Pam Henrichsen is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

My iPhone: Great for Scouting That Perfect Shot

Author:  Pam Henrichsen

Earlier this spring I was a trip leader for  Arizona Highways Photo Workshop, Slot Canyons: Natures Sculpted Sandstone, with photographer, Suzanne Mathia. Throughout the week I found as I was looking for my perfect perspective to photograph in the rocky plateau surrounding Lake Powell that my iPhone became a wonderful tool.


Today most of us carry our smart phones with us no matter where we go. It’s one of my favorite accessories because it has a great camera on it.  My iPhone camera works no matter where I am at. It is a very effective for scouting my location and then framing my subject.


It gives me a better feel for the detail in my shot. Is this what I am really looking for or is there another angle that I would prefer? What would it look like in black and white?


Sometimes I am just so excited about what I am shooting that I cannot wait to download my images to share with my friends and family.


So the next time you are scouting locations, remember to use your other camera. It’s a great tool that you already have with you.

Pam Henrichsen is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

“Call me Lefty”

by Jeff Insel with help from Jack Jordan

One morning last week I reported to the North Valley Surgical Center in Scottsdale, at 6:00 a.m. for surgery on my right ring finger. I’ve been preparing for this for a couple months with the knowledge that my right hand would be one big bandage that needs to be kept dry for a week until it comes off. Of course, being right handed this brings a lot of challenges and inconveniences – washing my left armpit in the shower, tying shoes, brushing my teeth left handed and don’t forget shaving (I think I’ll let the beard grow). Fortunately my fingertips are uncovered so I can do a bit more than I anticipated, like typing. I’m thinking of all the other photographers who have experienced similar setbacks like sprained wrists or broken fingers.

So how about handling my camera? Like most DSLRs the shutter button is on the top right side. Can I manage the backpack with my gear and the tripod too? I didn’t really start to think about this until yesterday afternoon while recovering from the anesthesia – which was great by the way (whole “nother” story). I realized that there are a couple of solutions; Use the 2 or 10 second timer, use the cable release or remote. Obviously, it’ll be a slower process setting up, which could be good – it’ll force me to slow down, think more carefully about what I want to accomplish. The only solution I found for assembling the quick release plate on my tripod was to have help from someone, but I found that if I was careful I could change lenses by keeping my camera in my lap, setting up the lens to be changed and then, using my left ring finger to depress the lens release button while I held the lens with my thumb and fore finger and twisted, I could release the lens, set it down and grab the replacement lens for easy connection. Changing the battery and memory card proved to be much easier.

I also realized that there is a much easier solution. I can just use my iPhone, which I can hold with my left hand and use a finger tip on my right to hit the shutter button. I also won’t have to negotiate the gear.


Jeff Insel and Jack Jordan are trip leaders for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Morphing Manhattan

Author:  Amy Horn
All photos copyrighted Amy Horn Designs

Whether it is going to museums or art websites, I learn more about light and creativity through the art and photographs I study. I have found installing a new app on my iPhone or iPad sparks my creative juices as well. For instance, on a recent family trip to New York City, I installed a new app to my phone: Rollworld. This app creates tiny planets, rabbit holes or morphing videos from the in app camera or using images from your camera roll. Let me explain.

•    A tiny planet is when the two ends of the photograph are stretched in a circular manner to meet so the sky Rollworldbecomes the outer edges of this circular photo.
•    A rabbit hole does the exact opposite. The sky becomes the center of the photo.
•    Morphing video is a moving picture that takes the photo from point A to point B. Any photos you create whether it it s a tiny planet or a rabbit hole (or both) can then turn into a morphing video as it transitions from one state to another.

The Rollworld app offers many customizing functions to invert, balance, spin, smooth transitions, zoom, scroll, and offers a randomizing effect. Shake the phone or push the button and you will see a new creation each time. Creations are limitless. When you find something you love, export it to several social media sites or to your camera roll and choose the resolution (up to 3000 x 3000 pixels).

What I learned when using Rollworld app. I found images with a fair amount of sky or water worked well. With my long flight home, I created several versions of an image to see what I liked best and found that to be very entertaining as well. If you are looking for a fun app to show your creative side download Rollworld for free. There is an in app purchase if you would like to export the videos. But all image processing is free!

If you are interested in more iPhone/iPad tips and tricks, sign up for her iPhone and/or iPad course through Arizona Highways Photo Workshops at You can also follow her at