Megapixels Aren’t the Only Factor to Consider When Buying a Camera

megapixSome questions from our clients and our readers seem to come up more often than others. Many of those questions center around the importance of Mega-pixels. This question came across my desk this morning and since it’s often relevant to our readers, I am sharing my response with you.

 

 

 

“When customers order larger photographs from the lab…let’s say using the Kodak Metallic Print paper…is anyone able to tell me how many pixels their cameras usually use or how does one figure this out?…I am thinking about upgrading my Camera and would like the ability to offer larger prints without losing quality.  I know that some of the new cameras offer more pixals some offer 20 etc.  However, is that what I truly want to look at?”

The good news is that you are asking the good questions. The flip-side is that this is opening a door to a warehouse full of more questions.

Yes, megapixels are an important factor to the end result. It is only one factor however.  Megapixels are top of mind for everyone because the camera manufacturers need “features” they can market with.  They are looking for ways to set their product apart from the others, and this stat is one that is easily digestible to the consumer. We tend to like easy comparisons, and anything with a number fits that bill nicely. Unfortunately, the marketers rarely tell you the benefits of the various features and leave it up to you to infer them.

Here is a short list of what are often considered the primary stats to consider:

  • Chip Resolution (megapixels)
  • Raw file capabilities ( shooting in raw provides greater editing flexibility after the shoot)
  • Max ISO ( high ISO with low noise is generally considered favorable)
  • Dynamic Range ( The ability to capture shadow detail and highlights in the same shot)

There are other considerations that are often driven by an individuals needs.

  • Price
  • Video capable (frame rate and resolution are important factors for video quality)
  • Max burst rate ( more frames per second is important to action shooters who will shoot in bursts to try to get the perfect shot – think sports photography)
  • Auto bracketing ( Auto brackets help you get maximum dynamic range if the scene’s range is greater than the camera can capture in a single shot)
  • Auto HDR ( takes a bracket and automatically merges them for highlight and shadow detail)
  • zoom level if it’s fixed lens (The higher the X number the more zoom range from wide to telephoto)
  • auto focus speed ( important when you are shooting moving objects or if shot timing is critical)
  • max f/stop – again if it’s fixed lens ( f/2 lets in more light than f/3.5 and thus allows for faster shutter speeds)
  • included software ( some cameras come with specialized software – usually consumer grade software)
  • form factor ( How big, how heavy, what’s the shape and color, etc.  Will you carry it in a pocket or purse? Around your neck? etc)
  • tethered shooting ( remotely controlling your camera from a laptop, tablet or smartphone allows for instant downloads of the captured image to your device for enlarged viewing and fast editing)
  • position and accessibility of controls ( how fast can you get to often used controls such as shutter speed, aperture, white balance, and any settings that are important to you. Also are you likely to accidental bump something during casual use and handling)
  • bells and whistles ( fancy stuff like shooting in sepia or black and white, special effects, built-in timers for time-lapse, etc.)

Since your question was in regards to image quality in relation to enlargement, I’ll focus comments there.

There are several generally accepted aspects to image quality:

  • Pixel dimensions (megapixels = file resolution H x W)
  • Image resolution (actual sharpness – it’s a combined result of lens sharpness and pixel resolution)
  • Color fidelity ( color accuracy for every pixel – this affects how true-to-life the image is)
  • Noise level ( less noise is generally considered ideal – noise looks like film grain)
  • Compression artifacts ( these are generally considered detrimental as they destroy color fidelity and detail – to avoid these you will need a camera that shoots RAW or TIFF in addition to the usual JPEG)
  • Tonal range (contrast and detail without clipping to pure black or pure white – the ability to capture shadow detail and highlights at the same time)

All of the items are important to quality, but items in bold are specific to how big the image will reasonably print before the quality drops to unacceptable.   While pixel count is certainly important, equally, if not more important is lens quality. Pixels are not a representation of sharpness, but of resolution. While the two are inter-twined, sharpness is in my opinion a bigger factor.  We have printed many files that had low pixel count but were shot with really nice lenses. The results are better than a high pixel count file shot with inferior lenses.  A not so good 24MP file will not print as well as a good sharp high quality file from an 18MP file scaled up to 24MP  If your budget demands picking either good glass or high mega-pixels, I would suggest you go with the better glass – you’ll get a better return on your investment. Stats and specs can be misleading, so use them as general guide, not as gospel and remember, more is not always better. Especially if you are giving up something more important to get the “more”.

Noise level varies from model to model and is a result of the quality of the chip, the amount of light falling on the chip and the quality of the camera’s internal computer and it’s software.  It can also come from the software you use on your computer to process your RAW files. Part of the cost of a pro-level camera is to pay for the high-end and high-speed processors and CCD chips used in the body.

Most in-camera file compression is destructive and at varying degrees. In my opinion, JPEG is not the ideal file format if detail in the print is of paramount consideration. The compresson process throws away critical detail and is very damaging to the color fidelity. If you pay for a 24MP camera and shoot jpeg, you may only get 12-18MP worth of real detail and around 6MP of color fidelity.  You can learn more about RAW versus JPEG in a previous post here.
When choosing a new camera, make a thorough list that covers what kinds of shooting you do and what features and controls you use for that style. Use that list to determine your must haves as well as any features that would just be nice to have.  Here is an example such a list:

Portraits:

  • Top Shutter speed
  • Aperture priority
  • flash sync
  • white balance
  • interchangeable lenses
  • high ISO
  • Tripod mount
  • Vibration reduction for hand held shooting
  • Jpeg and raw in single capture

Landscapes:

  • Top Shutter speed
  • Aperture priority
  • flash sync
  • white balance
  • interchangeable lenses
  • Tripod mount
  • Bracketing
  • Tilt-able view screen for low angle shooting

Studio:

  • Top Shutter speed
  • Aperture priority
  • flash sync
  • white balance
  • interchangeable lenses
  • high ISO
  • Tripod mount
  • Vibration reduction for hand held shooting
  • Tethered shooting
  • Jpeg and raw in single capture

Nice-to-haves:

  • Large megapixels
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Uses my existing lenses
  • Large view screen
  • Lightweight
  • Accepts accessory grip with additional battery
Now distill this down to one list to remove the duplicates, refine the details then put them in order of priority for you:
  1. Interchangeable lenses
  2. Uses my existing lenses
  3. High megapixels
  4. Full-frame sensor
  5. Top shutter speed 1/5000 or better
  6. Aperture priority
  7. flash sync
  8. white balance
  9. Tripod mount
  10. high ISO
  11. Bracketing
  12. Large view screen
  13. Tilt-able view screen for low angle shooting
  14. Jpeg and raw in single capture
  15. Tethered shooting
  16. Lightweight
  17. Vibration reduction for hand held shooting
  18. Accepts accessory grip with additional battery
With list in hand, the internet or a good camera store should be your next destination for finding models that fit your needs. Nothing beats a well informed and experienced camera sales-person. If you have your list, they can often point you to a few selections in a matter of minutes. It might cost a small amount extra to buy in the store, but the time and frustrations you save instead of doing the search yourself can be worth it.
In the comments below, share what your priorities are and your methods for picking the ideal camera or other tools in your arsenal.  I’ll send the first five helpful responders a nice gift.

