Private Photwalks Recap | Fall 2023

Typically, I do these photowalk recaps individually but things have been a little crazy lately so I decided on a couple of things.

  • I’d combine the 5 private walks from the last 2 months into one post
  • I was going to shoot these walks with my iPhone only

There are a couple of reasons for this.

  • It’s been a really busy summer/early fall with commercial shoots and 2 workshops so I have A LOT of images I need to edit
  • I’ve photographed these locations more times than I can count and getting new or similar shots on my “real” camera isn’t a high priority

So, I decided the iPhone would free me up to maybe see things a bit differently and use it as a sort of sketch for shots I can get on another walk, workshop, or visit on my own when I feel less overwhelmed by the mountain of images already needing my attention.

Plus, it’s interesting to see the phone’s capabilities in shooting + editing. Keep in mind all shots here were edited solely on the phone either in the photo app or Snapseed, mainly for the healing tool, and took very little time (3 minutes or less). Also, most were made while in the stories portion of Instagram. Honestly, not the smartest move on my part given the phone has the raw shooting capability. Maybe one of these days I’ll remember that when I’m shooting.

Anyway, here’s a look at what we saw on these photowalks and how the phone handles things.

Calatrava’s Constellation.

Union Station

Sears Tower, Atmospheric Wave Wall, 235 Van Buren.

Alexander Calder’s Flamingo.

Palmer House Hilton.

Repeating patterns at the Cultural Center and Pritzker Pavilion.

Some moody processing at the BP Bridge and Aqua.

Cultural Center.

Bouncing back to Aqua + the Aon Center.

I can’t remember, at all, where this first shot was made. The second is Marina Towers.

Pritzker & Aqua in color.

More Studio Gang with their Lincoln Park Pavilion.

A couple of cityscape type of shots, a rarity for me. First, from the Art Institute. Second, along the northside of the river.

Michigan Ave Apple Store.

Marina Towers, Calatrava’s Constellation again.

Union Station, 320 S Canal.

Now, for a before and after. And, maybe my favorite shot from all of these photowalks. This staircase at the Art Institute. Here’s what it looks like without any phone edits.

And, here’s the edit. A slight crop and a moody BW conversion.

More stairs and back at the Palmer House.

BP Bridge in color & BW.

Now, for a few from the Northwestern campus. Segal Visitor Center & University Library.

Lastly, the Kellogg School of Management.

My thoughts on phone shooting…overall, decent but it has some serious limitations. To preface, I have the iPhone 14 and, I believe, the 15 has some new zoom situation that’s much better. But as far as I’m concerned, on the 14 and earlier models, and I have no idea what to say about any phone that’s not an iPhone, the zoom feature is pretty terrible. The images get all noisy and waxy looking. If you’re shooting in bright light, without needing to zoom in, and like a relatively high contrast look, I think you can get some pretty good shots.

The editing I’ve done is pretty basic and in some of these shots I’d be doing much more cleanup had I taken them into Photoshop and spent time on them like I do the “real” camera shots. But for these purposes, good enough. As I said, more of a sketch and a way to see these spaces in a new way for future visits.

I am by no means the best person to discuss anything technical. I don’t pay attention to this stuff and it, honestly, bores me beyond belief. So, no doubt there are ways to make your images better using a phone both in the shooting and editing phases. Regardless, it was a nice change of pace and a little more freeing to shoot this way. I guess it’s just a decision of what you want to get out of each shooting excursion. And, if you want the freedom and ease of shooting with your phone, maybe upgrade to the iPhone 15 and seek out some tutorials that are specific to phone editing. I really do think there’s an opportunity to get some pretty great shots.



3 Responses

  1. Great results really. I just got the 15 Pro Max and the 5X zoom is much better. Still, I won’t use it for zooming. But it is my go-to wide angle lens. I edit in Lightroom and Photoshop and it’s hard to tell the difference from my “real” cameras.

  2. Wonderful post, Angie! I find your work so inspiring! The iPhone (I have a 14 Pro) really is a great tool. I took my whole trip last year (Italy and Athens) with my phone...I'm pleased with the results. It's much easier when you're on an extended trip.

  3. Super!!! I especially love the black and white from the Wave Wall in the center of the three images. And also the Apple Store. How creative and what a great discovery and capture.

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