|July 10, 2005|
The Tale Told by Two Pictures
I'm sure my recent columns have had something of the flavor of a zealous conversion. It's been a much more gradual thing than that, really. I think what accounts for my enthusiasm is just that I experienced a good week of shooting. I hadn't had a good week in a while, and it was nice to get a rich lode of good shots in a short amount of time again. When I'm not doing well with my shooting, it always feels like I have no idea where the heck the next good pictures will be coming from, or even if they'll be coming. It's always a pleasure to have a good stretch.
My friend Oren Grad alerted me to a rumor about JOBO USA. If it's true, it's too bad. My friend Sam Proud worked for JOBO USA for years, and the head guy, Ricke Stauffer, ran a tight ship — a very ethical and service-oriented guy.
But really, if there's a canary in the coal mine, color RA-4 print processors had to be it.
Consider this message I got from another friend in the same batch as Oren's:
I almost hate to say it, so fond am I of the old ways, but the K-M 7D
has tipped me over into being a digital man. The practical advantages
of anti-shake and high-ISO for shooting are just too great. Consider
the following picture: that's just one not-very-bright light bulb
lighting the scene, and the camera was hand-held, and the lens (a mere
ƒ/2.8 zoom, for heaven's sake) wasn't even wide open. I know what I can
and can't get with a 35mm film camera. I just could not have gotten
this shot to look this good with 35mm.
And here's another one. I'm not the most talented apple in the basket,
and I'm not the most technically adroit guy around, either. But I've
been a photographer for a lot of years now. I photograph my own way and
have gotten some good examples of the type of picture I like to look
at. And at some point, the whole point of technique just comes down to
what works best. The bottom line is, I just don't think that I would
have gotten either of these pictures, looking this good, with any other
kind of camera. The good news is not digital, necessarily, or the
Konica-Minolta 7D of which I am lately so enamored, or high-ISO DSLRs
in general — the good news is getting shots we like. That's
pretty much the whole ball of wax, right there.
Mike's books and free downloads: www.lulu.com/bearpaw
He was East Coast Editor of Camera & Darkroom magazine from 1988 to 1994 and Editor-in-Chief of PHOTO Techniques magazine from 1994-2000, where his editorial column "The 37th Frame" was a popular feature and where he presented, among other things, a set of three articles on "bokeh" by John Kennerdell, Oren Grad, and Harold Merklinger that were subsequently widely discussed among photographers.
His critical and technical writings have appeared in various publications
and newsletters such as The Washington Review and D-Max. A number of his
articles written under the pseudonym "L. T. Gray" (el Tigre) appeared in the
English magazine Darkroom User.
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