After the second year the otkhozhdeniye of ascarids increased: every day 10-12-15 young ascarids independently departed.dapoxetine greeceTherefore to the people inclined to unmotivated fits of coughing.Appetite is absent (the girl only drinks water, the breast does not take); sharp pallor and the lowered turgor of integuments, the expressed short wind (breath 42 in a minute).priligy pptSymptoms of a panic attack: unaccountable fear sudden strong heartbeat difficulty of breath or asthma discomfort in a breast nausea or discomfort in a stomach dizziness, weakness in feet with fear to fall the increased sweating shiver heat or fever feeling of a sleep in various sections of a body feeling of unreality of the events or own izmenyonnost fear of death fear to lose control over itself or to go crazy Panic attack usually develops suddenly and sharply, reaching the maximum in 5 - 10 minutes.To improve the address of blood and a lymph in an organism, it is possible to apply periodically heat baths, thus water temperature has to make no more than 43 degrees.what does priligy doThe prof.

A client I'd done work for ten years ago called me a few weeks back and asked if I could do a photo shoot to replace the images on their website that had been there for over a decade (now that's how to get your money's worth out of a photographer!). When we did the original website it was cool just to have a well designed site and basically the photography was little more than a documentation to prove that the staff existed and that the firm actually had physical offices. Nothing fancy to the photography.

Now so much water has flowed beneath the bridges that photography for a website is a different conversation. The firm still has a central office but it's more of a way station. Most of the executives are working from home or from small, single person, satellite offices that are close to their homes. The client's thoughts about websites have changed as well. Rather than have individual headshots against anonymous backgrounds they wanted to do something much more casual and almost conversational with their people photography. Their business is still a "people" business and they want their people to be visible but they want to be seen as approachable, likable and congenial. Also important was to show their cohesiveness as a team.

I like their out of the box thinking. They asked me (as the assignment) to join their six person executive leadership team for lunch at a new restaurant and to shoot  candid images of them at lunch as they talked and laughed and shared a meal together. The client checked with the restaurant and made sure it was okay with them to have me shooting, almost randomly, in their main dining room during a busy lunch. This being Austin, Texas, home of the very idea of laid back, it was no problem.

The restaurant is near downtown and is in a re-purposed power plant facility. It's very cool. There were a couple stories of glass windows and all the furnishings were spare and modern. We wouldn't be lighting anything but I had full license to be as intrusive and
Read more »
Austin likes to call itself the "Live Music Capitol." We get a lot of musicians, bands, performers through the city on a extremely regular basis and there's well over 100 venues for live music every night of the week. So, if you've been a photographer in Austin long enough you've probably done some concert shots or performance shots. I know I have done my share.... Here's a small selection from my collection....
Read more »

Working on my New York bucket list

Today I had my photograph taken by the New York photography icon, Louis Mendes. This has been on my New York bucket list for a long while now.

I had to go in to B&H to return some gear, and when I saw Louis Mendes again on the corner of the street, I decided this is it – today! So I asked him to take a photo of me, and then had a friend take several photos with me with him.

If you’ve visited B&H, or the Photo Plus Expo, you’ve seen this guy. He has this monster hybrid vintage setup that he uses to shoot polaroids of anyone who wants one. Of course, it’ll cost you some $$ for the polaroid photo because living in New York is expensive.

What I’ve always found interesting is that he doesn’t hustle. He patiently waits for people to approach him. And if you do, you’ll find that he is engaging and has a lot of stories. Louis is a character! If you see him on your trip to New York, go strike up a conversation.

 

More info about Louis:

The post Working on my New York bucket list appeared first on Tangents.

Panasonic GH5+Olympus 12-100mm f4.0+Camvate Camera Rig Cage+ Saramonic SmartRig+ Pre-Amp + Aputure Diety microphone + Audio Technica isolating headphones. 
Manfrotto fluid head and Berlebach wooden tripod. Add batteries. Push red button. Make sure you see the flashing red indicator or nothing really happened.

Test it all before you go out the door. 

Make sure you can look through your viewfinder without poking yourself in the eye with the back of the microphone.

Test the lens with the body you're going to use it with. 

Have a plan to take the whole rig off the tripod.

Work with your pre-amp enough times that you know where the gain knob is without having to look.

