Retro Walk Through The Park
A hawk in flight over Curtis Park the other day. This was shot with the Android smart phone using Retro Camera, as the other retro/antique-looking “snaps” in the previous posts have been. The Android has a half-second lag from the time you tap the “shutter” icon on the phone to when the picture is captured. That this bird is captured in perfect composition is a mother of all flukes.
But it looks sort of haunting. Gloomy. Foreboding. Like an image that should be accompanied by an Edgar Allen Poe poem.
These “snaps” were taken the other day while I was out walking the dogs — two rescued greyhounds named Alex and Ava — nearby in Curtis Park here in Sacramento.
For years now I’ve wanted to have a little instant camera to take around with me to snap images that I see that strike me. I picked up a Nikon Coolpix last summer, which I love, but often forget to bring with me. I always keep the Android with me and it’s camera features have become one of my new best friends.
There’s a book called The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You: iPhone Photograpy by Chase Jarvis. Jarvis is a filmmaker and photographer who has always carried a camera with him and has recently been using his iPhone as his “walkabout camera.” He published a book of his iPhone “snaps” as a way to encourage other people to take the cameras features in their phones more seriously. That a camera in a phone can produce serious art photos as well.
As the image quality expands in these phones — and I truly am dazzled by the resolution and clarity in these pictures — the more serious the thoughts go into taking the images can be.
These pictures were taken simply because I was immediately struck by the light at the park — a thin, gray overcast producing soft, almost dim light — that gave it a European quality. The detail of the barren, leafless trees and the bark drew me in.
Even though these pictures were snapped with a camera phone, if I had my Nikon Coolpix or Canon 7D I doubt that I would have taken the pictures any differently.
If anyone is wondering, this site is still about filmmaking. I have a few upcoming projects that I will be shooting with my Canon 7D for news stories that will be running on the TV station where I work, KCRA in Sacramento, as well as a short or a feature — or maybe several shorts that I will combine into a feature — that I have been writing and doing some “tidbit shooting”* on.
(*”Tidbit Shooting” — a term I just invented as I typed it. Means I’m shooting little shots and elements here and there when I have the Canon 7D with me and the light looks good. Those of you who’ve seen my films know that I like to punctuate my stories with imagery of sky, clouds, trees, etc., to convey passage of time. These are things that can’t be planned for. You have to grab when they happen because they’ll only be that way — with the right light through the cloud cover — for a few minutes or few hours and they they’re gone.)
This image of the leafless tree against the overcast sky with a hint of the sun showing through is a perfect example of “tidbit shooting.” Where was my 7D when I needed it?!?!?!?!
But as much as this is a site about independent one-man filmmaking it is also a site about image making, telling stories with cameras. For the low-budget and no-budget filmmakers this is a site about how to “do more with less.”
These entries on Retro Camera photography are the same thing. When you don’t have a higher-end camera with you, such as a Canon 7D or whatever camera you might have, it is about taking pictures or making images with the camera you do have.
Just because you don’t have a six-figure budget and 35mm or a RED camera available to you, you can still get another camera and make your film. And make it with vastly less interference.
It’s a matter of — Don’t let someone prevent you from making your film. Do It Anyway.
Just because you don’t have a Linhoff 8×10 camera or Canon 5D or whatever higher-end still camera — Don’t Not Take that photo. Use Your Phone. If you see an image, snap it. If you don’t and you walk on another ten feet you will have forgotten about it.
Take out your phone and take the picture. Art, even if it is just for yourself and you never share it, is a powerful personal memory. Keep it.