Raw Versus JPEG – What They’re Not Telling You

In the ever-present quest for perfection, photographers from around the country call me weekly with questions about shooting raw versus jpeg. The debate over this topic has been waging strong on the internet since the advent of digital still-image capture. Creating confusion, every photo blogger and “expert” in the forums has their opinions. Each of them expressing “this is the right choice”.  Well today’s post is here to proclaim that it’s mostly bunk. There is no perfect answer that fits every photographer all of the time. The Holy Grail of file type is a myth and it’s time to stop looking for it and get on with the business of taking great images. The two camps in the JPEG versus RAW debate have strong emotional bonds to their “rightness” and are willing to go to great lengths – even as far as to embarrass themselves online while attempting to change the unchangeable minds of the opposing camp. They cling to the strategy of looking for evidence to support their case while ignoring the evidence of the other. In the end it just adds up to more confusion for the reader – who continues to be un-prepared to make their decision. If you are hoping this post will give you the right and perfect set-it-and-forget-it-forever options, you won’t find them, because I don’t think they exist – though you may find one that works for you most of the time. What you will find is unbiased data to help you make educated decisions before you enter a shooting scenario. You will also find enough data to see clearly why I made my bold statements against the “This is always the right way” mentalities.

Let’s get down to business
If you are a professional shooter, regardless of market you will likely have some of the following example criteria to consider as part of your decision making process:

    • On what standards do your customersdetermine quality of service?
      • How important is color accuracy?
      • How critical is the pixel depth (megapixels)?
      • Is dynamic range an issue?
      • What are your expected turn times from capture to delivery?
    • Technical issues
      • Are you shooting under controlled lighting and can control scene dynamic range?
      • What is the expected use of the image?  Web, press, photographic, pigment, all of them?
      • How large will the file be expected to print?
      • Do you have time for custom white balance?
      • Do you have time to verify exposure settings with a quality hand-held meter?
    • Business related
      • Do you see time as money?
      • Are you paying assistants or digital artists to post-process?
      • Are you paying your lab to color correct for you?
      • What is your present customer satisfaction rate and is there room for improvement?
      • Are you willing to spend some time, effort, and resources to impact product quality?
      • Do you expect your workflow to minimize the post-process impact on margins?

If you are a hobbyist, what are you looking to gain?

  • The best possible print.
  • To spend more time with family and less time with post-processing
  • To gain more control over the final image
  • To fit more images on the limited space of a card
  • Technical questions:
    • What is the subject matter?
    • Under what conditions am I shooting?
    • How will the image be used?
    • What is your personal criteria for quality?

Perspectives – it’s all a point of view
Before choosing your shooting format I recommend you first determine your priorities and make a list. When you know what is important to you, then the best choices can be made and most often with higher levels of confidence. For these examples, we’ll look at the typical requirements of each shooter type. Knowing the requirements will lead to understanding why a certain thing might be a priority. Photographers and business models vary, so results and opinions may differ. For the pro, they have to satisfy an end user in order to make a living. Often working with pro level tools to maximize image quality and speed the process. For some of the professional markets such as studios, time is an expense against the profit margin and customer experience may have the largest impact. For other business models such as fine art, it’s often maximum image quality that is the primary target. Studios are the business model most likely operating in some type of assembly-line type of workflow. They have dozens of images from each person or product shot and each of these files needs some kind of attention. Usually starting with elimination of the unusable, then selection of the prime images followed by editing. The artists that are paid to handle this process are usually compensated by the hour. The longer it takes to move a job through the work-flow, the deeper the cut into the bottom line. Quality needs to be maintained to meet or exceed the customer’s minimum expectations. The average consumer’s expectations are often that the professional print should exceed the quality of a drug-store print. As long as they can see a higher level print, that particular expectation is met (photographic skills such as composition aside for the intent of this discussion).  Skin-tones and most all other colors related to people photography fit will inside the sRGB colorspace. Studios have a great deal of control over their lighting, and thus the required dynamic range for the shoot. A good setup can usually hold within a 6 stop limitation of a JPEG work-flow. Interior location photography has additional challenges resulting from ambient conditions that might not be controllable. Office lighting, large windows, etc. can contribute to the overall lighting of a scene and may result in lighting ratios that exceed the 6 stop limit. In profit-centric people photography, merging brackets for HDR is rarely an ideal solution.

Commercial product photography has unique demands, especially when the product or person being photographed requires special staging and effects.
And yet the images themselves usually end up being used in the lowest of gamut conditions: 4-color press and the internet. In a complex shoot, where lighting, effects such as smoke or movement are in play, bracketing is not an option so maximum dynamic range is beneficial.  In table top product photography – think catalog photos – there is no movement, lighting is completely controllable and product colors rarely exceed the basic gamuts of Adobe1998 or sRGB. Since the subject does not move, bracketing can be used to maximize dynamic range.. Food photography brings the potential for highly saturated colors that would do well with a larger gamut and maximum control.  A commercial photo session often includes a day or more of styling, prep and active capture, followed by a similar amount of time in post. There are thousands if not ten’s of thousands of dollars at stake and final image quality can be critical to the customer’s end sales. Such diversity creates situations where JPEG would be most profitable and other times where a RAW work-flow is mandated.   The fine-art photographer is often most concerned with image quality. They seek an integrity in the image that jpeg does not deliver. Maximum dynamic range, sharpness, color fidelity and detail are all sought in the persute of the ideal print that meets the artist’s vision and the expectations of the descriminating print buyer. Fine art images are often heavily manipulated to create the mood sought by the artist and to bring out maximum detail. Through manipulation, detail along with any compression artifacts will also be brought to greater light. Artists will often use improper white balance to enhance mood and emotional response. The artist will often spend countless hours laboring over pre-planning of a shoot, and many financial resources are spent on models and assistants. The final editing is usually performed by the photographer rather than an assistant.

