A day in the life of Lord Howe Island in photos

By Justin Gilligan 15 July 2022
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Award-winning Australian landscape and wildlife photographer Justin Gilligan takes the new Samsung Galaxy for a tour of his home island.

When Australian Geographic offered me the opportunity to review the camera capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra on Lord Howe Island, I jumped at the chance. The only issue was the timing, which I knew would be a true test for Samsung’s iconic camera phone.

There’s a reason that Lord Howe Island has a peak season, and an off-season. The former is made up of postcard days: dramatic undulating hills complement the blue patchwork lagoon, fairy-floss clouds chug overhead and iconic cloud-capped mountains round out this subtropical dreamscape. The winter months, in contrast, are largely overlooked because of rain and wind. Seasonal nesting seabirds have flown the coop and many of the lodges close and commercial operators take a well-earned break.

It was during the depths of the off-season that I was tasked with this test – the mettle of this device would be measured by my ability to create a portrait of the island itself.

During my time with this device, there were a range of features that I found noteworthy and up to the challenge:

  • Camera and lens: The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra incorporates a selection of high quality glass lenses, including a powerful 30x and 100x zoom to suit a range of shooting options including landscape, general lifestyle and wildlife. The shooting options include a 12MP ultrawide lens, plus dual 10MP telephoto cameras that combine to offer 10x optical zoom and 100x space zoom, offering an extreme range of zoom options for a camera phone.
  • Fast processor: It’s also obvious that the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a super fast chip, allowing for a quick frame rate, which is beneficial for wildlife and bird photography. Apparently, the 4nm processor is the fastest chip ever in a Galaxy smartphone, with minor delay between frames, even when shooting at high speed.
  • Low-light capability: Thanks to a big sensor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra delivers impressive pictures with a beautiful dynamic range. Unlike other camera phone images, there are no bright or dark areas due to the sensitive exposure range. The Night Mode also works well, particularly during sunrise/sunset and in the forest.
  • Image quality: The 2.4um pixel sensor packs a punch and is Samsung’s largest pixel sensor ever, enabling its camera lenses to capture more light and data. I was surprised at the high quality of images that came from camera.
  • RAW app: The app contains a suite of in-camera editing tools like a DSLR camera. During shooting it was possible to correctly expose for the highlights in the frame, and darken photos with ISO settings and shutter speed. It’s also possible to adjust white balance to make your photo more warm or cool, and manually focus on your desired subject. This was particularly useful during tricky lighting conditions, such as sunrise, when I could expose for the sky and bring up the shadows in the foreground.
  • Image formats: There are a range of picture format ratios from which to choose, including 3:4, 9:16, 1:1, that provide options to create image variety quickly for fast upload to social media. This is an advantage over a DSLR and is a real opportunity to enhance creativity.
  • Battery life: The battery lasts for more than a day. Working remotely, I didn’t need to worry about missing a moment with considerable charge. The battery also charged efficiently, which is handy for a quick turnaround. I charged the phone during the evening and at no stage was I concerned about the charge and could make pictures when the opportunity arose without worrying about battery life.
  • Portrait mode: Portrait mode is offered in a range of image formats and does an excellent job balancing light in the foreground and background to ensure the exposure of the portrait is optimised, doing a fantastic job with selfies.

One major advantage of this device is that you don’t need to be a mobile photography expert to make the most of the immense capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Navigating the setting options was obvious after a quick session to familiarise myself following unboxing. The camera app has an intuitive interface with a suite of features – the sky really is the limit here.

On reflection, I enjoyed the challenge of creating content with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. If I can create these images during the depths of the Lord Howe Island off-season, just imagine what you can achieve with your loved-ones and loved-locations in the picture.

This article is brought to you by Samsung.