Photos © 2002, Michael Mackay, All Rights Reserved
Photography is a wide-ranging
field that engenders passion in its practitioners, and like all great
forms of expression creates opinions formed through experience and reflection.
In its early days one of the great debates was: Is Photography Art?
This was the subject of many essays and heated discussions among players
and spectators. Today, issues such as film vs. digital, format choices,
the validity of computer generated images, photography as exploitation
or revealer, and even the merits of ink jet vs. silver prints cause
similar debate. We are opening this department up to readers, manufacturers,
and retailers--in short, everyone who lives and breathes photography
and who has an opinion about anything affecting imaging today.
Here's how to get involved: write us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or send us a letter with a proposed topic and a synopsis of your idea.
Once approved, we'll ask you to send us about 500-1000 words on
the subject chosen. The idea here is not to push any product or wave
any flag, but to create discussion about photo and imaging topics of
the day. We reserve the right to edit whatever you send in, although
we will never edit intention or opinion but only for length and, hopefully,
for clarity. We reserve the right to publish your work on our web site
as well, so you can join the archives and be a resource for opinion
for years to come.
So, get thinking and writing and share your Point of View.
There's little doubt
that a state of the art digital camera may produce fantastic imagery.
But I do not wield a $10,000 professional pixel packer for the same reason
I don't drive a Formula One racecar to work. I'm an amateur
photographer, which just so happens to be Webster's definition for
Shutterbug. Realistic constraints of mortgage payments and college tuition
limit my camera's prestige factor. But amateur need not mean neophyte.
For Film Results, Pick...
As a free-lance supplier of sports photography to the local school district,
my pictures must transcend the theoretical limit of: Good-Fast-Cheap,
Pick Any Two. Fortunately, I've discovered a cost-effective
method to capture photos which match the resolution, clarity, and saturation
of color film. It's called...color film! Reasonably priced prosumer
digital cameras suffer from slow shutter lag and cumbersome electronic
viewfinders. Conversely, film SLRs benefit from a mature technology curve
and stiff market competition. A few hundred bucks will purchase a camera
body capable of all but the most demanding (and mostly obtuse) capabilities.
Development costs are admittedly expensive, but look at all the money
I'm saving on digital storage cards, batteries, printers, ink cartridges,
and photo quality paper.
My arsenal of glass looks equally austere. A simple 100-300mm f/5.6 zoom
and 500mm f/8 catoptric (mirror lens) for well-lit outdoor venues, coupled
with a 50mm f/2 prime for indoor events fill my camera bag. Yeah, I know,
none of these lenses possess the glorified "bokeh" so desperately
sought by elitists. However, none of them required an equivalent weight
of gold bullion for purchase. Great sports photos must capture the essence
of emotional competition while complying with basic axioms of exposure,
clarity, and composition. Everything else remains superfluous to the thrill
Please don't misinterpret my point of view. I love to acquire new
equipment, and my background as an optical engineer gives me a deep appreciation
for all things photographic (analog or digital). Do not limit your creativity
because you own Grandpa's old Kodak clunker. Proper technique, familiarity
with the subject, and attention to detail go a long way to compensate
for a lack of gee-whiz equipment loaded with useless gew-gaws. Mix in
a little innovation, and the possibilities are stunning. Good enough to
get my photos published in a magazine? You be the judge.