Photo A Day – Lessons Learnt
Approaching the 70th day – and therefore the 70th photo – of my photo a day project, I thought I would pause and consider some of the lessons I have learnt. Not only lessons about the actual photos I have taken – but also lessons on the pros and cons of using a cellphone as the primary tool for this project.
The most important thing I have learnt since June 4th – the day photo number one was taken and posted – is that taking a photo a day is not actually as easy at it may first seem to be. Well, that’s the way I feel about it anyway, because unlike so many others doing the photo a day thing, I am trying not to take photos of what I eat or drink, or take selfies, or take otherwise meaningless photos just for the sake of clicking the shutter.
I still do my best to take photos of things that will, hopefully, interest more people than just me; and I also try to take photos of things around me that are reasonably positive and uplifting.
For the most part I think I have achieved that, but I’ll let you be the final arbiter on that point when you look at the pictures.
Also – further down the page is a gallery of pictures that never made it to my photo a day blog.
Lessons I have learnt and now pass on to you:
- Make sure that you always have you camera with you! It is surprising how many times I have left home without my (cellphone) camera, and had to get it later in the day;
- Walk around with your eyes wide open to see things that are there everyday but that you may not see. Look up, look down, look left, look right;
- If, like me, you walk a regular beat during your lunch break walk, vary the route you take – and get to see more;
- Look inside a scene for a mini-scene, or something a little bit quirky;
- Post process if you have time. This can give an otherwise dull and boring picture a bit of sparkle;
- Cheat a little bit when you have to. Keep a photo or two in reserve for those days when, for perfectly valid reasons, you can’t snap that photo a day – like one day recently when I was in bed sick all day.
Now the pros and cons of using only a cellphone camera.
Here are the pros:
- You nearly always have your cellphone with you (except in the case of #1 above;
- The quality of cellphone cameras these days is ridiculously good;
- You have to work a little harder sometimes to make/take the shot;
- There are a huge number of downloadable apps for your cell phone to use to edit your photos in-camera;
- With wireless and data connectivity you can post your photos to your blog or Facebook page straight from the phone.
Unfortunately from my perspective the cons are weigh more heavily than the pros.
Here is my list of cons in no particular priority order:
- Using a cell phone camera for your photo a day project can make you lazy! The temptation is always there just to take a photo for the sake of it;
- Cell phones with on board cameras may be small, but when you want to take photos of people in the street they are hardly very discreet;
- You have limited technical adjustments available. For example – at least on my Samsung camera – there is no Aperture Priority option; there is no Shutter Priority option; and so on. Sure there is a Macro focus option - but it’s just not the same;
- Slow to focus – this drives me nuts sometimes – especially when wanting to take a photo of a moving subject;
- Hard to use when wearing gloves on a cold and damp day;
- Not weatherproof. I wouldn’t use my cell phone camera in heavy rain any more than I would use my Nikon DSLR;
- You can’t see the bloody screen on a bright day so often its point, shoot and hope;
- It takes too long to access the special effects menus and then even longer to make a change to any particular setting;
- It’s okay – I’m going to stop at #10 – but my #9 con concerns freely downloadable apps to edit images. They don’t really cut the mustard, so I end up being tied to my PC if I want to use any of my PP software;
- In spite of supposedly being a point and shoot camera – you can’t just point and shoot. You have to enter the PIN code (if your cell phone is PIN secured), then you have to tap on the Camera icon…then wait…then wait some more…and by then, just when you are ready to take your picture - the moment has passed!
- I said I would stop at #10 – but there is a number 11 – a cell phone camera does not feel like a real camera!
Notwithstanding all that I have said above I am enjoying my photo a day project, and so far am very happy with what I have achieved.
In the not too distant future I will be starting to use a new camera – yes I am being spoilt and I am being treated to a new Panasonic FT5 all-weather camera, the primary reason for getting it being that I don’t want to go whale chasing or kayaking in Alaska and risk my Nikon D5100 getting wet, getting dropped in the sea, or frozen, or whatever.
So watch this space…..