For Fathers Day this year, after a lot of hinting, my wife and son gave me a Blackberry Curve. Took me a couple of weeks to find and get into the habit of using the features that were useful to me but once that was done I came up with a plan. My plan was to use my new smartphone as a tool in my photography.
My plan in part is to start and keep a photographers journal, complete with notes and sketches from the locations that I visit. My Blackberry is the second part of this plan, used for completing the data gathered for the journal, mainly GPS locations. This will help me if I return to a location to reshoot in different light or time of day; all in a notebook that I can keep in my camera bag.
The Curve has a long list of features which makes it an outstanding Smartphone but there are a select few that prove useful to the photographer. Weather is by far one of the most important things that I need to know about when considering any outside photography. For that I installed an application called, Pocket Express which gives me current forecast as well as 7 days of weather that I can plan my shoots around. Another application that I use and have installed for photography is, Where. This is a manager of applications in sorts that you can add other sub-applications too. I use it for checking Flickpics, photos by other shutterbugs that may have done a shoot in the area I am shooting and GeoWikipedia for names of buildings and parks surrounding me. Another important tool that I use for metadata or Exif data is the built in GPS technology. This goes into my notes in my journal as well as post-process in Photoshop. I can tag the photo with this info as well as other notes. Voice Note I use to keep notes when I am caring to much gear, mostly when it is raining. The calculator is another built in tool that is very useful, which I use to calculate exposures in difficult lighting. Not to just brush over the camera phone that I use for finding the right composition, plotting depth of field, selecting the right lens to use and how I should use a ND Filter in a scene.
These are only a few of the features that I have found and use that have not only saved me time and weight but money as well. I shoot with an older Nikon DSLR which is not compatible with the new Wi-Fi wireless transmitter and standard antenna units needed to tag my images with GPS Exif data. If it were, I would have to shell out over $500 bucks for the two units on top of the $1200 for the camera body. The Blackberry I got for $100 bucks with a $100 buck rebate on an upgrade. Free is always in the budget.
My Blackberry Curve is a low budget way of keeping up with the high tech speeds of Photography. Oh, did I forget to mention that I can upload directly to Flickr with GPS tagging as well as check my Facebook or MySpace in addition to sending texts or making calls while I am out in the field? In closing, it is hands down one of the most valuable tools in my camera arsenal and I wonder what new features the Blackberry Storm will bring to the photographer.
Here are a few features that I would use my Blackberry on the shoot: