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Embracing Travel iPhone Photography: Malcolm Mclaws’ Story

May 14, 2018 4 Comments

Malcolm is a professional photographer who really values capturing people in their most natural and candid state. All of his photographs regularly possess that often difficult to replicate balance between being exceptionally high quality yet natural, however, doing this is not always easy.

Malcolm Mclaw

Malcolm pictured above with his Hitcase

“I carry a huge load of Canon DSLR cameras with assorted lenses to these events. Shoving a large format camera into someone's life makes them wary, they withdraw somewhat.”

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Someone might naturally retort, “That’s what telephoto lenses are for,” and isn’t that truly the solution when you call yourself a professional photographer?

“Sure… You can hang back with a longer lens but you don't engage the subject as much as when you're in close and personal with them. In the past shooting from a distance, you could have anything block the image creation, traffic or other people drifting into the shot.”

For Malcolm, It doesn’t matter whether the subject he is photographing is a famous athlete or a nameless stranger walking past him in a crowded marketplace or colorful souq.

iPhone Travel Photography


“I have a huge passion for traveling and visiting countries from A-Z — Afghanistan to Zambia. I'm mainly a Mountain Bike Photographer shooting Crankworx in Whistler for over 10 yrs and Red Bull Rampage events.”

Mountain Bike iPhone Photography


Quickly Shooting HQ Candid Photographs

It’s definitely tricky, and at first, Malcolm didn’t realize that his solution would already be in his back pocket, but when he found out, as a professional photographer, he became an “iPhoneographer” almost overnight!

"It was a strange road to the Hitcase family. I knew Andrew Taylor (professional MTB). While shooting with him as a mountain bike photographer, he showed me the prototype. I was hooked! Later, on my trip to China to shoot for Red Bull Sky Gate, I had already become a huge convert..”

Thinking that iPhoneography was for the casual photographer, and not an actual professional, Malcolm was regularly surprised by how versatile his Hitcase lenses were.

Wide iPhone Lens Photo


“I'm currently using the Hitcase Snap kit on an iPhone 6. I keep the wide angle lens on the case in my back pocket, very handy. The quality and finish of the lens is first class. I've used the shots in magazine articles and they are clean and crisp. I have also used the fisheye lens for specific views.”

Wide iPhone Lens


It can be pretty hard to believe that iPhoneography is so elevated that an iPhone would dare to rival a DSLR, but Malcolm was determined to put his through its paces.

“I've used the Hitcase Pro, which is completely waterproof, with the same interchangeable lenses while kayaking. One other handy thing is the molded mount on the case that allows you to attach a tripod for slow shutter and timelapse.”

iPhone Lens Photo

Ditching Large “Professional” Equipment

And just like that, his Hitcase kit took over and iPhoneography became a lifestyle for Malcolm...

“I found myself using it more and more when I traveled. After shooting in China for Red Bull, I sent all my big gear home to Canada! I had a Sony A6000 with 2 lenses and my Hitcase iPhone combo to go traveling for the next 5 months through China, Tibet, Nepal, and India.”

iPhone photography


Sending all his “professional” gear home and simply relying on two tools was a huge gamble, but he understood that in order to really challenge himself to produce better imagery, it would have been well worth it.

"Sticking my Hitcase/iPhone in my back pocket allowed me to get some candid shots without intruding with a large camera. I used the Sony for my action Mountain Bike work in Nepal and Ladakh in India.”

iPhone photography


Also read iPhoneography is No Longer a Game, it’s a Real Alternative to Your DSLR Camera

Now that he is able to go out and actually immerse himself in the scene without worrying about being targeted by petty thieves, or being concerned that the end result won’t be up to standard, Malcolm just gets on with it!

“My Hitcase became a much needed and admired friend — I’ve never gone out exploring new places without it, but I have left my cameras behind.”

iPhone landscape photography

It’s funny to think that while it’s relatively simple to do, iPhoneography is still not a massively popular pastime, especially for non-professionals.

“Where ever I shoot or travel people are always interested in my Hitcase/iPhone. People around the world have cell phones now and when they see the lens attached they are interested. That's when I give them a view of what you see on the screen with and without a lens attached.”

iPhone travel photography


There are plenty of times that people’s reactions to him pulling out his phone instead of a giant camera made people quite suspicious. Did that little thing really take these amazing photographs?

“Surprise and interest follow wherever I take pictures! One of the funniest and most memorable things that’s happened to me while toting my Hitcase was in Nepal. The owner of the hotel that I was staying at in Kathmandu was so impressed with my photographs that he had me order the same Hitcase lens for him to use.”

iPhone photography


It might be easy for Malcolm to produce high-quality images — he is, after-all a professional, but what about the everyday?

“Well, the much-used phrase is, "The best camera is the one you have with you" and that is true. For the average person, their best camera is usually their camera phone. While people may leave their homes for day trips or vacations without a camera of any type, the one thing they won't leave behind is their cell phone!”

Follow Malcolm on Instagram @malcolmmclaws50 

iPhone photography


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4 Responses

George Sisneros
George Sisneros

June 06, 2018

If you don’t already you should have an annual iPhone Hitcase photo contest.

Patty Mead
Patty Mead

June 06, 2018

So happy you are doing what you love.

Casimiro Giannubilo
Casimiro Giannubilo

June 06, 2018

I have know Mal for quite a few years since the 80’s when we worked together at Super Value at Park Royal. Always had Travel bug and enjoyed his photos to keep us updated where he might be. Great article


June 06, 2018

I remember your Hit Case. Good to see these photos again.