Sunday, January 16, 2011

View from Mt. Alyeska, Alaska

Mt. Alyeska, located in Girdwood, Alaska, amongst the Chugach Mountains is only about 70 miles south of Anchorage. And, getting there from Anchorage along the Seward Highway running alongside Turnagain Arm is also some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever imagine.

Once you arrive you will find a beautiful resort (we didn't stay there, we were waiting for our ship to come in to Whittier). We took the tram to the top of the mountain for some spectacular views. You can see from the all the green that we weren't there in winter, which was a good thing...we learned that Mt Alyeska gets, on average, 625 inches of snow each year so they should be well up to, and over their ears in snow right about now. Pretty good location for a ski resort.

The first image is overlooking Turnagain Arm, which is fed by the Cook Inlet. As you can see from the water level, the tide was out.



Friday, January 7, 2011

Photography Phrases I'd Like to See Banned for 2011

Every year, the Lake Superior State University publishes its list of banned words. Well, recently they published their list for 2011, and it got my thinking about some photography phrases that I would be happy to see banned. Now, I don’t rant about things very often so I think I deserve some leeway here.

Photography Phrases that I'd like to see banned for 2011:

It takes great pictures! This one always bugs me. What If I said these pots and pans cook really good food! It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, would it? The camera is a just a tool; it's the photographer that takes the picture.  Now, if we say that the camera has great image quality instead, then I think I can live with that?

This entire commercial was shot with...
Yes, we know. All new DSLRs come with video; it's no longer a new concept. I think the Nikon D90 was the first DSLR with video capability (720p) launched in August 2008 followed by the Canon 5D MkII (1080p) in September 2008. In fact, DSLRs have been used for TV and film quite regularly for some time now. Oh yeah, those commercials always look great, so of course a first time user will be able to achieve the same results. Well, at least that’s what they want you to believe.  However, a DSLR with video in the hands of a skilled cinematographer, director and full production crew really do make it look easy on those commercials.

I need more megapixels! Okay, first question back is why? Because the salesperson at the camera shop tells me that more is always better.  More is better for them because they want to sell you a camera. Okay, but what’s your photographic “need”? “I like to make large prints, you know 24x30”. Yup, I know and I have a couple taken with an 8MP Rebel XT, and they look great! I’ve also seen other large prints from D70 at 6MP and they look great, too. I’ve also heard/read “I shoot wildlife so I need crop a lot; therefore, I need more resolution.” Okay, I’m not sure that you need more megapixels, what you need is a longer lens. You don’t need a $10k 600mm lens, you could get a decent 80-400mm with a teleconvertor… good length, less cropping. Yes, it might cost more initially, but camera bodies come and go… good glass will last a long very time.

When will (insert camera brand of choice) release their next model? Or, (insert camera brand of choice) is going to fall so far behind everyone else if they don’t update the (insert camera model)! Okay, what do you need your camera to do more, better or differently than what it can do right now? If you can seriously answer this and come up with some actual reasons where you regularly lose shots, or have lost money in your business, then perhaps you do need to upgrade to something more advanced. Do you really need it, or do you really want it? I willing to bet it's more the latter. I usually see comments like this from amateurs, and very rarely from practicing professionals. As I said above, camera bodies come and go and there will always be something better around the corner. Just be happy with what you have, keep shooting and learning your craft, save your money and then when the new toys come out go nuts!

Okay, rant over (for now). If you’re interested in the Lake Superior State University’s list of banned words you can check it out here: