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Author Topic: 1700 Frames - Another View  (Read 5083 times)
Doug_Dolde
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« on: December 21, 2002, 12:17:49 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi Michael,

I'm wondering how the !Ds has changed your shooting technique and or habits.

For instance you can be seen almost always using a tripod with your Rollei and Pentax 67 on the Video Journal.  Do you find yourself going handheld for shots where you would have previously used a tripod?  Of course I'm not talking about those ultra long lenses but rather wide to medium tele shots.  There is such a discipline involved setting up the tripod, leveling, composing, etc., it seems like it could still be a useful method even when it wasn't totally necessary.

Also you have mentioned that you are using bracketing to produce blended shots which enhance the dynamic range.  This seems good for static shots, but it seems an ND grad filter would still be useful for shooting moving scenes, particularly surf or other fast moving scenes.[/font]
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erwinv
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2002, 07:35:14 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I am one of those people who read all there is to know about new technology. But after reading this 1700 frames article, and reading info about multi hundred dollar "essential" plug-ins for improving on already very expensive equipment, I'm also starting to wonder where the place of the photographers input is. "Good" Photography seems to become an industrial scale technology project, and an expensive one.
I'm also slightly disappointed in the artistic quality of the 1700 frames pictures (I like the second white sands picture most). I know, it's subjective, and even if others would agree, leading a workshop is probably distracting, and the light probably wasn't ideal. But still, it got me thinking.

Now suppose the following. Take a 200 dollar camera, a Mamiya press 69 for example. Go on a five day shoot with 12 rolls of slide film, good for 100 pictures. Do a serious effort to make those 100 available pictures as good as possible. Come home and have the film develloped, and put in 12 transparent sheets. Check the 12 sheets on a light table.
Take the 5-10 best shots to a good printing service for 12 x 18 prints.

Now the question is would the set of resulting prints be necessarely worse then the 1700 frames approach?
Life would sure be a lot easier this way.

And even if one would prefer to do home printing. With a 350 dollar Epson 2450, and 100 dollar software like picture window pro, couldn't one still achieve comparable quality?

To put my thoughts in perspective. I'm an amateur photographer who wishes to limit his photography budget. I started being more serious about photography a couple of years ago, and now do some classical home b&w printing, and some slide scanning with a minolta scan dual II. I'm also taking my first steps in medium format with a yashica 66 and a 69 folder. I also own a Coolpix 995.
So altogether, despite being carefull, I already have trouble keeping the photography budget in reasonable limits now.
I also would be afraid of putting a price ticket on the time I had to spend on becoming good at using photoshop (LE in my case)
Should an amateur stay away from photography altogether now, will "keeping up" always result in a time and money pit?

Erwin

Erwin
I know one can make this approach also more complicated and expensive with 4 x 5 equipment for example.



and have Put the 10 best shots on a 300 dollar Epson 2450 or so. Scan at full resolution ([/font]
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2002, 12:49:10 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Just my 2 cents re number of hits on equipment pages compared to hits on pages on aesthetic appeal.

There is another way to look at this. Being an amateur with 20 yr old manual equipment I do not and probably will never have the kind of relationship with a manfacturer or with a retailer to enable me to try newly released equipment or technology. Reading or listening to the experiences that Michael and others have with that equipment is how I do my testing, ie by proxy. By necessity I will read many opinions and experiences and weight their value based on what I think is relevant to me. So, I will generate a lot of hits on techie pages.

As for the aesthetic pages, my own personal prejudice is this. Photography is a VISUAL art. I am not that concerned with what the creators have to say (or write) about what they do. I want to look at their images. Also, my own further prejudice is to view them in galleries not web sites, but that's me.

What they write can be occasionally illuminating but it can also be distracting and I find that a thin line. For example, it's why I hate group photography trips. The close contact with others watching what I do and conversely me watching them inhibits me.

So, I tend to not generate hits on those non-techie pages.[/font]
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flash
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2002, 10:32:39 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']"and if he wanted to match the quality of those 1700 frames from the 1Ds he'd have to be shooting 645 camera"

Not to be harsh, but when did the quality of an image have absolutely anything to do with the use of any particular peice of hardware. The EOS1Ds records an enormous amount of detail rivaling film (35mm) with virtually no grain. It is simply another tool available to photographers.