Grab the correct release lever. Nothing worse that watching a camera slide off the rails.

Figure out how you're going to hold that puppy when you want to move around. 

Do you really need an external monitor if you need to be very mobile (not with the GH5 at 30 fps).

Can you access all the menu items quickly?

Is your cage rock solid?

Did you set the headphone levels correctly? (Any alternate advice on the proper way to set headphone levels? Chime in please!).

Did you bring the right tripod or do you wish you could go up another foot?

Did you get the advance check?

Did the bank cash it for you?




In the early days of digital imaging I worked with an agency called, Dandy Idea, to create a series of magazine print ads and posters for the city of Round Rock, Texas. They wanted to up their tourism profile and didn't think being the headquarters for Dell, Inc. was really a major draw for families. 

Since they have great public soccer fields, an enormous number of great baseball/softball fields and lots of areas in which to give road bikers a workout the chamber decided to position the city as a destination for sports. The theme for the campaign was "Game On." and the ads used the stencil type I'm used when I created these images for my portfolio and for direct mail. 

Of course, as scheduling would have it we did the shots in the middle of an especially hot Summer. I got a lot of practice drinking Gatorade(tm) and finding convenient shade. I worked with one of my all time favorite art directors, Greg Barton, and we had a great time looking for locations and doing crazy stuff like me lying belly down in a ditch filled with stingy plants to get the bike shot, or getting my car stuck in the mud on scouting shot (rescued by some good ole boys in a pick-up truck equipped with a winch). 

The photos ran everywhere and the response exceeded expectations. Everyone was happy. You'll probably be happy to know that I can't quite remember what camera and lens I was shooting with back then so I guess it really didn't matter. Right? Just thought I'd share a blast from the days when digital cameras were barely out of the crib......

Actual Competitive Cyclist.

Little Leaguer. 

Bounce flash and choice of background + backlighting

This is where style and technique intersect – the choice of how to use flash (or any other kind of additional lighting) at wedding receptions. Many photographers prefer the crisp look of multiple off-camera flash setups at wedding receptions. While I do think some of the photos look incredible, I am not convinced that the success rate is all that high. Hot spots in the background, and weird cross-shadows will mar many of the photos. My preference has always been for the predictability and flexibility of using on-camera bounce flash.

A question that then comes up is, what about back-lighting? I don’t back-light during the wedding reception. For romantic portraits with the B&G, yes, I might. But not the reception. I prefer the flexibility of moving around independently.

I do try to avoid that black-hole background where the subject merges into deep shadow.

This is done in two ways:

1. ) Pushing my camera settings so that I get more detail in the background.
2.) Then, I also do my best to have some out-of-focus elements in the background that is brighter. I choose specific backgrounds where there is some light which helps separate my subject from the background. This could be DJ lights, up-lighting, a doorway, sconce lights, anything. Just not a dark-hole background.

When I shoot like this during receptions … what I am aware of, is my own position in regards to the background. I don’t try and make every shot in every direction work.

 

Camera settings & photo gear (or equivalents) used for these photos

The few examples here (from a wedding in 2011), show this way of using bounce flash. Here I still used the Nikon D3, and shot at 1600 ISO. These days I would tend to push the ISO higher for a brighter background.

Working with on-camera bounce flash like this though, most often allows me more flexibility in my own movement, and I can shoot in large reception venues with a wide-angle lens without risk of hot-spots from an off-camera flash. Here is another example: Wedding reception lighting with one flash.

Using on-camera bounce flash effectively like this, is also described in my book, On-Camera Flash Photography:

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Bounce flash and choice of background + backlighting

This is where style and technique intersect – the choice of how to use flash (or any other kind of additional lighting) at wedding receptions. Many photographers prefer the crisp look of multiple off-camera flash setups at wedding receptions. While I do think some of the photos look incredible, I am not convinced that the success rate is all that high. Hot spots in the background, and weird cross-shadows will mar many of the photos. My preference has always been for the predictability and flexibility of using on-camera bounce flash.

A question that then comes up is, what about back-lighting? I don’t back-light during the wedding reception. For romantic portraits with the B&G, yes, I might. But not the reception. I prefer the flexibility of moving around independently.

