Cell Phone Walk #1, El Dorado Hills (CA), Screech Owl Creek


I am changing it up.  There are multiple photographs in this post, all taken with my cell phone, and minimally processed in Lightroom (read: 1 minute or less).  The reason for cell phone only is two fold.  One, it is lighter carrying a phone in my pocket rather than a camera bag with gear and a tripod.  Two, I wanted to see the difference in my shooting – due to portability and/or gear.

While this location is not within walking distance of my home, but rather a 5-10 minute drive away, the hillside is still being used for cattle grazing.  There are instances where the old and new (990 acre luxury home development less than 1/4 mile away) intersect.  Here an old cattle trail is cutoff by barbed wire and an access road, which sits above 3 large water storage tanks for the local irrigation district.

Back in the day, before widespread use of barbed wire, rocks walls were sometimes used as property boundaries and even cattle barriers.  Looking on Google Maps, there is evidence of this rock wall spanning for a mile.

Loosely following this rock wall north provides views of the valley below, but also rock outcroppings and oak trees just beginning to bud.

I finally reached the large rock outcropping I had previously seen while walking the dirt access road.  Yet, there is a sight here I was not expecting to see.  An oak tree growing around a rock.  If viewed from an certain angle, it looks as though the tree if taking a bite out of the rock.

Spotted a long downed tree with grass growing from the split.

The oak tree buds are starting to break open.  For the trees that wet winter and have not toppled over the bad combination of high winds and saturated soil, now is the time to leaf out.

The shortest route from where I was and my car is over a barbed wire fence.

Overall Notes: I realize the approach I use with a dSLR camera versus a cell phone is different.  With a dSLR and a tripod, I am more selective with the composition I choose to shoot as there is setup for each new location.  If I choose to leave the camera on the tripod as I look for new shots, I am slower and more careful.  With a cell phone, it is matter hiking at a normal pace and pulling the phone out of the pocket and snapping away.  I am capturing more with a cell than I would with a dSLR.

There are some limitations with the cell phone, yet some of those limitation can be overcome with better shooting options (aperture and shutter speed being primary) on some cell phones or through third-party camera apps.  Zoom and close-up focusing are also problems with a cell.  I had problems focusing on tiny wildflowers from a foot away while max zoom resolution invites some noise and banding in certain instances.

Camera: Nexus 5x phone

Cell Phone Walk #1, El Dorado Hills (CA), Screech Owl Creek. March 11, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


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