Rad A. Drew Photography: 2017

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

For the past several years it's been my privilege and pleasure to photograph young dancers from the Cuban National Ballet. Their beauty and grace as dancer-athlete-artists is unlike anything I've ever witnessed. And, even though these young women are the best of the best and the envy of dancers throughout the world, they are completely down-to-earth and as delightful in person as they are graceful on stage. Many have had the opportunity to travel and perform throughout Europe and South America. They appear to be having the time of their life! 

This collection is another Steller Story created with the Steller Stories App for iPhone. (It's also available for android phones on the Google Play store.) 

I hope you enjoy it! 

For details about photographing Cuba and all she has to offer, email me here! I have two trips planned for March 2018.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A few months ago, I discovered Steller Stories. It's a free iPhone app by Mombo Labs, LLC that lets you combine photos and videos into a storybook collection for sharing via social media.

There is a Steller site that is similar to the Instagram format, but for Steller Story collections. Once created you can post your story to Facebook and other social media sites, and Steller provides the HTML code that allows you to post it to your website, as I've done here with my collection of images from Vinales Valley.

Enjoy my Steller Story and check out the app Steller Stories for some fun of your own!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Old Man and the Sea

Old Fisherman, Cojimar Marina
Fuji X-E2
© Rad A. Drew
One of my favorite locations for experiencing Cuba is a little marina near the sea-side village of Cojimar. It's the place where Ernest Helmingway moored his boat, the Pilar, and the people who worked at this marina back in his day were the inspiration for his great novel, The Old Man and The Sea

In that novel, Hemingway wrote of the hardships of the life of the fishermen there, of the poverty, and of the endless hunt for the big fish that allowed men to eke out an existence to support their families.

Today, I don't believe it is much different. The fisherman are still very poor. The boats look as though they barely float, and the fisherman use the same methods that were used by the Old Man in Hemingway's novel. The fight to bring in a big fish is much the same.

When we arrived at the marina on the morning of our most recent visit, everyone was buzzing with the news: a boat crewed by two old fisherman had just returned with two several hundred pound sharks. We were there in time to witness the cleaning and butchering for market.

Old Fisherman Cleans his Catch, Cojimar Marina
iPhone 7 Plus
© Rad A. Drew
Watching the process I was struck by this way of life and how it represents just one of the many facets of the multiple cultures that are Cuba.

Only hours earlier, our photography group had been in the presence of some of the most beautiful, graceful creatures on earth: the young dancers from the Cuban National Ballet. 

Dancer at the Mansion, Cuban National Ballet
Fuji X-E2
© Rad A. Drew
Now, we watched an old fisherman, long, lean, and muscular from his trade, bronzed and leathered by the sun, as he cleaned his catch. It was a bloody process and a necessary one and he performed it with an elegance and grace that rivaled that of the Dancers we'd photographed earlier in the day. The old fisherman had no sharpening rod for his knife, so, as he butchered the giant fish that he'd caught at sea, he made do by occasionally running the blade of one knife along the blade of another to hone the edge, the metallic scritch-scratch,  scritch-scratch of steel on steel punctuating his gruesome task.

I was struck by both the polarities of these two worlds – the dancers and the fishermen – and their similarities, but mostly how both experiences are so much a part of what is so exactly, so precisely, Cuba today.

I'll be returning to Cuba next week for another adventure, this time in collaboration with tremendous Cuban Photographer, Ramses Batista. We'll photograph dancers in Havana, models in Ramses' studio, and then venture to the farming regions surrounding Vinales where we'll experience farm life and rural living.

For those interested in visiting Cuba, I'll be leading another Photography Tour (it'll be my 11th since 2013) from March 4-12, 2018. We'll photograph dancers from the Cuban National Ballet, shoot in the streets of Havana and Trinidad, and visit marinas and villages in rural areas outside of these two cities. If you'd like to be on the early notification list for this trip once I get it posted, you can email here. I like to work with small groups, so the tour is limited to 6 participants. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Update on Cuban Friends after Hurricane Irma and Announcements about U.S. Travel to Cuba

Game Face, Old Havana
© Rad A. Drew

Most of our Cuban friends living in Havana have contacted me since Hurricane Irma came through and everyone is okay. 

