Rad A. Drew Photography: January 2023

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Saturday, January 21, 2023

How I Did It!™ Quick Tips

Troubleshooting Checklist for Fixing Minor iPhone and App Problems 

iPhone photographers frequently write me to ask for help with problems they're having with their phone or apps, wanting to know if I have a fix.

One such question this morning on a YouTube video I'd posted prompted me to write this blog.

Thankfully, photographing with iPhones over the years (my first was an iPhone 4 in 2010), has been a remarkably problem-free experience.  

Occasionally, though, a problem will occur with either the phone or with a particular app that can interrupt my photography and/or processing. Most of these have been minor things that I was able to correct myself by going through a basic trouble-shooting checklist and performing a few simple operations.

Here are a few things you can try the next time an app freezes, your iPhone is performing sluggishly, or you're unable to save an edited file to your camera roll. In most cases one of these simple things will have you back photographing in just a few minutes.

Troubleshooting Checklist

1. Close Open Apps You're Not Using

If your iPhone is processing things slowly or seems sluggish, or the battery seems to be draining more     quickly than usual, check to see how many apps you have open. 

If you're not in the habit of closing apps when you're not using them, it's easy to end up with dozen's of apps running in the background and that can can definitely impair your iPhone's performance. 

I wish Apple would create a "close all apps" button to make this simpler, but it's still not a big deal to close open apps.

To see how many apps you have open, swipe up from the bottom of your phone and you'll see something that looks like this:

To Show Open Apps
Swipe Up from the Bottom of the iPhone 

In the screen shot above, you can see my camera roll, Safari, Facebook, and the App Store are all open. These are just the open apps that can be seen in the narrow screen. More apps not visible on the screen can be viewed by swiping from left to right. Each of the apps revealed as you scroll to the right is running in the background and potentially adversely affecting your iPhone's performance.

Swipe Up On the App to Close

To delete open apps, simply swipe up on the app as shown in the screen shot above and it will disappear from view. You can quickly swipe a bunch of apps off in a few seconds.

Closing apps can improve your iPhone's speed, extend battery life, and prevent performance problems with other apps you're using.

2. Are You Running the Latest iOS?

While there's no set schedule for iOS updates, we can usually count on Apple to release major iOS updates every fall. These often coincide with the release of new phones. They also release updates throughout the year if there are critical bug fixes needed or in response to user feedback. 

When a new iOS is released it can fix problems that the phone has been having and add new features. While many people like to wait for a while to see if a new release is going to create problems, I have found that updating to a new release is usually a good thing and problems are minimum.

Check your iPhone's settings to see if the iOS is up-to-date. Here's how:
  1. Open your phone's settings.
  2. Scroll to and tap on GENERAL
  3. You'll see something that looks like this:

    See Settings>General>Software Update 

Tap on Software Update and you'll see something like this:

This iPhone's iOS is up-to-date.

In the example above, the phone is up-to-date. If an update was available, there'd be a message to that affect allowing you to update to the new iOS.

If you tap on Automatic Updates, you'll see another panel where you can set whether you want a new iOS to be downloaded and installed automatically, or want it to download only and wait for you to run the installation when you're ready, as shown below:

I have mine set to download the new iOS update, but to wait for me to initiate the install.

3. Is the Problematic App Up-To-Date?

iOS updates are a good reason to make sure you're running the latest version of your apps. After an iOS update, app creators often release a flurry of updates to take advantage of new iOS advances and to keep their apps compatible with the new iOS.  Your app may not perform well (or at all) if it's not compatible with the latest iOS update.

4. Perform a "Soft Reset" of your iPhone

Performing a "soft reset" of your phone is a lot like pressing Control+Alt+Delete on a PC. The operation clears your iPhone's cache of unneeded temporary files that accumulate. Don't worry, your personal data, files, photos, or apps won't be deleted or changed. 

Here's how to perform a soft reset to improve your iPhone's performance. Phones from the 11 on use this method. (NOTE: If you have an earlier iPhone you many need to google the procedure for your phone.) 

The procedure involves pressing and releasing the two volume buttons on the left side of the phone and the single button on the right side. 

Follow these steps to perform a soft reset of your iPhone.
  1. Press and immediately release the volume up button.

  2. Press and immediately release the volume down button

  3. Press and HOLD the side button on the right side of the phone. Don't release the side button until the Apple logo appears on the phone's screen. This can take a few seconds or longer depending on the last time a soft reset was performed. You may see the Slide to Power Off button appear on the screen while you're holding the side button. If this happens, ignore it, and continuing holding the side button until the Apple logo appears. Once the logo appears, release the side button and wait for the iPhone to come back on.

5. Uninstall and Reinstall the Problematic App

If you've verified that you have the latest app version and you're running the latest iOS, and you're still having issues with an app, the app may be corrupt. It that case, you can uninstall and reinstall the problematic app.