Pick a card, any card…
Prepared with the insights you now have into the requirements of a few professional photographer types, these charts should help clarify why one format type won’t properly cover every photographer’s needs, and how some photographer’s might benefit from both types during their day.

Jpeg Versus Raw, Capabilities by File Format Type

Basic Pros and Cons
ProsCons
Raw
  • Can be any working space you have a profile for.
  • WB can be tuned post-capture.
  • Greater exposure latitude – though precise exposure is recommended.
  • Highest level of adjustment flexibility before causing gaps in histogram.
  • Best option if over-sampling is required.
  • Supported by Pro-level software
  • Non-lossy raw formats contain highest levels of color-fidelity
  • Takes the more time and resources to post process.
  • Larger in-camera and offline storage space requirements.
  • Must be processed before online sharing/distribution can occur.
  • Must be processed prior to printing
  • Additional software required.
  • Not supported by all editing software
Jpeg
  • Smaller file sizes maximize in-camera and offline storage space.
  • Proper WB and exposure can often go directly to print.
  • Easily shared via email and web with no additional work.
  • Lower time investments.
  • No additional software required.
  • Maximum software support both pro and consumer level.
  • Usually limited to sRGB or Adobe1998 at time of capture.
  • Any settings applied in camera i.e. WB, sharpening, noise reduction, etc. are “fixed” into the image – changes require post-capture retouching/editing.
  • Minimal exposure latitude of 1/8 stop.
  • Lossy format means you paid for resolution that you are sacrificing.
  • Typically does not over-sample well due to in-camera sharpening and compression related artifacts.

 Jpeg Versus Raw, Considerations by Photo Type

A successful photographer will learn the needs and expectations of their client, then support those needs through technical and artistic know-how, all the while minding the needs of the bottom line.

You can help our readers by sharing tidbits you have discovered regarding JPEG and Raw workflows in the comments below. And as always, we are here to answer your questions.

Lomography Introduces an Experimental Lens Kit for Digital Cameras

Lomography lenses for 2/3 format digital camerasFor the first time, Lomography has introduced a line of lenses in 3 focal lengths for Micro 4/3 digital format.
In true Lomography fashion, these lenses include fixed aperture: f/8  with two shutter speeds: 1/100sec and bulb. If you choose to use your camera’s shutter, leave the lens open on bulb and fire away.

Double exposures are possible with the Lomography 4/3 lens kit

 

Since these lenses incorporate their own shutters, double exposures are a simple matter of leaving your camera’s shutter on bulb and using the Lomo lens’ built in shutter.

 

 

The lenses include gel filters, and the kit includes focal lengths of 24mm, 12mm, and 160 degree fish eye and lists on Lomography’s site for $89.99 US.

Now if I can just get my hands on a Micro 4/3 body…

 

An Interview with Mark Sink

RAI_Mark Sink Interview 3

—Photo ilustration by Greg Osborne

Photographer/curator /artist and probable wearer of many other hats, Mark Sink has been as integral to the Denver art community as a certain quarterback has been to the Denver sports scene. An artist who, despite his many successes, has remained as easily approachable and true to his art as he was as a kid studying painting and printmaking at Metro State College in the seventies. Sink is a strong proponent of the ‘less is more’ school of photography; capturing stunningly beautiful images with low-tech tools like the Diana toy camera and the age-old Wet Plate Collodian process. As he made a point of telling us: “My career is very non-photo serious, I’ve used toy cameras much of my career. I’m a ‘reverse technology-o-phile’— going the other direction, you know? The Big Picture comes from that.”

Amongst his many achievements, Sink is responsible for Denver’s Month of Photography (MoP), one of many “Month of Photography” events around the world that bring together an eclectic mix of local artists, galleries and creatives for a month long celebration of the art of photography.

Reed Art & Imaging sat down with Mark in the kitchen of his home in the old Highlands neighborhood of Denver to talk primarily about MoP, but it was hard to limit the conversation to just one facet of a thirty five-plus year artistic journey. The life of Mark Sink has been anything but uneventful…

First of all, Reed Art & Imaging would like to offer our congratulations for your recent selection as the inaugural recipient of the 2013 “Hal Gould ViP Award” (Vision in Photography) for your many contributions to the local art community. Can you talk about what it means to you?

Well, it’s a great honor. Hal is one of the biggest figures Colorado has had in photography. He was forwarding photography before it was considered an art form. The Director of the Denver Art Museum, at the time, Otto Bach said, [affects an overly-officious voice] “Photography will never be shown as art in our museum.” So Hal parked his Camera Obscura Gallery right across the street— and not by accident! He was a photographer himself and was one of the co-founders of the Colorado Center for Photography [CPAC}. He championed Ansel Adams and sold his prints at his gallery for $150 a piece. His real estate stories themselves were something!

How did the award come about?

The Colorado Center for Photography felt that there ought to be an annual award to recognize people who have been forwarding photography throughout the years, so they put it together just to do that.

For those who might be unfamiliar, can you fill us in on your background? Give us, if you will, a quick Mark Sink Time Line to the present, or as far back as you care to go.

Samuel F.B. Morse

Samuel F.B. Morse
— Photo courtesy of Mark Sink

As far back as I want to go? Well, it gets pretty hairy if you go back within my family, if we’re going to bring that on [smiles]. Well, starting with Samuel Finley Breese Morse, he took the first photograph in America; the first photographic portrait ever taken. He’s my great uncle. He was a portrait painter who invented the Morse Code. He also used the camera obscura in his paintings to help with architectural alignment.

JamesLBreese1875

Photo courtesy of Mark Sink

My great grandfather, James L. Breese, was a portrait photographer in New York City in the late 1800’s. I currently use his cameras. Here– I can walk you around. [Sink proceeds to give us “The Tour” of his home, a veritable treasure trove of historical artifacts, photos, art, and camera equipment, etc.]. He was the founder of “Camera Notes” that was put out by the Camera Club of New York with Alfred Stieglitz. It opens on the first page saying [Sink reads from an old hardcover copy of Camera Notes] “James L. Breese, primary inspiration of the Camera Club of New York…”.

