Photography Advice

I began edging into photography when I was twelve or so...that's nearly 50 years ago now.  The cameras I've used are below at the bottom

Camera & Lens Review Sites

It is my considered opinion that unless you have image stabilization and more than, say, 35 MP resolution that you won't really see the real image quality delivered by 1st line (i.e. Nikon) optics.  The cheaper lenses are Good Enough for most everything.  I am a large format (piece of film 8" by 10", 750 MP resolution) person (though I cannot afford its cost these days...), so I went for extreme DSLR shown in my super sharp Flickr album where you see what a really good highres DSLR can deliver. 

But so many people get hung up in hangar flying photography technicalities, when most good images are the result of a sense of vision and getting 2/3rds of the details right.  You do not take pictures like doing a lab experiment nor by having The Best Equipment

Perfection is a delusion, go for Good Enough.

A reputable dealer with good support

Allen's Camera, bought all my gear there, including used.  Righteous support.

My two cent lecture on improving your photography.

  1. If it's people you're taking pictures of, get close, uncomfortably close so you are right in the action
  2. Consciously See what you are shooting.
  3. The technicalities of photography shouldn't be much in your mind when you doing the above.  I'm reminded of my father's advice about dressing: put on the suit and the tie, look at yourself in the mirror, make sure you look good as may be, then forget about your clothes. Similarly, photographic technicalities: mess with them, test some stuff to see What Works, but when you're really dancing with imagery, don't let them ruin/interrupt the visceral connection with imagery.  When you have to shoot...Shoot! Don't talk
  4. Do the above and you will be developing your eye.  Don't pay attention to the showboating or ego of others.  Be in the work for yourself.  Properly done, photography is a sort of prayer....the surrender that is at the heart of all spirituality: to see, you put your ego aside.  Or so I think it should be.

Photographing Dance

(contra dance in my case, but widely applicable)

Cameras I Have Known

  Image result for Nikon S2 rangefinder

...and finally the SLR revolution,
Digital came along.  I didn't need a darkroom.  Riding on the belief that Olympus, having made such a superlative, elegantly simple 35mm film SLR, would make a good DSLR, I bought their E10.  It was awful, slow to boot, took forever to focus (or didn't). Gave it up as a bad job

Finally Canon.  A friend had a 5D.  It worked!  I got a MkII, upgraded to MkIII and then to the super high res variant the 5D SR, which I now shoot with and whose output you can see here and here.

But what these cameras can do is not where my deepest interest lies, but with large format, the sort of gear that Ansel Adams used for his archtypal images of the American West. I have used adapted antique wooden cameras, like the ratty old (probably 100 years) wooden Gundlach below on the left, but they are too unstable,  cranky and unable to handle telephoto large format lenses (which have a focal length, the distance from lens to film of three feet.  So I have a metal Sinar camera now.  On the right is me "under the hood" focusing a shot.
The Sinar is Swiss made and very fine.  I am using Schneider wide-angle (210mm Angulon and 165mm Super Angulon) and normal (300mm Symmar-S) lenses and a lovely Nikon large format telephoto with focal lengths of 600/800/1200mms. 


You can see what these cameras can do here and here....
They produce an 8"x10" slide that makes 4'x5' enlargement like 35mm does an 8x10 print.