The Best Camera is…
“The best camera is the one you have with you … and one you use!”
This post is gives an insight to my experiences of trying to expand my image making ability using the image maker I have with me most of the time. The camera on my phone.
I had to replace my phone recently when my previous one broke. Or rather I broke it when it fell out of its aged protective case into a tiled floor – ‘butter face down’. This rendered it unusable. With also being 6 years old and subject to the corrosive Mumbai climate, amongst other locations, it served me well.
However, as useful as the hand held computer, that makes calls and creates photos, Unless the quality of light was great, and bright, the images I did create were not up to a standard I look for. As capturing memories, or maintaining a visual diary, it more than sufficed.
I didn’t look heavily in to the actual ‘photo making capabilities’ when rrseatching the phone to be the replacement, the greater importance was on other aspects – screen quality and size, battery efficiency, ease of use, etc. etc. etc.
It wasn’t until I purchased the phone that met my requirements (obviously calling, receiving calls, sms/text, specific apps and other preferences) I realised I treated the camera as I had with the old phone, initially. Then I took more notice of the images. I noticed an improvement in image quality.
This may be down many factors such as modern screen, pixel quality, colour rendering, ability to manage more contrast, etc. ad infinitum. Whatever it was, I found myself using the camera more often, in more challenging situations, without realising it. Until I saw some interesting insects and fauna. The old phone I would have tried to create a few images, but it would have been for personal memory and not to show others.
Eyes, heart and mind are the catalyst to creating any image – whatever your equipment.
Quality of light. The colours, tones as colours shown by light reflecting off the world around us is vital. Being aware of the environment around us and how the light at any given moment reveals new insights can never replace manipulation via computer software, in my opinion.
Be an ‘active observer’. From small details to ‘big picture’. A tiny detail can be interesting in itself, and often leads to exploring the wider view. The same occurs in reverse.
Take the learning from using my other, dedicated, camera equipment – but don’t look to create the ‘same images’. Whatever the gear, each has pros and cons. I prefer a DSLR for certain images, a compact fixed lens for others. The phone camera has enabled me to create images neither of the others would have, but also has its own limitations.
All the images in this post were created using the phone camera. Monsoon in Mumbai creates its own challenges. And it’s unique opportunities.
I am not a fan of heavy photo manipulation, preferring to get the natural light to be the ‘manipulator’ of what I see. I have used the in phone editing, and limited that to cropping, exposure, highlights and shadows. Occasionally some contrast is adjusted. A BW image is included at the end of this article, and was again an interesting experiment. And new ideas.
Once the images in this post were ready, I decided to manage to whole blog post preparation on the phone. Again, pros and cons. But the learning process in posting this article as been invaluable in what is possible.
A final few camera phone images from Mumbai and London …