#ZoomingEast with Nokia Lumia 1020

December 04, 2013
Sponsored Post

Last week I got an email from Nokia UK saying that they read my blog and were wondering, Would I like to try the new Nokia Lumia and explore Shoreditch on a street art tour with them? Seeing as a) my very first three mobiles (we call them handphones in Malaysia) and then some were Nokia b) I spent a good part of my teens and twenties lusting over the new Nokia mobiles but haven't give them a chance lately and c) Shoreditch is my neighbourhood but I'm sadly lacking in knowledge of Shoreditch's hidden gems, I said yes. A couple of days later this arrived for me...

A select group of lifestyle, art & culture, and street art bloggers (there's a list of all of them at the bottom of this post), all 11 of us, met in Spitalfields on Saturday. We were taken for a tour of East London's street art and to put our Lumias to the test. 

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera (that's 31-mp more than my Leica), HD video function, and manual functions just like a camera (exposure, white balance, shutter speed, aperture) which would make it the dream phone for photography lovers. However, given that I waste my Leica by shooting on automatic mode, I can be best described as a lazy person who likes to take good photos and maybe even try to get away with acting like a photographer. I'm certain most people are just like me! If so, this blog post is for you, if you want to see the Nokia Lumia 1020's full camera ability check out the other blogs I've listed at the end of this post.

The curves are slidable buttons that adjust settings like exposure, ISO, f-stop, shutter speed, all the things that your DSLR does.

My photographs are supposed to represent the lowest common denominator; that is, an absolute amateur shooting in automatic mode. Instead of fiddling with functions that may seem challenging to some, I'm relying on the camera to do the work. None of these photos have been edited apart from some cropping, but certainly no adjusting of brightness, contrast, and levels (which I do for every photo I take whether with my Leica, DSLR, or iPhone). You can even see my infamous eyebags, usually meticulously airbrushed out of all my photos, in all their unPhotoshopped glory. This is the first and hopefully the last time I will let the ugly show.

2:30pm, Spitalfields.

It was bright and the sky was a bit cloudy, but there was a lot of natural light. For some reason my photos had a bit of an ethereal glow to them. Certainly not because I was radiating a heavenly aura.

Wearing my new Stuart Weitzman 5050 boots and Longchamp Pliage tote.

Testing the front facing camera.

The detail the camera captured on his hands---the textures of his skin and knuckles---is especially astounding given that my own hands were not very steady with the camera! (I was extremely nervous about dropping the phone, I am accident prone and not used to large mobiles) I didn't have time to stand still and focus properly, this is all down to the Lumia's stabilizer.

3:00 pm, Brick Lane

An alleyway off Brick Lane, unpoliced by the council and left alone to flourish without threat of being scrubbed clean or painted over, has flourished into a sort of showcase for street artists. A rogue's gallery, if you will.

I noticed on the edge of a crumbling wall tiny faces carved into the brick. Urban gargoyles.

Bloggers taking Slinkachu-style photos with tiny figurines for the #Zooming East twitter competition. The contest is only open to us bloggers, but you can check out the photos on Twitter with the #ZoomingEast hashtag. I haven't entered yet, but I have some ideas involving Coolio...

I hate how my face looks strange in this photo (like it's squashed) but I promised no Photoshop and I need an #ootd photo so I'll disregard it just this once. 

Lots of selfies followed to compensate for the ugliness above.

Silly faces with Kate

What does the fox say?!

4:00 pm, Hanbury Street (off Brick Lane)

By now the sun was starting to disappear, hence the blueish tones in some of the photos. The light was fading fast and it was very windy.

I'm surprised at how clearly focused the flowers are in this photo because in real life the wind was blowing hard and the flowers were swaying very quickly.

...and given that I took a picture of this hippogriff's head on top of a metal pole while being lifted up---not only was the subject tiny and difficult to focus I was also wobbling all over the place---it focused rather well!

This City of Gonzo sign was taken, without zoom, from at least 30 feet away and cropped.

4:30 pm, Brick Lane. 

By now the sun was almost gone. But you couldn't tell from these pictures. Again, no adjusting of exposure or aperture to compensate for lack of light, this is all automatic.

5:00 pm, Shoreditch

The sun is completely gone. We've entered another long, English, winter night. 

The only illumination came from light pollution and street lamps, which, let's face it, in London, can sometimes be scarce.

Miss Van, taken at night in a pitch black alley, with no flash. Just a steady hand and a steadier camera stabiliser.

Under a bridge in Shoreditch.

We were given a private tour of Pure Evil gallery. I contemplated picking up a piece to match my two Pure Evil prints above my bed.

Mirror selfie while the other bloggers and photographers were taking photos with artistic intent, making the most of their Lumia's incredible camera. What? I represent the vain, fast-paced lifestyle, young female demographic. I'm just doing research for that market.

With the bloggers I had the privilege to be part of in the #ZoomingEast campaign with!

Thank you Nokia! For the experience and for the Lumia 1020. I'd recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in photography; from image-conscious lifestyle bloggers wanting their social media pictures to look their best, to photography buffs who like the idea of a more than sufficient back-up camera, to anyone keen on toying with the idea of getting into photography but wanting to practise before investing in a bigger camera. As for me, I like to sometimes leave the Leica at home when I attend events (it just won't fit in my clutches) but the Nokia Lumia's camera is good enough for blogging picture and the phone won't make a dent in my purse.

Here's a list of all the bloggers that are involved with #Zooming East...

Lifestyle bloggers

Art & culture bloggers

Street art bloggers

...and of course Shoreditch Street Art Tours for the wealth of knowledge and the interesting, informative tour.



  1. 42 megapixel camera is so impressive for a phone! Love all the East London street art. I feel like I may have to switch from my iphone when my contract is up next year.

    1. I know, right?! My iPhone's camera feels so inadequate now. Camera envy :(

  2. I went on the same tour a month ago and judging from your photos a lot of the pieces I saw have already been spray-painted over with new art. The willingness of the graffiti artists to let their work be ephemeral and worked upon by others is fantastic. I know if I managed to create some amazing piece of graffiti I would be more than pissed if two weeks later somebody drew a giraffe holding a balloon on top of it!

    1. Yes our guide mentioned that these pieces don't stay very long, street art is very transient!
      LOL to your giraffe and balloon comment. I think I might give street art a go just to see what other artists do with it. x

  3. Hey, great post. Thanks for the mention and very nice to meet you.

  4. Having had a good look at your pics I am left to wonder...this camera has a veeery, veeery strange blur effect. Do you see what I mean? It almost looks a bit, uhm, dreamy? bloomy? Slightly unrealistic!

    1. Yes! I wonder if it may have been my fingerprints on the lens making that smudgy, blurry, effect, because only photos from my phone came out that way. Now you know how to add an ethereal glow to your pictures without Photoshop ;)

  5. you always make me smile. Love your self deprecating humour, style and intelligence. Keep up the blog!