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Gear 05.28.14

DSC_0031I thought I’d take a little time to write a bit about what I see as the nuts and bolts of photography- in the world of photography, the actual physical equipment that is used to create images. By physical equipment, I mean everything prior to the darkroom, usb cable or software.

Previously,  https://hochspeyer.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/rain/ , I had alluded to how Cokin filters had altered the face of photography when they first were introduced. I think I purchased my Cokin filters sometime in the very early Eighties, and recall angry letters to the editor to the likes of Popular Photography predicting the end of photography as we knew it and how Ansel Adams was turning in his grave (these are not verbatim memories, but the anti-Cokin crowd of the day was full of vitriol ).

Amazingly, the only gear that I have from that period that is viable  today is my tabletop tripod (which I have yet to locate, because it is in my…), camera bag, and my collection of Cokin filters (including the holder, adapter and lens shade.)  My much larger investment in 35mm camera bodies and lenses is pretty much worthless.

Be that as it may, I want to talk a bit about DSLR gear, and getting started in DSLR photography.

This blog originally started out a few days ago, but Meerkat’s coming of mileage grabbed the spotlight at that time, so now I’m getting back  to the topic of photographic hardware- specifically, DSLR (DSLR= digital single lens reflex) photography.

Our daughter and son-in-law  visited briefly this weekend (Amanda and Mike).  We had a fun (albeit brief) visit, and I got to show Amanda my camera. She immediately grabbed it, and after an abbreviated crash course (instruction), she was off snapping photos. After all of the excitement of taking pictures, we settled down to actually talking about equipment and technique. I showed her the Cokin filters, and I think she looked through each one (I have eleven).  She was puzzled by a few of the gradient filters, and I explained how they could perk up a pale sky or uninspired waterscape.  She also expressed some frustration at, after composing a shot, being unable to snap it-the camera was set to full auto- sort of like having a photo nanny!

“Don’t shoot that, sonny,” the photo nanny says, “your depth of field is way too shallow, you’re about one f-stop short of prefect lighting, and zoom lenses are for cowards! Besides, you’re not using a Hasselblad. Sheesh, you don’t even have Zeiss glass”

I don’t like photo nanny… and I just created her!

I told Amanda about the viewfinder, and how it had changed from 35mm days. She was curious, so I pulled out my Minolta X 700, and first showed her the 35-70 w/macro lens. She looked at the back of the body, and gave the back (where the end flap of the box of film goes) a poke. Then, she looked through the viewfinder, and was amused that she had to actually not only zoom manually, but focus as well!  Then, I pulled out f5.6 250mm catadioptric lens. I showed her how the mirrors worked, and explained why it was so slow. The highpoint of that discussion was unscrewing the +0 neutral density filter and putting in the grey filter, which stepped it down to f11. That was enough excitent for one day, so I put everything away.  Actually, I think it was getting close to dinner, so I put everything away, and the rest of the evening was consumed by dinner and a movie.

All in all, a pretty nice weekend.

Until next time, I am hochspeyer, one f-stop short of a six pack.

 

 

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