I do try to avoid that black-hole background where the subject merges into deep shadow.

This is done in two ways:

1. ) Pushing my camera settings so that I get more detail in the background.
2.) Then, I also do my best to have some out-of-focus elements in the background that is brighter. I choose specific backgrounds where there is some light which helps separate my subject from the background. This could be DJ lights, up-lighting, a doorway, sconce lights, anything. Just not a dark-hole background.

When I shoot like this during receptions … what I am aware of, is my own position in regards to the background. I don’t try and make every shot in every direction work.

 

The few examples here from a wedding in 2011 show this way of using bounce flash. Here I still used the Nikon D3, and shot at 1600 ISO. These days I would tend to push the ISO higher for a brighter background.

Working with on-camera bounce flash like this though, most often allows me more flexibility in my own movement, and I can shoot in large reception venues with a wide-angle lens without risk of hot-spots from an off-camera flash. Here is another example: Wedding reception lighting with one flash.

Using on-camera bounce flash effectively like this, is also described in my book, On-Camera Flash Photography:

 

Read the rest of this entry »

NOTE: The January Cuba trip, our very first X-Pedition, has filled. If you would like to receive early notification of future trips, please click through via the link at the end. -DH



This January I'm leading a small-group trip to Havana, Cuba. It will be the first in a series of X-Peditions for photographers.

The last time I was in Havana was 2013, teaching for Santa Fe Workshops. But that was someone else's curriculum. This time the program is ours to design, and we are planning a week of exploring, learning and lots of time behind the camera.

If that sounds like your thing, keep reading.


An Immersive Week



This is not the typical photo tour group, which invariably ends up as some version of a photo walk with everyone getting versions of the same pictures. I'm working with Focus On The Story, a D.C.-based organization for photographers. The trip leaders are myself and fellow journalist Joe Newman, whom I've known for over 30 years.

X-Peditions have a maximum of 12 participants, and are very photo-centric. They include daily instruction as well as plenty of time to explore on your own—or with a teammate, if you prefer.


Photography and Learning

We'll be out shooting at the edges of the day when the light is good, and at other times as dictated by the locations we have lined up. But during the harsh light of midday, we'll typically be in instructional mode. There will be daily talks that not only help prepare you for the day's experiences, but build on your general knowledge around the intersection of photography and travel.

You'll learn how to prioritize your day to become more efficient at producing higher quality photos. This will help you reserve the time to just be a traveler; to absorb the city and watch the world go by. That downtime is important for you (and for your family, when you travel with them.) It also makes you more receptive to the insights that lead to better photos.

We are traveling to Havana under a people-to-people license, which means you'll get interaction with locals throughout the week. We'll work both individually and as a group. We'll be editing, comparing notes, evaluating what we can do better and preparing to go out and do it again.

In the evenings we'll continue the conversation and share our day's experiences, perhaps over a mojito or a glass of Cuba's famous dark rum. This sort of thing is typical when photojournalists are working together (or competing) in a foreign city.

Nights in Havana are vibrant, with the sound of music filling the city. Its economic hardships may be well-known, but life and culture always find a way.


The X-Factor



The "X" in X-Pedition is a nod to Fuji's X series cameras. Small, light, quiet and unobtrusive, Fuji X series bodies are near-perfect tools for photojournalists. And they are ideal travel cameras. I took a leap of faith on my first trip to Havana, bringing only a Fuji X100s with its fixed 35mm equivalent lens. In retrospect, it was a great decision. And it has changed the way I approach travel photography ever since.

So if you are also a Fuji shooter, you can expect tips and advice on how to get the most out of your cameras. Or to even borrow a lens if you like.

Do you have to be a Fuji shooter to come along? No, you don't. (And don't worry, we promise not to try to convert you.) But we do strongly suggest that you travel very light with respect to photo gear. It's good travel photo advice in general, but also culturally respectful in a place like Cuba where the economic disparity is a factor.


The Bigger Picture

Havana is a unique opportunity for photographers. It goes without saying that it is not going to stay unique for very long. The island is experiencing rapid change.

Our goal with this trip, and future X-Peditions, is to help you grow as both travelers and photographers; to gain the skills and confidence to choose future destinations that are off the beaten path.

