Remarks from the photo world, interspersed with uplifting Hawai’i snapshots. It’s about emotion, not just technology.
Emotion · You want emotion? Check out grief at Arlington, specifically Greg Heins’ take on this remarkable John Moore photo. Also take in the illustrated featured comment, and then Mike Johnson uses this to launch a discussion on cropping and its ethics.
Reality · Since I’ve just quoted Mike Johnson, here are a couple other things from the last month that are worth reading: Funny That Way and Look Left, Look Right. I think that all of us, as digital photographers, should worry more about the truth, or absence of it, in our pictures.
Cameras · That little GX100 that made me happy until it had to go off for repairs (they say it’s coming back tomorrow) is getting attention elsewhere too.
But the real photo-tech news, for me, is captured by this Wired survey of “Prosumer” SLRs. The take-away is obvious: All of these cameras are just bloody excellent. Left to themselves, they’ll take great pictures for you. If you’re in a situation where you have to intervene (issues of focus or time or colour or light) well, they’ll still probably take great pictures for you. Unless you’re a seriously major photographic talent, none of these will ever, ever get in your way. We are in the golden age of photography.
Sally · I noticed, in Maui, that having an SLR is no longer an even slightly rare or unusual thing; they were in abundance at any tourist spot worth photographing, which in Maui is pretty well all of them. I said this out loud and Sally remarked “Well, often it’s Dad with the SLR and Mom with the P&S” and that’s partly true, but only partly.
Sally’s our longtime good Aussie friend; we shared the Maui condo and generally hung out. She’s a good photographer too; her approach is different from mine and, I think, instructive.
Her “good” camera used to be film but she just upgraded to a Pentax K10D, one of the world’s great bargains now that the K20D is on the street. She’s had a digital P&S for a few years.
Here’s how she does it: she uses whatever software comes with the camera. She shoots JPEGs and mostly leaves the camera in auto mode and doesn’t look at the user’s guide until she’s been shooting a few months. She doesn’t crop or adjust or fine-tune or sharpen or mask or dodge or burn or balance, she just deletes the duds and blasts the keepers onto CDs.
In the condo in Maui she said “let me show you last year’s pics” and I was getting out my computer but she was heading for the TV. She dropped her disc full of JPGs into the DVD player and seemed to think that ought to work and what do you know, it did, she figured out which button on the remote meant “next picture”. The TV was a little sluggish rendering them and maybe the resolution was a little low and the colours not quite 100% perfect, but Sal takes good pictures, and they looked just fine; we spent an enjoyable half-hour or so loafing through them.
So let’s see; Sally lets the camera do all the work, she doesn’t sweat the technology, she doesn’t worry about the software, and she gets good pictures. I’m wondering if maybe I have an attitude problem.