I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this: carrying a phone with a camera is a wonderful thing.
I've had a cell phone for about 13 years; back then, all I wanted was a device that would allow me to talk to people, and for people to be able to reach me when I wasn't at home.
As I upgraded phones, for the longest time I didn't want to have anything more than a mobile telephone. In one store, I told the salesman, "I don't want a camera: I have a great one. I don't want an MP3 player: I have a device for listening to music. I don't need to send e-mail while I'm out. I just want a phone."
Times, of course, have changed. (I once said I'd never own an Apple product: I now own three.)
Having a smartphone is the modern-day equivalent to having a Swiss Army knife. It does almost everything I would need for when I'm out and about. It does more, in some cases.
With my passion for photography, I'm always looking at things and composing them into photographs. My camera is big and gets heavy, and so I don't always carry it on me. In the past, anytime I saw a photo opportunity and didn't have my camera on me, I would be sad for not being able to capture the moment. (I would be happy, at the same time, for having the opportunity to experience the moment.)
With my smartphone, which I always have on me, capturing those fleeting moments is easy. And earlier this week, I had the chance of capturing a moment that was gone almost as quickly as it appeared.
On Monday, we had some pretty severe weather move through the Ottawa area. Heavy rains, lightning strikes, and high winds wreaked havoc on area communities. In my neighbourhood, we had bouts of heavy rain, the clouds coming and going, their shapes and heights varying. During one break in the rain, we took the kids to our local park, to let them play and get some much-needed exercise after our two-week-long car trip. Their uncle and cousins also stopped by for a visit and joined us in the park.
As the adults chatted and the children played, I spotted an ominous cloud approaching. I loved the shape of the cloud, a beautiful menace, and thanks to my smartphone I was able to capture it.
When rain seemed imminent, we gathered the kids and headed back to the house, but it was too late. Halfway home, the sky let loose. We all made a dash for cover (yes, even I, who won't run to catch a bus, made a break for it).
The rain didn't last long and was all but over by the time we reached our street. The cloud had mostly passed. With the sun almost setting, the light cast upwards and reflected off the dark clouds, making the sun appear as though it was actually poking through the cloud. The effect was dazzling: whether it was the shape of the cloud or moisture reaching the breaking point, the reflection of light looked like the cloud was on fire. This was a shot that made me stop runningdamn the rain.