__________


The Havana trip has filled. If you'd like to receive notification of future X-Peditions before they are publicly announced, please visit Focus On The Story's X-Pedition Cuba page and submit your contact info.

The object above is the business end of my Godox AD200 which is a cross between a portable flash and a mono-light. It's small and agile and comes with a powerful, rechargeable lithium ion battery that pounds out about 500 full power, 200 watt second flashes. The even cooler thing is that the AD200 comes with two different, interchangeable flash heads. One is the bare bulb flash tube in Pyrex that you see in the illustration. The other is a more conventional flash head, like the ones you see used with on camera flashes. That head has a small, LED modeling light incorporated into the package. The bare bulb head has no modeling light. 

The reason to have the bare bulb flash tube is for how well it spreads light into a softbox or even big umbrella. But there is a diffuser that gives you a bit more control over that spread. With the diffuser in front you get a 180 degree light spread which is more efficient (and slightly less "spill-y" than the bare tube). It's well designed and even has ventilation for the flash tube. That's a nice touch. 

I used it both ways; with and without the diffuser and I found the light across the front of the 32x48 inch softbox I like to use to be more even and to have a softer quality to it overall. And there's very little light lost -- maybe 2/3rds of a stop. For a bit less than $20 it's a great addition to your AD200 flash system. Nice when a cool tool is so affordable!








I was buying some cheap bits and pieces for my Godox AD200 flash at Amazon.com a day or two ago and, after getting my pressing flash accessory business squared away, I started doing a little good natured browsing. I was looking to see all the different lenses that are available for my Panasonic cameras. I was especially interested in a fairly fast, normal lens which, on the GH5, would be a 25mm. I was surprised to find a number of choices, including: the (most coveted!!!) Olympus 25mm f1.2 (with 19 elements, no less) as well as the 25mm f1.8 Olympus and it's counterpart, the Panasonic 25mm f1.7. The lens I wasn't expecting to find was a new product by a company called, 7Artisans. 

The lens is a 25mm f1.8 lens that is fully manual in its operation with any of the Olympus or Panasonic cameras. The thing that caught my eye was the price; it was a mild and rational total of $70. 

Usually I read a few reviews before taking any sort of action; even before sticking the item in my shopping cart for later dismissal or acceptance, but in this case there were no reviews. Nada. Nothing. But the lens looked pretty cool, the specs were nice (12 bladed aperture) and I went ahead and
Read more »

We have work to do, and art to create

A quiet word to my photographer friends. I’m in various photography groups and forums, and I see a strong tendency in the more technical forums to whine about the specs of current cameras, or to bitch to-and-fro, disparaging others or other brands.

My feelings about that:
We should always keep in mind that our photography heroes of previous eras created masterpieces with cameras less advanced than we have now. For me, Richard Avedon immediately comes to mind. There are many others.
So if you feel you’re being held back by the camera you have, consider whether you’ve reached that stratosphere yet.

In the meantime, we all have work to do and art to create. ***

 

The most recent I saw was someone complaining that the Fuji X-T2 doesn’t have built-in stabilization, and that it might be something that Fuji might incorporate in future cameras. My immediate reaction was, “where there any photographs you hadn’t been able to take with that Fuji X-T2?”

If you regularly post on FB groups how Nikon or Canon have “forgotten about photographers” because they haven’t yet embraced mirrorless cameras, then I have to wonder again – what photographs have you missed out on with your Nikon or Canon that you would’ve gotten with a Sony or Fuji camera? Enough with the whining and negativity!

Similarly, when you start comparing the figures on the spec sheets of various cameras, and see that your camera doesn’t have 693 focus points … well, what photographs have you missed out with your current camera?

Spend less time arguing and whining on FB groups, and use that time creatively!

 

*** Now of course, I have to qualify what I mean

A topic that I’ve touched on several times, is that the camera does indeed matter.

Therefore my statements at the top of the article might seen disingenuous, since I will be the first to say that we should use photo gear that enables us as photographers. Currently I shoot with the Nikon D5 and D810 amongst other. I also use the f/2.8 zooms and the f/1.4 range of primes. I should add that I’ve been tempted by the Sony A9 for the silent shutter mode – perfect for corporate events and wedding ceremonies.

