Red Cars and Tiny Cameras

By Lane Erickson

“One person’s car is another person’s scenery.” Jonathan Ive

When you read my photography blog to help you Find the Right Light you will quickly see that I believe great images can be created wherever you are. I also believe you don’t need a pro camera or expensive lenses to create great art, though its obvious that having good equipment can make the job a lot easier. 

This post is going to use red cars as a way of showing that great art can be created with even tiny cameras. What qualifies as a tiny camera? To me, that’s any phone, point and shoot or really any camera that you can’t change the lens on. 

I’m not really a car guy. I mean I like cars, but I don’t go out of my way trying to find cars to shoot photos of. However, as I was looking through my photos it struck me that every time I came across a really cool looking red car, I didn’t have my nicer cameras and lenses with me. Rather, I always seemed to have a tiny camera with me instead. 

The image that opens this article, was taken with my Fuji X100s. This is a camera with a fixed 23mm f/2 lens. The image came about because my family and I found ourselves in a local park that was hosting a car show. We didn’t realize there was going to be a car show there. We just went to the park to play around. 

I happened to have my Fuji X100s camera with me so I took it along as we wandered around the different cars. There was a beautiful red convertible. I chatted with the owner and got permission to take some photos. I was able to reach over the driver’s side window and snap this photo of the interior of the car. 

The second image, was created during a lunch time photowalk. I often do this when the weather is nice so that I can get out of the office and breathe some fresh air. I usually take a camera along with me in case I see something interesting. On this particular day I had my Canon S110 which is a tiny point and shoot camera. 

I love the grungy asphalt contrasting with the red car. I also love the license plate. 

The final image in this group is my favorite. 

This image is of the same car that is in photo 2 above. Once again, I found myself walking around during lunch time. However, this time, I didn’t have a camera with me. Rather I had my iPhone 4 which was the phone I owned at the time. I decided to get down low and snap a photo with my phone. After a little trial and error, this is the image I was able to create. 

To me, this image is classic Americana. The color, the perspective and the focus all work together to create a “larger than life” image. The iPhone 4 had a 5mp camera with a tiny sensor. Despite this, the image holds up.

Most people I show this image to don’t ask me what camera I used, Rather, they start talking about old cars they used to own or drive or admire. When an image I’ve created can do this, I know I’ve done something right.

Do you want to create great images? If you do, then start by using the camera you have to do it. Would have using my Fuji X-T series of cameras and lenses have made creating these images easier?  Maybe, but it doesn’t really matter. I used the camera (or phone) I had with me and created the images I wanted to create. You can do the same. 

Always open to comments, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions and even your critiques. Have a great Friday and best wishes in finding the right light for your own photographs.

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