To Uninstall an app, hold your finger on any app on your phone's screen. All the apps icons will begin to jiggle and a minus sign ( - ) will appear next to them as shown below:

Press and Hold Any App Icon Until They All Jiggle

With the app icons jiggling, tap on the minus sign ( - ) next to the app you want to delete and you'll see a message box asking if want to delete the app or just remove it from your Home Screen (below). Choose the Delete option.

Tap Delete App

Once the app is deleted from your iPhone, go to the App Store, look up that app, and reinstall it. 

If it's a paid app, you won't need to repurchase the app because the App Store knows what you've purchased and won't charge you again. 

Apps can be uninstalled and reinstalled without any adverse effects on your photos, files, or apps, but some features like LOOKS in the SnapSeed app or presets in apps like Vintage Scene, will be lost when you reinstall the app. If you're a heavy user of LOOKS and have a lot of them that you value, you may want to treat uninstalling and reinstalling the app as a last resort.

I hope you find this information helpful! 

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for tips on iPhone photography and processing, desktop software tutorials, discounts, and workshops. 

Visit my YouTube Channel for free video tutorials on a host of topics. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Photographing in Your Own Backyard

10 Things You Can Do 

To Find Photographs at Home

Wolf Moon on a Winter's Night
(View from my front yard last week)

While I love traveling and photographing in different parts of the world, I also love photographing in my home state of Indiana. 

When I began my photography business in 2009, I was still working my day job and travel to the far corners was not possible, at least not very often. 

I watched fellow photographers and my mentors traveling the world and I felt deprived, sorry for myself, as if stuck in my own "boring" surroundings. 

Then one day, Cher stopped by and slapped me twice across the face. Hard. Snap out of it! she said.

And I did! As I considered my dilemma of being "stuck" at home, I reminded myself that the only things anyone needs to make photos are a subject, a camera, desire, and, light. These things are everywhere! You'll find them all in your own backyard. 

For the next year, I went crazy photographing my city, my neighborhood, area parks, and the amazing countryside within a day's drive of my home. The following year, I self-published my first book, In Good Light, Images of the Circle City(Click the PREVIEW button on the page this link takes you to if you'd like to see these images.)

In Good Light, Images of the Circle City

I share this with you today, not because these are exceptional photos (in fact I look at some from all those years ago and I cringe, or at least think about what I might do differently today!), but rather because it was such a big epiphany for me to accept that I can do photography anywhere.

Since then, I've had the privilege and joy to travel and lead workshops all over the world, and I truly enjoy that. 

As I think about why I (and many of us) love traveling, there are a lot of obvious reasons: to see new and different landscapes, to experience other cultures, to "get out of Dodge" for a change of pace.

After all, it was Mark Twain who wrote:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

I subscribe to Twain's idea, but I also think that "travel" can mean going to an old town in your own state, or, visiting an unfamiliar landscape that is not all that far away.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking we live in a boring place or that the scenery isn't very good, or whatever we want to tell ourselves. We get in a rut with the same old same old. 

But what if exotic travel isn't in the stars for you, or what if you're between trips? 

I think the secret is to mix it up at home to find new sights and explore different places in one's own environment. No matter where you live, there are subjects to focus on and light to illuminate them. 

Here are 10 things I do to keep making photos at home interesting:

  1. Walk your neighborhood, but go down streets you rarely go down. Is there interesting architecture, trees, flowers, creeks, people?

  2. Visit your city's skate board park. We have the Major Taylor Skatepark in Indianapolis. It's a great place to go to photograph action, leaps, and other feats done by interesting subjects.

  3. If you're still working, leave for work an hour earlier than you need to and take a different route to work each day, always on the look out for things that grab you. 

  4. Visit the parks in your neighborhood. Ellenberger Park is walking distance from my home and is full of trees, a stream, pathways, and more that I've enjoyed photographing over the past 30 years. I'm also a short drive away from the great Eagle Creek Park where there are deciduous trees, trails, and a beautiful lake, and the park is home to birds, aquatic life, deer and other wildlife. And there's Ft Ben State Park, also just a short drive away, with the beautiful Delaware Lake. These are the things near me, but what is near you?

  5. Check out the cemeteries in your area. Old cemeteries are often especially beautiful as they were designed to be places families wanted to visit, often driving through or picnicking. For me, historic Crown Hill Cemetery is a favorite location to photograph all year around. 

  6. If winters in your area can be inhospitable like they are in Indiana, look for places where you might photograph indoors. Not far from my home is Garfield Conservatory, where I often go on cold, inclement, winter days. It's a tropical garden, so it's always warm and cozy when it's 0º outside!

  7. Don't be afraid to brave the winter elements or rainy days. (Remember, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes!) Dress for the occasion and get out even when it's cold, overcast, snowy, rainy, foggy, etc. These conditions, while they require a bit of preparation to endure, often yield wonderful photo opportunities. 

  8. Go out with a fellow photographer! Sharing the experience with a buddy can make it that much more enjoyable, plus they are likely to know of places you've never been.

