|Author's topical thoughts...|
Note: topic thoughts are in latest-first order.
I got Canon 10D in this July. It is quite different world compared to the film cameras in every area. Using digital body has lots of advances like no film changes, ISO can adjusted easily, no scanning procedure etc.
For me, any new equipment bring new excitement for the photography work. I don't know is that sign of being too concentrated to the technical side neglecting the real spirit in photography. But I don't care, for me it is just important to have fun with camera.
The resolution of this six megapixel marvel does not stun me. You get descent A4 prints from that but you are quite far a way even from ISO 50 transparent resolution. Same the EOS 1D Mark II is so hekkava expensive...
Do not try this!
I had a dream. A dream to run the whole PhotoStories on the top of dynamic server side scripting and databases. I've been working on this some half of the year.. long nights, lot's of pain, thousands of lines of PHP code (since I want to do everything by myself). And here we are.
Finally every single photograph you see in these pages comes from a database. Which I can pretty easily control through a web-interface. Both MySQL and CSV type data are supported. Even binary files (mainly jpegs) are rendered by server scripts. Cool... until I noticed I had done a terrible mistake.
Because the images come through a script, the web browser cannot cache images. It means that every time a page is loaded, also every picture is downloaded over and over again. Meaning that the PhotoStories is quite pain to use through slow connections such as ISDN or modem.
So.. probably I get an angry call from my web host people due to heavy traffic from tilhi.com. And angry emails from people who notice that this site is impossible to browse.
Do not try this at home.
How to use your time
While I'm writing this story, there is an absolutely beautiful sunset going on outside. First I looked that the next door's house is in fire, but it was just the last rays of sun painting the roof dark red.
The question is, why I'm not out there trying to create top class sunset photographs. Instead, I'm sitting inside and tapping my laptop to get some lousy updates to this web site.
Unfortunately, if I don't do the web jobs now, they will be probably postponed by an another year. So there goes the sunset, I've made my choice this time.
I guess it is the same thing with photography books and magazines. You can use your time to read hundreds of articles how to take top quality photographs, but in some phase you just have to go out there and start shooting.
Or you can use time to browse Internet and hope to catch any rumours of up-coming digital SLRs. Or wonder what lens should I obtain next. Or...
Well, at least I'll have a great database backed web site and good photography equipment ready when I decide to actually use time to take photographs... :)
Buying new equipment
Some photographers say that you can win photo competitions and be a successful photographer with rather old camera equipment. They continue saying that those who instantly updates expensive newest camera or lenses technologies are tech-freaks knowing nothing about a real photography. That's maybe true -- if your portfolio includes black and white artistic photographs you probably need not to have a state-of-art camera!
Also for true nature photographer the equipment are just equipment, and the subject is what counts. But, if you want to get descent photo and even get it published, you have to have quite sophisticated camera with high quality lenses. That's because the outdoor conditions are usually a bit different compared to "normal" photography situations. You have to success even in low light situations and when you cannot get near the subject.
And what is wrong with aiming to the highest possible quality? Of course idea and content are the most important elements in a photo, but unfortunately it has to have a high quality to get it shown to the rest of world. It's not necessarily question of being a tech-freak, but the question of trying to get most of your dearest hobby. At least I want to have tools that I enjoy to use, and constantly seek for better options for photography equipment.
Digital is here to stay
I think there is not doubts that in ten years majority of photographs are taken with digital cameras. As well as pocket cameras and SLRs have ten, even hundred million pixel resolution, and as the quality gets better, the need for image storage grows exponentially.
If you are now having doubts between regular and digital SLR, I'd say it's still quite "safe" to buy old fashioned analog camera.
Let's see Canon case, for example. If you need quite advanced level 35mm SLR, but don't want to sell your car to get money for it, you have basically three possible choices: EOS-3, EOS-1V and EOS D30. You can either have really pro level analog camera or "amateur" level digital one. Maybe you disagree with me, but in my opinion, three focusing points of D30 means amateur level camera!
Better wait couple of years when you get a descent digital SLR with a prize of 1V, then buy a one. Now I'd suggest that invest your money to good analog camera, and buy a good scanner if you really need digital prints.
Learning nature photography...
It's hard. It's almost impossible... but still many photographers shoot absolutely beautiful wildlife photographs. How do they success?
I've noticed that many nature photographers have been keen on nature itself long before taking a single photograph. They have studied biology in universities, been biology teachers at schools, wandered hundreds days in deep distant forests and so on. They have learned nature before rushing out there with cameras.
So, the key to the success must be hands-on knowledge over nature. If I really want to take a great photograph of a wild animal, I have to learn it's habits: where it lives, what it eats and how it lives, for example. This means hundreds of hours studying books and being time after time on location.
Wildlife photography takes time, now I know it. Getting a decent wildlife photographs requires so much time, that I should actually quit my daytime work to do the trick! Well, perhaps I just take my SLR after a work day for an one hour walk to the nearest park... :)
Nature has always been quite distant to me, because I've been living in the middle of it all my life. Pure environment, trees, birds and lakes were too obvious to me.
In 1999, I found myself in Oulu — the cold northern town of 120,000 people. You may think that a city of this size is not a city at all, but at least for me it was quite a change to move from a town of 8,000 citizens to Oulu.
While living in Oulu I discovered a new hobby, photography. Since 1999 I have made walks in the town a camera bag hanging beside me. The city was quite an obvious subject, because it was all new and big for me.
Today I appreciate more walks in a forest — instead noisy cars there are birds singing their songs. Photography is a reason to go the forest, but it is still just a reason. Now it doesn't feel so idiotic to sit on the forest floor for hours enjoying nature — if somebody ask what was I doing out there, I can always tell that I was taking photographs...
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