Cell Phone Cameras Are Perfect For This!

Well I’m an animal photographer right? So most of my pictures of water have some sort of animal in them. But let’s hear it for a day off when I’m out on the water on my jet ski. This is one of those situations where a “real” camera won’t work because we know that water and SLR cameras are a lethal mix. But what about using a cell phone with a water tight housing to photograph in the water? Hey, let’s try it!

The rules of photography still apply of course. Actually even more so with a cell phone because the resolution of cell cameras is so low. Because of the low resolution, you really need to get close to your subject so you don’t have to do any cropping when you load it into your software editing program. You can’t afford to give up any pixels that are composing the photo. (Digital photos are made up of pixels and low resolution photos have a lot fewer pixels to start with than high resolution photos, so when you crop a low res image and throw out some of those precious pixels, you are seriously degrading your image.) Actually, how much more do you want to know? Just remember that cropping a low resolution cell phone image will throw out a bunch of pixels you need for a good image and you’ll end up with mush.

Here’s what I mean. Here are some fun images I took of my husband during our end of the season jet ski ride. Booooooo…. winter is coming. Anyway, it was way fun and my cell in its water proof housing was the perfect tool to capture it.

This is the one I really like. I moved in as close as I could ( no small feat on a tippy jet ski) and snapped away. Because I moved in tight, it didn’t need any cropping, so it’s fairly sharp. But remember that sharp is a relative term with a cell phone camera.

Here he is much further away. When I edited this, I knew I’d have to crop it a lot to get a really close up image.

Ok, here goes…

Notice how the cropped image has fallen apart. Any sharpness has been lost and it has an overall blurry look. So. Rule one. Try to crop as tight to your subject as you can when using a cell.

Another issue to watch with a cell phone is the angle of the light. Making an exposure with side or backlighting with a “real” camera is easy. You just adjust your exposure for the lighting and you’re good to go. With a cell, you don’t have those options, so you really need to have the sun at your back if you can arrange it.

Look at the next two photos which are just grab shots while I was playing in the water. Notice how poor the exposure is in the first one (with side lighting), and how better the exposure is in the second one with the sun behind me.

That goes for scenics too. There is just no way a cell can properly expose this image of the sun setting over the trees.

If you’ve read my book, you know one of my favorite things to include is a page at the end of each chapter called, “Rules Are Made To Be Broken.”

The following picture is one of them…. When the light and the angle of the light drop low enough, even a cell camera can correctly expose the sun.

Good shooting!


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