Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Best Camera

It's a photographers' truism: "The best camera is the one you have with you."

If you've left your brand new DSLR or medium format at home and all you have is your cell phone, the best camera is the one on the back of your phone. With companies packing in ever more sophisticated cameras into their phones the awkward terms "iPhoneography" or "phoneography" have come to designate art forms all their own. The pictures you can take with these devices are getting better and better. Apps with the capability of editing them range from the simple and sometimes gimmicky to the powerful and elegant.

Now that smart phones are always connected and becoming relatively ubiquitous, these photos make their way onto social networking and photo sharing sites just moments after they are taken. I've posted hundreds of pictures to Facebook and Twitter and I've seen some really good pictures on both of them. The ability to let friends and family see these instant memories almost as they happen is magical.

Kim's Footprint
A few years ago, my wife and I spent a week on the beaches of Bradenton, Florida. This is my hometown, but we were there to be a part of the wedding of two wonderful friends. I took literally hundreds of pictures as the couple asked me to capture the wedding. I got some great shots and our friends seemed truly happy with them. But this simple picture means something different to me.

One morning I walked down the short, wooden walk to the beach with only my iPhone. I was going to go for a swim and didn't really want my "good" camera sitting on the beach and getting full of sand. Kim was ahead of me on the walk back to the house, her feet still damp from the surf and when I looked down I saw her sandy footprints on the boards. I knew I wanted that picture! But I also knew that if I went into the house to get my camera somebody else could come along and erase that perfect print. So I walked along, looking for that perfect print on the perfect spot on the boards.

This picture is really special to me; it's Kim's footprint (nobody else has arches so high), it's from a wonderful trip to one of my favorite places on the planet. Every time I look at it I remember how warm the sun was, I remember the smell of the salt air off of the Gulf, I remember sitting in the sand with my best friend. It makes me happy. I hope you enjoy it, too. In the comments, tell me about a picture you just had to get with your phone and why it was so special.

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