It's often that people ask me for recommendations on cameras, and I usually point them toward entry-level DSLR cameras (with interchangeable lenses) such as the Canon Rebel series. For just a few hundred dollars, anyone can get one of these cameras and produce pro-level photos. In many cases, it just requires good composition and lighting. Technical knowledge of camera gear can help capture an image, but one still needs to "see" a good photograph.
Stepping up, one can spend a few thousand dollars to get camera equipment that will produce higher quality images and provide more versatility and options, but it won't magically fix poor composition and/or lighting.
With camera technology having advanced considerably over the last few years, I figured I would see what a relatively inexpensive point-and-shoot "pocket" camera can do nowadays. I bought a Canon G7X Mark II and decided to test it to its limits. With the quality of images it produces and its crazy portability, it's already seeing more use than my fancy cameras. I think I will start recommending point-and-shoot cameras from now on!
With that, here's a photograph that I took in Joshua Tree National Park - with nothing more than a pocket camera and a tripod.
I had an interesting situation recently: one of my photos had such an unusual composition that many considered it fake!
The city of Ventura, California has an annual photo contest, and the entries are often used in advertising for local events and city tourism. I entered a few photos, one of which received an "honorable mention" award.
Unbeknownst to me, this photo was posted on Ventura Parks and Recreation's Facebook page to promote the 2018 City of Ventura Photo Contest (click on the photo below to see the post). A friend of mine had seen this post and sent me a message to let me know about it and the people doubting the authenticity of my photo. Then, the next day, someone from Ventura Parks and Recreation contacted me to let me know that the post had received the most views, shares, and comments of any post on their page. She also mentioned the skeptical comments.
I had to take a look.
Sure enough, I had caught landmarks in such a way that people thought it was a "Photoshopped" composition. While some photographers would be offended by accusations of forging an image, I was flattered! I had finally captured an original photo!
There are so many iconic images that photographers go back to duplicate, over and over. Sure, lighting and other subtle changes make each photograph slightly unique, but there's always that one photographer who saw that composition and captured it first. I had never been one of those photographers - until now.
I went into great detail in a reply to the Facebook post to explain the composition and technique I used. Essentially, what was throwing people off is that this image can't be seen from land. It was only while returning by boat from a trip to Channel Islands National Park that I noticed the beachfront homes, "Two Trees Hill," and the majestic Topatopa Mountains lined up in the late evening light. I snapped a photo, not knowing that how unique - and unbelievable - it was. In the end, I completely understand and appreciate people's skepticism, especially with so many "fake" images, videos, and stories so easily circulated on the Internet.