No DSLR, Just an iPod Touch for 28 Days

Day 16 of 28: Little Farmer Joe

Photography has been a hobby if mine since 2006, though I never actually own a camera. When I got married I stared using my wife's point and shoot. She gave me tips and mentioned things I've never heard about, like the rule of thirds - things she learnt at art school. Before you knew it we were competing.

It's now 2012 and I now have access to a Pentax K10D and a Canon Rebel T2i. However, the camera that's always with me is my iPod Touch. Inspired by Chase Jarvis, I decided to do a 28 Day iPodography Challenge in February, of this year.

Here's what I learned...

1. Gear doesn't make the photographer

I've always struggled with the idea that I needed the latest gear to get better at my photography but Chase Jarvis says "the gear you can't afford is not the barrier keeping you from success. Gear has very little to do with photography."

Thinking this way caused me to ascribe blame to my equipment whenever a photo didn't come out superb. Essential I was limiting my creativity and ability to learn. This ipodography challenge forced me into emancipation.

Taking responsibility and acknowledging what I have helped me to become more resourceful and provided me with an opportunity for growth. You see a good workman never blames his tools.

2. Know the parameters in which you have to work

I set out to do a 28 Day Challenge, just because I did one the year before. However, this year was a leap year and February has 29 days. This was pointed out to me by a photo buddy, around day 8 of the challenge. I didn't change the title of the challenge though. Had I known this I would have mentally prepared for 29 days of photo goodness.

I've done a few shoots in the past that were similar to each other but the parameters were different. Whether it was the time of day, season of the year or just the subject. Taking these things into consideration helps a photographer prepare mentally and physically.

There may be a few times in which all the variables aren't tallied but still procede with confidence and believe in yourself. No one likes a timid photographer.

3. Know the limitations of your gear

The iPod Touch camera is nothing to compare to a DSLR. You can't set the aperture, shutter speed or iso. It would be foolish of me to expect my photos to be on par with that of a DSLR.

Being aware of my limitations prevented frustration and allowed me to have more realistic expectations.

4. Embrace the noise

When I first started taking photos I felt like to have a photo with noise was a crime. Frustrated, I would become dejected.

However, when shooting with a camera like the one on the iPod Touch almost all the photos come out grainy, its inevitable. I quickly changed my focus from the quality of the photo to the composition, sometimes using the graininess the add character to the photo.

5. Not everything is worth photographing

'Gung Ho' would be the term that best describes me when I have a camera in hand. Wanting to capture every second in every frame. Taking 'snapshots' and not 'photographs' as Peter Tellone would say - in his book How to take Great Photos.

It's important as a photographer to know when to press that shutter release and when not to. Examine your subject, see what angles can be captured that will tell a story or gives a perspective that may not be considered normally. Weigh whether or not the photo captures a piece of time worth remembering, if not, wait for it. This takes time and practice.

My 28 iPodography Challenge was indeed that.' It helped to sharpen my skills as a photographer, opening my eyes and my mind. Yes photography is the capture of light and with this challenge I learnt how best the capture that light with the camera readily available to me.

If your are doing or done a photo challenge share some of the things you've learnt.

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