Painter Roly Castelliny had flooding in his studio in Old Havana but his home was spared. His mother, however, lost everything to the flooding. Reduced tourism is having a devastating impact on Roly's art business. He normally sells his work to tourists and there are very few tourists there now. Fellow artists are talking about how this will be one of the worst years for Cuban artists in recent memory. 

Cuban Painter, Roly Castelliny
© Rad A. Drew
Mercy Piedra, dancer with the International Cuban Ballet, only experienced power outages after the storm, but no other significant impact. Her friend and colleague, Patricia Santamarina Roca, is also doing well.

Mercedes "Mercy" Piedra, International Cuban Ballet
© Rad A. Drew
Patricia Santamarina Roca, International Cuba Ballet
© Rad A. Drew
Vivian Sanchez, our wonderful guide for several years now, weathered the storm and is doing well. Tourism, though, is down, which is negatively impacting her business.

Vivian Sanchez, Best Tour Guide in Cuba! :)
© Rad A. Drew

In Havana there was little damage from the hurricane itself, but the chest-high flooding caused a lot of damage, loss of personal belongings, damage to homes, and lengthy power outages.

My friend, Cuban photographer, Ramses Batista, wrote:

"... it was hard, there were 5 days with no power or water. I came out on both days we got hit in Havana to shoot. Every day for 7 hours sometimes with the water up to my chest. I was sad but impressed of seeing my people smile to the camera even when some of them lost everything inside their houses."

Ramses Batista, (Photo Credit: Richard Martin Photography)
Perhaps more devastating than Hurricane Irma, was last month's announcement from Washington concerning travel to Cuba. The mysterious illnesses at the U.S. Embassy and subsequent announcements about reductions to embassy staff, and travel restrictions have confused Americans about whether travel to Cuba is allowed or not, resulting in significantly reduced tourism. 

Group travel in accordance with current Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) guidelines is completely legitimate. 

U.S. travelers don't require a true visa for stays fewer than 28 days; instead, we obtain a tourist card (often erroneously referred to as a visa), and travel as a group under the OFAC's People-to-People designation. 

U.S. Embassy staff has been reduced, which will impair Cuban citizen's ability to get a visa to travel to the U.S. Those embassy staff who might aid a U.S. citizen traveling in Cuba are still in place. With my trips, our travel agency also has significant staff in Havana who are there to support us in the event we need any kind of assistance when traveling in Cuba.

Both of my scheduled trips to Cuba in November are on. They are not restricted by recent announcements about travel to Cuba. I have two spots open in each trip. The window for joining the first trip, November 5-13, is rapidly closing. If you would like to join this trip or the one scheduled for Nov 26 - Dec 4, email me here and I'll send you the info you need to register. 

Earlier this year, I established a site to collect money to buy hard-to-get paint supplies for Roly Castelliny. Before I leave for Cuba, I will use all the money in this fund to purchase painting supplies -- canvas, paint, brushes, etc. -- for Roly to keep him painting. Here's a link if you'd like to contribute to this fund. I've also posted Roly's paintings and am awaiting his price list and will post prices as soon as I have them.

Fisherman, Havana. © Roly Castelliny 
This may seem self-serving for me to solicit participants to travel with me, but it's the only way I know to actually serve people in Cuba. Our tourism makes a difference in the lives of people I know and love. Whether you go with me, or go with another photographer or other group, I encourage you to to to Cuba! Of course I would love to have you on my trip, but here are some other photographers who are also leading trips to Cuba in 2017 and 2018. Each is a friend and excellent photographer and tour leader. You can't go wrong going on any of these trips. Consider going to Cuba now. It may only get harder in the future. Go for yourself, but know you are also going for the people of Cuba who will benefit from your visit.

Trips to Cuba in 2017 and 2018:

Taxis, Old Havana
© Rad A. Drew

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Legend Classic Irvington Cafe

Home of True Patrons of the Local Arts!

The Legend Classic Irvington Café
5614 E Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46219
(317) 536-2028

My exhibit, Our Indiana, is currently showing at Legends. On Wednesday, September 6, from 6:30 to 8:30, you're invited to a reception to see my images and mingle with friends and neighbors. Since this is my third exhibit at Legends, I thought it was a good opportunity to share a little about the Robertson's who own Legends and make these exhibits possible for many local artists. -- Rad

John and Kim Robertson, Proprietors of The Legend Classic Irvington Cafe

Did you know that when you patronize The Legend Classic Irvington Cafe on Indy's east side, you are supporting local artists? 

