Get out there and enjoy photography. It doesn’t always have to be about taking amazing works of art…
If you want to get some photography practice in, but have limited time, then I think this could be a fun photography challenge. While I was out for the day, I brought a small kit that included my main phone for photos (LG Stylo 3), an older one for b-roll (XG L Power), and a small flexible tripod. It was 17 degrees F and I didn’t have a set goal in mind until I thought of limiting it to 10 minutes to see what I could manage in that amount of time.
This isn’t about quality or taking perfect images. It’s about pushing yourself and always trying to learn, practice, and grow in your craft. Always try to keep moving forward. In my case I’m usually doing a mixture of photograph and videography at the same time. It adds to the hurdle I have to get over each time because that means more gear and more juggling of that equipment.
The nice thing about phones is that they are compact and can often be brought with you nearly anywhere if you have a pocket large enough. In my case taking my current phone and an older one for b-roll video isn’t any extra effort, so it works well. I have a bendable tripod that is often left in my car that I can use for the phone doing video.
For photography I’m often using the Open Camera application. Thanks to Mark Harman for investing so much time into that application and offering it up as open source. Someday I’d like to examine the code in detail. This app adds a lot of additional functionality to the phone compared to the default camera application. While it can’t do full manual settings, it can do exposure compensation and in turn lock that exposure. That adds flexibility for creatively deciding on exposure. The biggest feature is that it can write DNG RAW images that allow for more possibilities in post processing compared to JPEGs from the phone.
Today we're looking at a 10-minute photo outing. I'm gonna go over all the photos that I took. Some of what I was doing at the time. Main goal here was just to go out and take photos. It was already dark out. I only had a few locations that would work. I had two phones with me and a little tripod for the b-roll. Worked out pretty nicely, of course these phones are not great for dark conditions. First thing I saw where the flagpoles of course. Shooting up into the fly poles. That means you can get a lot of the pole itself in the photo filling the frame. And autofocus was not great in that situation. It was super dark in that little spot, but I did get one photo that looks okay... looks okay. It was around 17 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty cold. I don't even know what I'm doing out here... And it was challenging with phones to take photos because you're usually taking your gloves off, put them back on. Even when you have that touch capability on the gloves it doesn't really work too well. Especially on screens like this. Any type of source of light are great opportunities for photos in dark conditions because you can easily focus on that. And I took a few pictures of these little lamps they have around at the park. These plants here had a nice texture to them and some snow on them so definitely wanted to try to take some photos of that. The central structure, or monument, or whatever you wanna call it in this little park is a good photo op. With this specific phone, it has one focal length. One camera in it. And I wasn't finding great angles for that one spot. Take photos anyways. See what you get out of it... I had two sets of plants that didn't work out. Autofocus was definitely one of the main challenges in this little photo outing. Especially with gloves on. This evergreen with a loop. I was trying to find a good angle, good position to take some photos of it. I did get a few that were nicely in focus. I tried using some of the lights in the area for flares, sun bursts, that did work out nicely. Of course. when you focus on the light itself the phone will automatically change the exposure. So you can give different look to the photos. Or focus on something else and then it'll be a brighter picture. But of course more noise in that situation. Here we have some tall grasses. They still look very nice for this time of year. And in the background you've got all the lights from a busy street. This plants still looked pretty interesting. The area was very dark so with this phone. That didn't work out super amazing. Here we have the light shining down on this stone path. I think I've taken some photos of this, works out nicely. And then in the background have a different color of light with those other structures. I did try to take some photos of the flags, groups of flags, worked out okay... The reflection of the marble in this area drew my eye... More plants I wasn't able to get proper focus on in this situation... More tall grasses as well those are a very nice subject. At that point I hit the ten-minute mark. I was done with the photo outing. I did take one other photo right afterwards. If you want to see that one... But technically it does not count. I think this is a good way to take photos if you feel a little bit unmotivated, you still want to go out though. Just having a nice enjoyable time doing photography, I think is a great thing!