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I've owned three quality digital cameras (DSLR, m43, and a high-end compact). Didn't bond with any of them. The body I would like buried with me is a lowly Canon EOS 630. It never let me down and made me more money than any other camera. I got use to its quirks and foibles, and it still feels like part of me whenever I pick it up.
I'm pretty sure I mentioned Starbucks over-roasting coffee on your blog back when you were just starting to contemplate a path to a better cup of coffee (without sugar). It's only my personal taste, but one I've discovered many others share Living in Canada, we have something far worse: Tim Horton's. Tim Horton's sells itself as being part of our national identity, but the coffee is truly vile. I'll take Starbucks over Tim Horton's anytime.
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2014 on Mike Starts a Fight at The Online Photographer
I see a few recommendations for Sharpies, and I have to respond by saying absolutely do not use a Sharpie. I used Sharpies on C-prints when I first started printing color, and the signatures faded to almost nothing within 10 years. I wouldn't trust them on inkjet or anything else.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2013 on Need Your Help at The Online Photographer
I know I should be more tolerant of neologisms; however, "impacted" makes me wince (unless one is referring to a molar, in which case a wince is also in order). Thank you for "affected."
I think photo historians might skip over the current era since there will be so few surviving photographs, unlike the 1890's that produced millions of photographs that are still available for consideration.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2013 on Craze-y Days at The Online Photographer
Fig.1 strikes me as a superb example of "flat land" composition. As someone who almost always tries to convey the z-axis in photographs, it's nice to be reminded that there are other strategies in composition. Thanks for this. As to your focal length preferences vis-à-vis IR, I have a different theory. Your short-telephoto, somewhat flattened "normal" compositions are still readable in terms of volume or depth, even if they are not strongly so. However, IR photographs change our visual clues enough that you may intuitively feel the need to supply a sense of depth, and that is more easily done with wide-angle. Just a theory.
Might be an appopriate time for a brief explanation of moral rights and the tradition and application of moral rights in various countries. This happens to be an issue I feel strongly about, i.e., I support artists having unequivocal moral rights over their work.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2013 on Vandalism at The Online Photographer
Jarrett, you're kidding, right? Excepting the f/64 School, most photographers working with large cameras (Sally Mann, Jock Sturges, Joel Meyerowitz, Alec Soth, etc.) can hardly avoid using shallow DOF from time to time, and they often use it to great effect artistically. And that's not to mention the legion of acclaimed photographers who have employed selective focus in medium and small format.
I think Joe Kashi got it right, i.e. that digital technology has sufficiently matured that all the top-tiered cameras can deliver superb files. If we're sensible at all, the gear churn should be slowing down. Which places us more or less where we were when we had a half dozen or more brands of 35mm film SLRs that all delivered comparable results. You chose one that appealed to you and mostly concentrated on the photography rather than the next "upgrade."
As someone who used to shoot transparencies for publication, there was always in my mind a distinct designation for what I was doing, especially since the transparency was my finished product (there being no making afterwards). It was "camera work." I never could find a verb I liked for camera work. Don't like "shoot" at all, though I use it. I prefer the specificity of "camera work" compared to "taking pictures." An art thief could be taking pictures.
Toggle Commented May 30, 2013 on Termin -al -ology at The Online Photographer
Thank you for the "moral cripple" remark. I may use that line. My wife is disabled and really struggles to get anywhere on her feet. A bit of thoughtless on the part of someone who takes a disabled parking spot when they're not entitled means my wife often faces a difficult, painful ordeal. And taking that spot with the motor running while you're waiting for someone is no excuse. It makes things just as difficult for my wife or anyone like her. (What. Did you think she'd jump out of the car and come around to your window to ask you to move? She's disabled for chrissakes!)
Toggle Commented May 22, 2013 on Blog Note at The Online Photographer
While my wife and I pray that our ancient North American-made appliances keep chugging along, my daughter and son-in-law have churned through recently purchased dishwashers/dryers/washing machines/stoves that have caught on fire, leaked, smoked, broken, stopped, and finally quit. They now will only buy very expensive German-made machines. This is progress? I wonder how many Chinese assembly line workers making toasters actually use a toaster? I'd like to think that if they grabbed a toaster off the assembly line and used it in the lunchroom, someone might tell a foreman it's no damn good. Perhaps that might have happened in North America.
