DSLRs, out of date?

 “I don’t think phones will ever replace cameras,” my friend said during a recent discussion.

I’m sure film-users said something very similar  when digital photography became main-stream. There are still, and always will be, people out there who believe that there is no replacement for quality film photography. I agree. There’s just some factor Ansel Adams’ portfolio has that digital images lack.

Why did we turn to digital? Convenience. Film photographers must have felt mighty frustrated when they slaved away at measuring the perfect shutter speed for one good photo out of 24 precious and expensive exposures while their high tech friends clicked away 75 images at no cost.

Now those same DSLR users are now having the role reversed on them. Those of us still half-way devoted to “the art of photography” and using the manual seting on their DSLR are finding themselves up against, you guessed it, the smart phone. 

Your friend is looking at the same stunning scene you are, say, a mountain range in Glacier National Park. You’re freezing your hands off fidgeting with the tri-pod and settings on your camera while your friend whips out this metallic white screen next to you. He presses a button and scans the space in front of him like Commander Data using a tricorder to find any life forms. Bam! his phone instantly transforms this magic sweep of the hand into a perfect panorama. Up the contrast, add some mild HDR effect, post it instantly with Instagram and by the time you’re back to your car he’s got 25 likes.

Your photos won’t be public until that evening when you can insert the SD card into your computer, make a couple minor adjustments on paint.net (because you’re too cheap for Photoshop) and upload them to the internets. By then, you’re friends have already seen your buddy’s flashier image and yours is old news.

Well, life is unfair and I’m sure we can all do without the excess facebook fame. But it is discouraging when everyone became a photographer overnight. Thanks to the help of apps and new technology the number of interesting photos my friends are posting have quadrupled. Apps like Instagram help people transform their images into aesthetically appealing ‘photographs.’ Three years ago you actually had to know how to work Photoshop CS to get those effects.

Times have changed and we digital photographers need to deal with it, somehow. We may have to start saying “you just can’t replace lens reflex cameras*” like our film predecessors resisted digital. However! one thing will always be true in photography: the photographer makes the image not the camera, program, app, or whatever new technology surfaces. 




*sounds like the new all digital four thirds systems will, which in my opinion are just digital cameras with interchangeable lenses.

Sit Still

A friend is very much looking forward to being in once place this winter, settling down and falling into a routine. He’s grown tired of living out of his car, buying food only for that day, sleeping on the floors of friends’ homes.

Can’t say I relate. On the go since January and I don’t want to stop.

You see, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as going somewhere. Have you ever experienced 70 miles an hour on some stunning NorthWest highway, car filled with everything needed to survive? The satisfaction of knowing that any of these forest-service roads can be home for the night?

Wandering is an addiction.  

Only necessity has convinced me to tie myself down this winter in Sandpoint, Idaho. Six month lease mid-November through Early April steady employment what?  That’s quite a commitment, and if it wasn’t for the issue of funds, I’d be going still.

Permanency, for any period of time, poses a threat. This blog and life have for the past two years been based on travel. The constant go, excitement of new locations and meeting new people. What adventures can be generated by staying in once place? How can I be inspired without my regular endorphin-releasing dose of travel?

Or maybe, more worrisome, are the temptations a routine will bring. The comfort zone of a steady job will begin to encroach on memories of tip money in pocket, three days off and someone new and beautiful to enjoy it with. I fear getting used to having a full kitchen at my disposal and a place to put things I have never needed before. Having a roof and steady work will start to seem more inviting than coming back from yet another unpaid day on the river to find my tent swamped out.

Permanency is an addiction. 

Don’t you loose that desire, my friend Surge tells me. He says he sees in the faces of his friends the great wanderlust diminish. Don’t you stay and get it too.

I don’t dare.