It has often been said (sometimes even by me) that the best camera is the one you have on you. Unfortunately as photographers we know that’s not true, the best camera, is your best camera.
This dawned on me tonight as I received a phone call from a friend. He was out driving on his farm with his kids and became stuck in the mud. He asked me to go get his other truck to pull him out.
I grabbed my keys, wallet and ran out the door but not before looking at my 5DMKIII sitting on my desk. For some stupid reason I decided to leave it there. I love my Nexus5 phone and have made some great images with it so I figured if a picture came up, I would just use that. Big mistake.
So there I was driving through the rough trail that has been cut through the corn field. The corn is higher than the Full Duty diesel pickup truck. The sun is setting and the headlights are lighting up both sides of the corn. I am struck by the beautiful image in front of me. I pulled out my trusty Nexus 5 and took this picture:
Aweful! Later when I got to his truck I snapped this one:
And this was using the HDR functionality.
I’m reminded of an image I took at the drive-in with my 5DMKIII
Look at the clarity, the beautiful ambient colors, the range. Now scroll back up and look that the first two images and weep. My best camera was NOT the camera I had on me, my best camera was the one I left behind, and as a photographer I resolve to not do that again. The best camera, is your best camera and as a photographer it’s up to you to make sure you have it with you.
Now don't get me wrong, I love some of the fun things I can do with my camera phone. I can do special effects with amazing ease. From quick and powerful edits to make bad pictures look… less bad, to fun effects. They are great tools. But they are not your best camera.
When I was walking through our recently purchased house I turned on the photosphere feature and made 360 interactive panoramas better than anything I have seen on MLS in just a couple of minutes without any software. It is truly mind blowing, but I can do the same thing with my 5D and just upload the images and Gooogle+ will put them into a 360 pano for me at higher resolution and quality for me.
All these apps and effects are great fun, but they are attached to our worst camera.
The best camera is your best camera and if you care about getting the shot, make sure you always have that camera on you.
Thanks for reading through what is mainly just a personal rant about my frustration with myself, but I hope it serves as a reminder. If I had my “best” camera with me tonight I could have made an image worthy of being printed and hanging on a wall, instead I am left with a grainy mess worthy only of a rant post.
I am haunted by the images I could have made, but didn’t.
Note: The second image in that gallery was not my image, it was taken by the great and talented Colby Brown.