I’ve always felt that my best images come from my best camera(s). Yet as it turns out, the images that are my favorite are always shitty1 snapshots that tell the story of my daily life and are captured with whatever is on hand — sometimes that is my best camera, but mostly these days it is my iPhone.
But it doesn’t really matter, well the camera that is, as 51% of photographers will tell you: “the best camera is the one you have with you”. I’m constantly reminded of this as I dig through my archives of images. Like this shot snapped on a rainy, misty, and relatively boring hike that my buddy and I took quite a while back now.
Literally everything we saw that day was some shade of green with flat light from the rain/mist. It was an average hike with wasted energy mostly spent on carrying camera gear we didn’t want to use for fear of it getting too wet. But that image turned out really well and I didn’t even realize it was there until just recently. And it was shot not with my best camera just a camera. Slightly off center, probably shot full auto, eye level, on a wet miserable hike and I love it.
The camera doesn’t matter to me in hindsight , and I doubt I would have grabbed a much better image with a better camera. Just a different image, ever so slightly different, taken in more or less the same sloppy fashion.
I hate the mantra that the best camera is the one with you, but in hindsight it does seem to hold true — well, kind of. You see in hindsight, and even now, we don’t really know what images we are missing, or missed. I don’t know what other images I could have had on that hike if I had tripods, lenses, dSLRs, ND filters, and patience. I don’t know, and I don’t care to try and think back on it.
What I do know, is that I don’t give a shit what camera I took and image with after I’ve taken the image. I only care about the camera when I am taking the picture, and more often then not I can’t stand not having my ‘best’ camera to take the image.
I will always find it more enjoyable to take a picture with my best camera, but I find that no matter what camera I use to make the picture, my enjoyment of the picture is never diminished by which camera I used at the time.
It is, then, only in the process of making the image that I care about the camera. Once the image is there, I tend to only care about the image itself.
Shitty is to mean, blurry, poorly composed, poorly exposed, etc. ↩