Here’s an example of some of his work with Cosmopolitan Magazine, in one of these from 1892, there’s a fantastic article where he describes “The relationship of photography to art”. That was pretty early on.

James Breese started the Carbon Studio where they had a wild party for his best friend, [architect] Stanford White, [reading from article] “…when the pie was breeched, out of the crust, a flock of canaries accompanied by [a naked] sixteen year old Suzy Johnson…” . That was the first girl popping out of a cake – well, a pie at first – that’s where that all started,

From the nursery rhyme? (Sing a Song of Sixpence: four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie…)

Right! So, of course, it basically credits James L. Breese here: [reading dramatically from article] “Soon the studio and his Carbonites came under fire as the secret place of lascivious intrigue, and was used by a number of well known photographers. Breese was the ultimate ‘social register’…”. So, basically, they’re saying James L. Breese was the reason for his [Stanford White’s] downfall.

Yeah, he ran around with a pretty fast crew. [laughs] Got in a lot of trouble. There was this gigantic scandal that happened with Stanford White, who was going with the super-model of the time Evelyn Nesbitt (the original “Gibson Girl” in popular advertising of the era) and was later murdered by her husband, who walked up to him at Madison Square Garden and shot him dead. It was called the “Crime of The Century”.

But all that is a book someday…his life. Anyway, it’s exciting to use his equipment.

Just a few of Mark's "toys"

Just a few of Mark’s “toys”
— Photo by Gary Reed

Then in here, of course, are cameras that I use regularly. The Diana I used for a large part of my career. I use these 19th century box cameras, they work fantastic for the collodion wet plate process. And this plastic Ansco panoramic that you can still get for $6.95, it’s the “Diana” of wide angle photography. There’s also the Lensbaby on an SLR; it shifts the plane of focus, like what you can do with 4×5 view cameras, so you can make your eye focus on one thing and make everything else drop away. It became a super-sought after advertising tool. I can show you examples in print and  TV,  it’s become very common for food photography where it will show you one thing in focus and everything else drops way, w-a-y out of hard focus. Some portrait photographers have adopted it to give a sort of dreamy, pinhole effect. Well, you all saw my toy camera workshop, lots of tips– tiny little tips like that.

.

Currently, I’m very excited, my wife and I are working with this rare Japanese tissue doing a platinum and Cyanotype mix using UV exposure. We’re having fun gardening outside and exposing the prints for about ten minutes while we pull weeds and stuff . When they’re ready we just wash the prints out with water.

Some of the Sink's  Wetplate photography

Some of the Sink’s Wetplate photography
— Photo by Gary Reed

We have to ask. Andy Warhol?

Oh Andy. Just today, Christie’s is auctioning off a picture of ‘Me and Andy’. I was there. I didn’t even know it was happening, It showed up on Facebook. There’s a gazillion interviews and stuff that you can find on my blog.

Okay, we’ll check them out, but is there anything that you haven’t talked about much?

Well, you know, it was a super, super lucky chance to be able to introduce myself to him and connect with him in Fort Collins where they were having an exhibition in his honor. He put me on staff with Interview magazine that day. I was an aspiring photographer in school and Interview magazine was like god to me. I told him that and he said, “Oh well, you can represent us in Colorado!” I was on the masthead the next month. I was going down to the Metro State College and it was a funny two worlds you know. I would go and hang out with Warhol and [have] dinner with Mick Jagger and come back and develop my film in the film lab. You know, it was just so strange. People would go, “That looks like Mick Jagger!

So it was back and forth between two polar opposite worlds?

Back to struggling, starving, putting myself through school at Metro-world, developing my own film in the darkroom. So, after about a year I figured I should pack up the car and head out to New York. New York went great guns except that the commercial studio world was not quite what it was cracked up to be in art school, shooting catalogue work and editorial things, and zero artistically speaking. So I was really kind of wilting – making great money – but wilting. So I started a little darkroom and started printing my Diana work again and got a little show and I started photographing work for other artists.

Andy in his office

Andy in his office
— Photo by Mark Sink

About what time was this?

Mid-eighties. So I came alive again because I was immersed in the art community instead of doing catalogs of clothing. I was doing catalogs of artwork; shot a lot of Warhols. Shot a young artist that has just gone beyond the stratosphere, Jean-Michel Basquiat whose canvases are going for $50, $60 million. I shot his work for about six years. Most of the work you see online or anything, I photographed for him. We were friends. I didn’t have a very high opinion of him at the time, he was pretty drugged-up. I was part of the…well, I was the worker guy. I was the guy that came in to photograph stuff – ‘the help’. So, in the eighties, from the outside looking in, it was the Haves and the Have-nots, all the multi-millionaires and then all this talent and struggling artists and high rents, just like it is today. It’s this gigantic divide where you’ve either made it and you’re a gazillionaire, or you’re struggling – what I call ‘running up the down escalator’ [laughs] – one of my favorite sayings! I don’t seem to see as much of that anymore, people are super-lazy these days…kids are.

To what do you attribute that to? Is it the Digital Age?

That’s a lot of what I’m exploring with the show, ‘The Reality of Fiction’ [http://redlineart.org/art/events/exhibitions/reality-of-fiction.html/] over this disentachment from reality. We’ve sort of separated ourselves from reality; everyone has credit and has cars that are bigger than what they can afford to drive. They live in these fake over-extended houses and friendships on social media. You know, we’ve sort of just quietly stepped off into a process of, you know…don’t get me wrong, digital is genius and I use it constantly, but theres a crossover when people are trying to replicate a platinum print, you know, that gets into the Instagram thing. As long as it looks like the real thing, what does it matter? This sort of Disney fantasy effect is starting to take over and I think its embedded into kids getting lost in Facebook and video games; a sort of separation from reality. Even, for instance, wilderness photography that is shot on “nature farms”.

‘Nature farms’?

Oh yeah. The show ‘Nature’ owns a gazillion square miles up in Wyoming where they string out all the wires [with cameras] to follow the birds in flight. They have there little sectional studios for the beavers.

I had no idea they went to that extent.

