Six on Saturday: 20 April 2019 – The Phone Edition

A mere 15 months ago, my mobile phone was like the image above. It could make calls and 7777 33 66 3 0 8 33 99 8 7777. If I was feeling masochistic, I could even 8 9 33 33 8 with it. Then, for some reason, I acquired a smartphone. I entered utopia. Now I didn’t need all the remote controls. I could control the TV, play movies and music, even control the central heating with just one gizmo. It took reasonable photos too.

And there begins the story. I could take reasonable photos without messing about with a digital camera. And so it came to pass, earlier this week, that I was poking the phone out of an upstairs window to take some aerial photos of the garden. Totally immersed in this process, I failed to notice resident cat sneaking up on me. He jumped up onto the window sill or, rather, onto my resting elbow and knocked the phone (complete with camera) out of my hand. I’ll never know whether the photos I’d taken were any good. I picked up the pieces from the patio below, swore at the cat and contacted the insurers.

And so it came to pass that, for a mere pittance – the insurance excess – I acquired a brand spanking new smartphone. The speed with which this gizmo arrived was astounding. It took longer to set it up than it spent in the postal system. And my former 15-month-old smartphone seems antiquated in comparison. So I’ve stopped swearing at resident cat.

“What has this to do with Six on Saturday” I hear you asking (or I would if you shouted loudly enough). Well, you see, some time ago Fred in France acquired some sort of lens thingy that he could attach to his phone to take marvellous macro photos. Something I’ve never managed with my camera because I lose patience with it once I’ve got to the stage of adjusting the seventeenth dial thing. I discovered, though, that the phone has a “super macro” setting for its camera. So I tried it out. One swipe to set it and shoot away.

I was going to give today a miss, simply because all I have worth showing is something I’ve shown in the last few weeks. But, with little more than a swipe and a press I’ve managed a few simple macro shots so you can put up with six of those. Once I’ve found the instructions somewhere “out there” (the leaflet with the phone simply told me how to turn it on), I should do better. Still, for now ………


Not really “super macro” yet but a better photo of a bugle that took a couple of seconds than I would have achieved with a camera in a couple of minutes! I can’t sound my own trumpet. The phone did it.


Now I need to learn how to get the point of focus right. I’m wondering what that rotating circle of tiny green lights on the display is. Still the left side of the Syringa is needle sharp.


Hmmm. This is, believe it or not, the top of a lily stem. In case you need further proof, notice that little red thing in the centre, towards the top.


The little red thing fell to earth. I extended its life long enough to take this photo. Then the thumbnail (which I always grow a bit longer at this time of the year) sliced it in two. Forget the red thing though. I’m more impressed with the way the phone’s camera captured the detail of the stringy bits underneath it.


OK, trying a simple flower. Clematis monarda something or other. And I got the point of focus right. Also smeared some lily beetle blood (or other bodily juices) on the phone’s screen.


Not just any old tulip but a tulip with a bug on it. Getting there now (me with the phone, not the bug which cooperatively stayed still). I also discovered that with an extra swipe I could turn on (and off by swiping the other way) the blurry background. I know there’s a technical term which may be “depth of field” or “focal length” but I’m not sure as that is dial 18 on the camera so I haven’t got there yet.


Now it’s time for you to pop over to Mr Prop’s blog and feast your eyes and minds on the growing array of links to other Sixes from all over the world. Which means, of course, that you won’t get much gardening done for a while. But when you can, enjoy your garden.

17 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 20 April 2019 – The Phone Edition

  1. I will now have to review my phone. I don’t have any green dots for focusing- that I know off. Enjoy the liberation yr phone will give you, you’ll never miss a six again! I love the tulip at the end and those doomed Lilly beetles are always impressive in their own way.

    1. The only think I have to think about is the risk of dropping something into the pond. Now the phone would cost three times as much as the camera to replace. And I doubt the insurers would take kindly to another claim just yet!

  2. I believe you, thousands wouldn’t! Nice pics with the new gadget. I only use my phone now, too much faff to download off camera then move across to WP. Can do all that from my phone.

    1. Well it was an accident. Though I have since discovered that the replacement phone the insurers provided is last year’s model. The camera automatically stores photos to the cloud so they just appear as another drive on the PC. No actual transfer process Haven’t yet got the hang of composing posts on the phone. Maybe one day …..

  3. I have hundreds of thousands of digital photos, taken on various SLR’s over many years and have accumulated lenses and filters and tripods etc. along the way. I don’t want to find out I could have done just as well with a half decent phone camera (as distinct from my phone camera, which is garbage. Throwing it out of the window with the cat has considerable merit as an idea)

    1. For the avoidance of doubt, I did not throw the phone out of the window. It was a genuine cat-assisted accident. I didn’t think the old phone was deficient in any way until I got the new one (and now have the “manual”). I would not throw the cat out of the window, by the way. He’s a good moler, ratter and mouser. And since he moved in (yep, he moved in from a neighbour), I no longer have a cat crap problem in the borders. He’s very territorial. Goes back to his old house and craps in their borders. Serves them right for not treating him properly.

  4. Hi John, you have succeeded very well your photos! The closeups are successful and the ajuga pic is great. There’s a focus in the center and a zone of peripheral blur. I think you can’t do more. In any case when I’m using my macro clip, I never zoom, I move to the flower to shoot until the focus is clear and I take the picture (and I crop the photo or enlarge it after via the phone or computer)

    1. The camera did it all. Now I have the “manual” I am already doing much better. Without all the dials, levers and stuff of my proper cameras. The circle of green dots turns out to be the phone telling me it’s focusing better. I need more patience. I didn’t “zoom” any of the photos other than by moving the phone nearer to the subject. Maybe another photo six next week?

      1. Green dots are where the focus is. Circle mode usually seems to be a face recognition. Maybe do you have other settings to change to one dot only? Otherwise it doesn’t matter because pics are nice.

    1. Bugle has a downside – it spreads like wildfire. I’m chopping bits off regularly to keep it in check. Next plant sale I get to will have an abundance of Ajuga to flog! The Clematis also grows madly. About 2 metres a year. But I like it too.

  5. Fab! Loving these pictures, especially the ajuga flower. Now be careful with this new phone, or should I be taking to Res Cat and about that?!

    1. This phone has a wrist strap. Haven’t made or received a phone call on it yet so don’t know if that bit works.

  6. I like the story of you throwing your phone out of the window by accident. It’s surprising why more of us don’t accidentally damage more out of date domestic items. ” I was just dusting my TV and it fell off its stand”. Anyway those are quite passable pics and better than Anne manages with my DSLR plus macro lens. Which is why she stopped using it. It’s a clematis Montana by the way. What joy. Happy Easter.

    1. I would have you know, kind sir, that it WAS a genuine accident, albeit cat induced, and the first claim I’ve ever made on contents insurance. The old phone was only 15 months old and I didn’t think it antiquated until I got the new one (which has 3 camera lenses!). I’ve now located the manual online so look forward to better things. What I can’t remember about the montana is the precise variety/cultivar or whatever you call it. Happy Easter to you two as well. Will you be giving your balls a rub over?

  7. Impressive! The photos are of an excellent quality – couldn’t tell the difference, maybe they are even better. I am a little concerned about the demise of the lily beetle: you may, or may not have heard an item on Today recently that John Humphreys referred to as “Hug-a-slug. He interviewed someone who reckoned we should cherish these creatures and stop Growingourown and go out and buy the produce! Maybe we should add “Love-a-lily-beetle” . Enough digressing, have a good weekend , stop playing with that camera and go out into the garden.

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