Camino Gear

Camera, Apps, and Photo Backup

June 15, 2015

I should be packing my backpack right now in preparation for my 8AM flight out of San Francisco airport tomorrow morning, which will begin my journey back to the Camino, but instead, I think I will procrastinate just a little bit more and write a post about cameras and photos on the Camino. However, I will attempt to keep it short.

Trail between Hontanas and Castrojeriz, 2014 Camino Francés

Day 15 (not yet published): Trail between Hontanas and Castrojeriz, 2014 Camino Francés. Pro HDR app/no editing.


With only a couple of exceptions (during the first couple of days on the Camino when I occasionally used a Sony digital camera), my photos were taken exclusively with the iPhone 5C that I purchased specifically for my journey on the Camino Francés last summer.


Day 29 (not yet published). Old Stone House. ProHDR app/no editing


I used the following apps:

  • standard “Camera” app that comes with the phone
  • ProHDR
  • Camera+

(And as an FYI, is a photo of mine has any blur, in all likelihood, I used the HDR app.)

Post-Processing (Editing After the Fact)


I have found post-processing to be mostly unnecessary using those apps, although on occasion I enjoy adding effects like vignettes and I almost always add a simple 1px black frame before posting photos to my blog.

The one exception is with photos taken of sunny yellow/golden fields using the Pro HDR app; I have frequently found it necessary to de-saturate those photos and/or adjust the color because it tends to be greenish. On this year’s Camino, should I encounter any golden fields (which seems unlikely based on photos I’ve seen of my proposed itinerary), I will use the Camera+ app.

Sometimes I am completely shocked by the almost painting-like quality of the photos when I use the HDR app. The photo of Castrojeriz below is a good example. The photo on the left is completely unedited by me; that’s just how it turned out.

In the following example, the photo on the left is completely unedited and you can see, I added a little saturation to the photo on the right.

And one more example. The following photo was taken near San Nicolas del Real Camino on Day 18, which I haven’t yet created a post for. The one on the left is unedited and the one on the right is de-saturated so it’s more true-to-life:

Watermarking & Borders

I use BorderFX for iPhoto and have had to play around with it extensively to understand how to use it. I have yet to find a font in that program I absolutely love for watermarking, hence the different fonts on my watermarks.

Day 28. Camino Francés 2014. ProHDR. No editing.

Day 28 (unpublished), Camino Francés 2014. ProHDR. No editing. (See more Camino windows, doors, and walls photos)

Backing Up

Last year I backed up my photos by posting them on Facebook for my friends and family to see.

This year I have enabled Flickr Uploader on my phone so my photos will automatically be backed up to Flickr whenever I have wireless access. They are uploaded “privately” so that I can pick and choose which to make public.


To see many of my favorite Camino landscape
photos, please click the image below:

0736 View outside Torres.

View outside Torres.

To see my post, “Technology on the Camino”, about the electronics I took last
year, most of which I will take again this year, please click the photo below:

Phone booth in front of orange wall

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  • Mike June 15, 2015 at 16:20

    A couple of questions: Will you be taking the Sony too? Will you be posting during your camino?

    I wish you a good camino and I look forward to your post.

    Mike Van Ert

    • Sometimes She Travels June 15, 2015 at 16:40

      I ditched the Sony in Viana last year because I literally took about five photos with it so it wasn’t worth the weight so no, I won’t take it this year. Last year I found at the end of the day that I was either too tired or too busy socializing to do a complete blog post so I posted a lot on Facebook. My goal is to do one short blog post per day but who knows? I may end up finding Facebook easier again. However, I did recently do a test blog post with the WordPress app on my phone and it went well so that was encouraging.

      Thanks for your comments and support, Mike.

  • Greg June 15, 2015 at 16:32

    Thanks for the information – I’ve been enjoying your pictures and wondered what you used. I had used a Samsung phone (and a Canon camera) on our Camino, with an HDR app, but I now have an iPhone 5, and am currently using Camera +, but based on what I’ve seen of your work, I’m downloading Pro HDR.

    Buen Camino!


    • Sometimes She Travels June 15, 2015 at 16:41

      Thanks for your feedback Greg. I’m glad it’s been helpful! Elissa

  • Kathy Pryzgoda June 15, 2015 at 17:35

    fabulous post. Your photos are just amazing! Buen Camino!

  • Xina Marie Uhl June 15, 2015 at 20:25

    Great photos! You were smart when getting your iPhone with the Camino in mind. I have a Moto G which I love but which has a terrible camera. I couldn’t bring my Canon Rebel because it weighs about 2 pounds so I compromised by bringing a Fuji Finepix which was only 4 ounces.

    • Sometimes She Travels June 15, 2015 at 22:25

      Thanks Xina! I really struggled with the decision to get the iPhone because until last May, I still had a flip phone and really didn’t want to make the transition. I’m glad I did, though, and am looking forward to upgrading next year to an iPhone 6, which apparently has a much better camera.

      Are you back from your Camino!?1

  • Abigail Gorton June 15, 2015 at 21:24

    Your photos are GREAT! I lived in Provence for a while and I am a web designer, so I have seen a LOT of amazing landscapes and many many photos go across my desk. You really have an eyed for capturing them and skill when you edit. Have a great trip!

    • Sometimes She Travels June 15, 2015 at 22:24

      Thank you VERY much, Abigail! I value your opinion and really appreciate all your help with this blog!

  • Holly June 15, 2015 at 21:56

    This is so helpful! Thank you. I’m amazed you took these gorgeous pics with an iPhone. And they look amazing even unedited. I’ve always had the same issue with watermarking, and it’s so time consuming! (But maybe there’s an easier way I haven’t learned yet)
    Best of luck with your new journey! I look forward to reading a blog about how you blog with WP app on the Camino and what electronics and chargers you needed to take. Buen Camino!

    • Sometimes She Travels June 15, 2015 at 22:23

      I’m so glad it’s helpful, Holly! BorderFX isn’t perfect but it’s the best option I’ve come across for batch-watermarking my photos. I do all the photos I am going to use in a post at the same time.

      Regarding electronics and chargers, etc., if you go to the top menu, then Camino de Santiago, then Camino Gear, there is a post about electronics I did last year, which still applies.

      Thank you for your well-wishes!

  • Jeremy Deedes June 16, 2015 at 03:10

    Thank you for the post, Elissa – as one who is just starting to plan for next year its really useful. I am amazed that such great photos were taken with just an iPhone. The ascetic in me was balking at carting round a digital 35mm so its a relief to read your words.

    Have a great Camino. Go well. J

  • Ray A Cameron June 19, 2015 at 18:39

    Elissa, the company that brought out ProHDR has brought out a newer version that requires iOS8 “Pro HDR X”. It has a number of improvements. It has the ability to insert text onto the photo as well. I think it can only apply text on individual photos and not a batch job.
    I must say I love the photos that you take, they look so good. I was very pleased when you indicated that you used an iPhone as I am planning to walk the Camino France in Sept 2016 and am planning to take an iPhone 6s to capture photos.
    All the best. Ray A Cameron

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