What is just so wrong with grain? Will a beautiful image with superb composition, beautiful lighting and perfect timing somehow be less of an image because it was shot on film, or any other medium for that matter. We are all trained to ignore grain from years of looking at photographs. Seems to me that Black and White was supposed to be "dead" too wasn't it. Grain can provide mood and mystery. Grain can be very interesting. I'm not poo pooing digital but it seems that you think you have to have the latest to be a better photographer. No you wont.

For the last 50 years large format photographers have been telling us how 35mm was inferior. Now digital junkies tell us that film is inferior. Both wrong. Most trying to justify their own choices by imposing them on others. In the meantime 35mm film has quietly improved to the point where a 20x16 is grain free. How often do we print bigger than that.

"and if he wanted to match the quality of those 1700 frames from the 1Ds he'd have to be shooting 645 camera"

No 35mm photographic device will ever be the equal of any other format, ever. The 75mm standard lens on 645 for example may have the same angle of view as a 50mm on 35mm format but it has different DOF and more image compression than a 50mm lens, any 50mm lens. So they are different. They will always be different. A EOS D whatever will never give you the same result as 645 because it sees the world differently, so comparing them is pointless. They have different qualities. The only thing that the EOS1DS compares to is other 24x36 image makers. Then you are comparing apples with apples.

The only one who cares whether a photograph is totally grain free are us, the image takers. The viewer is only interested in how the image makes them feel. When I show my partner (a competent photographer herself) many digital images her reaction is "So what? It's now a boring grain free photo". I am now learning that it is the end result that is important.

Michael R runs a website and DVD rom business. Micheal R produces great images (mostly). Previously he used 6x6 then 6x7 and a film scanner. Now he shoots digital to improve his work flow, to suit HIS needs and WANTS. He reports on the equipment he uses and trials other gear and gives his opinion on it. I respect Michael's opinions and I value them but I don't always agree with them because they don't suit ME. (Workflow, output, budget, etc). I understand with wildlife that many frames are nessecary, but if Michael became the type of photographer who shot 1700 frames evertime he went on a shoot his photography would suffer. He like many would produce thousands of peices of technically perfect, grain free crap. I'm sure he won't because rule no. 1 says control your gear, don't let it control you.

Michael also produces some wonderful pages on the art of photography for those who understand that gear is the smallest part. Doesn't mean we can't read the techie articles and wonder what they'll think of next (and why?).

Erwin, unless you too are running a photography website, DVD, in house printing company your needs are always going to be different from Michaels. What you have sound perfectly adquate. Go forth and shoot young man.

I have a A$1400 scanner which as far as I'm concerned produces images every bit as good as a A$15,000 DSLR and I have no regrets. I also shoot digital and I see no real difference in the "quality" between the two except for the effort I put into each shot.

I am reminded of an issue of National Geographic where the photographer, bored and frustrated, took 1 shot per day for 90 days, no more no less. The portfolio of 90 shots were stunning, the equal to this site, or any other for that matter. Inspiring. A different approach and no more or less valid than any other.

Erwin, next time you come home from a shoot with 1700 frames, I would probably go and buy that Canon. Until then, enjoy the Michaels reports and enjoy the gear you can afford/justify.[/font]
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2002, 12:37:47 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']By the way, I am enjoying how this conversation is making me think - about my choices, my art, my tools.  Smiley[/font]
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2002, 09:36:32 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']When shooting wildlife it's critical to shoot at high frame rates, especially with birds in flight. I could show you a dozen frames of the shot that's now on the Home Page where the wings are in the wrong position, the third bird's eye isn't visible, they're out of focus, etc, etc.

As for film vs. digital — no, I would shoot as much film as digital. More in fact because my 1v could shoot at 8FPS for 36 frame vs the 1Ds at 3FPS for 10 frames.

But with digital, after a burst like this I can take a moment to look at the histrogram and a few representative frames, see what I may have done right or wrong, and then be technically better prepared for the next opportunity.

I'll take the trade offs any time.

Michael[/font]
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drm
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2002, 09:55:26 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Yesterday I read Michael's article on - and ongoing love affair with - the D1s. There's no question that the D1s is a remarkable achievement.  Views are practically unanimous on this. But the article raises, for me anyway, some points.

