I especially like the compact digital cameras that have a flip-out, tilting LCD screen. This encourages you to put your camera into unique locations just to see what a photograph from there looks like, including over your head, down on the ground and even held into places your head won’t fit. My older Canon PowerShot A640 has inspired me to take all sorts of pictures that I wouldn’t even have considered otherwise, and this affects how I use my D-SLR as well. One challenge of many small digital cameras is that they don’t have a very wide wide-angle capability. A lot of manufacturers are now working to remedy this, but your options can be limited. This is one reason why I like the Samsung NV24HD. This very pocketable camera as a wide-angle equivalent of 24mm, making it a fun little camera to play with. In addition, the camera includes a 16:9 framing option that’s totally different than what you’ll find with standard cameras. This format fits the widescreen television sets that so many people are using today, but that’s not the reason why I use it.
Shooting with the camera challenges me to look at compositions differently. I can guarantee that if you start taking pictures with such a different format, it will change the way you frame any photograph. The 16:9 format is often used in movies where the look can be interesting because of the way composition is used in this wide frame.
Watch Out For Judges. I’m suggesting that you can honor nature by creating images that other people haven’t already seen many times. But in doing that, you often end up with photos that are so different that an internal judge starts criticizing you. “Why are you doing that composition? No one will like it.” “You’re using the LCD way too much. What will the other camera club members think?” “You hardly need another camera. Anyway, why would you want a stupid point-and-shoot?” That critic can be harsh; I know that from long experience. But you have to step up and say, “Shut up! I can do what I want! And I want something better, not the same old stuff that you, Mr. Critic, are comfortable with.” I think this quote by media guru Phil Cooke (www.philcooke.com) says it all: “Don’t give your audience what you think they want. Give them what they never dreamed possible.”
Rob Sheppard works to encourage new ways of seeing through his class, Impact In Your Photos, at BetterPhoto.com and through his blog at www.photodigitary.com.