It’s all staged. That’s what I’m saying, it’s putting real nature into a controlled environment. It’s like “How did they get into that den?”. You have to watch carefully. It’s like that series ‘Surviver Man’. You get the feeling that he’s out there barely existing but if you read the credits at the end it says something like, “Some scenes were re-created to give…”. Again, they’ll shoot some of the scenes in more of a controlled environment and cut them into the show later. So we’ve become more and more and more aware of this disentachment. You start to get this on your brain and you start watching out for whether things are being true to the medium or not and whether things are [built] honest with honest building materials. This house over here [points to the neighboring home across the alley], this rock, Italian villa we have over here – styrofoam. You can knock on it, it’s hollow “rock” [knocks on kitchen counter]. The strips that go around the window that look like solid concrete? The Mexican guys were putting these things on in the wind, they slap it on and bam, bam bam, they got it on and they stood back and you could see them go: “E-h e-h…it’s OK-ay” [laughs].

Probably not feeling much like real craftsmen?

No, but they [the owners] sold the place for $1.6 million.

Okay, so how does art bridge artiface? Is making an illusion of an illusion a valid art form?

Well, you can get into that philosophically, but it’s all illusion in photography, there’s no truth. If anyone tells you photography is fact – it’s not fact.

I read just recently that all photography is an opinion.

Well, theres a fantastic show at the Metropolitan Museum called Faking It [http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/faking-it] showing how photography’s been faked since Daguerreotypes. It’s a long, long history of this sort of fantasized reality that photography’s been doing, which, in some ways, is why I’m struggling a little bit with going backwards. That’s why I love Polaroids, why I like Collodian Wet Plate. The light strikes the plate; what’s captured on that plate – that’s it. That’s BOOM, that’s it! There’s something really honest about that. And I like that…there’s something…anytime someone starts to f*ck with it, digitize it, or whatever you want to do with your photography, I don’t know. When it starts to get f*cked with; dabbing up those highlights, making those eyes a little brighter, da-da-da, cleaning out all the complexity, dabble, dabble, dabble…. You know, you can just feel it!

…stop being art?

Anything is art, I don’t think anything can stop it from being art. Art is what you say it is…anything can be art.

Is there a definition of art?

My definition of art is, uh-m-m…I forgot my definition of art! [laughs]No, it’s craft, craftsmanship. Creating and having a personal voice. Woodworkers are artists. A laborer who does a beautiful concrete job, I feel is beautiful art. But, if you don’t have that craft, everything drops off. But then there’s Damien Hirst who does the splosh, spin art. [laughs]

I left off with him during his bisected cow phase.

He’s a piece of work. He is a piece of work…

Can we quote you on that?

[laughs] Sure.

On that note – it’s on to MoP! The Month of Photography project is international, Denver has gained a lot of recognition and respect thanks to your efforts. What is the MoP story? When and where did it originate?

Well, I’ve always sort of naturally curated even before I knew what the word meant. I like getting groups of people together. I used to do it on the Internet, at least what I thought was the Internet with America Online in the early nineties. I was actually on America Online in the Kodak Photography Forum. I would gather a group of people and ask questions and then answer the questions just to start a conversation [laughs] within the fine art photography forum.

Just to get the ball rolling?

And it got rolling. People, well known photographers like Jock Sturges and a lot of very interesting people got aboard, so see, here I go off on these tangents…I’m so sorry, you’re going to have to do a lot of fast-forwarding to get…

That’s okay Mark, digital paper is cheap.

Okay, so I should say I’ve curated, I’ve done it on the Internet and curated art shows at school and, you know, that led to curating galleries. It’s kind of this power in numbers, gathering people to get together to put on events. I formed a group called The Denver Salon to show people’s artwork that I admired and brought them together. Once we had a group I would submit that to galleries in New York and museums in Aspen and the Denver Art Museum, and we got the shows. If I had submitted my work by myself, I never would have gotten a show. That’s what I meant by power in numbers.

So, we submitted together with our Internet group. We called it FAPB, Fine Art Photography Board, and a book was published on it, actually the history of it. We got the front page of the Arts Section of The Wall Street Journal. We were the first Internet art Show – it was called “Off The Highway” – where I got everyone together that was in this group. When it first started everyone was like BIG talkers. I would come and say, “I use a little toy camera!” and they’d be all, “What the f*ck?!” [laughs] I was like, “It doesn’t matter, it’s CONCEPT that matters.” And it was all [in deep, pretentious voice],“Naw, I use a Hassleblah, blah, blah…”You know, a lot of BIG TALKERS. And so I was like, okay, “Put your images where your mouth is…”.

So, in the Kodak forum was the Kodak Image Library where you could upload work, but there was no way to put it together in a folder, so it had to be organized by title. The title [file name prefix] had to have the name ‘Bob’. Bob Landscape, Bob whatever; so all the B’s – all the Bob [files] – would all come together. So it was the Bob Show. And that’s when I saw this work from people from all over the country and I was amazed. So I offered to do the Rule Gallery, a show for Robin Rule. We did the show and it got written up as: “HIGHWAY SHOW TAKES WRONG TURN” [laughs] Yeah, the critic didn’t like it. But we got wrote up in The Wall Street Journal.

How did that morph into MoP in Denver?

So, MoP again, is coordinating a group of people within photography. The inspiration comes from the Houston FotoFest which I started going to as a photographer to show and have my work reviewed at the Meeting Place [FotoFest’s portfolio review event]. Then I would go throughout the city to all the events at the FotoFest. The founders, Fred [Baldwin] and Wendy [Watriss] were inspired by a Month of Photography in Arles, France. That was the earliest, earliest one. So the Houston FotoFest is the monster, it’s huge. I became friends with them and started bringing their shows to Denver.

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That was the inspiration for Denver?

Yeah, that’s where I got the inspiration that I could do this in Denver. I should do this in Denver. The Houston directors, Fred and Wendy, came out and they were very supportive. Their concept of having a portfolio review where everyone can show work with different themes and where galleries can become a part of that theme. Every year they’ll have a different one like Russia or China. This year is The Middle East. One year it was War, one year it was Mexican photography, another time it was Czech and Slovak photography. So, they’ve been doing it for a long, long time. They started in 1992. I have all their catalogs here. [Shows us beautifully printed Houston FotoFest catalogs from years past.] So, my mission is to eventually have a catalog like these for MoP Denver. We actually did a mini version of this for the Le Journal de la Photographie.

You were recently interviewed by them, correct?

Yeah. What’s neat is that you can get on their website and type in “MoP Denver” in the search box and all three pages will come up with everything we did for MoP Denver; The Big Picture and all the other stuff.

So, it almost sounds as if MoP is, I don’t want to say franchised, but people are picking it up in other cities.

There’s a lot of interest, yeah.

