Once upon a time, years ago, I used to travel the world by night. Tripod and camera bag, I would park beside busy midnight streets full of vibrant light and color. I captured fireworks, seascapes, lightning strikes, soft moments, and I had a lot of fun doing it. I think its because I could get caught up in the technical nuance of it all. ISO, filters, steps, lenses, depth of field, etc. as well as lining up compositions and moments using the rule of thirds – or breaking that. So much of photography is where you stand.
With the advent and popularity and technical achievements of mobile phone camera systems, unless you were shooting your friend’s wedding, a holiday event, or actually got paid for your images – chances are you quickly discovered something that slips into your pocket was a lot easier to use than a bag full of heavy gear. That’s what happened to me. That older DSLR was sitting in my studio on a shelf just wanting to capture light again.
I charged the battery, slapped on my nifty-50mm and started playing around with manual settings again. Quickly remembering some of it and also feeling like I was involved in the image captures. I wasn’t mindlessly tapping a screen button. I was adjusting all kinds of things, caring about what I was doing – and trying different things. For ever 50 photos there might be a few good ones. With a phone, they try to do so much for you and you’re out of control essentially. That might be good for impromptu moments you didn’t plan while out and about – but it’s not a great way to be involved in my opinion.
So I am getting back into the game. Any camera body will do – it’s all in the glass they say – and knowing your equipment. So I am going to try things on again. I wish I had taken my gear to the Christmas Markets in Germany, Austria, and Hungary this past year. I only had my phone and you can tell. So if you see me on the side of a road at night, traversing streams in New Hampshire, or anywhere else, please say hello.