  9. Drive in the country. One of my favorite things to do is to pick a direction and then drive in that direction with no particular destination in mind. When I come to a crossroads, I choose the smaller of the two roads. I often find myself on gravel or dirt roads, in beautiful woods, or near farms and barns that are wonderful subjects. It was on a drive like this last year that I discovered that Indiana has a cypress swamp. I would have never guessed! I plan to go back this spring when it's teeming with new growth.

  10. Photograph your city at night. I like to go downtown when there are events happening and photograph light trails of traffic, or the office lights. Experiencing the city at night opens a whole new world full of opportunities.

Here are just a few of the photos I've made of locations in my home state over the years. Some are several years old and others are from as recently as last week.

Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis

Big Walnut Creek, West of Indianapolis, Winter

Big Walnut Creek, West of Indianapolis, Fall

Rural Indiana Barn

Barn, Brown County, Indiana

Alley, Downtown Indianapolis 

European Weeping Beech in Snow
Crown Hill Cemetery
(This tree is no longer there.)

Indiana Barn, Winter

Abandoned Edison Concept House, Gary Indiana

Abandoned Apartment Complex, Gary Indiana

Ginko Tree, Crown Hill Cemetery

Iron Truss Bridge, Hendricks County Indiana

Behind an Old Barn, Rural Indiana 
(This barn is no longer there. The truck has been restored.)

Indiana Barn at Sunset in Winter

Winter Day, January 1, 2023, Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis

Arched Sycamore, Rainy Winter Day Last Week

Island in the Fog, Eagle Creek Park, Last Week

Heifers, Indiana Farm

Argyle Building at Night with Passing Bus, Indianapolis

Giant Oak, Rural Indiana

Abandoned Truck, Rural Indiana

The Late Mosey, Work Horse at Conner Prairie, Fishers, Indiana

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Creating Infrared Images with the iPhone

 PSA Journal Article
January 2023

Vickery Creek, Roswell, GA
iPhone 13 Pro Max, 720nm IR filter, Camera +2, 30 sec exposure
Processed in Lightroom Mobile

My love of infrared photography goes back to my college days when I used a 1972 Nikkormat FTN film camera. Everything from loading the IR film into the canister, messing with filters, and processing the film was quite an ordeal and my results were pretty hit-and-miss!

In today's digital world, infrared photography has become much more manageable and more accessible.

While I love photographing with my Fuji and Lumix "bigboy" cameras that I've had converted to 720nm and 830nm, my love of the iPhone drove me to explore the possibility of creating infrared with my iPhone cameras.

In my article in this month's (January 2023) issue of PSA Journal, the monthly publication of the Photography Society of America, I share my quest for iPhone infrared and what I've learned is possible. 

Many thanks to PSA for publishing my words and images on the pages of the PSA Journal!

You can learn more and see what other photographers are creating on my Facebook group, Open Group! Infrared on the iPhone. You're welcome to join the group or just visit to see what others are doing. 

And here's a blog post from 2021 (Making Beloved Infrared Images with Our Beloved iPhones!) that shares a few other details and also features some incredible images created by group members.

Below Coast Guard Lighthouse, Cape Cod
iPhone 12 Pro Max
720nm IR filter, Camera+2, 30 sec exposure

Below are links to several – FREE – 
How I Did It!™ tutorials covering various aspects of iPhone IR photography, accessories, and processing. (Did I mention these are FREE?!)

If you're really serious, consider purchasing my 2-hour deep dive video tutorial, How I Did It!™: Create Infrared Photos with Your iPhone ($42.99). In this comprehensive tutorial I discuss various iPhones, camera apps, settings, needed accessories, and guidelines for processing your images with multiple iPhone apps as well as current desktop software. 

The images on this page were all created by me with various iPhones over the past few years. 

Here are a few more.

Drummer Boy Park on Cape Cod
iPhone 14 Pro Max
720nm IR Filter

Waterfall and Bridge, Indianapolis, IN
iPhone 13 Pro Max
720nm IR Filter, Lightroom Pro Camera, Long Exposure
Processed in Lightroom Mobile and SnapSeed

Waterfall and Bridge, Indianapolis, IN
iPhone 13 Pro Max
720nm IR Filter, Camera+2
Processed in Lightroom Mobile and SnapSeed

Vickery Creek, Roswell, GA
iPhone 13 Pro Max
720nm IR Filter, Camera+2
Processed in Lightroom Mobile and SnapSeed

Palouse, Near Kamiak Butte
iPhone 12 Pro Max
720nm IR filter, Camera+2, 30 Sec exposure
Processed in Lightroom Mobile and SnapSeed

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
12 Pro Max, 720nm IR filter, Camera +2
Processed in Lightroom Mobile and SnapSeed

Magnolia Plantation Gardens
iPhone 12 Pro Max, 720nm IR filter
Processed in Topaz Studio with DeNoise and Sharpen AI