Jokers to the left of me, clowns to the right...and me with an iPoint-and-shoot / by Josh Trudell

Sometimes being a photography nerd can be painful.

Painful in the wallet when your camera is getting fixed.

Painful when your camera is stuck in a Laredo warehouse, waiting for a part.

And painful when you’re faced with a smorgasbord of photo opportunities and are sitting there empty handed.

Such was my situation this past weekend, with day trips to Padre Island National Seashore and the Sherwood Forest Renaissance Faire.

Malaquite Beach – part of the national seashore – is a peaceful stretch of sand that is rarely busy. I’ve never seen it as busy as nearby Port Aransas. It’s where Superwife and I go when we need to get away from it all, and all we have is a day.

Renaissance faires are a blast to photograph, in my opinion. Everyone is in costume, they’re showing off, there are tons of performances, all kinds of animals – it’s photo heaven. If you can’t see a good photo, you aren’t trying.

Without my trusty Sony, I was forced to rely on my iPhone. Now, this was supposed to be one of the ailments of civilization the iPhone was going to cure – people would always have cameras in their pockets.

Frankly, after a weekend with my iPhone 4, I’m not that impressed. I know for some people I’m verging into heresy here, but I found it pretty average – there was a lot of grain on the pictures, particularly when dealing with less than open sunlight. The zoom resulted in soft focus, too.

Now, I didn’t use the multitude of apps that promise to improve the quality of iPhone photos, and they could make a significant difference. I’ll have to investigate the possibilities there to make a real judgment.

That being said, there were a couple of decent images that came from the day at the beach, including the one above. I like this image because of the sand’s swirling movement headed toward the water. It’s empty, but it leaves room for the viewer.

I like empty space photography – it makes you stop and take a second look, perhaps realizing life isn’t always full of beeping, blinking things.