I came across a piece online in which Art News referred to the Denver art world very condescendingly. While the writer was very complimentary of the level of work coming from the local contributors to the MoP project, he/she seemed somewhat surprised that it was happening here— to use their phrase, “…they have emerged with great fortitude from a most unlikely place, Denver, Colorado.”

Yeah, that was an Art News quote on our Denver Salon group when we showed in New York City in the mid 90’s, ’98 maybe. It still hasn’t changed. LA, New Yorkers; we all do it, it’s human nature, like someone might say “Artwork in Austin?! Are there contemporary galleries in Austin?!” I have very educated, worldly, well known people who go, “You have a contemporary gallery in Denver?”. Honestly, I’m not saying that to be mean; they really think we’re still running cattle down the wooden sidewalks. You know, there’s just nothing really there between New York and LA, or Paris or Berlin.

Still, with the Internet it hasn’t faded at all?

Sure, we get some attention when a new wing goes up on the Denver Art Museum. There’s a newer generation out there that are a little hipper. We’re looked on as a close comparison to places like Seattle or Portland.

Not a bad way to be looked at.

It’s not bad at all, but we’re still not up there with the big boys. We’re still looked on as upstarts.

In recent years, we’ve seen a big jump in the popularity of wheat paste art. In its turn of the century heyday, it was used primarily as a carrier of advertising and political messages. Now we’re seeing the medium used almost exclusively for artistic purposes, from serious to whimsical themes and everything in between. How much, if any, has wheat pasting become the message as opposed to being the bearer of the message, as it relates to the artistic community? Is it simply another avenue for artists to exhibit, or do you think it inspires them to get out and shoot just for the purpose of wheat pasting?

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Wheatpasting the south side of the Reed Art & Imaging building on Federal Blvd.

Well, with the Internet, artists are more and more desperate than ever to be shown in a gallery. The idea of a gallery is even more exciting. You can post and post and post but to actually get your work in a gallery is even more intense than it was before. Your art is physically up on the wall. But the galleries are very hard to get into.

The validation factor of having one’s art in a gallery is even bigger post-Internet?

Yeah, probably, more so than in pre-Internet times. That’s a tough question.

This is probably a touchy thing to say around your company [Reed Art & Imaging], but I like the wheat paste thing because it’s free, you know? There’s no galleries, no money being exchanged. It’s back to that thing that I’m really attracted to; things that are really pure and honest. It’s a really pure form of inspiration and showing your work. There’s n-o-o money to be made, no galleries jacking prices up and paying artists. I get a big kick out of it and people really respond to it. There’s something there that really touches people when there’s no ads and stuff. That’s why when I push really hard for no big logos, people are like, [in manic, desperate voice] “WELL, HOW WILL PEOPLE FIND OUT WHERE I AM?!”. You have to be pretty lame not to be able to find information on it [MoP]. But that’s where I need to get better, we do need to have some way where people can go very easily and directly to the artist. In the future, we’ll probably do the whatchamacallit, the thing where you point your phone…

A QR code?

Right, but on the MoP sign, not on the artwork itself. I’d like to keep that sort of subtleness. Pretty soon, after awhile, people will start figuring it out and liking it, and knowing it – “Oh, that’s The Big Picture!”. You know, even now you type it in and it comes right to the top of Google.

You’re talking about building a brand, then?

Right. People will start figuring it out and liking it and seeing it.

Is ‘The BIG Picture’ a stand alone project, or is it an official part of MoP?

It’s stand alone and also married to MoP because I do it every MoP. It was conceived during and for the Month of Photography. We did a Big Picture book that didn’t have anything to do with MoP.

You own The BIG Picture and MoP; there’s no conflicting legalities between the two?

I’m MoP and I’m Big Picture [laughs]. I can sue myself .

How does all of this extend internationally?

The original concept that I wanted to do many years ago…I was going to get Epson or another sponsor to make big printouts and it was going to be a “mile long walk of photography” that would end up at some big center of photography like Red Line or whatever. It would be people submitting work from all over the world. And then I saw that a group had done something like this in subways where people would submit work. They’d send a digital file and it gets printed out and posted. So, that was floating in my head. Then an artist came and wheat-pasted the bathroom door in my gallery. She was doing wheat pastings as interior decorations. So I thought, “That’s c-o-o-o-l — I like that!”. So the idea of The Mile Walk came together with wheatpasting and that’s about the time JR, a French street artist– the guy that does the big faces all over the world – won the [2011] TED Prize. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JR_(artist)] So, all this was coming together all at once. So, I said, “Okay, we’re going to do an ‘out the door – out of the gallery – in the alley– down the street, thing.” So, we did a call for submissions to people all over the world.

It always gets a little touchy, the selection process. There were never any stated rules or judges listed or anything. The selection of work was basically at my discretion, I think that’s what people sort of accept. It’s been amazing the last few times we’ve done this – I don’t even like talking about it – I hope it kind of stays like this, but there aren’t contracts of release and re-use and publishing. You know you’re sending me this fairly high resolution file, we’re printing it in a book and doing this and that with it. So far, no one has questioned it and I really like that. I feel there’s a trust there. I’m sending out files, my favorite pieces of other artist’s work, to other cities, for them to put up in those cities. And much of it is heavily Denver-centric.

Everything has stayed at a friendly level?

So far, so good.

Are there any up and coming “Mark Sinks” in Denver, you know – artist/curator/patron…?

There’s a lot of people, a whole new Generation that’s springing up…but, let’s see… Adam Gildar, he did a great job with The Big Picture. He’s real go-go; takes on multiple projects. He started a group called Art Plant that gets studio spaces for artists. If he stays in Denver, he’ll be a major institution; he already is, actually. And there’s several others.

Do you think photography’s future is in good hands here in Denver?

Well, something that’s been rumbling around for awhile is that we need a photography center. A big one that could house the Colorado Center for Photography, that could house The Denver Darkroom. And I’m fearful of even using the word “photography”; “new media” is the best I can describe it at this point.

Can it get any bigger without you overworking yourself, and do you even want it to get bigger?

Well, that’s it, that’s what I’m struggling the most with in my own life. That’s what happened when I started my gallery. I thought I could do the gallery and put up a beautiful show and do my photography and be an artist. To do a successful gallery takes all of your time. My photography went into the toilet. Again, I was wilting like the New York thing, you know? Things would go good financially when I ran up the down escalator – crank up the media machine, the light bulb goes on, the critics come and everything happens – but as soon you slack off, [makes dying engine noise] whir-r-r-r-r, people stop coming in.