First of all, if I may quote:

Quote
I have the versatility of 35mm equipment and lenses along with image quality that previously was only available from medium format. No, I can't make 36 X 48" poster sized prints the way I can from 6X7cm scans. But I can make stunning prints up to 20X24", and that's just fine for my needs most of the time.

But if we reverse that statement, then it is also true to say that you can make stunning 20x24" prints from 645 scans.  Obvious, isn't it ? But somehow it seems that what held true 12 months (or even 3 months ago) on this site no longer does:

Earlier this year, Michael was singing the praises of his new Pentax 645Nii, which apparently, was (is?) due to be featured in the LLVJ at some point, and which he has now sold.  Clearly Michael's financial means are somewhat stratospheric, which is absolutely his own business, but then again in the context of the readership of this website, which I assume is not all in the millionaire bracket, it does have some relevance. The point is, the 645Nii, which I have been hoping to buy "real soon now", i.e. when I've put aside the money, is apparently yesterday's player, and doubtless now will not (sob) get it's moment of video journal glory.

The actual value for money of the 645Nii, if they objective is 20 x 24" prints, and assuming the picture taking methodology is not always "spray & pray", is something like 3 time that of the D1s.

Another quote:

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This web site has one primary goal — to provide photographers with a place where they can immerse themselves in the art and technology of photography.

Seems that the art bit has dropped off a bit recently.  For example, to me the most interesting thing about the 1770 Frames article is the first photograph - it is really striking. I'd love to read at least 1 paragraph about it, and I'd happily trade off 1 paragraph of so-so 1Ds evangelism.  Honestly, if I had US$6000 spare, plus another $6000 to buy the lenses & whatever, I'd order a 1Ds tomorrow. Who wouldn't ?

I have to add that 35 mins of monologue on the same camera (here's the shutter release, here's the white blance window, here's camera geek option 35678, oh, and that's John Knoll there as a scenic prop, back to some more knobs) was also pretty tedious.  Pity that we had to give up dual view angle images to make space for it.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding like a bad tempered envious sourpuss - I'm really a great fan of the video journal and the web site, and on the evidence Michael is a nice guy and a serious enthusiast - but really, couldn't we now accept that digital has well & truly arrived and that those than can afford it will make their choices...and then get back to the photography ?[/font]
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David Mantripp
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drm
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2002, 01:27:29 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I know there's a balance to strike, and I'm as guilty as anybody as far as generating page hits on the technology side.  But... whilst the industry may well be in upheaval, the stuff on the other side of the lens stays pretty much the same.  It is true that high end digital (or even medium for that matter) offers some great advantages, and not just the obvious ones. Never having to fiddle again with a handful of Lee filters just as THAT cloud dissipates away can't be bad in anybody's book.  Finally, I think it really is true that the camera is secondary to the "art", and that the difference between a technically competent shot from, say, a Canon EOS3000 and one from a Canon EOS 1Ds is small compared to the difference between an inspired composition and a dull one.  I can't really hope to invest in the latest and greatest every time around (note I'm not pleading poverty here, or looking for sympathy - I just have many _other_ things to make wild spending decisions on  Smiley ). But I do think that reading the art side of this site has improved my photography far more than any hardware ever will, and I am (or was) just a bit sad that it seemed to be getting overshadowed.[/font]
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2002, 08:12:57 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']There really hasn't been much of a change in the basic way in which I work when shooting digital. I still use a tripod 90%+ of the time.

Do bracketed frames instead of using split ND filters is usable in almost every instance where the filters would be applied. Remember, these two or three bracketed frames are taken in less than 1 second. If there's subject motion then masking can be used.

The real difference is in my confidence level. I can take a quick look at the rear LCD histrogram and KNOW that I've nailed the exposure; no burned out highlights or lost shadows. This is a real plus.

Otherwise not much has changed. The tools are slightly different but photograpghy is photograpghy.

Michael[/font]
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2002, 03:36:01 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I guess it's because talking about technology is easy, but talking about art is very very hard. As for me, if I hear another argument about Canon vs Nikon (or Mac vs PC etc etc), or some huge argument about how sunspots cause dust bunnies on CMOS chips, or fights over who's rumor source is better... ah geez, I'll freak.

