The art of science and the science of art.

The Coolest Photo My iPhone Never Took


Alex Wild over at Compound Eye is quick to point out with his Thrifty Thursday posts that great photos can be taken with relatively inexpensive equipment... IF you know what you're doing. Here's a great case in point:

A few nights ago, I was strolling along a pedestrian mall in Boulder, CO with some friends. A small crowd was gathered tight around something that was not your average street performance. It was a 6-foot tall telescope, manned by a circus performer who spends his off-time traveling the country sharing his love of the sky. (For the record, he wasn't dressed in a cat suit or sequinned from head to toe - we only found out about the circus gig after chatting him up for a bit.) The scope was trained on the moon and for all the time I spend looking at beautiful things, I have to say my heart stopped. The image was so big, so clear, I felt like I was seeing the moon for the first time. I fell in love. And then I fell off the stepping stool.

moon photo

This is what I saw through the telescope. Can you believe this was taken with a cell phone?! Image © Olga Heifets

Then Broadway Brian, as he referred to himself, mentioned that we could hold our phones up to the eyepiece and snap a pic for posterity. Or Facebook. Whatever. And so I did. And wouldn't ya know it? I totally flubbed.

iPhone moon pic

My overexposed attempt. Wanh!

I've thought about it, anguished over my inferior picture, and I've come to the following conclusions:

1. Live in the moment. Remember with your brain, not your phone. (This only applies as long as you fumbled your chance to create the world's coolest trophy photo)

2. Rather than blow all your pocket change on a fancy-pants camera, blow it on a photography expedition to Belize instead. Learn from the best, young grasshoppers!

Broadway Brian

Whattup, Broadway Brian! Look for him on the Pearl St. Mall this winter in Boulder, CO. And bring your mad photog skillz...

Special thanks to Olga Heifets for permission to post her ridonkulous moon photo. And a big shout-out to her aging T-Mobile myTouch 4G... even if it gets thrown to the curb tomorrow, it will have exited with dignity and a big, fat "thhhbhbhbhttttbbbtbtthththb" to the iPhone.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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