I don't know what it is about some hobbyists that sends me into a frenzy. I think the thing that really chaps my ass is when a person goes out and buys all the latest, greatest photo stuff and then comes to me and whines about "not having anything to shoot." "You're lucky," they say, "You're a professional and you get to photograph really cool stuff all the time." I laugh to myself and think about the job I had shooting garbage trucks. Or the fast deadline magazine job of shooting the 300 pound IT guy in the tiny beige office with the last century computer tower and trying to make him look.....positively interesting.
The befuddled whiner packs every piece of gear he can into his oversized bag and heads out on a quest to find something, anything, that might interest him. Every once in a while I'll do my walk with someone like this. I made the mistake of doing so recently. It was an eye-opener about the power of indecision and uncertainty. They were so busy choosing which lens to put on the body or which body to put over their shoulder that they walked right past subject after subject that would delight me.
Like the image above. It's a flower in a vase in a fast food Sushi restaurant. It's behind a glass window. The person I was walking with glanced at the window and walked on. He saw an empty restaurant. I saw the flower. I moved in closer, shot at a wide focal length and a fairly wide open aperture. I love this flower just as it is. No need to head to PhotoShop to "spruce it up."
I saw this sign in the window of a downtown club and loved the insouciant trashiness of the whole thing. I snapped a quick photograph for fun. My hobbyist friend took this as some sort of cue that this was high art and blessed by the professional photographer in tow. So he grabbed another camera body out of his bag and covered this poster with two different L series zooms. He also bracketed. Some hobbyists think "hot girl" = real photo. Even if it's just an illustration.
By now I was trying to ignore the constant chatter about technique and which lens is sharper and what body has the best dynamic range and all the usual stuff. We walked by this building and I was intrigued by the light on the bricks and the reflections in the windows. I snapped a few frames. It's one of the last ancient, two story office buildings in all of downtown. My friend was mystified by my choice and kept on walking, a big camera over each shoulder.
Finally we walked past a green construction fence on the way to the cars. He was busy putting his cameras away. The sun was sliding down and downtown was behind us now. He didn't see much else he wanted to point his cameras at. I snapped away at this series.
He shook his head and made some remark along the lines of, "You should really take more time to look at the stuff that's online. You'll know what's popular. You'll never be able to sell this!" We were supposed to go get coffee after our walk but I decided that I just wasn't in the mood. He shoved his Canon 1D4 with his 24-70mm L lens in one part of a bag so big it would give an inferiority complex to a Samsonite Steamer Trunk and plunked his Canon 1DS3 with a 70-200 series 2 L lens in the other side and fidgeted with his fanny pack of gadgets.
Then he finally looked over at my camera. "Oh," he said, "That's your problem. That's not L glass!."
I was carrying around a Canon 7D and the little, dirt cheap, refurbished, $119 18-55 IS zoom lens. "I don't see how you can shoot anything with that piece of shit." Was the last thing he said before he got in his car and headed off to an evening of post processing and vigorous Photoshopping.
He's right, of course. It's impossible to do any good photography without spending tens of thousands of dollars.
I have a new rule. I'll only walk now with non-photographers. Should suit both of us fine.......
All photos shot this afternoon. Yes. We survived the big freeze.