The Very First One

Sandias at dusk.

The iPhone will be ten years old next year. I was an early adopter. Not for the camera, which wasn’t much. But, for the potential. And, the ability to carry a pretty much fully functioning computer around in my pocket. Apparently, Apple thought so too. It got to the point that most of us who use Apple products to actually make something, believed they were forgetting us. The latest version of the MacBook Pro was evidence of that. It’s underpowered and not designed for people like me in mind. Who needs an SD card reader. Who needs USB ports? I do. I do.


Yesterday, they held sort of private press conference. They are upgrading the models that I care about, including the i-Mac, to a more professional standard. That made everybody smile. And, even more amazingly in this era of no apologies, they said that they were sorry. And, that they backed themselves into a corner. Mostly from a heat perspective. I appreciate that. We all make mistakes. We ought to own them. It’s easier to move on. From my point of view as a designer, they sort of put the cart before the horse. I believe that form follows function. They make very pretty computers, but the ones that I use are almost impossible to upgrade. Apple computers are very pricy. Your investment needs to last. That means upgrades.

What does that have to do with this picture?

I made it while I was still living in New Mexico. In 2008. At that point. I only made pictures with a dslr or sometimes a film range finder. I was running an errand at a local glorified strip mall when this scene appeared. If you look closely, you can even see the moon barely poking up above the mountain range, called the Sandias. But, I was cameraless. Even though I believe that you should always carry a camera, now and then it is freeing to not do that.

Then I thought, “Wait a minute. I can take a picture with my phone.” So, I did. Those original files were terrible. They were small and very noisy. They looked fine on the phone, but anywhere else, not so much. It took a whole lot of work to get the image to this quality, so that I can show it to you. I used a lot of little tricks to hide the noise and to make the picture just sharp enough to be viewed here.

Here’s a trick. If you see me add a lot of glow to an image so much that it sort of shimmers, it’s one of two things. It really does look cool to my eye. Or, I’m hiding something. About 75% of the time, it’s the latter.


This was the very first picture that I took with a smart phone. Technology has obviously changed the image quality a lot since those first days. Still, despite all the electronic magic going on in smart phones; they still use tiny sensors, fairly limiting lenses and a lot of processing to get them anywhere near close to real world quality.

Just so you know. I’m not going to stop banging that drum. Heh!

I have a question for anyone who thinks they have an answer. As you know I’ve been using Google Images for searching out old pictures and for storage. You’d think I could open it from somewhere on Chrome. But, no. It opens them on Safari. Huh? Why?


  1. It boggles my mind that the camera in my iPhone 5S is better quality than the expensive Canon point-and-shoot digital “35mm” that I bought a decade ago. I’m not a professional, obviously … but it is amazing how much technology has advanced.


  2. Hi Ray! My wife is an interior designer at a local photo studio. We went to Best Buy last weekend to get a MacBook Pro, the 256gb model with sd slot and USB ports. Guess what, they didn’t carry that model, only can get it directly from apple. 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because that’s a 2014 or 2015 model. Apple is no longer distributing them to big box stores. Really, your best bet would be to watch the Apple refurb page and buy one when it becomes available. Don’t hesitate or the computer will be gone. Or, switch. Look at Razor gaming machines. They are so far ahead of Apple right now that Apple will likely never catch them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. Good thought. While Google Images is new to me, Chrome is not. I already reset the default a while back. Except, when Apple downloads updates — especially with a security patch — guess what they do? Under the theory of better security… Of course, they don’t tell you this unless you go to some buried forum. It’s fixed now.


  3. My hubby was an early adopter of Iphone, and hasn’t ditched it ever (he just keeps on upgrading with the newer launches). It’s a real pain as it’s so costly. And more so because Apple users just can’t stop gloating over their i-possessions. May be because I am an Android user and don’t understand what’s the fuss is all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What fuss? I suppose in a certain segment of the market their are a group heavy users, but for most of us it’s just a toll, like my cameras are. BTW, in looking at your blog zip notice you use a lot of uncredited pictures. If they are yours, that’s great. If not, you should credit them ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, I should credit them..I suppose it’s my plain laziness. Also, looking at them no one would think they are mine; mine don’t come out that well! 😉


      1. I didn’t mean close, nor do I think of it as ‘my work’. What I meant was, it looks a bit amateurish compared to your current work. And it was just off the cuff. Sorry if that was offensive in any way.


  4. Great blog! I have been an iPhone user for just as long, and the quality that it is at now amazes me. I’m amazed with some of the photos I have gotten in the mountains in California and Colorado!


    1. I think I haven’t made my point very well. Smartphones are fine for “sketches” and daylight hours, but that little bitty sensor combines with auto everything and the image quality can never match the quality of a dslr with even a smallish sensor. The proof, for me, is in the printing…

      Liked by 1 person

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