When you’re up to your ass in alligators it is difficult to remember that your primary objective was to drain the swamp. —Unknown
I learned a valuable lesson early on in my career as an electrician: Get comfortable with the tools and stay focused on the goal. For example, if I had to drill a quarter-inch hole in a piece of metal I would need an electric drill and the proper sized high-speed steel drill bit. This is where too many choices, lack of experience, and inattention can overwhelm a person.
- Do I need to use a Milwaukee, DeWalt, Black & Decker, Makita, Hitachi, Skil, or Bosch brand drill motor?
- Does it matter if the drill motor has a 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, or 1/2-inch chuck?
- Should the drill motor be a Pistol-grip, D-handle, or Angle-head model?
- Should I use a corded 120 volt drill or a cordless model?
- If cordless, should it be a 12-14-18-32 or 36 volt model?
- If corded, is an outlet nearby or do I need an extension cord?
- Will I need an power adapter (U-ground-to-Twistlok, for example) in order to plug-in the cord?
- Do I need to have a forward/reverse switch (in case the drill bit binds)?
- Is a variable speed model preferable (for thicker metals)?
- Will I need some lubricating oil to help the drill bit in case the metal is harder than expected?
Let’s get back to basics: We need to drill a hole, not purge our souls. With the help of some more experienced men I learned to quickly navigate those questions and get to the job at hand—drilling a hole.
“I’ve got a Nikon camera. I love to take photographs…”
I have carried that mindset with me into the field of photography, where the available choices for taking any photograph can be equally mind-boggling. SLR and DSLR cameras offer a multitude of lenses, filters, and accessories. Choices of aperture, exposure, focus, depth-of-field, and the focal length of the chosen lens can be daunting to even the most seasoned photographer. We have come a long way from George Eastman’s original Box Brownie camera.
Or have we?
I look at the iPhone camera as the 21st Century’s Digital Box Brownie camera. Steve Jobs and his talented staff at Apple turned the world of photography upside down with the first iPhone camera.
We are back-to-the-future in terms of the fixed aperture and fixed focal length lens on our Smartphones. Composition, light levels and focusing distance are the only controls that we can exert when taking a photo with our mobile device—and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The trick that I have discovered is to immerse myself within the limitations of my iPhone camera. I know that I can make only make slight adjustments with the exposure and shutter speed controls in the app that I use the most (Camera+). I know that my iPhone has a digital, not an optical, zoom (and that it isn’t worth a damn). I know that it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses and that the aftermarket clip-on lenses become obsolete whenever the device is redesigned and changes size/shape. I also know that if I put these factors to use for me, I can concentrate on making the best photo that I can with the equipment that I have—not the equipment that I wish I had.
I learned that lesson 30 years ago from a professional Travel Photographer and it reinforced what I learned first-hand in the Electrical Trade working with hand tools: Don’t waste time wishing for what you don’t have; Concentrate on doing the best job with what you’ve got.
Once you have the basics down pat, you can take great photographs with any camera—if you stay within the limits of said device.
Pixar co-founder John Lasseter says the next big thing for movies is the iPhone, the GoPro, and the other tiny cameras that we’re all carrying around. He even expects to see award-winning feature films made with them some day. —Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge
In the article referenced above, Mr. Lasseter outlines how he adapted the “plastic look” of the animation software of the time and used toys as characters to make the hit film,Toy Story. It is his opinion that filmmakers will adapt to GoPro and iPhone video cameras to tell stories and create a new “film grammar”.
It is an exciting time to be alive and to witness the creative genius that is flowing over/under/around/among us.
What are your thoughts? What do you think about films today and the direction of entertainment choices?
And now a bonus for making it this far
This video will show you how to make a significant advance in your Smartphone photography technique.
Related link: Camera+ app