A few years back I came across a post by Seattle based photographer Chase Jarvis talking about the idea that the best camera is the one you have with you. As a professional photographer he is used to working with expensive equipment but to stretch his creative muscles he had worked to shoot much more often by utilizing the camera built into his phone - which was always with him. He took the images and launched a book titled, The Best Camera Is The One That's With You: iPhone Photography by Chase Jarvis. He also launched an app that was focused on editing and sharing images captured on your mobile phone.
It really challenged me because admittedly I am a bit of a quality snob. Meaning that I tend to look down on images that aren’t high enough resolution or quality to be able to be blown up into big print images. But that was proving to be very limiting to me. Chase really stretched my thinking and appreciation for the importance of stretching myself creatively. By utilizing my phone and taking more images I’m flexing my creative muscles more often and growing in my ability as a photographer.
I was recently on a snowmobile trip with a friend of mine and had left my camera gear behind to stay light and mobile for our mountain excursion. At one point we found ourselves in the midst of an area that had been ravaged by forest fire. The burnt trees set against the pristine white snow was really striking. At first I was disappointed I didn’t have my DSLR camera with me. But, remembering Chase’s mantra I whipped out my mobile phone and captured a number of images. While it’s true that I won’t be able to print a wall size poster of these images, I did walk away with some images that I really enjoy that I’ve been able to share with others.
So my encouragement to you is to appreciate that whether or not you have a “nice” camera, you probably have a camera of some sort. And if you have a camera you have the ability to take photos, grow as a photographer, and create images that can be enjoyed by others. So start shooting!