By the way, I think the higher hit rates of review pages over theory pages makes sense -- sort of the centerfold vs the articles. But one thing I learned in the web world is that low hit rates doesn't mean lack of interest -- just focused interest. (Plus, it's easier to compare zoom lens sizes during a 5 minute break, that it is to talk about art theory.)[/font]
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erwinv
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2002, 07:50:19 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']OOPS
Forgot to delete the not used sentences at the bottom.
Should have used the preview option, sorry.

Erwin[/font]
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2002, 08:50:25 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
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"Good" Photography seems to become an industrial scale technology project, and an expensive one.

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Go on a five day shoot with 12 rolls of slide film

Erwin: I think you've temporarily lost sight of the forest for the trees. Michael R.'s personal style seems to be on the side of taking more than fewer images per shoot. On top of that, as he explained in the article, when shooting wildlife pix, it's only common sense to take as many frames as possible during a moment of action. And wildlife photography has long been the domain of very expensive equipment. If you want to play in that game you need the appropriate kit.

Your idea of the 12-roll shoot, OTOH, makes perfect sense as an exercise in landscape photography. For some of us that would not even be an exercise but just our normal approach. For me the equivalent exercise would be to try to shoot more than a roll or two of film per day.

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I'm an amateur photographer who wishes to limit his photography budget. I started being more serious about photography a couple of years ago, and now do some classical home b&w printing, and some slide scanning with a minolta scan dual II. I'm also taking my first steps in medium format with a yashica 66 and a 69 folder. I also own a Coolpix 995.

Your first sentence seems in direct contradiction to the next two. Perhaps you might want to try a similar exercise to your 12-roll exercise. Instead of limiting the number of frames you shoot, try limiting the number of cameras you shoot. It takes many, many years to mature in the visual arts, but I rather doubt that equipment diversification will accelerate the process.  

Now that you've exposed yourself to a wide range of systems, perhaps you should sell them all, choose one format to concentrate on, and use the money to buy a high quality kit in that one format. From that moment on buy not a single new piece of equipment until you have created fifty pictures that you could hang on the wall beside those of your favourite artist without them being embarrassed to be seen in that company.[/font]
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2002, 12:12:29 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
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Well if we all do that we should kill off the camera industry inside 6 months :-)

Well, yes, that's the bad news. The good news is that the hits on Michael's equipment articles would plummet and the hits on his content creation articles would soar. [/font]
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2002, 03:54:12 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Erwinv said:
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Should an amateur stay away from photography altogether now, will "keeping up" always result in a time and money pit?

Well, there's always been the latest and greatest gadgets out there. And there are always the snobs who equate your quality and seriousness with your photo budget ("well, I thought it was a good photo until I learned he took it with a Sigma lens... ee gads!"). Should the amateur avoid photography because of this? Only if he or she is primarily just a gadget collector. Otherwise, ignore the siren song of gadgetry and keep shooting with your dusty but well-loved tools.

Online forums often seem to be populated with people who spent a ton of money, and now need to convince others to do the same. For example, if you start asking online about color calibration, you'll get bombarded with people insisting that you must spent thousands of dollars, when most amateurs (and even some pros) could do very well spending nothing. The same could be said for lots of the other gadgets and programs: it is easy to get convinced that they are must-haves, when for most people they are really just neat toys. It's like Vegas: be sure to leave your debit cards in your room, stuff some cab fare in your shoe, and only gamble with your cash on hand.  ::[/font]
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erik hansen
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2002, 08:36:27 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']erwin, it's pretty simple: don't go digital!  you don't need to!  film isn't going anywhere...

but for those of us who already scan their film to do all the "darkroom" work in photoshop and make digital prints, high quality digital cameras are a dream come true.  i haven't gotten one of my own yet, but i'm getting very close to taking the plunge.

your hypothetical story about the lawyer has a few flaws.  true, it wouldn't be an easy task to sort through 1700 raw files.  but it wouldn't be an easy task to sort through that many frames of 35mm chrome either.  and by my rough estimate it would cost around $700 in film and processing cost to shoot that much 35mm e6.  and what amatuer would be shooting that much in the first place?!  and if he wanted to match the quality of those 1700 frames from the 1Ds he'd have to be shooting 645 camera.  that would double the cost of film/processing to about $1400.  but no 645 camera has auto-focus, frame advancing, or lenses like the canon 1Ds.  the 1Ds is sounding like one #### of a deal now!

