Don’t know if the quote “the best camera is the one that’s with you” originated with Chase Jarvis or not (it’s the title of his 2009 book) but it is becoming words to live by as my non-photography business travel increases. Recently I was in a meeting in southern Utah and one of the attendees said, upon hearing I am a photographer, “you should drive over to Zion National Park – it’s only 30 miles away.” As I walked to my car I glanced at the sun and thought, “you know, I can get there and have some light left.” Doesn’t take more than that to get me going.
Of course I didn’t have a camera. Not even the Canon point-and-shoot I’ve been sticking in my backpack. I probably thought it would be dark by the time I got through so I left it behind to save weight (yes, I know it weighs 10 oz. but you walk through miles of airports and see if every ounce doesn’t start making a difference.)
Wait, what’s this on my cellphone? Hey, I’ve got a camera.
I’m not one of those people you see with arm extended holding a cellphone camera at every moderately interesting event; I rarely use the thing and even then just to document something for later reference. But who knows when I would get back to this place again and photographs are memories, right?
So I drove over and spent a little time hanging around the entrance, looking at maps and getting an idea of what the park has to offer. Yeah, it sounds pretty boring but look what’s right at the entrance.
I didn’t drive farther into the park because the sun was setting and casting shadows on the ridge lines. Figured I’d tested the dynamic range of my cellphone enough as it was. From just this little exposure, though, I now know it’s a place to get back to with “real” camera equipment.
Not bad for a cellphone camera, even one that isn’t made by Apple.