When You Don’t Have Your Big Camera

Back in early spring, I had the rare treat of a few days to myself. My husband and kids were up in Michigan and I was left gloriously alone to work and rest.

On the last day of my time alone, I decided to head to our favorite park. We love to hike through the trails and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

As much as I enjoy walking with my family, it can also be hard. When I want to walk fast, the kids are slow. When I want to slow down and take pictures, my kids want to run ahead.

So naturally, I was excited to have some time on the trails to myself. I excitedly packed up my camera and a few lenses, ready to capture the beauty at my own pace. It was a beautiful warm spring day and I just knew I would end up with images I loved!

I started down the trail and saw the first dogwoods blooming. Time to pull out the camera.

I set everything up, clicked, and then saw the dreaded warning: NO CF CARD. Oh no.

I had left my memory card at home, having just downloaded images.

So there I was, camera in hand with time alone and my big girl camera was of no use to me. I almost walked right back to my car, but then thought otherwise. Hey, at least I had my phone.

My phone, a Moto X, isn’t exactly known for it’s great picture quality. I love it for the price I get through Republic Wireless, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy all of you with your magical iPhone photos. However, the best camera is the one you have, and so I figured something was better than nothing.

During the next few miles, I had to stretch my photographic ability as I dealt with the limitations of my phone. However, I also had fun playing with the differences and options I don’t normally have.


1. Having a wide angle lens makes a big difference. At the time, I didn’t own a wide angle lens for my camera, but my phone offers quite the angle! It was fun to play with the wider field of view.

2. Not being able to manually adjust my aperture was frustrating, especially since I tend to shoot with a very shallow depth of field. However, as I got closer to my subject, I was able to achieve the look I was going for.

3. Having the lens at the corner of my camera meant adjusting the way I normally shoot. It also meant getting some cool angles because when I flip my phone upside down, the lens is at ground level.

4. There were definite focus issues, especially as I tried for shallow depth of field shots. If I was persistent, I could get what I was working for. However, I often gave up and walked away.

5. Editing is much more necessary. With my big camera, I often have to do very little in the way of editing. I usually get crisp and clean images with only slight adjustments made due to the fact I shoot in RAW. But with my phone, I don’t get the contrast and crispness I like and so I had to edit more than I normally would.

I’m glad I didn’t give up and go home. Although not canvas-worthy, I still got some beautiful shots to remember my beautiful day alone.

So what about you? Do you like shooting with your phone camera or do you feel limited? What features do you miss and what features do you prefer?