Legends (as it's known to those of us in the neighborhood) has been a favorite Irvington restaurant were one can get a great meal, a fine wine, a local craft beer, and see the work of local artists on exhibit year-round.

Owners, John and Kim Robertson, recognizing and valuing the significance of a community's art, began showing the work of local artists shortly after opening Legends in 2003 and they continue the practice to this day.

Kim is the driving force behind the exhibits and shows deep appreciation for the work. “The art created in a community is a vital part of its soul,” she said. “I once heard art defined as work that makes you feel more alive in its presence. With that thought in mind, I would assert that featuring local art makes for a more vibrant community.”

When Kim began showing local art in 2003, it was in part to fill the restaurant walls with art that would create an engaging and stimulating environment for restaurant customers, but it was also to fill a community need. As a member of the Irvington Guild of Artists, Kim was aware that the Guild was looking for their own gallery space, but at that time they didn’t have the resources or the manpower to operate one. Having just opened Legends, Kim and John offered their dining room as an exhibit area. For the first year, then Guild president, Becky Hill, was instrumental in coordinating exhibitions. O
ver time, Kim took on the curation responsibilities.

Rita Spalding (Click for Website)
Since then Legends has exhibited the work of many area artists, including Kyle Ragsdale, Quincy Owens, Emma Overman, Rita Spalding, Jenny Elkins, Martha Santo, Adele Schluge, Kathleen Biale, Freddi Jacobi Stevens, Chris Griffin Woods, Wayne Kimmel, Patti Owings, Ginny Taylor Rosner, and myself, to name a few.

Quincy Owens (Website)
“In choosing art,” Kim says, “I look for a distinctive point of view and an artist who has a large enough body of work that the exhibit conveys a cohesive narrative.” Kim’s favorite artists always have what she refers to as “a fearless originality” to their work.

Emma Overman (Website)
In the bar side of the restaurant you can see the work of local artist, Ginny Taylor Rosner, permanently on display. Rosner's timeless works featuring Irvington scenes fit perfectly the Legends' neighborhood mood and feel. 

“I chose Ginny's work when we expanded our restaurant,” said Kim, “because she was working with the process called gum bichromate which I thought had such an evocative quality. It made all the images of Irvington look like they had been unearthed from an attic. Each picture had a moody, haunted aura. At the time of our expansion, I really wanted to reference the literary source of our restaurant's name (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and her work helped tell the story.”

Art is exhibited in the Legends' main dining room, where works of local artists rotate in and out every two months. A flexible hanging system allows local painters, photographers, and mixed media artists to quickly and easily install their exhibits. 

Jenny Elkins (website)

In the spirit of truly supporting local artists, Kim and John allow artists to sell their work commission-free. For many artists being able to keep the full proceeds from the sale of their work helps them continue to create new art, and to offer work at reasonable prices.

Currently I’m showing my exhibit, Our Indiana, featuring photographs of barns, local structures, and rural scenes I’ve discovered on my continuing exploration of our beautiful state. The images are evocative and moody and many were made with the iPhone. This marks my third exhibit at Legends. 

Rad A. Drew, photo by Sally Wolf (Sally's Website)


There is an opening event on Wednesday, September 6, 6:30 to 8:30. Come to Legends for a drink. Stay for dinner. See the work and enjoy great fellowship. Here's a link to details. 


Here are a few of my images currently showing in the Our Indiana exhibit.

Winter Barn

Gothic Chapel, Crown Hill Cemetery

Behind the Barn

Once a Barnyard

Quintessence (aka Mosey)
The next exhibit in October and November features the distinctive work of painter, Kyle Ragsdale.

Kyle Ragesdale (Website)
Any artist interested in showing their work can stop by the restaurant or call Kim. “I am always on the lookout for new artists to feature,” she said.

Oh, and by the way, in case you're wondering, the food at Legends is top notch and the prices reasonable. They are open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch. They take pride in their wine selection and serve a variety of local craft beers. If you want to get a feel for the hospitality of the Irvington neighborhood, include a stop at Legends, and while you're there, check out the local art on exhibit!