I'm sure folks younger than me have numerous candidates for this list, but for me, the past decade or so hasn't been all that interesting. Yes, the new tools are great, but maybe that's a problem? That being said, I'd have to mention Angela Bacon-Kidwell even though she's guilty of placing angel wings on a human, which was a ubiquitous trangression in the early days of digital and one that I thought I could never forgive. Digital photography seems a natural vehicle for Bacon-Kidwell's vision in a way that I rarely see for others.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2013 on Dare I Ask? at The Online Photographer
Luke, every now and then I look at my darkroom light switch and wonder why did I place it so high? (It's about six feet from the floor.) You've reminded me.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2013 on Patience at The Online Photographer
Setting larkish and owlish genetic tendencies aside, I'm all for scheduling sleep-time in order to get as much daylight as possible. I'm pretty sure our mental health benefits from daylight; I know mine does. It saddens me to think of owls sleeping through the sweet light of morning. I rejoice at Daylight Savings Time and always regret its passing in the fall.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2013 on Open Mike: Sleep, Baby at The Online Photographer
This is exactly the sort of camera I jump for, except I made the move a few days ago to the Sigma DP1 Merrill. Why? Because 28mm-E is my go-to focal length for landscape and because there are darn few good (affordable, reasonably sized, optically excellent) lens choices in that focal length matched to a state-of-the-art APS sensor.
Where you refer to "truthfulness in movies," I wonder whether "truthiness" might be more apt.
In the first paragraph of Dowd's piece, she references the film Argo and "courageous Canadian diplomats." Dowd gets it right by mentioning the Canadians first. Unlike their portrayal in the film, the CIA were minor players. Here's an account of "Ken Taylor and the Canadian Caper" on a Government of Canada website:
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2013 on Open Mike: Real Stories at The Online Photographer
I just placed my order, but I feel bad that you, Mike, won't benefit. As a Canadian, I prefer to buy at, and that's where I've purchased a number of books you've recommended. Have you looked at their affiliate program?
'On Being A Photographer' is available in print (via Lulu), in Kindle format, and in ePUB format through Lenswork:
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2012 on Bill Jay's Vision at The Online Photographer
I think it's important to consider aspect ratio when photographs comprise a series, e.g. in a monograph, portfolio, or exhibition. Some thoughtful variation often livens things up, but I very much dislike layouts where aspect ratios are all over the place. So, for me, shooting to a particular aspect ratio is second nature. Mark me down on the side of framing with intent.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2012 on Quote o' the Day at The Online Photographer
I remember as a kid getting a good laugh out of those Japanese soldiers hiding out for years and years on some Pacific island, refusing to comprehend World War II was over. Strange to think that it's going to be me, toiling away in my darkroom long after they finally pull the plug on film. Bought the book, by the way. I guess I'm a sucker for punishment.
Toggle Commented Dec 1, 2012 on Photo-Blacksmiths? at The Online Photographer
For shame, Mike. Are you telling me you don't have a couple of extra Gordy's wrist straps around? Every time I buy a camera, the first thing I do is order a custom wrist strap from Gordy. In fact I bought 3 just in the last week. Best wrist straps on the planet.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2012 on D800E Day 6: Moiré at The Online Photographer
I confess that I, too, hear the siren song of digital cameras that might give me better B&W prints. For me it's the NEX-7. I'm sure I could learn to love that camera. Then I remind myself of how much I dislike the workflow that takes me from raw file to inkjet print. That's what stops me from ordering a NEX-7 from B&H right now. I like darkroom work. I like darkroom prints. My credit card stays in my wallet.
Toggle Commented Nov 3, 2012 on I Had Better 'Fess Up at The Online Photographer
Thank you for injecting some much needed sanity into the discussion. I'm with you right down the line, except that right at the end, I've tipped over to the film side. I have my reasons, i.e. MY reasons. I agree with you that digital cameras offer some great advantages: e.g., high ISO and almost ubiquitous image stabilization. (For me immediate feedback is an unwanted distraction.) I also think it's worth mentioning how much auto-focus has improved in the last decade. I am very aware that I'm shooting without the three advantages cited above. It's not the digital aspect that tempts me.