Little bluestem with iPhone

On February 26, Saturday last, when in the field, I applied the iPhone to take photographs and upload for a field test: short bursts of field notes and photographs as I surveyed 53 acres of Cross Timbers prairie, creek and woodland. I attempted to snap a photograph and upload it with commentary as I went about my survey. While in the field, miles from cell towers, I was unable to coordinate photos and commentary. In addition, the “thumbing” of data on the iPhone was too slow. I was absorbing data much, much faster than I could thumb the phone. I did send a few in-the-field updates onto my blog, but later trashed them. I composed a long post with photographs taken with the Nikon when I got back to the ranch office.  In the field I did not think the photographs had been uploaded.

Today, however, as I was going through the media library on Sage to Meadow blog, I discovered that the photographs with the iPhone had been uploaded! I uploaded one photograph twice, thinking it had not been uploaded the first time. And, here it is, Little bluestem grass that is coming back on the prairie.

Little bluestem grass, Pecan Tree Pasture, Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, February 2011.

I think the utility of the iPhone in field work is evolving.  It is portable and lighter than a camera.  Composing commentary can exceed 140 characters.  It’s not going to replace the steno pad and camera, but it may have some further use.  I like the idea of field work live, or with a minimum of time lapse, as a light and useful activity.


Filed under Bluestem Field Log, Plants and Shrubs

3 responses to “Little bluestem with iPhone

  1. Little Bluestem grows in sandy soils under clear skies in New England. A native tuft grass, I love the way it dots the landscape and holds down the dry soil. The stems are only blue at the bottom and in the early spring. In the autumn the grass turns red and gold and holds light well at sundown.
    One of my favorites, no doubt.

    I haven’t used a cell phone for taking notes but have used it for photographic capabilities. I’m still using the water proof paper, yellow hard bound field book, I’m sure you know the type. I know, I’m a dinosaur.

    • I know the type of yellow hard bound field book. Love it. I have one for my surveying data, but haven’t used those tools in a long time. I have to rent the transects, etc. I use a steno pad with black ink. When it rains, we duck under a tree unless it’s a thunderstorm to wait it out and not get the notes wet. I’ve taken a few notes under the poncho.

      For those of you that don’t know Bill, the commentator, he is an ecologist by profession. You should read his work at

      Bill, I always look forward to your detailed comments with nomenclature that says, science and a deep love of nature. Thanks, Wild Bill.

  2. rica grinch

    Just what I was looking for. I am sure there are many people who are faced with the same problems I recently had. I couldn’t find You will be surprised how easy it can be to fill forms. Try fillingl VA 22-1995 through the online sowtware

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