The Legend Classic Irvington Café
5614 E Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46219
(317) 536-2028

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Feed Your Soul with Local Art this First Friday

Local Art by Nancy Lee, Twilight Nouveau Necklace, Argentium Silver and Moonstone 
Showing at Nancy Lee Designs Gallery, Circle City Industrial Complex

It's IDADA First Friday again, which means many opportunities throughout Indianapolis (and beyond) to view art, meet local artists, and to gather as a community, celebrating some of the best of what we human beings have to offer the world -- our creative expression!
Local Art by Katrina Murray, All Together
Showing at the Tarkington Gallery through September
Includes work of other CCIC Artists
Tarkington Tower, 4000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208

These First Friday events, I think, are significant social activities that are important to a community, helping each of us learn more about our community's diversity as well as those commonalities we share as neighbors. 

Local Art by Rad A. Drew, Embraced, (SOLD) 
Showing at Nancy Lee Designs Gallery, Vanishing Barns Exhibit by Rad A. Drew
Circle City Industrial Complex

First Friday art events bring people from all walks together for an evening and provide an opportunity to be intellectually stimulated and nurtured through contact with others and exposure to creative artwork.

Local Art, Forest Bathing, by Lorie Lee Donoho Andrews
Showing at the Speck Gallery in the Harrison Center

And please, support a local artist! 

Being an artist is both a joy AND a daily act of courage. It's risky business to bare one's soul to a community and expose one's work - and self - to scrutiny. When you purchase an artist's work you are not only making an important financial contribution toward sustaining that creative's ability to continue working, you're also providing important moral support and validation that is equally important to nurturing an individual artist and sustaining creative expression in our community.
Local Art by Rad A. Drew, Out to Pasture Showing at the Meaningful Places: An iMOCA & Indiana Landmarks Exhibition

by Eric Schoch, Detail of Abandoned Chair, Abandoned Church
Showing at the Meaningful Places: An iMOCA & Indiana Landmarks Exibition
Yes, my wife, metalsmith Nancy Lee, and I are both part of the Indianapolis art community, but don't misinterpret my comments here as a shameless appeal to buy OUR art, necessarily -- although that would be great! 

Local Art by Nancy Lee, Dandy Lion Lady Bug BroochSilver, copper, brass, German grandfather clock gear
Showing at Nancy Lee Designs Gallery, Circle City Industrial Complex
Instead, consider this an appeal, an invitation, to find art and meet a local artist whose work moves or inspires you, and support them by acknowledging and purchasing their work. When you find work that speaks to you, and appreciate it, you are performing an act of creativity yourself. What you like and what is meaningful to you is an entirely personal, unique expression. Maybe the relationship you develop with a work or an artist will tell you something about who you are.

By purchasing local art you are:
  • having FUN!
  • contributing to some of the best of what our communities have to offer, 
  • having an impact on the local economy 
  • acquiring a work that can be a source of joy to you as you see it everyday,
  • creating a unique environment when you show a variety of art in your home,
  • supporting imaginative spirits, allowing them to continue to create new work and contribute to our community in positive ways.
For a great list of IDADA First Friday events, see the Map created by the Indiana Downtown Artists and Dealer's Association - IDADA

Local Art by Rad A. Drew, Behind the Barn
Showing at Nancy Lee Designs Gallery, Vanishing Barns Exhibit by Rad A. Drew
Circle City Industrial Complex

Other events this Friday

A multitude of Artists at the 

Circle City Industrial Complex
1125 E Brookside Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46202

A multitude of Artists at the 
Stutz Gallery
212 West 10th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Exhibit: Vanishing Barns of Indiana by Rad Drew
Nancy Lee Designs Gallery
Circle City Industrial Complex
1125 E Brookside Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Meaningful Places: An iMOCA & Indiana Landmarks Exhibition
Rapp Family Gallery
Indiana Landmark Center
1201 Central Ave

Indianapolis, IN 46202

Gallery 924
924 N. Pennsylvania St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Tarkington Tower hosts artists from Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC) Artists, Katrina J. Murray, Nancy Lee, and Andrea Townsend 

Tarkington Tower 
4000 N Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46208
When: Now thru September 2017
Hours Week days 10:00 to 6:00 (give-or-take)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cuban Painter, Roly Castelliny

Roly Castelliny in front of one of his paintings in his home in Old Havana.

