Mini-Celebration for the Visual Science Lab. Kirk pops the metaphorical Champagne cork.

In the master control booth of the main VSL bunker.
I took off the tin foil cap for this selfie.
And I actually took it with an official selfie-cam. Yikes.

I was scrounging around in the HQ refrigerator wondering whatever happened to those two cases of Bollinger Champagne I had stashed away when the non-sequitar alarm started blaring. Two ducks can be happy. And I rushed to the computing machine to see what was up. I was expecting Armageddon or at least an early Fall stock market crash but it was a tiny bit less earth shattering than that. My little sub-routine had just popped over the 18,000,000th page view if/then and was letting me know. 

So, in case any of you are keeping track we've had our 18,000,000th page view in the short history of the blog. It happened this week. 

A few predictions: The market for technically competent and socially adept photographers is looking healthier and will keep improving until the governments of the world (or crooked bankers, or both) conspire to collapse it again. Nikon and Canon will keep making versions of their existing cameras until the last gray haired practitioner shuffles off to the great darkroom. Studio flash systems will become as scarce as open ended purchase orders. Continuous lighting systems will continue to grow and evolve as our relationship with video grows, evolves and becomes more comfortable. Fewer people will take up photography as a primary and passionate hobby. More people will shoot more images of people drinking: beer, wine, shooters, slammers, coffees of all varieties and anything that comes in a retro designed bottle or austere cup. Phones will get larger as dedicated cameras get smaller. All phones will become cameras. All small cameras will become phones. Serious photography will revert back to being a hobby that nerds, AV club members and weird, electrical engineer uncles do while unserious photograph will be so ubiquitous we'll just leave the cameras running 24/7 and wait until a software company makes an app that looks through your footage/images and selects shots it thinks you might like. This will be based on AI and the program will learn to look for stuff it knows you prefer as you both grow together. Once you and the program are comfortable with each other you will allow it to auto-select and auto-upload images to your social networks until it accidentally uploads one of your psychotic, gun collecting ex-girlfriend who will then stalk you and make you cry. As soon as all social network imaging is automated (both capture and presentation) people, en masse, will get tired of looking at it all but will be afraid to back away from "sharing" and "commenting" on the images and will then adopt a service/software product that automatically acknowledges and gives feedback on images that are received on your network. You will no longer be involved as the computer and camera will create a perfect closed loop system engineered to give you and your friends the appearance that your opinions matter to other people out in the void who are equally dependent on virtual acceptance and are looking for reciprocation. 

As the economies of the world improve there will be a mass exodus from the commercial photography fringes of previously un-employed or under-employed people from other disciplines. They will have realized that the market for buying and selling "artistic" available-light-art filtered- cellphone-style images is less lucrative than the day shift at McDonalds. Clients will clamor to find that very last people who still know how to light big sets, direct people and think up novel visual translations of marketing research dreck. Those people will be in high demand. And the cycle will start all over again. And we at VSL might be right in the middle of it all writing more fun and inflammatory blogs. 

Please stay tuned for the next 18,000,000 impressions. Unless drones are now you new hobby...
I'm done with aerial drones. I'm on to drone submarines. What could possibly go wrong?

A long week of photography and some thoughts about the winners and losers in the camera bag.

And the winner of "Kirk's Favorite Corporate Event Shooting Camera Shoot Out is...." No drama or build up here: The GH4. Love EVFs and fast focus and good low light AF and great files? Stop reading, get the credit card out and go to town.

I've been out working since Sunday at a conference about finance, real estate and the process of taking 80,000 single family houses into a corporate portfolio, re-habbing them and then, ultimately securitizing them. The conference is by invitation only and the attendance is limited to the kind of people who wear really nice suits to the office, every day.

The event took place at the W Hotel here in Austin and also at the Moody Theater. The Moody Theater is where the filming is done for Austin City Limits and the "A" list of musicians who have performed there is...amazing. I was there for the registration and social events at the theater on Sunday and then spent 12 hours a day in the Moody and W on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday photographing every speaker, panelist and keynoter to hit the stage. I also worked in very low light to get audience reaction shots and I worked from the balcony to get wide stage shots to show off the amazing (mostly LED and arc) lighting for the wide stage set. I did "classic" social photography of the dinners and cocktail parties.

I wore a suit and tie and shoes that had been polished within the last 30 days. It was the complete package. I can't show the work from the show or discuss exactly what was discussed (NDA) but what I can do is pick apart what worked photographically and what didn't. And since I am crazy enough to try out three different camera models all within the same show I can say what worked for me and what worked less well. I was surprised actually and what I found out made me reconsider almost everything...