Shoot outstanding destination photos — with your iPhone

I used to think that the quality of a travel photograph was mostly hardware dependent, that a fancy Single Lens Reflex (SLR) or Four Thirds camera was critical towards capturing beautiful travel photos. Shots taken with my older, Canon SD300, for example, always seemed to be grainy, poorly lit and generally embarrassing to share among my friends and family. By contrast, my recent Canon Rebel XTi seems to take good photos irrespective of lighting, location or movement. Put enough monkeys in a room with a box full of SLRs, so they say, and the photos will turn out good eventually.

Application, I know now, is much of the battle. ISO speeds, megapixels, sensor quality and number of espressos consumed are all important variables in composing an ideal shot, and with enough training and tinkering, many cameras can produce a beautiful shot.

And then there’s the photographer’s eye, or simply put, skill. In a recent series for the Associated Press, photographer David Guttenfelder put together a stunning feature on the life of US armed forces in Afghanistan, shot solely behind the lens of his trusty iPhone. Yes, with 3 megapixels, no zoom, no flash and a tiny lens, Guttenfelder captured a series of photos better than all of the photos that I’ll ever shoot in my entire life. As it goes to show, talent, skill and composition are better than any hardware that money can buy.

Take a look at the series over at the AP website.

Want some more inspiration? Head over to our own Karen Walrond’s posterous blog for shots that she’s captured on her very own iPhone.

Americans stop going to Canada two years in advance

If you went to Canada this year, you’re in a shrinking minority. Visits across our northern border sunk to a 37-year low. Fortunately we have not one but two(!) factors to blame: the ongoing financial crisis and stricter U.S. passport rules. Obviously, unemployment continues its downward spiral, making it increasingly difficult for consumers to open their wallets. And, the tighter border-crossing rules have impacted the vast majority of Americans who don’t have passports.

The number of overnight trips to our northern neighbor have fallen from 16.2 million in 2002 to only 13.4 million in 2004 – based on the latest results from Statistics Canada. Of course, this statistic is totally worthless, as the true effects of the recession were not evident until the middle of 2008, and the passport rules were only enacted this year. So, I’m still trying to figure out just why the hell the Associated Press cited it. Anyway, visits were falling, and I guess the AP’s point is that the current factors just made it a lot worse.

I guess Americans forecasted both the economic decline and the passport rules, so they stopped traveling two years in advance.