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City2Surf 2012 and Mobile Phone

The mobile phone has been considered as a great new tool for street photography due to the excellent mobility from the small size and the consistent availability as it's a phone by nature. I personally haven't been using my mobile phone for any type of photography. I only used it to avoid writing down the  price and pickup number tag at IKEA, to remember the decent wine brand or to keep an embarrassing memories of wild drinking night. Hence, when I shop for a mobile phone, the camera shipped with never been an important factor during the selection process, at least until now.
Face of pixels
Face of pixels

This year I participated in the City2Surf Sydney event, the biggest running event of the year in Sydney in terms of the number of participants. The 14 km of race starting from CBD of Sydney and finishing at the famous Bondi beach. The weather wasn't that great, in fact it was gloomy, windy and cold with a good chance of possible rain. Thankfully (and naturally) the weather forecast, without disappointing us, was incorrect and the runners could enjoy fair bit of sunshine during the race.
Early Birds
Early Birds

So, I didn't bring my camera as I thought I won't be able to carry them easily and honestly thought I wouldn't take any photos, which was quite right in general, although as soon as I arrived at the train station very early in the morning, I just couldn't help thinking about getting some photos of people at there. Now, the only camera I had with me was the mobile phone so I decided to give a try, and I could see the clear pros and cons of using it.
Tensioned Relaxation
Tensioned Relaxation

First, the most obvious advantage is its availability, it's always with you unless you forget to bring it. How many people in these days can survive without their mobile phone? As soon as you reach your pocket there is a camera you can use. "The best camera is the one with you" - Chase Jarvais. My forgotten mobile phone camera was the best camera for me on the day.
Also, it's discrete. I have been enjoying the secrecy of Fuji X100 on the street, but it can't even compete with the mobile phone. It's just not a camera, it's a phone, that's it. Furthermore, with the flood of available smart phones these days hiding your shooting from the subject is so easy since people would think you are doing something else on your phone like playing Angry Bird, or be simply indifferent to you at all. This kind of secrecy also can give the timid photographers (like me) more confidence too as they become more comfortable at shooting.
Quick drag before the run
Quick drag before the run

Only the main issue I had was the focusing. The mobile phones are small and they are very sensitive to hand movement. Getting the focus sharp is quite harder then I thought (see the photos above). Making yourself steady for shooting under low light condition requires a bit of training, and I wasn't very ready for it with this small camera. I mean you have to know your gear after all, what it can and can't, but for the first time using it, I should say it wasn't that bad after all.
End of festival
End of festival

Does this mean I am going to use mobile phone for street shooting? Of couse it won't be able to replace the cameras I use, but it definitely will be a great addition to my tool box, actually really handy one. In fact, this camera has been with me for some time, I have been the ignorant one who haven't found and used it properly.
On you way home
On my way home

All the images were taken with the 5MP camera on HTC ChaCha. After today's experience (actually I have been for a wile), I am definitely longing for a better mobile phone with a better camera ... and I know, another typical GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). It's not the camera you should blame, right? There is a good article on it by Eric Kim, have a read if you think you also suffer from GAS like me :)

Thanks for visiting.

All the images were published under the "Creative Commons" licence.


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