The Apple iPhone

I recently ran the U.S. Half Marathon in San Francisco.  The highlight of the half marathon was being able to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Fortunately, I was able to take pictures while running with my girlfriend’s Apple iPhone.  I wouldn’t have tried to run the half marathon with any other camera.

There’s been a lot of buzz about Chase Jarvis’ The Best Camera book, iPhone app, and website.  Some of the photographs produced by the iPhone are absolutely amazing.  It just shows you that great photographs are determined by the photographer and not the camera.

In addition to being extremely portable, the iPhone has a number of photography applications that you can use for post-production.  The Adobe Photoshop iPhone application is free.  The NY Times covers several photography applications that would be useful.  The iPhone also automatically geotags your photos.

As a beginner, I really like to practice taking photos with the iPhone, because I’m not distracted by too many settings.  It’s really just point and shoot.  I’m not suggesting that you should go out and buy a new iPhone.  But if you already have one, it’s a great camera that shouldn’t be underestimated.


Buying vs. Borrowing a Camera

I currently don’t own any photography gear.  I borrow my girlfriend’s digital camera (which I bought for her) when I want to take photographs.  Honestly, I don’t think the majority of people use their cameras on a regular basis, so it’s not a big deal for a friend to lend me their camera for a week or two.  For example, I borrowed my friend’s Canon EOS 10D DSLR for a couple weeks when I was on vacation in Europe (see photographs of Florence and Rome).  It was a great way for me to learn about the camera and what features I liked and didn’t use.

I’d like to eventually purchase my own camera, but the thought of dropping several hundred dollars on one hasn’t been a strong incentive for me to pull the trigger.  It annoys me to no end that digital camera technology changes so rapidly and that a camera purchased for hundreds of dollars today is only worth a small fraction in a few years.  I admit that I’m being a cheapskate, but I’m not pursuing a career in professional photography, so it makes little sense to invest a ton of money on equipment that depreciates in value so rapidly.

Trust me, I know photographs that capture one’s life experiences are priceless.  My friend’s camera with over a thousand pictures was stolen on our way home from Machu Picchu, Peru.  I can’t even describe how sad I was that we lost all of those pictures of us.  Nonetheless, spending several hundreds of dollars on anything is still a big purchase, and no one wants to have any buyer’s remorse.

If you’re thinking about buying a camera and/or lenses, consider a used one on Craigslist.  Michael Zhang from PetaPixel has a great article on buying used gear.  He’s managed to continually upgrade his equipment for very little cost.  If you really prefer a new camera, buy it in January or February when new models come out, and there are deep discounts for older models (Yahoo! Finance).

Photography Classes

I’d love to take a photography class. The local community college offers a digital photography class at night. But let’s face it, it’s hard to find time to go to class twice a week for 12 weeks. Most people don’t the have time.

Luckily, there are a number of free digital photography classes for people to take online at their convenience. I’m trying out the classroom at MorgueFile. What I really like is that there are assignments after each lesson. You can post your photos from each assignment and get feedback from the online community. It’s also really interesting to see what other people submit for the assignments.

There are a number other sites with photography tutorials, such as Digital Photography School and Digital Photography Student. I haven’t spent much too time on these sites yet, but there seems to be a great online community. Photography Monthly has a great series of PDFs that can be downloaded.

For those of you who don’t like to read, check out Joe Blogg’s videos on Vimeo. He has a great series on Perfect Photography Composition and Perfect Exposure.  Also check out Michael’s Photography School for a series of video lessons.


Welcome to my photo journal.

I’d like to use digital photography as a way to record important events in my life (such as birthdays, family gatherings, vacations, meals, etc.).  Desi Baytan’s beautiful photos on Picture Journals inspired me to learn more about photography and taking better pictures.

I have no formal photography training and don’t even own a digital camera.  I’m not interested in becoming a professional photographer, and I suspect that most people are like me.

I’d  appreciate any advice on ways to improve my photography.