TGFCP! (Thank Goodness For Camera Phones!)

A doorway with wonderful character in a Miami suburb. Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2013.

A doorway with wonderful character in a Miami suburb. Copyright Audrey R. Smith, 2013.

I took a rare trip into Miami with my family on Saturday–rare due to the heavy traffic that comes with living in a jam-packed urban area and utter madness that gives Miami its reputation–and I made the difficult choice of leaving my DSLR at home, rather than lugging it around all day. You would think I would have learned by now: the one time I leave it behind is the one time I find myself somewhere new that just screams,”Shoot me! (That’s not an Uzi, right?)” After our outing, we needed to grab a bite to eat, and headed to nearby Coral Gables, where I have never been. We parked, put money in the meter, and began walking, looking for the restaurant the GPS promised us was nearby, though it got us lost looking for the museum a few hours earlier. We passed a few buildings that were covered in vines, and had outdoor seating areas that just begged for a picture, but I didn’t stop. As we stopped on a corner, still on foot, we found ourselves next to this wonderful doorway, seeming to lead nowhere. The outside facade was extraordinary, a weathered pale blue arched door set inside a building of brick and stone, with vines climbing the walls and curling over the crest of the arch. Ferns bordered each of the no-longer-running fountains found in both corners. A wrought-iron store sign hung over the arch, affixed to the brick, but the vines growing into the elegant script made the name indecipherable. The finishing touch: an old-fashioned lantern hovering over the entry. The only camera on me, as I marveled at this simple yet intriguing scene, was the one on my phone, the HTC EVO that was a hand-me-down. After trying to fit in all of it, I realized that I should focus on the main points of interest, which is what you see here. The original image was processed as an HDR in PicsArt, then softened to accentuate the age and wear that was the entire charm that made the building.  I know many people rely on their camera phones to capture many or most of their images.  Thanks to platforms like Instagram, all kinds of interesting and creative images can be made and shared.  I’ve even started carrying a small point-and-shoot with me when I don’t have my big camera, just in case I see something great in a place like the grocery store or library.  In this case, however, I didn’t believe the P&S would have done the job of recording detail or maintaining sharpness.  While my phone doesn’t always give me the desired result, this was one time when I was very glad to have it.

For those who like positive energy in your day, I would recommend another photographer and the site he created from a project using images taken on both his professional and iPhone cameras: Dewitt Jones, a columnist for Outdoor Photographer Magazine, and his site Celebrate What’s Right With the World.


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