RSWL: Camera Phones (Yea, Seriously)

As someone who enjoys/owns/uses/protects with my life a Canon 20D and Canon 40D, this is a strange entry to write!  

When I got my first camera phone, I scoffed at the notion. Pshaw.  Sooooo not a camera.   Technically, I understood that it was a camera, but I wasn’t willing to accept these images were contributing to the world of photography.  That was for “real” cameras.   Years went by.  I got my first smartphone, and began using the camera function a little bit more than previously.   I, like so many others, became part of the shift in the world of photography.

Today, it seems everyone and their mother, even grandmother and dogs, has a camera phone that enables relatively good quality pictures to be shared across social networks instantly.  Because these phones are constantly carried, almost any moment can be captured at any time by someone.  That makes millions and millions of people photographers who weren’t before.

Some, or even many, would say this increasing number of ‘photographers’ is a bad thing, a movement that is threatening mainstream digital photography and the earnings of occupational photographers.   Let’s choose to focus on the positive though.

Yes, there have never been more people taking pictures.  According to, the Apple iPhone is currently the most popular ‘camera’ on   Breaking news, life-changing moments, and crimes in action are being captured and shared worldwide.   A baby’s birth, heartfelt tears, joyful reunions, a blooming flower, winter’s first snowflakes, a sky painted at sunset, and leaves dancing in the rain are all captured and shared instantly on social media.  We constantly get to see beauty shared by camera phones.  No, I’m not talking about selfies! With an increasing number of apps, camera phone images can be edited and enhanced with a few clicks, making both the photos and the devices even more appealing and cheaper than traditional cameras. 

We can resist all we want, but camera phones are changing the world of photography.  Everyone can be an instant photographer, capturing life’s happy, life-altering moments, tragedy and mayhem, and all the beauty in between.   Instead of labeling these prolific devices and their images as threatening or polluting, let’s just think of them as bringing us a new form of photography!  Now, where’s my phone?

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Nate’s Notes: Left Behind

Last week Uncle Tim and new friends, Jon and Tina, came to visit us.  I already knew I liked Uncle Tim because he is going to help with my tree fort.  Tina and Jon…I liked them instantly for their laughs and kind faces.  They played with my cars and trucks and bouncy balls.  They sat at my level and smiled a lot.  Pretty much they were super cool.  At least I THOUGHT they were cool.  And then…

They pulled out cameras.  Just like Momma.  My head started to hurt.  My eyes watered.  NOOOOO!!!  Not you guys too??!!   Had Momma gotten to them too?  Or were they all to blame for Momma and her cameras? Even Daddy had a camera.  Not only did they come with cameras, they talked about cameras, and pictures, and textures, and numbers of pictures. Strike one.  Go ahead…feel sorry for me.  You better sit down though; it gets worse.

I pretended not to care too much about the cameras, though I had to stop myself from “accidentally” spilling my drink cup on them. I could totally use toddler clumsiness to explain that away.  However, my self control seems to be increasing, darn it. I had begun to accept this cameras-everywhere-world as they discussed our field adventure for the next day.  We were going to explore Mare Island.  I had heard Momma and Daddy talk about how cool this place was.  I was going to see cool rust patterns, pretty broken glass, gauges, old brick buildings, burned wood, great colors and peeling paint.  I was going to see a big big crane-claw for the first time!  Okay, let me grab my camera too, pathetic as it is.  Let’s go!

The next day came, and I woke up early, ready for the adventure ahead.  Momma announced it was time to go, and then Grandma Sue was at the door.  Wow, she is coming too!!!  This will be great.  Maybe Papa and Gram will be there too!!!   And Daddy!  Oh man, I almost peed it was that exciting.  Self control folks, self control.   And then Momma left…and I stayed.  She left.  She left me home.  She left me behind!  She left me behind to be with THEM!  Strike two…

Photo taken without me. Broken glass...LIKE MY HEART.

Photo taken without me. Broken glass…LIKE MY HEART.









Like I said, I THOUGHT they were cool.  As if all this wasn’t bad enough, they all came to MY home, after I had been left behind, and talked about the adventure at Mare Island!  Yep, they ate pizza and drooled over the images they captured with those cameras.

One more strike.  They have one more strike.  They are on thin ice if you ask me.  I’m all broken up over this.

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RSWL: Photojojo Store

I stumbled upon this fun, online store when I was looking for unique Christmas gifts last winter.  I ONLY window shopped…but filled my cart with items I loved.  I exercised impeccable self-control, even if I did refill the cart with the same, and more, items on many occasions!  It might even be time to revisit this unique store!

Even if you only dabble in photography, chances are someone in your life could be a photo geek (which, by the way, is equivalent to super cool).  Well, then you really should mosey on over to this website for the Photojojo Store!

Some of the fun items:

  • Kitchen timer disguised as a zoom lens.  Be careful!  Don’t grab the wrong lens when you head out to shoot your photos (Tee hee…okay, maybe only I would do that.)
  • Canon and Nikon photo lens coffee mugs!
  • Film Roll salt and pepper shakers
  • Shot Glass lens set
  • Stylish camera satchels and bags
  • A Three-Way camera strap: allows you to wear your camera around your neck, your wrist, or your waist!
  • Phone photo accessories
  • Camera accessories galore!
  • And…so much more!   
Kitchen Timer

Kitchen Timer

Maybe I should leave a wish list.  Hmmm…In any case, happy browsing and shopping!