 

 

My point is – use what have. Truly use what you have to the limit of its capabilities. If you feel your gear holds you back, please do upgrade. But for the love of photography, don’t get involved with to-and-fro nowhere debates about the minutia of the technical aspects of camera gear. Use that time and energy to create!

 

About the main photo above

The photo at the top is a B&W version of one of the images I took of a model, Bethany.

Technical details are explained here: Multiple off-camera flash – gelling your flash for effect.  And yes, that linked article is about gelling your flash, however, the photographs work really well in B&W as well.

 

The post We have work to do, and art to create appeared first on Tangents.

We have work to do, and art to create

A quiet word to my photographer friends. I’m in various photography groups and forums, and I see a strong tendency in the more technical forums to whine about the specs of current cameras, or to bitch to-and-fro, disparaging others or other brands.

My feelings about that:
We should always keep in mind that our photography heroes of previous eras created masterpieces with cameras less advanced than we have now. For me, Richard Avedon immediately comes to mind. There are many others.
So if you feel you’re being held back by the camera you have, consider whether you’ve reached that stratosphere yet.

In the meantime, we all have work to do and art to create. ***

 

The most recent I saw was someone complaining that the Fuji X-T2 doesn’t have built-in stabilization, and that it might be something that Fuji might incorporate in future cameras. My immediate reaction was, “where there any photographs you hadn’t been able to take with that Fuji X-T2?”

If you regularly post on FB groups how Nikon or Canon have “forgotten about photographers” because they haven’t yet embraced mirrorless cameras, then I have to wonder again – what photographs have you missed out on with your Nikon or Canon that you would’ve gotten with a Sony or Fuji camera? Enough with the whining and negativity!

Similarly, when you start comparing the figures on the spec sheets of various cameras, and see that your camera doesn’t have 693 focus points … well, what photographs have you missed out with your current camera?

Spend less time arguing and whining on FB groups, and use that time creatively!

 

*** Now of course, I have to qualify what I mean

A topic that I’ve touched on several times, is that the camera does indeed matter.

Therefore my statements at the top of the article might seen disingenuous, since I will be the first to say that we should use photo gear that enables us as photographers. Currently I shoot with the Nikon D5 and D810 amongst other. I also use the f/2.8 zooms and the f/1.4 range of primes. I should add that I’ve been tempted by the Sony A9 for the silent shutter mode – perfect for corporate events and wedding ceremonies.

 

 

My point is – use what have. Truly use what you have to the limit of its capabilities. If you feel your gear holds you back, please do upgrade. But for the love of photography, don’t get involved with to-and-fro nowhere debates about the minutia of the technical aspects of camera gear. Use that time and energy to create!

 

About the main photo above

The photo at the top is a B&W version of one of the images I took of a model, Bethany.

Technical details are explained here: Multiple off-camera flash – gelling your flash for effect.  And yes, that linked article is about gelling your flash, however, the photographs work really well in B&W as well.

 

The post We have work to do, and art to create appeared first on Tangents.


It was a super hot Sunday night and I took refuge in the chilly air conditioning at Zach Theatre's Topfer Theatre. I was just in time for the technical rehearsal for "Million Dollar Quartet" and I had a strange combination of cameras and lenses in my little Husky tool bag. It was early days for me with the GH5 but I thought I'd push it around for a while and see if we gelled or if I'd made yet another acquisition error. I would have loved to have shot the show with the Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 but it wasn't on my radar yet. I went with the ancient 60mm f1.5 from my Olympus Pen collection instead.

The image above is one of hundreds I made during the course of the rehearsal. This one was shot down at 1/60th of second at f2.8 with an ISO of 400.

There are a number of things I like about using the GH5 with older lenses like this one. First, the camera allows you to program in the exact focal length of the lens you are using, down to the millimeter. Most cameras have a list of possible focal lengths you can program in and usually they are about 5mm apart. Or they are common focal lengths. This tells the camera how to use image stabilization correctly for the focal length. I'm not sure that it makes a real difference but if you are picky it's nice to be able to select 25mm instead of 24mm if 25mm is the actual focal length.

In my limited experience, with older legacy lenses programmed in like this, the camera does a good job with stabilization.