Mark Sink 2

Mark Sink, June 2013
— Photo by Greg Osborne

What do you do then, hire on more help?

Well you hire on salespeople and you have this, like, used car salesman person, that I just don’t like. You know they can sell, but that whole thing of them standing there [shudders]. I mean, they could sell, but I just couldn’t stand listening to them making contact calls, you know? It would just make my skin crawl. Going on and on; I’d end up taking the phone away from them [in overly-apologetic cartoon voice] “Sorry, I have this obnoxious salesman working here…”. If I left him on the phone he would probably make sale. So, I struggled with all that. If I did it again it would probably be non-profit, like The Center for Photography where you get corporate support. I have a lot better time of it when I’m pitching something I’m really passionate about. Every corporation in Denver has to dump money for tax write offs at the end of the year, so if you can spark an interest, you’re in.

So, to wind it up, how do you see Mark Sink and MoP in the future?

MoP? I like it the way it is, [laughs] I know how much I can do. I know what the saturation point, the workload is, and I know that more galleries want to join in, so I feel comfortable with that, and there will be fine tuning. I need to form a board with it, it needs to go 5013c. Right now, it’s sheltered by RedLine. But I am struggling with that growth, I like it where it is right now [laughs] it’s big enough!

Colorado Photography Festival 2013

Held from August 10th – 15th, this 6 day workshop is chock full of classes, workshops and photo adventures. The event starts off with back to back presentations by 5 ultra-talented photographers who will provide thought provoking discussions and slide shows that will educate and inspire. The kick-off presentation by Glenn Randal (www.glennrandall.com) is destined to be a great opportunity for the Auto-exposure only crowd seeking to get the most out of their cameras by learning the benefits and intricacies of going manual for maximum creative control. Grant Collier’s

Copyright Grant Collier

presentation on night-time landscape photography (www.gcollier.com) will surely be a crowd pleaser. Grant’s portfolio and experience in shooting night-scapes under the stars is nearly unmatched. If you have ever experienced shutter-block ( my name for the photographers equivalent to writer’s block), Dan Ballard’s (www.danballardphotography.com/) presentation on unlocking your creative potential is sure to provide you with tools to expand your artistic vocabulary while providing some preventative medicine for those times when shutter-block show up.

Copyright Dan Ballard

There are many outstanding workshops available throughout the remaining 5 days and some are so promising they are virtually guaranteed to fill up fast. Click here to learn more and register for this event.

Reed Art & Imaging is proud to again sponsor the Colorado Photography Festival.

Have You Been Sucked-in by The Toy Camera’s Irresistible Lure?

Fifty years ago, no one could have predicted that a novelty item, given away as consolation prizes at raffles and sold in the back of comic books, would blossom into a bona fide art movement. Although there are many makes and models, the rediscovery of Toy Camera photography can probably be traced to the now legendary Diana camera.

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An early 60’s Diana — Photo by Greg Osborne

Introduced in the early sixties; the 120 format Diana was sold as a cut-rate, novelty item manufactured in Hong Kong and wholesaled across the US by the Power Sales Company of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

The Diana set the template for the low tech photography aesthetic. Characterized by its rudimentary spring-loaded shutter, manual film advance and most notably, a plastic lens, the camera performed about as well as its cheap, light-leaking plastic body suggested.

Not really a toy and certainly not a serious camera in any sense of the word, the Toy Camera was destined to become a temporary glitch in the already cluttered toy and novelty landscape. It was to photography what the Easy Bake Oven was to the world of household kitchen appliances—a TOY.

Something, however, derailed the Toy’s path to cultural obscurity—it took really cool pictures!

Though it’s always hard to pinpoint exactly how or when these things get started, I like to imagine that around the late seventies or early eighties, some anonymous soul remembered the visual thrills that this unassuming little box produced in their childhood photo excursions. In search of something without really knowing what, and perhaps weary of modern photography’s soul-deadening technology, he or she dusted off the old Diana and the Toy Camera Revival was born.

Professionals, amateurs and art lovers everywhere are fascinated by the equalizing nature of this little plastic box. No complicated accessories, no thousand dollar lenses, and no megapixels, help to strip bare the art and science of serious photography.

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An owner-modified Holga. More serious looking than the Diana – but not really.
— Camera courtesy of John Harris — Photo by Greg Osborne

It comes down to the basics: your skill with the plastic box and your God-given EYE.

Yet, with that said, what many find so endearing about Toy photography is the way it lends itself so readily to the Happy Accident. It’s a little like handling nitroglycerine—or herding cats—you never quite know what’s going to happen. Many seasoned photographers wax poetic over the liberation from technology, the sheer sense of the unknown that this primitive tool allows them.

Aside from strict photo journalism, few other branches of photography are as distinctly purist in approach to their art. Though Toy Camera effects can easily be mimicked with apps like Instagram, Pixlromatic and Hipstamatic; and professional-grade programs like Photoshop and Painter, loyal adherents eschew these tricks in favor of recording, warts and all, that true moment in time.

The textured, sometimes haunting imagery that can be achieved with the Toy Camera so completely captures the ephemeral nature of life, that some professionals feel this pictorial offshoot captures the essence of what serious photography is and should be about.

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The Holga goes Hollywood! Camera courtesy of Stephanie Beck — Photo by Greg Osborne

With the addition of manufacturers and distributers like Holga, LOMO and Lomographische AG to feed the obsession, Toy Camera photography has evolved into a viable, worldwide, creative form.

Highly regarded exhibits at the Soho Photo Gallery in Tribeca, New York, and serious books like The Diana Show: Pictures Through a Plastic Lens by David Featherstone and the now classic, IOWA by Nancy Rexroth, also helped to legitimize and further the movement.

So what does Toy Photography have to do with Colorado? You might have noticed Reed Art & Imaging’s building at the corner of 9th and Federal, plastered with a melange of images—a few of which are great examples of what the Toy Camera can do.

Amazing effects can be accomplished with the Toy —Photo courtesy of Jody Akers

Amazing effects can be accomplished with the Toy
— Photo courtesy of Jody Akers

This was part of Reed’s sponsorship of this year’s Month of Photography (MoP). We also partnered with Mark Sink who founded The BIG PICTURE Colorado project here in Denver and who is a driving force in the local photography and creative scene.