(See more of Roly's paintings in this gallery I created.)

Twenty-six-year-old Roly Castelliny was working in an apartment in Havana where I was staying while in Cuba in 2015. He was on the staff at the apartment and was filling the roles of Concierge, Bartender, Money Changer, Cook and whatever else his guests called for during their stay. Because, I think, he is about the age of my son, and because he has such a positive character and personality, I was drawn to him.

One night, after the rest of our group had gone to bed, Roly and I sat up on the balcony overlooking Havana Harbor and talked well into the night. His English was remarkably good. (He said he'd learned English by watching the few American TV shows they could view in Cuba!) He told me about his life in Cuba, about training in the marshal arts for most of his life, about being a body guard, about his wife and family, and about the events that led him to make a career change and eventually discover his talent as an artist.

The story he shared went something like this. He was at the home of a woman he knew well who was being harassed by her ex-boyfriend. While Roly was with her one evening at her home, the ex kicked in his friend's door and attacked her. Roly intervened, and, using his marshal arts skills, hurt the attacker badly.

The next morning, even though he'd felt justified in defending his friend, he was sick about how badly he'd hurt this man. He was feeling remorseful. He vowed at that moment to leave his work as a body guard and pursue a new way of life.

At the time, he didn't know what that new life would be, but he got out of the security business and found the job that he was in when I met him in what I would call the hospitality/tourist industry. He liked it, and he liked the people he met, but something was missing for him. One day, to cheer him up, a friend came by with some paints and brushes and invited Roly to paint with him. Having never painted, Roly was reluctant at first, but eventually relented.

What happened next helped him to find the direction he was looking for in his life. He found that he could paint! Not only could he paint, but he seemed to have a gift for it. He'd had no training, yet the images he created in spite of being a beginner, were surprisingly good. He began to paint more and to study and to learn. His passion for creating art had been ignited! When we talked that night on the balcony he said that he was about ready to leave the relative security of his job at the apartment and venture out on his own as an artist.

After I returned to the United States, Roly and I continued to stay in touch. Within a few months of our initial meeting, he sent me a Facebook message telling me that he'd left his day job at the apartment and had found a very small gallery in Old Havana in an area where tourists often came to visit local galleries. He began to sell his work internationally, including pieces that hang in the foreign embassy in Havana. He also received inquiries from the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa.

Shortly after he established himself in his small gallery, I was in Cuba with another group. We all went to see his new place. It was so tiny! About the size of two closets or a small bathroom. His work was displayed on every inch of wall space, and he was selling. Within a few months of that visit, he had moved to a larger gallery with access on a busy street, a wonderful location for his art.

Today, we correspond on a regular basis. I have "invested" in his new gallery and have watched as he renovated it, installed new lighting, spackled walls, and hung his paintings. To thank me for my "investment," he's offered me some space in his gallery where I am showing a few of my photographic images from Cuba.

In spite of what sounds like a success story (and it is!), this has been a tremendous struggle for Roly. Because he has no art education, he is not recognized as a legitimate artist by his government, so he is not eligible for any of the resources that might be available to artists that are formally educated.

One of the biggest threats to his ability to create work is the difficulty in obtaining art supplies like canvas, brushes, and most of all, oil paint. It's not so much that he can't afford it (although money is tight), there just isn't any paint to buy in Cuba much of the time. Each time I visit, I bring him oil paints and last year I posted on Facebook that he needed supplies. I received many generous donations from around the country and was able to bring him new paint and brushes, and an assortment of donated items like lightly used tubes of oil paint, canvases, and brushes.

Friends visited Cuba this June and were kind enough to carry more supplies that I had for Roly to keep him painting. Since the last Facebook request was so fruitful, I've put out the call again. 

If you would like to contribute to a fund that will allow me to purchase painting supplies for Roly Castelliny and support him in his new gallery, you can do so here. I've created a PayPal button (below) that will allow you to donate, and allow me to track the donations and maintain a record of contributors. Last time, I received so many donations that I lost track of where they all came from. I wrote many thank you notes, but fear I missed some who contributed. The PayPal system will allow me to keep better track.

