Today was quite an interesting day. I met some nice people at work who were apparently Mennonites from the same community that I visited earlier in the year in Blackville (see www.britinthe.us for more on that). On that trip, I chatted with the Mennonites and found them to be a very friendly, straightforward people who led a fairly austere life but who did use modern technologies that suited them as long as they did not detract from their community identity. I might go to see them again. The food was excellent in their canteen.
When I was with the Mennonites, I did not photograph them out of sheer respect for them. Although it's very interesting to see photographs of different people, it's hard for most viewers to imagine how invasive photography is for them. Imagine being so different that everybody was pointing at you and saying how different you were, stopping you in stores and in the street to ask about your appearance and taking photos of you. This is what it is like for the Mennonites, the Amish, the Hutterites and so on. It really does represent to them an invasion of their privacy. I am not a great people photographer anyway. I much prefer not to photograph people. I have done it and I'm pretty awful at it because it's not really my interest. Photography of the things that represent them are fine though - cart wheels, oxen and ploughs, their products, the products of their labor etc. Anything inanimate should be fine and of course, that's the kind of thing I love to photograph anyway.
What's so special about this bus? It's one I bought for $2 in a clearance sale. It had originally been $20 and had gone to 50% off ($10) and 75% off ($2.50) before going to $2. It just reminds me of a very similar bus I was given as a child of about 3 or 4 by my parents. That bus was bright red. This is a funky color but it reminds me of my parents and of the happy times I had as a very young child. This was indeed a cellphone photo. There's no real need for me to pull out a digital SLR just to take a photograph of a toy bus, is there?
Well, just for fun, here's a photo of the same bus taken with my digital SLR, handheld on 1600 ISO. The colors look better. The image loses a little sharpness toward the back of the bus due to the depth of field being less. Now if I'd bothered to put up a tripod, the picture might be even better.
I must have been a little bored tonight. I dragged out a tripod, put the camera on it, set the aperture to f32 so that everything from here to Iehova would be in focus with 100 ISO and gave it a 20 second exposure.
All of the photos have been done under florescent lighting and have had light photo editing. It's easy to see here that the cellphone photo is not the best of the three. The 1600 ISO handheld photo is surprisingly good. The last one is hands down the sharpest although at web size, they are all usable. Those with my DSLR look better which is entirely to be expected.
I'm still not a fan of flashes though. I would still rather photograph using natural light sources or conventional lighting.