The Nokia Lumia 1520 - making blogging better

Sunset at Sontaya, St. Regis Saadiayt Island Resort - Nokia Lumia 1520

A year ago, my daughter inspired me to start a blog by asking me the question: 'Dad, do you only teach or do you do something else?' It got me thinking about my legacy to her, and the blog was born. It the  grew into a passion where I wanted people to read my words, see the pictures and feel that they dined with me. 

When I visit  a restaurant with an intention to write about it, and that Grade 9 Wagyu is placed in front of me, I reach for my phone of course to capture the image. Or a bottle of Champagne is uncorked and the glorious drink is poured. I reach for the phone. In fact, I recently did a Champagne flight that involved the magnificent Ruinhart and the king himself, The Dom 2004. Needless to say, the phone was there again. I could use the Nokia 1520 confidently despite the low light because  it takes brilliant pics in those conditions. It was not always the case though.

One could argue and say, 'Well if you want to take good photographs, use a camera. You want to text someone, get a phone'. However, it is all about etiquette. Walking around a restaurant with a big SLR camera hanging around the neck is surely far more obtrusive than my little phone used to take pics. I simply cannot picture myself, pun intended, with my big camera at the table taking pics of all my dishes. Inconvenient. So, I have always felt comfortable using my phone. 

But it became an issue when I wrote a couple of articles for a magzine. High res pics, was the request. Also, with a camera at 5MP, as much as I enjoyed the operating system on my phone, ( I had been a user with that operating system for 5 years) the camera was not cutting it. But the biggest problem was the low light. Using a flash robs the dish of its natural elements, so that was never an option. 

Finally, my blog was gaining more readers. In the first 6 months, it had racked up 12 000 readers. The next 6 months brought an additional 20 000 readers. Also, my readership on Tripadvisor went from 23000 in January 2014 to 47 000 in June 2014. So, I needed to start taking pictures that would match the growing readership. I needed a change.

Oysters at Finz, Beach Rotana - Nokia Lumia 1520
Oysters at Finz, Beach Rotana - My previous phone
Since switching to the Nokia Lumia 1520, the quality of my blogs have improved, with the bigger pictures and clarity working well for me. When sending a post to Marketing Manager or F&B Director, one usually gets standard comments like, 'Thank you for the detailed feedback'. However, on numerous occasions I actually got a comment  like, 'We appreciate the standard of the pictures you are taking'. Well, I feel I owe it to the restaurant to do it justice, but more importantly to the chef. He/she creates this magnificent dish. It is up to me to translate that dish to the world through my words and pictures. And I need to do a fitting job. 

Alantic scallops at Spice Mela, Rosewood Hotel.- Incredible resolution compared to the bottom pic. Even the scallop in the background looks clearly defined. Nokia Lumia 1520
Alantic scallops at Spice Mela, Rosewood Hotel.See the lack of definition on the scallops? I used my old phone. 
This was my principle reason for switching to the Nokia 1520. The standard settings are great - white balance when you are taking a picture with sunlight in the background, auto and manual focus, ISO settings, shutter speed and brightness. 

Uploading Pictures
The process of uploading pics has also become so simple thanks to the OneDrive feature on Windows. Of course, other competitors also have various storage facilities, but the 15 GB standard space on Windows is just brilliant. In the past I would take pictures, email them to myself and then download them. Now, I get home and the pics are already on OneDrive, and I simply transfer them to my blog. Could not be easier!

Battery Usage
The battery life on my previous phone was embarrassing. In fact, I remember running out of charge on numerous occasions, and frantically looking for a cable to charge my phone. How could I be taken seriously as  a food writer when I was doing this? You have probably seen videos on Youtube mocking users with battery issues with their phones. The comparison says it all. 
  • Previous device: 14 Hours talk time. 8 hours talk time on 3G
  • Nokia 1520 : 27 hours talk time. 25 hours talk time 3G
I found the options on my old device very limited once I gad taken the pictures. One useful feature was the ability to make a picture lighter, helpful in low light. But it was limited. There has been a  recent update though that offers more options, but this paled in comparison to the features on the Nokia. I like the Creative studio application that comes standard with the phone. It allows me, in the words of Nokia, 'to have 10 predefined effects, change tone of the image by adjusting vibrance, shadows, brightness, clarity and temperature.' While I have not had a need to do all of these, I have certainly been enjoying some these features.

Taken in low light at Ray's Bar, Jumeirah Etihad Towers - Nokia Lumia 1520
From the background you can see it was dark - still brilliant and crisp pics - Ray's Bar, Jumeirah Etihad Towers - Nokia Lumia 1520
I have seen a number of blogs out there with amazing pictures. This is so important. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is so true, especially in the fast moving age. The switch to the Nokia has certainly made things better for me. During a dinner I tweet 2 or 3 times - I dine mostly alone, so I don't embarrass anyone. I usually post on my facebook page too. Having pictures ready which do not have to be edited is essential for this. 

As people we get so attached to our techie gadgets. But it is not about status. We simply get so used to how they work, and we are loathe to change. I remember my Nokia 2110 that O used in 1995. The I could not imagine switching phones, and I remained with Nokia until around 2002. Now I have returned, having gone full circle. Good to be back. 

Brandon Stoltenkamp
Food Writer
F&B Consultant