Mark’s work and past association with people like Andy Warhol are well documented. What people may not know is that he has been a Toy Camera photographer and advocate since he was a boy. It was through his love for this process that he recently offered his Toy Camera Workshop to dozens of local enthusiasts. Reed Art & Imaging was fortunate enough to help out with film processing services for this worthy event.

Did I say film? Yes—Film is not dead!

We’ve been processing film for over 37 years and will continue to do so for as long as you need us. Of course, we do way more than simply process film. We encourage anyone who has not been into Reed Art & Imaging to come by and see for themselves the vast array of products and services that we can offer to creatives and non-creatives of all stripes.

Photo courtesy of Jody Akers

Photo courtesy of Jody Akers

We don’t just work here; we are working photographers, artists and enthusiasts. We live and breathe great images and great photography. Your creative vision is our priority. We are you.

Stop by and say hello. We’re here to answer questions, talk art and photography or anything else that you’re curious about—and that includes the light-leaking charm of the great Toy Camera!

Larger and Faster Storage is on the Horizon

Larger and faster storage is on the horizon!
At the current rate at which silicon-based technology doubles – approximately every 18-24 months, it won’t be long before our cameras outgrow their present storage form-factors. Nikon, SanDisk and Sony have announced their joint effort for a new portable storage specification aimed at meeting the future needs of music playback devices, digital cameras and video capture devices in a new standardized format.

The new proposed specs show a transfer rate of 500 Megabytes per second – far exceeding the present 167 Megabyte per second of the current CompactFlash specifications. Yes, that is a full gigabyte transferred every two seconds. The maximum theoretical storage capacity for the new devices are expected to exceed two Terabytes. These new memory cards are planned to be rugged, similar in size to the existing SD form-factor and have a lower power consumption and longer battery life – thanks to integrated power scaling. With the data speeds and power savings, I suspect we will see this new technology integrated as solid state drives (SSD’s) on laptops, smart phones, and other intelligent devices in sectors like medical and transportation. A projected production date for the new cards was not announced.

Save $1,298.32 by Building Your Camera From a Kit

For this week I’ve decided to tell you about one of my new favorites, the 35mm Do-It-Yourself
camera or the Gakken Flex
. This is a 35mm TLR (twin lens reflex) that you build yourself. The first thing that drew me to this camera was that it is a TLR, I have always wanted one, but they can be pricey. The second thing was that I got to put it together.

Gakken is produced by Otonanokagku, and each volume is a different science lesson. The kits have ranged from Theremins to Computers, Cameras, Phonographs and more. Each comes with a beautifully produced magazine that tells the history of the subject that you will be working on. Volume 25 has a great history of film and photography. Because of the popularity of these cameras they are being distributed by Recesky without the magazine, and can be found at Four Corner Store (Check to make sure they have them in stock.) I enjoyed putting it together, but really struggled because the instructions are in Japanese, and as I don’t speak or read Japanese I only had pictures to go from. The focus ranges from approximately 1ft. to infinty, there is only 1 appeture setting (best to use in bright sun), and there is only 1 shutter speed, approximately 1/60.

The great thing about these little darlings is that they use 35mm film, so you can get the film processed almost anywhere. The downside is that the frame is slightly larger than a regular 35mm so it will get cropped unless you have a special scan. But don’t fret, I have customized one of our scanners so you can get the whole frame, you just send your film to Reed Art & Imaging for the processing, proofing and scanning.

Here are some sample images that I have taken with mine. Note that you still get the blurred, vignette edges.

Photograph of a chinese yo-yo taken with a Gakken FlexPictured titled "Jungle Flare" taken with a Gakken FlexPicture titled "Steering Wheel" taken with a Gakken Flex

How to Add More Fun to Your Holga

Let’s talk about a fun accessory available for your Holga, the Macro and Close Up lens sets.Lens accessories for Holga toy cameraa These do have to be purchased separately, and they can be found at my two recommended shops, Four Corner Store and Light Leaks. These lenses just slide onto the front of the Holga lens, it is a tight fit so make sure to get them on all the way as it will effect the distance.

There are 5 lenses, 3 in the Close Up set and 2 in the Macro set. The Close Up set contains a 500mm, 250mm and 120mm. The Macro set contains a 60mm and 30mm. The tricky thing with these is getting the distance. For me it is easier to think of them in centimeters, mainly because I don’t have a measuring device that has millimeters on it. I have experimented with them a couple times and this last time was when I finally got something decent. With the Macro set it has been suggested that a flat object is best, I am still on the fence about that one. When using these lenses it is important to remember that the focusing distance is from the front of the lens. My first attempt, was measuring from the front of the camera. The Holga should be set to infinity when using the close up & macro lenses. Remember when using the Macro lenses because of the short distance the camera could block the light on the subject causing it to be too dark.

If you like Macro and Close Up photography this is definitely something you should add to your collection. Below are samples of what I got over the weekend. Don’t forget to leave questions or comments. Later!

500 mm lens accessory for Holga Camera250 mm lens accessory for Holga Camera60 mm lens accessory for Holga Camera30 mm lens accessory for Holga Camera

He Took a Risk and Landed the Shot

I have a fun story to share with you this week. I like to go out with a friend of mine and we both love take our Holgas. We always have fun and get some incredible shots. The thing I love most is how we will be at the same place, yet see and capture such diverse aspects. For one of our trips I wanted to journey back in my childhood, so we went to the elementary school I attended and a couple of the local parks I used to love going to. I went to photograph the old playground equipment that I used to play on everyday. I decided to invite my friend along to see how his shots might vary from my own, being that I had a emotional tie to the location and he didn’t.

Empty pool in the spring with melted snow runoffWe started the day at the elementary school and then headed over to the local park. The park is right next to a public swimming pool and a skate park. It was April so the pool was still closed for the winter, however, there was some water from melted snow. My friend decided he had to get a picture in the pool, so he jumped the fence to get the shot he wanted. While, I do not encourage or condone trespassing, a great photographer will do what is needed to get the shot. The park was busy with families out and about, it was one of the first nice days of the year, and I was concerned that he would get caught. Before he jumped the fence I told him I would play dumb and pretend I didn’t know him if he got caught, I also told him I wouldn’t pay bail . However, he managed to get in and out without any incident and ended up with a great shot (see left).

Below are a shot I took and a shot my friend took, as an example of how people photograph things differently. My shot is on left.

Geodesic playgroundRed Swing on playground

 

 

 
Have you taken any risks just to get the shot? Tell us your story. See you soon!