The second thing that's nice for shooters of older, manual focus lenses is the focus peaking. After looking through a lot of frames I've found very few from the evening's shoot where I missed focus. When I first wrote about the focus peaking performance I gave the G85 higher marks because the frames looked better, in review, on the screen on the back of the camera. I gave credit to a better implementation of focus peaking. But after spending time with the files from the GH5 I found that they images were sharper when inspected on my computer monitor. Apparently, and I have duplicated this in camera, the initial write to the card generates a lower res review file but the actual file is almost always sharper. I think the camera is set up this way in order to optimize for speed of capture. Reviewing on the fly is always fraught with peril anyway.

I don't think the camera, in Jpeg, is writing 1:1 review files. There is no advantage to reviewing files at the 16X magnification on the rear screen over reviewing the same files at 8X. That tells me that 8x is the maximum resolution of the review image and going to 16X just shows you the same pixels larger; which looks less sharp. It's one of the many small things that take experimenting and getting used to working with a new camera. A kneejerk reaction would be: "Is the GH5 less sharp?!!" But it would not be an accurate assessment of the actual files.

Another observation is how much better an exposure tool zebras can be than judging a scene in the finder, by eye, or using a histogram. I've started setting my zebras at 75% because that's the point at which most caucasian skin starts to overexpose. If I have a caucasian actor in front of the camera and I'm trying to accurately set exposure I want to be able to ignore the effects of direct stage lights shining into the lens and brighter areas in the scene and just see how my exposure setting relates to correct skin exposure. I shift exposure until I start getting zebra stripes on a face and then back off until the just go away and I know I'm in a great exposure zone for the important subjects on stage. It's a great way to narrow in on getting the exposure right on the subject that you choose. This isn't particular to manual focusing lenses only; it works with all lenses.

I'm coming to grips with more and more features of the camera and as I learn what works well I try to adapt it to my working methodologies. I'll probably put the zebra control on the function button next to the lens because it's nice to be able to toggle it on and off. After I've set an exposure the zebras can be annoying. You can set two different custom zebra settings in the GH5 and toggle between them. It's a really nice way to "meter."

A VSL reader sent along a link to a blog post from Neil van Niekirk the day before yesterday. It was sobering. Neil was the person who helped me decide to become a Craftsy.com contributor and he also provided a great section of photographs and writing for my book on LED Lighting back in 2010. He's a great photographer and a popular blogger about photography but this blog from him was completely different. 

In it he talked about having a heart attack on his first day of vacation in Italy. It sounds like he was treated promptly and got great care. He's on target to make a good recovery. But his post sounded alarms that should be heeded not just by photographers but by anyone who has let their diet, fitness and stress management get out of whack. Just what Neil admitted he had done in his post...

Neil and his cardiologist partly blamed the sedentary lifestyle of most visual creators for causing his cardiac event. Photographers and videographers spend long days sitting almost motionless in front of their workstations editing their still images, making precise corrections and, in the case of videographers, working an edit over and over again to get it just right. Sitting, it seems, is as bad for us humans as smoking cigarettes or knocking back Scotch and sodas. 

And I've noticed that the more focused we get on these sedentary tasks the more importance (and stress) we attach to what we're doing and the deadlines surrounding the processes. When we're stressed time management tends to fly out the window and we fast track our food consumption, replacing healthy meals and snacks with things that are highly pleasurable,  and easy to eat with one hand while keeping the other hand on that all important computer mouse/pen tool/touchpad/phone. Pizza. Chips. Soft drinks, etc.

It's a killer combination. Business stress, large periods of sedentary isolation, junky, convenient food.  

I had my own health scare a long time ago and I've never forgotten the lessons I learned back then. I used to think of my time in the pool as a bit selfish and self-indulgent but now I think my disciplined approach to exercise is a benefit to me and my family on which I cannot put a price tag. Swimming every morning has kept me healthy and focused. I am within five pounds of weighing what I did when I left college nearly forty years ago.  And my blood pressure is probably lower.

Swim practice started right on time this morning at 7am. I was in lane three, leading my three other lane mates through the workout. I felt like I could accomplish anything. But I also realized, after reading Neil's blog post, just how important the ongoing camaraderie is as well. The joking around during the short breaks between sets, catching up during kick sets and checking in with each other as we leave the pool. 

