Communication Upgrade

I recently upgraded to a smartphone.  I had been holding out because I couldn’t justify the need or the expense. When I am working from home, in engineering mode, I’m sitting in front of the computer all day.  I’ve got a phone right next to me on the desk.  What more do I need?

And when I’m out hiking, the last thing I want is to be connected.

Forsythe Creek

Forsythe Creek


But all of that changed with the travel associated with the pinball and jukebox repair.  I need to be able to check e-mail, traffic, add reminders to a to-do list, check appointments, and find myself when I get lost out in the plains of eastern Colorado.

I opted for an iPhone 5 because it is the lesser of two evils (the other being Android), when it comes to privacy controls.  I don’t want or need some corporation watching over me or delivering ads to my screen.


Moss on an un-rolling stone

Moss on an un-rolling stone.  This photo is slightly out of focus.  And there is a finger.


I went for a hike down Forsythe Canyon to test out the iPhone’s camera.  I’ve been wanting a point-and-shoot option instead of lugging around 6 pounds of DSLR camera gear and lenses.  I don’t expect the iPhone to replace my DSLR, but there are times I want to be traveling light.

As a camera, it’s not very ergonomic.  The lens is right at the edge of the case where you hold it.  My fingers kept getting in the way.

Without HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Without HDR (High Dynamic Range)

With HDR.  Sky and dirt in the background is better.

With HDR. Sky and dirt in the background is better.















The camera comes with an HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature that takes multiple exposures and combines them. Based on the examples above, it seems to help with blown-out skies and highlights.  This is a feature I wouldn’t mind having on my Canon.  But that is pretty much the only feature the camera has.  There are probably apps available that will give the camera more features.


Gross Reservoir

Gross Reservoir reflecting the sky


As I hiked down the canyon to Gross Reservoir, I checked the built-in GPS.  Since I didn’t have cell service, it wasn’t much use.  It showed me where I was on a blank grid.  When I returned home, I bought an app for $20 that would make it more like my Garmin GPS, a full-featured GPS geared towards hiking and biking.  (See Gaia GPS.)  It will allow me to download maps for use when I don’t have cell service.  My Garmin hasn’t worked well since it dropped from my backpack and cracked the screen several years ago.  This will be a nice replacement if I can keep it from getting damaged.


Gross Reservoir

Gross Reservoir


We’ve had a lot of snow and rain recently. The creek in Forsythe Canyon (which I’m referring to as Forsythe Creek), was flowing at a high rate.  There is a waterfall.


Waterfall along Forsythe Creek

Waterfall along Forsythe Creek


At the bottom of the waterfall was a 3-foot mound of bubbles.


Mound of bubbles

Mound of bubbles (and another view of my finger)


There is naturally occurring foam in some creeks, but this had to be soap suds.  Some individual bubbles were 6 inches in diameter.  My guess: There are about 100 homes in the Forsythe Canyon area. With the heavy rains after two years of drought, the rain water is rinsing the leach fields of septic systems.  Think of how much detergent and soap is used in a hundred homes.

I have a cool video of the bubbles, but I’m not there yet with getting it uploaded and posted on my website.


Mourning Cloak butterfly

Mourning Cloak butterfly

I wasn’t impressed with the iPhone’s digital zoom.  This Mourning Cloak butterfly has no detail.

I had my Canon DSLR camera with me as well.  This final photo was taken with it.  One of my favorite flowers.

Pasque Flowers

Pasque Flowers



6 thoughts on “Communication Upgrade

  1. Great pics, even from an Iphone. Of clourse, you do have an eye, although, some might point out, you have two ;P. Those photos remind me that I need to get back out into the Backcountry. The last few weeks has just been places closer to home.

    Hope things are looking up a little, paper-wise :).

    • i was a holdout, as well, you know…but once it was time for a free upgrade i decided i’d better take the plunge so that 2 more years down the road i’d not be that much farther ‘behind the curve’.

      once i swore i never *ever* needed to know how to text-message or have any possible use for a camera-phone and now, well…:::raising hand::: guilty as charged. yep, now i even surf on my phone. regularly. ‘oh, hey, let me just look that up!’

      remember the last geeks? ‘who here has a smartphone?’ yeah, now it seems like who *doesn’t*?

      on another note: time and economics allowing, we sure do need to get together again. been too long since we went exploring. i miss being the only one being admonished by mr. grey that that hole does *not* need to be gone into. ;p

      cuz yes, yes it does. 😀

      • I agree that it’s been too long since we’ve done any exploring! And I haven’t forgotten about the Corvair Mine. But with the recent precip, there have been a lot of rock slides over in this area so I’m thinking later in June or July. I did speak to a miner friend who went in there and he said it floods out pretty quickly. 🙁 Bring yer waders!

        It’s not that I was fighting the change to a smartphone, it was just that I didn’t need one because I was always in front of the computer. And then there was the expense. My old cell was $15 per month. Now I’m paying $80ish. Plus two landlines (one of which is going away soon (303-530-xxxx) so update your contacts).

        A couple of years ago, I was asked to help a friend set up her smartphone. It was fresh out of the box. While I was in the settings screen, “Ads by Google” was updating at the bottom. In the settings screen! So this told me that it was being done at the operating system level, below the level of apps. Maybe this isn’t being done anymore, but it really soured me on Android. The other thing that was a little creepy is during the activation process, it asked that you take a mugshot of yourself.

        Pasque flowers are probably one of my top 3 favorite flowers!

    • I still have a Church CD that belongs to you. So it’s been in my mind we need to hook up. But things have been a bit crazy. It will most likely be June. Also there has been a little of “behind the scenes” scheming to do something for music geekery. But people seem to have full schedules right now.

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