Happiness Is A Day With My Camera                                           

 

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linda Walch

Today as I drove to town some expert on the radio said that there are 12 states of happiness.

I can’t remember what they were or how “happiness” is determined, but after a bit of searching I found a short article that said to be happy we must “anticipate with pleasure, savor the moment, express happiness, and reflect on happy memories”.

I know there are times and things that make me happy. However, there are also moments that no matter what my surroundings are or the circumstances I am in, I am just not happy.

My wife makes me happy, and even when I know she is mad at me for something I have said or done, I am still happy when she’s with me. Maybe that’s one of those states.

I doubt there has ever been any studies done on the states of happiness for photographers. So while those reading this think about what makes them happy I’m going to delve into that mysterious state.

Happiness might be about things like camera equipment, or about creating a good photograph.

Most photographers are devastated when they receive a poor review on a picture, so there is lots of ego involved in their happiness.

I know sitting around with other photographers talking about anything photographic is just plain blissful.

I don’t have any science that I can call up and haven’t discussed happiness with any philosophers, but I have always felt that photographers have a culture of their own. There are those who might argue that concept, but I am absolutely convinced that it is so.

I constantly interact with other photographers in online forums, or talk to them personally, and those photographers are always ready and willing to tell me when they are happy or not with their photography.

Some seem to be more interested in the technology of photography then the process of making pictures and there are others that care little about the equipment as long as they can make a picture.

I once knew a photographer that was happiest when he found a problem with a piece of photography equipment. He delighted in making test after test and would sometimes spread twenty or more prints on my counter explaining how a particular camera or lens didn’t match what the manufacturer or other photographers claimed. Personally, I’m disappointed when something doesn’t work as described, but he would actually be cheery.

I remember a fellow that used to spend all his spare time hunting (with his camera). He’ll show up at my shop with a grin as wide as all outdoors and happily describe how he crawled thru the sagebrush, waded some creek, or slowly froze as he hung off some cliff. What made him happy was the process of making pictures.

I know photographers that are continually changing equipment. Not because of problems with what they own, but because they read something, or talked to someone, about a new addition from their manufacturer of choice, and can’t live without it.

Sometimes their choices don’t so much meet a practical need as an emotional one, but they make it easy for me, and anyone else they talk to, to observe how very happy they are with their new acquisitions.

This medium has so many genres and outlets to make one happy.  There are portrait photographers, wildlife photographers, scenic and landscape photographers, street and sports photographers, those that specialize in plant photography and, of course, many more, each with differing sets of skills, and, to my mind, their own states of happiness.

I don’t know if photographers have twelve states of happiness, or only the four I found in that short article, but I will say that I meet lots of people that are happy to be doing photography, and being involved with it in their own way.

Maybe its just as simple as the words I once saw written on a wall, “Happiness is a day with my camera.”

 

 

 

The Best Camera for Outdoor and Wildlife Photography

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Landscape Photographer

Digital technology has been around long enough that I occasionally forget there are many people that have never used anything but small-sensored point and shoot digicams. I recently talked with an amateur photographer who was planning to discard his well-used point-and-shoot camera hoping that a DSLR would help him take better pictures. No, that’s not exactly right. He believed like so many others that a better camera would make him a better photographer. Actually, his question was, “What would be the best camera for outdoors and wildlife photography?” He is an outdoorsman and “needed the whole meal deal,” although I am not sure what he actually meant by that. Perhaps he wanted one camera that would be capable of doing everything.

What should be my advice to an aspiring wildlife photographer? I could give him my personal perspective, and I could suggest he search out wildlife and scenic photographer sites online to make his own decisions.

I will summarize what I got from a check of advice from avid wildlife photographers. Wildlife photography is harder on a camera than any other type of photography. Most of the time photographers will need to push the limits of their cameras. And, photographing wildlife will demand speed, resolution, and a well-built, quality camera, and, therefore, the best cameras for wildlife photos are usually the most expensive ones.

The photographer then should begin by looking at cameras that are durable, and capable of taking some bumping around, and be sturdy enough to take some abuse from the weather. And because the photographer would be shooting in all types of lighting conditions, especially low light, early in the morning, or at the end of the day, I would recommend looking at, and expecting to pay more for models capable of higher ISO.

Unlike a tiny digicam the photographer will need to concern him/herself with the lens, as well as with the camera. Personally, I would save my money on the camera and spend it on a quality lens. A saying I have heard over and over ever since I have been in this medium is that “it’s all about the glass,” referring to the lens. A photographer, like any craftsperson, needs the correct tools.

Then there is the discussion of full frame versus crop-sensor cameras when one is deciding on which is the best DSLR. Hmm…I think that’s a can of worms best left for later. There are enough confusing choices to keep a photographer awake at night with topics like which camera manufacturer, which model, and which lens. And I suppose there are also the possibilities with the new host of lightweight, mirror-less cameras making their way into photographer’s bags.

I plan on spending some time helping this about-to-be wildlife/scenic photographer make his own choice about his camera equipment. I would rather not be one of those that advise a particular manufacturer. That choice should be the photographer’s.

If we were able to ask Ansel Adams, one of the most famous scenic photographers, for his thoughts, he would say, “The single most important component of a camera is twelve inches behind it.”

I know that does not assist with the decision of what camera that photographer should get, but it does let him know that whatever he gets, he will absolutely need to spend time learning how to use it.

I always enjoy comments. Thank you, John