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TMG: Random Stuff We Like- Website Recommendation

If you aren’t already acquainted with the Digital Photography Review website (, I’d like to introduce you.  Whether you are looking for advice about your first digital camera purchase, looking to upgrade or add to your arsenal of lenses, or need some feedback on your photos, can assist you.   I stumbled upon this site about 6 months ago, and bookmarked it instantly, qualifying it as Random Stuff We Like.

Almost daily, the home page feeds you with tutorials, news articles, discussions and reviews.  The forums have a variety of subject matter from welcoming beginner chats and questions, to all things Canon, to all things Nikon or Pentax, to “wanted” or “for sale” equipment, to retouching photos…and everything in between.  The product reviews and previews are succinct and helpful.  That’s right, you can get a sneak peak at the newest equipment you never knew you needed before it is released!  I love the side-by-side comparisons you can do with cameras, lenses, printers, etc. as well as the sample images from each camera and lens.  For the visual buyer like myself, this is fantastic! Have a photo on which you would like feedback?  You can do that in the forums too.

Because of the plethora of information, the site, to me, seems crowded and “heavy”.  However, I usually leave the site satisfied and inspired instead of overwhelmed.  I know I will continue to use this site as a valuable comparison tool and will continue to learn from it.   I would encourage you to get acquainted with today.

Digital-Photography-Review_camera-side-by-side digital-photography-review-website-shot

TMG Philosophy: The Other Side of the Lens

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I have a camera.  I love my camera.  I take pictures.  I love taking pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  Almost daily.  Okay, daily.  I’ve always felt alive behind the lens, excited to see a new shot, thrilled by the drastic changes of just a slight shift in angle, hypnotized by shadow and light, lines and forms.    You can take a shot of the same place at first light and then again in the evening glow, and it can seem to be a completely different site.  You can take a shot of rusty metal from 10 feet away, and then again 10 inches away and you might not be able to tell it’s the same texture or surface.


Not only do I feel alive, I feel comfortable.  If I’m having an off day or off moment, I can pick up my camera and settle in to the familiar, knowing I’ll see amazing stories and fantastic images on the other side of the lens.  You can imagine, then, my comfort level plummeting when my sister asked me to help her out and participate in a photo shoot for her hairstylist portfolio.  Participate…as in be on the OTHER SIDE OF THE LENS…like a model.   “No thank you,” is what I wanted to say.   I knew that no was not an option, and certainly wasn’t going tothank her.   So after some stammering and blinking…and more stammering, I relented.


And I survived.  I survived, but not without some extremely comical facial expressions and stories captured permanently.  Think blackmail material. Seriously…how awkward can one person be??!!  Well, I sure showed them.  After all, I’m used to capturing details, not being captured.  I’m sure I was supposed to learn a lesson in stepping outside my comfort zone and facing a fear. Maybe I did.  Maybe I grew just a little bit.  Maybe I didn’t.  The other side of the lens did give me some insight though.  I was reminded that we all have talents.  I got to see my sister use hers and shine that day, creativity oozing from her fingers and captured in the photos.  I got to see a very talented photographer at work who amazingly made me feel about as comfortable as I was going to be on the other side of the lens!   I watched others come alive while having their photos taken, vibrant, confident and lovely.


We all have talents.   It is up to us to figure those out and use them.  We must use them, not waste them.   And we can’t let fear, or fear of failure hold us back.  “Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”  ~ Henry Van Dyke 



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Random Stuff We Like: CameraBag2

No, I’m not talking about the latest carrying case for your camera.  I recently was introduced to CameraBag2, a photo effects desktop app designed to make it quick and easy for anyone to creatively edit photos.  Oh, and it’s fun!  Who doesn’t want or need more fun?

1962 style effect with Safety Film border

1962 style effect with Safety Film border

Silver effect with Eroded border

Silver effect with Eroded border

Plastic style effect

Plastic style effect

Here are my Top 10 reasons I quickly fell in love with the app, making CameraBag2 another Random Thing We Like (or love in this case).

  1. It is easy to use– The main editing screen remains uncluttered, making the interface easy on the eyes, straightforward, and effortless to explore.
  2. You can experiment with many different styles (about 20) to apply to your photo ranging from the nostalgic 1958 look, to the old-time saloon effect, to the crisp and clear wedding style.
  3. The rollover preview feature for each photo effect makes it quick and easy to see the image in real time before you apply the style.
  4. You can choose from over a dozen different borders to apply including some fun ones like Eroded, 35mm Bleed, and White Slide.
  5. A number of Adjustments can be made to your photo.  I was surprised to be able to crop, straighten, tweak the brightness, color, tint, exposure and more!
  6. The Quicklooks feature allows you to see your image with each style, border or adjustment effect side by side.  This is easy and great for those who need visual comparison to make a decision!
  7. You can combine multiple photo effects, like tint, with matte finish and a safety film border…kind of like layers!
  8. It’s cheap!  I paid $14.99 on Steam.
  9. This really is for anyone.  Sure, photography purists may scoff at the “cutesy effects” and deem this app shallow…but why not get anyone and everyone engaged and excited about taking and editing photos?
  10. Did I mention it is fun?  It encourages experimentation…which is fun. And cool!  You can see some of our fun on our website.

I would recommend this to anyone to try.  Visit Steam today to begin your editing bliss.  Have fun!

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