if someone doesn't want to embrace digital, they don't have to.  but no one can deny that it is the wave of the future and it's making things possible that were once impossible.  and i for one am on the digital train.

personally, i think that digital only makes things easier for photographers.  i think that when schools start to make the transition to teaching digital photography and phase out traditional printing, we'll see a greater emphasis on content rather than technique.  i think it's easier to make a straight print on the computer than it is in the darkroom.  but this is getting into an entirely different issue...[/font]
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Ray
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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2002, 11:16:22 PM »
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Quote
[font color=\'#000000\']Dale Cotton:

[It takes many, many years to mature in the visual arts, but I rather doubt that equipment diversification will accelerate the process. [/font]
[font color=\'#000000\']Where did the above quote come from? I can't see it in the thread.

Never mind! It's all a bit silly. What counts is the ability of the artist, the 'prosumer', the consumer, the ordinary bloke etc. to communicate their point of view. If the latest features of the current crop of digicams enhance this ability, then that's fine. If they don't, then it's a waste of money.[/font]
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2002, 12:35:04 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
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I still believe that what gear you use is no where near as important as how you use it

I think you summed this all up for me.

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The problem with the digital age is that instead of only expert photographers, we now also need to be expert color printers.

I don't think this is necessarily true. In the age before digital, just because some photographers loved to do their own chemical darkroom work, that did not mean that every photographer had to in orde to "keep up". I know plenty of photographers (amateurs and pros) who still off-load their processing, scanning, and printing. It costs them on a piece-by-piece basis, but since they have no interest in those areas, it is worth it to them.

For me, I love the digital aspect of digital photography. The printmaking is integral to my artwork, as is the digital darkroom work. I have been working with digital imaging since I was a kid, and find that there is a wonderful marriage between the camera and the computer. For me.

Is it expensive? It can be. But I painted houses as a teen to afford a second hand computer. It is complex? Sure, but what part of photography isn't? I think that's why we all play in this sandbox. An aquaintance has been exploring pinhole work for years now, and she is still amazed at how hard it can be, and how much there is to learn. All from a sheet of film and a tiny hole!

Digital cameras are not the "way of the future", replacing everything that came before -- I think they are "part of the future". You can embrace it or not. It doesn't make you any better or worse of a photographer[/font]
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erik hansen
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« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2002, 04:28:29 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']oops!  i guess i should have said that i'm DARN poor![/font]
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erik hansen
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« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2002, 03:15:36 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']dansroka, your response to "The problem with the digital age is that instead of only expert photographers, we now also need to be expert color printers." is right on.  if someone decides to go digital, they can be as involved or uninvolved in the process as they want.  that's the way it has always been...[/font]
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2002, 10:14:02 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Everything in good time David. I have an artcile that explores the topic of the photograph in question scheduled for publication early next week. I expect you'll enjoy it.

As for the extensive coverage given to the 1Ds, there are two reasons. One is that I'm having fun, and enjoy sharing what I learn. The second is that my readers vote with their mice (mouses?). Since the first of my 8 articles on the 1Ds appeared in late September these have had some half million readers. If these articles wern't popular, this wouldn't be the case.

Also, as I said in my What's New comment for Dec 14; "And, for those of you who are saying to themselves, "Enough already with the 1Ds", I agree. It has now simply become part of my equipment arsenal and we'll be moving on to other more varied topics in the days ahead." I know when enough is enough.

Finally, we need to recognize that the photographic industry is currently in a state of upheaval, and that we are seeing technological change at a rate faster than we've ever seen it before (at least during the half century that I've been paying attention). This means that today's object of desire can become tomorrow's old news. Such is life.

Frankly, people want to read about and see on the Video Journal the latest and greatest, not was was, but what will be. I cater to this because it is also what interest me.

As a long time reader of this site you should now that I also try and balance art with technology. The reality is that if I just catered to what people want the site would be 100% technical. Few people read my pieces on the esthetics of photography, but I persists because I find it of value and hope that some few others will as well.

Michael[/font]
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