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Monday, September 19, 2011

Make it Count

Not too long ago I was out in my back yard with my family trying out a new camera when my neighbor came over and asked if I could take just a couple quick pictures of her daughter and her friends. I of course said "no problem," looking for any excuse to exercise the new toy. I don't believe that she even had a working camera, and it was her daughter's 16th birthday party, so I took a few minutes and got some nice shots of the girls and her and her daughter. At the time, I was thinking that if I showed them some good pictures, that these girls would remember me when it came time for senior portraits. A couple weeks ago I saw them on their front porch having a pretty good size yard sale. They have yard sales occasionally, so I paid it no mind. Then without me even noticing, the house went quiet. Talking with another neighbor yesterday, I found out that she has been moved into a nursing home fighting a life threatening disease, and her daughter has had to move in with family a state away. Suddenly those quick shots in the back yard take on new meaning.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paradigm Shift vs The Stick in the Mud

Every photographer is dealing with it, whether they know it or not. Be it changes in hardware or changes in the way we have to operate, paradigm shift is everywhere. My dad always says, "Nothing changes but change, and that ain't gonna change." How true. For me, at least for this late night introspection, it's my gear and how I use it. Sony seems to have been a little late to the game in introducing video to their DSLR line, but for good reason. They, like Minolta before them, seem to take their time to make sure they do the job right. Sony has adorned their new breed of cameras with the moniker "SLT," or "Single Lens Translucent-Mirror," which is a HUGE paradigm shift for the whole camera industry. You see, when a photographer takes a picture and the camera makes that big KUH-THUNK, it's because something big is happening in the camera. The SLR/DSLR camera is unique in that when you look through the viewfinder, you are actually looking out of the lens of the camera, by way of a big mirror and fancy optics. When I press my shutter release, my camera has to quickly move that big mirror out of the way so that the camera can see what I am, and catch the picture. With these new SLT cameras, the mirror doesn't move! Now that does all kinds of fancy things for Sony users, like giving us the fastest auto focus in our class, and lets our cameras auto focus while doing video (a novel idea, I know). So what's the problem? Well, I can't look through my lens anymore, instead I'm looking at an LCD screen. So why is that bad? It's not, having an electronic view finder gives me all kinds of information to help me do my job more effectively. So why am I complaining then? Because I don't like them. Sure, I get faster auto focus, and a display that can tell me just about anything I want to know, but the idea that I'm looking at a screen just takes some of the magic out of it. I feel yet another step disconnected from the "good 'ole days" of film. Now don't get me wrong, I would NEVER trade digital for film when it comes to a wedding ceremony, but will I upgrade to the new hardware? Of course. Will I like it? The jury's still out. At some point, though, it seems like we should stop throwing electrons at every little problem and leave some for experience, magic, and adventure.