Blue Blazer

By some happy accident, the iPhone camera picks up colors that aren’t visible to the eye or amplifies those that are. I have been surprised by bold reds reflected back off bare chrome before, but tonight I got blue. Blazing, bright blues!

blue reflections on chrome

At different angles the iPhone camera picks up other colors and some of the light reflections gain a 3-D depth to them.

blue reflections on chrome two

Another angle adds some warm colors to contrast against the blue and the reflections are more diffuse.

blue reflections on chrome three

The curved lens of the camera creates swirls of color.

Flare for the Dramatic

At certain angles sunlight creates dramatic lens flares on iPhone images. Some are fractal rainbows while others reflect the refraction of the lens itself.
Fireweed at Mt. Baker

This flare looks like a beam that wants to capture the Fireweed growing on the slopes on Mt. Baker.

This flare looks like a psychedelic ’60s acid trip or special effects lighting from the original Star Trek.

Rampart Lakes

This flare looks like a rainbow waterfall flowing into one of the Rampart Lakes in the Cascade mountains.


A recent experiment with blue and green hues resulted in images that ranged from exotic deep sea creature,

aquamarine glow 1

to pixelated and glitchy,

aquamarine glow 2

and more of the same!

aquamarine glow 3

In Rainbows

Continuing with my recent spectral findings, I used other glasses, with and without various liquids to create multicolored light experiments.

The refraction of light above and below a layer of liquid shows a rainbow of colors.

multicolored one

By moving the angle of the iPhone camera by small amounts, a full range of the color spectrum could be captured.

multicolored two

Bold reds to pastel pinks could be found in different chroma ranges as the light shifted.multicolored three

Brilliant blues shown under muted rose and lavender.

multicolored four

Another slight shift introduced yellows and chartreuse into the frequency range. I couldn’t see these colors with the naked eye, but the iPhone camera was able to find them!

multicolored five

Red Ribbon

I inherited several crystal port and sherry glasses from my maternal grandmother. They have multi-faceted stems, so I decided to get the iPhone camera as close as possible and capture the light that came through.

The iPhone camera captures reds very well, no matter the light source.
red ribbon of light one
By moving the camera lens ever so slightly I was able to capture a longer string of red and white lights.
red ribbon of light two
The facets of the crystal stem that I was shooting through created all sorts of interesting strings of light.
red ribbon of light three
In addition to the reds and whites that refracted within the crystal, some blues appeared at the very end.
red ribbon of light four


Here is another experiment in capturing light passing through liquids and being how the iPhone’s camera reacts.

This is light reflecting through a cocktail that is a deep maroon brown. It contains a mix of rye whisky, orange bitters and Tia Maria. The swirls are deep and rich hues of brown, red and orange.
At a slightly different angle the light shifts and the fluid of the cocktail becomes more golden and an angry sky forms in the reflection above the swirls. The feedback caused by the increased exposure adds texture.
This cocktail was made with gin and St. Germain. The clear liquid captures and reflects the surrounding environment, introducing all sorts of colors for the iPhone camera to pick up.
The classic Sidecar cocktail is a tawny amber color. The iPhone camera accents that and the glow of the light reflected from a window through the glass.

Copper Plate

One afternoon last autumn I was sitting waiting for the bus. I noticed a nearby sculpture had acquired a nice patina and decided to take a few shots of it. Overall it was a rusty, copper color, but close up the iPhone camera picked out a lot of colors and textures that were not visible to the naked eye. It looked like a uniform shade of brown without the camera!


Blues, greens and different shades of brown.


Textures were highlighted. It almost looks like the surface of Europa or some other moon captured by the cameras of Voyager.copper_plate_03


In the days of film, certain formulas were known to enhance different parts of the color spectrum over others. Generally Fuji film emphasized Green hues and Kodak emphasized Red hues.

The iPhone camera seems to emphasize Red hues in the color spectrum. The light receptor seems to really boost colors in the Red range.

Red hallway

This dark hallway had a few accent lights to show the way. The slow shutter speed of the iPhone camera boosts the chroma and the brightness of the light and the reflections make the walls glow.Red staircase

The Red accent light on this staircase is boosted into a Red glow that contrasts sharply with the blackness around it. The room itself wasn’t nearly as dark, but the slow shutter speed of the camera emphasizes the Red over all other hues and the remainder appears black as a result.Red foliage

The Red leaves of this Japanese Maple were a Burgundy to Brick Red under the ambient light of a grey, autumn afternoon, but the iPhone camera’s receptors push them into the Magenta to Crimson range, while leaving the yellow leaf unaffected.Red cactus bloomA pretty Red cactus bloom in the morning sun. The Red hues are boosted to an almost glowing degree while the greens, browns and yellows of the surrounding plants and stones are much more natural.


Eternally linked to the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art movements is the consumption of Absinthe by several key artists such as Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, van Gogh, along with many of their subjects.

Absinthe played a key role in the here and now ideals of the bohemian artists and writers of the period and their quest for the temporary. This lead them to try and capture the movement of light  across surfaces and the transitory qualities that resulted.

absinthe glass 4

Here I try to capture the light in a glass of Absinthe. It is a pale green spirit that becomes opaque when spring water is added to it. The fluid becomes cloudy or milky with a tint of green, like a pale jade stone or the run-off from a melting glacier.

absinthe glass 3

By moving the camera around the glass, different refractions occur and the light jumps around. The pale green turns across the spectrum from aqua to chartreuse.

absinthe glass 2

The slow shutter speed of the camera allows in a great amount of light and heightens the chroma of the colors. At certain points it begins to reflect within the camera and mirror images are captured.

absinthe glass 1

The “Green Fairy” dances around inside the glass and the iPhone camera captures the twists and turns quite well.