This is set up entirely informally and all you have is my word of honor that every cent (except for PayPal fees necessary to make this managable) will go toward supporting Roly and his art. Money will be spent on one of three things: 
  1. art supplies, 
  2. baggage fees to get materials to Cuba, and 
  3. gallery rent

There are 5 levels of donation:
  1. $5
  2. $10
  3. $25
  4. $50
  5. $100

Any amount will be greatly appreciated!

I really don't know what kind of response there will be. If I start receiving more money than is practical (a good problem to have!), I will turn off the donation site and stop accepting donations.

I'll be visiting Cuba two more times in 2017, leading small groups of photographers from November 5-13, and again from November 26 - December 4, so I'll be able to bring more supplies when I travel.

Roly Castelliny's Paintings

Here are a number of paintings created by Roly. It's difficult for him to send me images, so I don't have many. Also, many of the images he's created have sold and he does not have photos of everything, so, what I have here is a limited example of his work. Eventually, I'll have a catalog of his paintings with prices for anyone who is interested in purchasing.

I don't have the names of everything he's done or the exact sizes of everything either, but most of his work is quite large. (See the piece he's standing next to below.) Some of his works are commissions, like the one of the girl in the sunglasses. You can see the progression and the photo the painting was based on for this one.

Select Donation Amount

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Creating Dynamic Panoramas with your iPhone

© Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano

Summer is finally here and for most of us, that means we will be spending more time outside, often in wide open spaces in cities or in the country. It's the perfect time to experiment with creating panoramic images with your iPhone!

In this post, I'm going to be sharing two tools I really like for creating wonderful panos. One is the pano feature that comes with the iPhone's native camera. It is actually my favorite not only for its ease of use, but also for the remarkable results it produces. 

The other is the app Panorama DMD, which makes 360 degree pano videos as well as great panorama images. It also has the added advantage of creating images using HDR software for balanced exposure of high contrast scenes.

First, the iPhone's Native Camera Feature

To access the iPhone's native camera pano feature, first open the native camera by clicking on this icon: 

The Pano feature is located at the far right of the screen, as shown below:

Slide your finger across the screen to the right until PANO changes to yellow.

For a horizontal pano, you'll need to hold the phone in the portrait position, as show in the image above. Notice the white arrow and the yellow line, and the instructions: Move iPhone continuously when taking a Panorama.

Prepare to take your pano by holding the phone in the portrait position, as shown, and keep the phone perpendicular to the ground, that is, straight up and down. When you're ready, tap the white button at the bottom of the phone and begin to slowly move the camera in the direction of the arrow, keeping the arrow on the yellow line. If you veer from the yellow line, you'll see the message to move up or move down. In bright light, you'll be able to move very quickly, but in lower light, you must move slower. If you move to fast, you'll see the message slow down appear on the screen.

The iPhone Pano feature does a remarkable job, but, it does not take HDR images, therefore, you may find that some of the brighter areas of the image may be blown out, or too bright. To avoid this problem, tap your finger on the brighter area of the scene. In the example above, I tapped on the clouds over the house. This sets the exposure for the bright sky. Yes, the rest of the image may appear too dark, but that is correctable later using the app, SnapSeed. In SnapSeed's Tune Image tool box, you can adjust for Ambiance, Highlights, and Shadows. To brighten the shadow areas of the image, move the Shadow Slider in SnapSeed to the right. (For more information on using SnapSeed to process images, see my SnapSeed tutorials on my YouTube channel.)

  1. To start your pano, tap the white button.
  2. To stop your pano, tap the white button again, or even easier, reverse the motion of the phone when you get to the end of the scene and the camera will stop and save your image to your camera roll. No need to hit the button again and risk shaking your camera.
  3. Take a pano that is about 180 degrees.
  4. Take a pano that is only as wide as you want to go. This is great if you are in a small room and want to capture the interior, or you only want to capture a smaller portion of a scene. You can start your pano, reach the end of the scene, reverse camera motion and capture just a portion of the 180 scene.
  5. To take a vertical pano, turn the phone to the landscape position  and rotate the camera up to take a pano of a tree, building or monument.
  6. If you have the iPhone 7 Plus, tap the 2x button on the screen and get twice as close to your subject when you take your pano. It will appear much larger than the 1x pano.
  7. The closer you are to your subject, the more of the barrel distortion you'll get. Rather than consider this a defect, use it to your advantage to create an interesting interpretation of your subject. (See the Cigar Factory and the National Capital building, below.)
Here are a some examples of pano's taken with the iPhone native camera.

