Austin Pro Photographer Jack Hollingsworth Covers Austin City Limits Music Festival with iPro Lens Kit
By: Jack Hollingsworth
I recently attended and photographed the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin. Not as press, but as a music fan.
What was unique about the experience for me was that I shot the event, not with my DSLR, but with my iPhone camera. And I primarily used the super groovy iPro Lens Kit from Schneider.
3 days. 8 stages. 100+ bands. 70,000 music fans a day.
My Photographic Mission
My mission was deceptively simple: to explore, under commercial circumstances, the capabilities of the iPhone camera using the iPro Lens Kit.
You judge for yourself whether my mission was successful. http://iprolens.zenfolio.com/p35242373
Opportunities and Obstacles
For those of you who regularly follow me on Twitter (@photojack) and Instagram (@jackhollingsworth), it should come as no surprise at all to hear me celebrate both the opportunities and the obstacles of shooting mobile photography – commercially and personally!
The iPhone camera is built for natural light subjects. ‘Light, bright and white’ is my mobile mantra. Where the iPhone camera struggles (but it is getting better with each iteration) is low light and night photography (i.e. concerts).
I had no problem at all at ACL during the day, in full light, getting everything I wanted – wide shots, portraits, close ups, and even some pretty good stage shots too.
Where I had the hardest time was at dusk and evening, when the light levels where low and contrasty.
For the subjects and scenes I shot during daylight hours, I primarily shot hand-held. For the end of the day and even shots, I used both a monopod and tripod to stabilize things.
Also, as you’ll hear me preach over and over again, it’s not about the gear, per se. It’s about nailing great exposure and great composition. Even the fanciest of mobile accessories will add little to nothing to your mobile body of work if you don’t first begin with a proper exposure.
That’s why I’m fond of camera replacement apps that support a dual reticle system. In other words, apps that have separate focus and exposure reticles, for fine tune adjustments…like Camera+, ProCamera, Kit Cam, 645 Pro, and FiLMic Pro.
Always, always, always…expose for your highlights (brightest part of the scene).
About the iPro Lens System
I love the iPro Lens Kit! I totally do. Hands down it’s my first choice and favorite for mobile conversion lenses and the kit I use most often of all the conversion lenses in my camera bag.
Each small lens uses a bayonet mount to securely fasten onto the iPhone case. It even comes with a basic handle to allow you to safely store your lenses. You can even attach the handle to any ¼” 20 tripod thread.
The genius behind the iPro is not to offer you another camera, but to enhance the one you already have in your pocket.
These conversion lenses help you take your iPhone photography to a whole new level.
Focal Length and Field of View (FOV)
The reason you use ‘conversion lenses’, on top of the 5 element, 2.4 fixed aperture lens that comes on the iPhone 4S/5, is to effectively change the focal length and field of view of the subject you are shooting.
If you want a wider field of view, use wide-angle conversion lenses. If you want more of a tighter, compressed look…go with the 2x tele (effectively a 60mm).
BTW, the iPhone 4S/5 camera lens is the 35 equivalent of shooting with a 30mm lens (for stills) and a 42mm lens (for motion).
In the Field
For most of the wide and establishing shots, I tended to attach the .65x wide angle (which is the 35mm equivalent of shooting a 19mm lens). I also used the 180˚ fisheye, on a monopod, using the camera timer to get some pretty unique shots from above the crowd. For crowd portraits, I was content to use the 2x tele lens (35mm equivalent of shooting a 60mm lens).
It would be misleading here to suggest that conversion lenses are always attached to my iPhone. They’re not. I use but try not to abuse conversion lenses. The bulk of my mobile assignment is still shot without any conversion lenses. But when I need them, I’m usually grabbing my iPro Kit because it’s that good! It’s sharp and it minimizes edge blur and vignetting. But don’t take my word only. Test it yourself. The proof is in the final images!
Because I grew up in commercial photography, I’m especially picky about image sharpness. The iPro Lens Kit delivers the sharpness I need, on a mobile device, like no other!
See You in October
Due to popular demand, ACL 2013 is going to be spread out over 2 weekends in October. I plan on returning, with my iPhone and my iPro Lens Kit, hoping to recreate my experience and get even better images next time (just heard a rumor that iPro is soon to come out with a new .45x ultra wide angle and 5x micro).
I have to admit, it’s a struggle to pick up my DSLR these days! With mobile photography being so fast, convenient, affordable, fun, artistic, etc…what’s not to like about the experience? Plus, I’m connecting and sharing my work with a global audience of fans, followers, and friends. Go photography!
What’s in My Camera Bag?
Here’s a few other items that I’m fond of as well, and are always in my mobile camera bag (I have a whole lot more accessories than just these but this short list is what I most often use):