Most people have ample opportunities to socialize all day long in their workplaces but creative people tend to spend a lot of their work lives in solitary pursuits. I remind myself how important it is to hit "sleep" on my computer and head over to the coffee shop to catch up with friends. How vital it is to my general health to meet Paul for sushi on Thursdays or to meet a few other friends for a stroll through the salad bar at Jason's Deli. 

Exercise, diet, sleep and community. It's worth remembering that none of these things are wasted time. None of them are diminished productivity. It's the opposite. We should work just enough to be able to do these things. Everything beyond work should be play. 

I'm sending all the good thoughts and positive energy I can to Neil. The great thing is that creative people tend toward resilience and discipline. I think Neil will do well. It sounds like he's focusing on creating a healthier lifestyle.

It's a reminder to me that taking time to take care of yourself is not selfish. Remember that when cabin pressure drops it's vital to put on your oxygen mask first and then help the people around you. That's just how it works. 

Think good thoughts! I think I'll head back over to the pool and get in a few more laps before lunch....



I was having coffee with a friend and we went down the conversational path of..."What if money was no object....?" It all started because we were talking about cars. Now, you have to understand that both of us have spent the last thirty or so years pursuing photography as both a hobby and business so it's not like we're going to wake up next Monday with some uncontrolled impulse and rush out to buy a Bentley or Ferrari, (or the cash with which to do so) but when the question, "If money was no object and you had to buy a new car what would you get???" came up we both paused to think about it.

When I was in my thirties I could have blurted out a laundry list of cool cars. I could go vintage with a fully restored Sunbeam Tiger. I would have been equally thrilled with a restored 1967 Pontiac GTO with the triple carburetor set-up. There were a couple of BMW Alpinas that I would have lusted after and, of course, there was always the gull wing door Mercedes. I might have also tossed in a Lancia Beta Scorpion and, of course, one of the perennial Porsche 911 variants.

In my more practical forties I thought the BMW 5 series cars were the right blend of comfort and performance along with having a trunk big enough to haul around gear for most photo shoots and, at the time, I was happy to buy one. I was even happier to trade it in four years later after and endless series of repair bills....

But somewhere in my mid fifties my perspective about cars changed and I started thinking about them less as toys, status symbols, and fun and started thinking about them in much more practical terms. My interests had more to do with how much photo gear I could get inside, what kind of gas mileage could I get and how small my total cost of ownership could be.

So when we played the "What if money was no object?" game this time I just blurted out the first thing that came into my mind and it was: A Honda Accord. That was it, my "aspirational" car.

I guess I've realized that Austin traffic will never get better, all cars on the local highways spend the majority of their time going less than 20 mph and, as long as the air conditioning, the radio and the bluetooth connection all work well then I think I would find most sedans of a certain size more or less interchangeable. I've owned Hondas for the last ten years, have found them to be cheap to own and reliable and, so, why would I want anything else? Besides, if I had gazillions of dollars I think I would just contract with a luxe car service and never have to worry about parking, dead batteries, pumping gas or getting lost ever again. No car ownership needed.

The car conversation naturally led my mind around to the idea of aspirational cameras. Cameras that you lust after but are just way out of reach. Cameras that are a decided luxury but nevertheless keep calling out to you like the sirens of Greek mythology...

In the film days there were no cameras that were so outlandishly expensive that we could not afford them. I was never drawn to the silly cameras like Leicas cast in platinum and wrapped in the hide of extinct animals but I rarely met a high end Hasselblad I didn't like. But in those days crazy expensive was less than $5K.

When we hit the digital days I'll admit that it became much more difficult to afford the newly developed, stratospheric level cameras. I lusted after the medium format Leaf A7i and some of the very pricy Schneider glass for quite a while. The system I'd mapped out would have run me a bit shy of $60,000 but I could never pull the trigger because my CFO could run the numbers every which way and show me how I would never re-coup that "investment." Not with a practice photographing mostly people for mostly Austin clients.... And in the back of my mind I realized that the tech in the camera would be superseded (not obsoleted) by something better and cheaper within 18 months. But I still wanted that camera. I had the brochure in my desk drawer for a long time.

