I recently took a tour of the Farallon Islands. A fishing boat took us out on a surprisingly warm and clear day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a telephoto lens. I did, however, have a pair of cheap Bushnell binoculars and my phone. This is my adventure in binocular photography with a phone camera.

The main difficulty shooting with binoculars and a phone on a small fishing boat out on the sea is being able to align the phone camera with the binoculars. The tiny rocking boat with it’s old shaky diesel engine makes it that much harder. The bright sunny day did help keep the exposure times down so the effects of the shaking were minimized at least. This first photo has gotta be one of my favourites from this trip. Click on the photos and zoom in to see the artifacts binoculars produce.

▲ One of the smaller Farallon Islands
▲ Not very sharp at the edges vs the center

These sea lions bathing in the sun on a bed of moss and seaweed (?) was one of my favourite spots around the islands. I took several photos including the only uncropped photo I was able to take that was clear, by zooming in 2x on my phone. I love the color and clarity of this photo, though if I zoom in more, it’s still not very sharp.

▲ Sea lions bathing in the sun
▲ Closer and zoomed in
▲ Seals bathing in their little cove
▲ A bird sanctuary
▲ Very strong chromatic aberration
▲ Sculpted by the seas
▲ One of the smaller archways
▲ Pathway to bathing pool?
▲ Artifacts from misaligned camera
▲ Foreground much sharper than the background
▲ The Pixel camera likes focusing on the foreground
▲ This humpback is a tease ...
▲ ... but she is beautiful