The Cigar Factory and the Capital Building in Cuba, below, are examples of the kind of barrel distortion that can occur when you are very close to your subject, as I was when I took these images. The buildings appear to be in the shape of a hockey puck, when in reality they are traditionally rectangular structures.
© Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano, Cigar Factory

The image of the El Capitolio in Cuba is an example of a "partial" pano as well as barrel distortion. I stood very close to the building, started at the left end of the building and moved until I had included the entire building in the frame, then I stopped the pano by reversing the direction of my camera motion. This is a great way to control the content of your scene and use the barrel distortion for artistic effect.

National Capital Building in Cuba, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Partial Pano, 
Jose Marti Stadium, Havana, Cuba, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano
Along the Colorado River, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano
Winter, Indiana, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano
Trinidad, Cuba, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano
Abandoned City Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano

Abandoned USPO, Gary, Indiana, © Rad A. Drew, iPhone Pano
The panos below were taken with the native camera pano feature on the iPhone 7 Plus. The first pano was taken with the 1x setting, while the second was taken with the 2x setting. See how much closer you're able to get to your subject in the 2x mode, and how much more of the scene is captured in 1x. One is not necessarily better than the other, just a different view. 

The Palouse, iPhone 7 Plus Pano at 1x,  © Rad A. Drew

The Palouse, iPhone 7 Plus Pano at 2x, © Rad A. Drew

Now for the App, Panorama DMD

The app Panorama DMD works on both iPhone and Android and allows you to take great panos, and, if you make the in-app purchase, will produce them in HDR as well. It's available via the App Store here for iPhone users, or the Google Play Store here, for android users. 

You can set it up to save to your camera roll or to a social site for sharing, which I chose not to do.

Open the app by clicking on its icon of a Yin/Yang symbol, that looks like this:
DMD Panorama
Similar to the iPhone camera pano feature, you must hold the camera in the portrait position and perpendicular to the ground. 

Position the camera and when ready, tap anywhere on the screen to start the process. This is what the interface looks like. Notice the two halves of the Yin/Yang symbol separated at the top of the screen.

Move the camera to the right until the Yin/Yang symbols come together, as shown below:

After each "mating" of the symbol halves you'll hear a shutter click and the icons will separate as you rotate to the right until they come together again. You have to go slow enough to allow time for the symbol halves to match up and click before you move on. If you tilt the camera forward or backward so that it's no longer perpendicular to the ground, the Yin and Yang won't mate until you return the camera to the perpendicular orientation. You can continue rotating for a full 360 degrees, something that can't be done with the iPhone Pano feature.

When you've reached the end of your pano, tap the screen to finish. The image will be saved according to the settings you've selected for the app.

The app's settings are rather hidden. To access the settings, tap the Profile icon at the bottom right of the app's interface. It's the one that looks like a person. When you tap that, you will see the following screen:

You don't need to sign in or sign up. Instead, click the blue setting's gear icon in the upper right corner to reveal the settings screen as shown below. I have mine set up to copy to camera role when saving and to also copy the original component images to the cameral roll. 

The App for Galileo, is an app that works only with the Motrr Galileo motorized mount for panoramas, which I haven't tried. You don't need to worry about it if you don't have that hardware.

After you've taken your Pano, it will appear in the local gallery which looks like this:

You can save the pano to your camera role as a Video or a Photo. To save, tap on the share icon beneath the image. The share icon is the one with the arrow. When you tap the share icon, you see the share options beneath the image as shown below:

To save, tap the icon that looks like a roll of film and you will see this save screen:

Select Video or Photo and tap the export button. Photos are saved in the camera roll and videos are saved in the video album in the camera roll. Showing a video is how the 360 degree images are shown.

Here are some examples of images taken with the DMD Panorama App.

© Rad A. Drew, DMD Panorama

© Rad A. Drew, DMD Panorama

© Rad A. Drew, DMD Panorama

Try both these apps to see which you prefer, then make some great panos this summer! For tips on processing in SnapSeed, see my SnapSeed tutorials on my YouTube channel.

Thanks for stopping by and, until next time, keep on shooting!