Puppy Love: An Endearing Image Makes the Case That the Best Camera Is the One That’s with You


Tech Talk: iPhone 4, 3.9mm lens, 1/15 second, f/2.8, ISO 320, program exposure, pattern metering.
© Robert J. Gowdie

A little bit of luck and a few snap decisions went into Robert J. Gowdie capturing in a still photo all the exuberance, energy, and playful nature of Alonzo, the 3-month-old Havanese puppy who had just come home to Gowdie’s family.

The luck came in the form of a limitation: his iPhone 4 was incapable of shutter speed settings. The snap decisions: to take photographs, but not to walk into the other room to get his DSLR.

“He was a lot of fun, and very cute,” Gowdie says of Alonzo. “He came to us groomed, with perfectly cut hair; he looked like a catalog picture.”

At least until the puppy’s playful nature took over. “As I’m playing with him on the couch, I’m thinking, I’ve got to get some pictures. I could have gone for the DSLR, but the iPhone was there, it was handy, and it just felt right for the spontaneity of the moment. I thought, This is happening now, I’m going to photograph it now.”

As a result Gowdie got far better than the razor-sharp image his DSLR would have produced. He caught the puppy’s essence in a classic, joyous moment, and, as it turned out, he also captured a glimpse of the family’s future with their new member, as the Havanese breed is noted for its spirited personality, its energy, and its cuddly size. It’s regarded as an ideal family pet.

“I got ten photos of him, and I didn’t know I’d gotten this shot until afterwards,” Gowdie says. He wasn’t shooting and checking; the dog’s energy was such that he just fired photo after photo. “I was just trying to keep him in the frame.”

This photograph was taken in 2014, and Gowdie, an illustrator, painter, graphic designer, storyboard artist, and photographer, who now carries an iPhone 5c, reports that “Alonzo is still like that—energetic and enthusiastic. And I’m still taking pictures of him. But this one—this one is something special.”

pattydeanphoto's picture

I was reading this article and couldn't agree more. Sometimes you just have to make the best of the situation. Luckily, every day it seems that smart phone cameras are getting so much better, so you can get better quality pics with equipment that is right in your pocket.