Friday, November 30, 2007

A Big Camera

I've always been on the lookout for the next thing that's bigger and better, and I may have found it. I purchased a Mamiya Super 23, and a very nice 100mm f/2.8 lens for it, and now I'm waiting for the 6x7 rollfilm back to arrive before I can try it out.

Anyone who has known me photographically can say that I don't have any one camera that I could call "my camera." When people ask what kind of photography I do, or what kind of camera I use, well, there really is no easy answer for that. I love my SX-70, but it can't be used in many situations. I like my digital SLR, but can't say I love it.

Still, I want to have that one camera that I grab, that makes me think "photography" when I carry it. Well, this Mamiya definitely screams "photography" when you hold it. It won't be something to carry around all the time - it's nearly as big as my head - but I think I can learn a thing or two using it, maybe finish some projects I've been kicking around.

If nothing else, it has compelled me to sell most of my superfluous cameras, and rethink what my goals are.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Originally uploaded by Apocaplops
People who know me personally usually find out quickly that I have a lot of cameras. It's not that I consider myself a collector, far from it. I just seem to pick them up here and there, thinking a new camera might spark my creativity or open up a new door to me. But there's a problem that comes with being at a crossroads, with all paths open to you. You can't decide what road to choose, and you can't see very far down any of them.

So it is with me and my cameras. Instead of opening up new possibilities, each successive camera I purchase seems to stall me from actually going out and taking photos. Which to grab, for any given circumstance? I've found it can be crippling, and with my experiment last month to use only one camera all month, I've also found that the alternative can be liberating.

So I'm getting rid of any camera I haven't touched in a while. Some of these are just shelf decorations, but I don't really need something to decorate my shelf. Any of the cameras pictured here are for sale, so let me know if you want one.

I'm keeping my digital, the SX70, Polaroid 110A, Rolleicord, Mamiya 23, and Holga. Oh, and the XA, I need that too. I don't need one more camera, except maybe the pinhole I made a few years ago... Just the digital, the SX-70, the 110A, Rollei, Mamiya, Holga, XA, and the pinhole. I don't need anything else.

Unless it's a Bessa R...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Silver Bells

State Tree
Originally uploaded by Aunt Owwee
One of the city's big events is nearly upon us. Silver Bells in the City, with its electric light parade, fireworks, and the lighting of the State Christmas tree, helps to kick of the holiday season in the Capitol area. Thousands of people gather around the Capitol building to watch the floats drive by, and enjoy the show.

All the cultural buildings are open and free to the public while the event is underway, and you can watch ice sculptors at work, or enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

I went to last year's event, but didn't really get any photos worth posting. This year, I plan on taking a tripod with me to shoot the lighting of the State tree, and maybe get a few fireworks shots as well. If you plan on doing any people shots, a fast lens or flash, probably both, is a must. But don't get too caught up in taking pictures - this is an event you'll want to step back and enjoy.

Silver Bells in the City runs on Friday night, November 16th, from 5 to 9pm. The Parade kicks off around 6pm, and the tree will be lit sometime after that. Fireworks will take place, weather permitting.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The [un]usual

Originally uploaded by Apocaplops
I really like photography as documentation, and when it comes to that style of photography, it helps to have some connections, and an open mind. Everyone has personal connections they can use when it comes to photography, but you may not realize it because it's a part of your daily life.

My wife is a vet student, and much of our lives revolves around animals, be it wild or pet. I see a lot of things the layperson may not because of this, and I've found it a great way to get my foot in the door in many cases. A friend of a friend may run the wildlife sanctuary, which gives access to all sorts of interesting photo opportunities, like exercising a hawk, pictured above.

Even though I'm not interested personally in animal medicine, tagging along on field trips gets me opportunities to see things from a different perspective. The Vet students see this stuff every day, so they may not think it's so extraordinary.

That's the challenge for photographers. We have to recognize the extraordinary, and that's especially difficult in our own lives. When you see the same thing over and over again, you begin to develop a sort of blindness.

Let's say you're going to photograph an event, like the upcoming Christmas parade. What would you take photos of? Most people will shoot the environment, with photos of the floats as a result. The people around you are equally interesting though, many times more so than the parade itself.

The best thing to do, most times, is not get lost in the crowd. Keep your mind focused on getting a good photo, and don't be surprised if it comes from where you least expect.