holt_2016_1142.jpgAlmost every day I take a morning walk with my dog, Kona in the Oak woodland’s around my house.  My back yard is Cherry Hill, a local open space which is undevelopable, the backyards of all the neighbors in this part of town.

I always take my iPhone and always post one picture to my Instagram account, sometimes exercising great restraint trying to figure out what the one picture is going to be.

Kona dog in a sunray on Cherry Hill walk foggy morning

Kona dog in a sun ray on Cherry Hill walk as fog breaks

Cherry Hill, being a hill, offers great opportunities for sidelight and back light on my early morning walks, the sun coming directly behind trees. This can make the trees glow but can also be a source of exposure problems, since the meter in the camera assumes an average exposure not a glowing one.

Kona on Cherry Hill

Kona on Cherry Hill on foggy morning using iPhone

Today’s tip is to use apps on your camera phone to give yourself better control of your photograph. I use several including the app Camera+ that allows the photographer to choose the exposure, so I often overexpose in order to get the glow to come up.  This works especially well when there is a bit of fog and I want to brighten up the image.

But the iPhone camera does not have a great dynamic range and whenever I try to shoot bright light I lose all the detail in the highlights, so on mornings when I want to take serious photos, I lug my”real” camera and tripod.

Photographing California Oaks on Cherry Hill with Kona dog running to play

Photographing California Oaks on Cherry Hill with Kona dog running to play

The absolutely best light on Cherry Hill is when there is morning fog and the sun begins to breakthrough, truly glowing light. On those mornings the light seems to explode behind the trees and the only way to hold the detail is with my Canon and then work in Photoshop back in the office.

Before and After Slider


Makes a great landscape shot when I can control the dynamic range, and tease out all of the subtle colors, (and do some retouching – the branch in the grass), but not for my “walks with Kona” on my Instagram account.  For true spontaneity those photos are done on the phone and on the walk.  Only the camera apps are allowed.

Follow my #walkswithkonadog on Instagram @saxonholt