Then fate stepped in and a photo magazine called and asked me if I would like to review that very system. "Would six weeks with the system be enough time?" I jumped at the chance to be one of the very few people to play with the 40 megapixel, medium format camera and its near perfect German lenses.  But you know that line from the movie "The Adventures of Buckeroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension"? It goes, "Wherever you go....there you are." 

When I actually started working with the camera and lenses there was no big change in what I shot. Of course the images had more detail but it was detail that was only useful in certain use scenarios. I shot a couple of images that I had the local lab make some large prints from. At 30 by 40 inches you could readily see a difference in resolution when compared to the 12-16 megapixel camera files of the day.
The difference in sensor size was nice as well. In terms of focus ramping and that special, out of focus background look one gained about as much as one would going from an APS-C format to a 35mm full frame format. In the end I came to realize that while owning a $60,000 system might be fun and ego gratifying it wasn't really going to change my game as a photographer and it wouldn't be a very smart long term investment.

I also got to test the Mamiya and Phase One cameras in their age of ascendancy and found too that they might provide the potential for better files (where larger print sizes were needed) but not so much better than they shifted any business paradigms which might make them financially productive. As far as personal work went I spent a day walking around shooting with the seven pounds of camera and 180mm f2.8 medium format lens and quickly discovered that the medium format digital cameras were too slow, too heavy and too......ponderous for any sort of normal street shooting. That and, at the time, about one hundred shots per battery charge.

The Leica S2 camera was another camera I considered "aspirational" until I played at length with one. Same issues as above. Different logo.

But now that we've hit the age of sufficiency  I'm finding no cameras that I lust after and can't readily afford to buy. My choices have so much more to do with what the cameras will do for my day to day work than anything else. I am in no hurry to step up (or sideways) from my Sony A7ii camera as my mainstay portrait camera because it just works. And it was cheap. And it works. I've used it on 14 portraits in the last two weeks and each one exceeds the technical parameters I need. Hell, it exceeds the best I could get just a few years ago for any reasonable price. It's a camera I bought used last year for about $1,000.

I guess I should want a Zeiss Otus 100mm f1.4 (if they made one) with which to make portraits but, again, it's the age of sufficiency and I'm finding the all purpose, 70-200mm f4.0 G lens is the perfect lens for almost every work portrait I shoot. I lock in at f5.6 and just blaze away. That gets me just enough focus at the 110-135mm focal range I seem to work in to get sharp focus on lips, eyes and almost back to the ears. Any less depth of field and I'll spend my life explaining to clients why "Bob" isn't totally sharp......

I wasn't chomping at the bit to rush out and buy a Panasonic GH5. It's not the ultimate portrait camera. It's not as good as the cheap, used Sony I bought used when it comes to handling most of my still imaging work. I bought it to make my video look better and to provide video features that make my work in video more productive. Hardly an "aspirational" camera.

But I'm starting to realize that all my notions of "dream" cameras seem to be vanishing. Just like my appraisal of cars. If meteor hit the studio today (and I wasn't there to see it...) what cameras would I buy to replace the splintered and melted remains of the meteor impacted previous cameras? Would I rush out and buy a Phase One 100F? I'd probably buy another A7ii and another 70-200mm f4.0, along with some wider stuff. If the Sony gear was out of stock I'd buy a Canon 5D mk4 and the same kind of lens. And if all the video oriented cameras went up in smoke then the next time around I might just buy a really cool video camera like the Canon C300ii. But the idea that all of these digital cameras will soon be superseded by more able cameras diminishes their allure as "ultimate" cameras after which we just have to lust. Maybe it's the impermanence of the new gear that removes it's sparkle as something you might cherish for 20 years or more.

I still remember when the camera I wanted, and had to scrimp and save up for, was the Leica M5. That, and the 50mm Summilux lens. Once I was able to eventually write the check for that combo the glow of satisfaction lingered on for years and years. I conferred a relative immunity to camera lust.  Every time I pulled the M5 out of the camera bag to use it I appreciated it more and more. Sadly, that feeling about current, digital cameras as left the building. Now my emphasis is on practicality and use parameters and not much more.

I'm curious to know what your aspirational film cameras were and if you've got cameras that you'd love to own in the digital age that give you the same feeling.

I can't be the only one thinking this way, right?


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