Capturing special moments, places, people, cultures is one of the main things I do while travelling. I have read Camera-derie by Devsmita and I enjoyed the conversation about exploring a place and how camera can be distracting. There are various views about this and we always have great justification for the style each one of us follow. And every Ghumakkar feels that his/her own style of travelling is the best. I think it depends upon what gives you satisfaction, and this may be different for everyone. As I said, I love capturing places and this allows me to be focused when I am exploring a new place. And camera plays a very important role in my explorations.
Aside: When I clicked the picture above, I had an SLR as well as my HTC Desire with me. I was amazed at the results my HTC Desire delivered is a single, simple click. To produce similar results with my DSLR, I would have to make so many changes to the settings.
Usually I use a DSLR but that is of course not the only way to click good photographs. As many of you must have heard that Photography is not about the equipment or technology, but more about the way you see beauty beyond obvious things around you. These days my best buddy while travelling is my Phone-Camera. I use HTC Desire HD camera quite frequently and it’s extremely useful while travelling. Apart from the obvious difference in size and portability, there are other reasons for which I need to thank the brilliant person who thought of putting a camera in a phone.
Aside: At times, when you are least expecting or prepared, spectacular sights jump at you from nowhere – like these shades of the sunset viewed from a parking lot at Dharamshala. I wasn’t carrying my DSLR but was so glad to have my Phone with me
Many times, we can’t carry bulky cameras and Phone-Cameras offer the best flexibility. Most of the cameras in latest Smartphones offer great picture quality. Some of my MobileGIRI Pics can be checked out HERE. All of these are clicked by the 8 megapixel camera in my HTC Desire, which never fails to give great results. Many other phones by Samsung, Nokia (Lumia series), HTC, Sony Experia etc offer great quality. I know I missed one very expensive and very popular phone in this list. It is completely is intentional. ☺
Aside: I find the camera in my phone very helpful even in the High Speed captures like this one during the Mughal Rally. I was in the team of photographers covering the event and was fully equipped with all the required equipment at this time. I still enjoyed sneaking in a couple of mobile shots every now and then.
Recently I have been using my Mobile-Camera a lot and it’s been quite easy and hassle-free to capture videos & stills with great quality. I belong to the hills and love to roam around the hills, which are often surrounded with clouds. Many of you would be able to relate to some of the common challenges we face while clicking in Hills. One of the basic one is to capture the frame with maximum details around you. Since it’s so contrasty all around, either the photos come out too bright or too dark. It is difficult to do justice to such a scenery with any type of camera, as it is related to light dynamics in Hilly areas. Even the best SLRs fail at times. But surprisingly, Smartphone Cameras are the best for capturing such high contrast frames.
With mobile phones comes the possibility of connecting to the Internet at any time, and almost anywhere. So you can click, touch up, and share instantly. There are many applications available on the net to help in each of these steps. For example, to get better results while clicking a photograph, you can download applications that capture one frame thrice and then merge the three shots into one to get the best out of all exposures captured. For those who aren’t too familiar with photography basics, such applications are known as HDR (High Dynamic Range) applications and the resulting photograph is commonly termed as an HDR. These applications are especially useful when there are several clouds with interesting patterns around the hills. Is it possible to download applications into other cameras? No. Not yet anyways.
Sunsets and sunrise are the two most common sights that are photographed in the hills. We also get impressed with the breathtaking views of valleys or rows of hills covered with snow and feel that nothing can capture the view better than Panoramas. It can be very easily done with normal cameras. But can we also do it with Phone-Cameras? In May this year, I was in Srinagar in Kashmir to cover the Mughal Rally. We happened to visit a place called “Pir Ki Gali” that has amazing panoramic view. At that point in time, I felt the urge to click a panorama. I wanted to test whether my phone-camera could give me good results in panoramas as well. I found and downloaded Panorama applications from the Internet and created several panoramas. A good Phone-Camera and a companion application make the job quite easy and the results too are nothing short of impressive.
Dynamic weather in hills sometimes makes the life of us photographers more difficult than we expect it to be. These situations demand more flexibility in dealing with your Camera. Latest smart phones come with features like ISO, White Balance, Exposure Compensation etc. ISO can be very useful in low light conditions, Exposure Compensation can be a great help when your Camera is unable to judge the light around. White Balance is used in different ways to get the right colors or some magic in overall color scheme of your photographs. Many of these Cameras come up with different effects and some of them can be interesting to use while travelling. Flash capabilities are increasing with time and can be helpful in some critical situations.
Since we are talking about Smart-Phone Cameras, we can’t miss out iPhones. Although I’m not particularly fond of the device, but at the same time we can’t deny the kind of quality they offer. But I also have a possibly conflicting opinion about all the hype around the quality. 80% of the folks can’t make out a any difference between the quality of the photographs clicked using an iPhone as opposed to the ones clicked using other phone-cameras. This is a study done by me. ☺ But the reality is that many small companies manufacture external lenses for iPhone cameras. Can you imagine a tiny little zoom lense that can be attached to the minuscule phone camera? This is a new side of technology advancement which is revolutionizing the way people click using Phone-Cameras. Imagine for a moment that you have an iPhone with different lenses for capturing natural beauty around you – be it wide lens for landscapes, macro lens for capturing small elements of the nature or Zoom lens to click flying birds etc. it’s really amazing to see such advancements and travelers can fully appreciate such developments.
Another aspect, which I mentioned earlier, is instant sharing with your family and friends. Only Phone-Cameras give you the flexibility of clicking and sharing at same time. While DLSRs & other Point-n-shoot cameras restrict this, phone-cameras gladly step up to serve you. One does not need to wait to reach home to start downloading and then post on social media sites like facebook etc.
Aside: At Sinthan Pass, J&K, the action of the Mughal Rally was yet to start and the weather was cold. Nothing can beat a hot cup of tea in such a setting. Colourful mats, a good contrast, and a handy camera-phone are all that you need to make the moment perfect.
I have mostly used the examples from hills here and that is because of the closeness to these amazing geological structure. But Phone-Cameras can helpful anywhere in the world. In fact speed of these devices is so fast that they produce wonderful results even when clicking from moving vehicle. I have tried this many times. Initially it used to be difficult for me to digest that resulting photos were sharp and that there wasn’ t any sign of a shake in the picture. My phone-camera never fails to spring a surprise or two.
Aside: During the live cooking session with the Chef Raman Kohli of Cheri One Qutub, New Delhi, for a fraction of a second, the alignment of all the interesting elements – food, alcohol, smoke – was perfect. There was no time to prep my DSLR, whose strap you can see in the picture, so I clicked with my Camera-Phone. And it didn’t disappoint me.
Warning: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health
So happy clicking and keep sharing the moments you have lived at a particular place with different people, cultures and colors of live around you.