And The Award For Best Camera Goes To…?

They say the best camera is the one you have with you, but this isn’t strictly true as I discovered recently!

Tasked by Rowing & Regatta magazine to produce some black and white ‘arty’ shots of a concept2 rowing machine for their up-coming edition focused on indoor rowing, I was quite looking forward to pottering around at the rowing club with my gear so I packed up my cameras, a couple of lenses, tripod, light-stand, light, spare batteries etc and lugged it down to the gym at London Rowing Club.

Once I got there I did the reverse, got out everything I thought I’d need for a nice high contrast image, found an ergo that didn’t have too much dust wedged in the fan (the fan seemed was the obvious feature to concentrate on) and started to take a few snaps… although it didn’t take me long to notice a problem.

Like a true amateur I had forgotten to pick up my memory cards… bugger!

It isn’t far for me to nip home to collect them, but having unpacked everything, not wanting to leave it there while I went home and being on a tight deadline I thought it’d be a good idea to test a few ideas I had with my iPhone, send them to Wendy at British Rowing to review so that when I got back to the club with some memory cards I could be as efficient as possible getting what they wanted.

Now I’m not going to pretend that at this stage that I wasn’t already entertaining the idea that one of the photos I’d taken with my iPhone was going to suffice, but I wasn’t prepared to lie about it so when Wendy called me back to say that the second image was exactly what they were after, I felt compelled to confess to sending two photos I’d taken on my iPhone rather than with my ‘proper’ camera. I was actually given the option to return to the club to take an identical photo with my ‘proper’ camera if I wanted to, but we both agreed that there was actually no need and by this stage I was less embarrassed about forgetting my memory cards in the first place and more excited about having an iPhone photo on the cover!!! (not exactly a revelation in 2016 but nonetheless something particularly challenging for a sport like rowing where long lenses are often required to capture any action.)

I don’t know if it’s the first time R&R has had an iPhone photo on the cover, but I certainly hope so!

A photo posted by Iain Weir (@shutteritch) on

Stepping back from my childish excitement about having a photo I took on my phone on the cover of a magazine, there are two lessons I’m taking from this:

1. Absolutely anyone could have taken this photo. Being honest, it fit the brief but it’s probably not the best photo I’ve ever taken with my iPhone, a camera that most people reading this will also have in their pocket. It’s not a new concept for me and it’s one of the reasons that I’m spending more and more of my time developing my video skills in particular, but the expensive equipment that used to be professional photography’s barrier to entry is already crumbling around us and once the playing field is truly level, the quality of the work we produce will count for so much more.
2. Memory cards. Memory cards. Memory cards.

PS – The latest video I worked on was for the Boat Races and can be found here.


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