One Door Closes…

I seem to be full of metaphors today: “one door closes, another opens”. Or “Nina has left the building”. Or “The End” followed by a mike drop.

Three years ago I said yes to a volunteer role with my local camera club. That role had the lofty title of Program and Education Director. Having worked in corporate Canada for 35 years, I knew a Director was a big deal and that taking it on meant a serious commitment of ideas, time and energy. Three years later, one pandemic later (hopefully) and more than 35 club meetings and events later, I can honestly say that was true. I ended my stay in that role today, turning it over to another club member who I hope will enjoy it as much as I did.

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Cornering the Market

What do you do when you are the recognized leader in a market, have high demand but cannot bring product to that market? You abandon some of your market, apparently.

Canon has teased us with some new product announcements over the past year, but in comparison to their typically prolific advertisements prior to Covid, the announcements have been like raindrops in a desert. Eagerly sought out, with immediate impact, but within a split second, evaporating into nothing.

It seems that camera manufacturers are rethinking what it means to be in this business. With raw materials unavailable, production lines decimated and even transportation options a mere shadow of years ago, it’s definitely time to rethink the business.

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Social Media That is Not So Social

Many of us who are gear geeks like myself get a bit of a thrill in chasing not only the latest releases, but also the rumours about the latest releases. We develop our own stable of reliable sources. Some of these could be direct contacts with manufacturers, some could be other news gathering bodies that take great pains to get it right.

While I do enjoy reading about the latest rumours, they do nothing more than give me a bit of a rush. It’s the anticipation of something new and exciting. But reality eventually sets in and I get on with my day.

One such source for me has been “Canon Rumors”, a website operated for the last 14 years by the same guy. I’m not going to mention his name here and you will see why shortly. The information posted has been very reliable and very fairly presented, accompanied by a rating system that clearly indicated how likely the rumour was to materialize and how reliable his source was.

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Another First for Nikon – A New Lens That Comes with a Health Warning

A couple of weeks ago, Nikon announced a new lens aimed at those (likely professional) folks who want reach, speed and superb image quality. It is the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, designed for their flagship mirrorless camera, the Z9. Its cost ($14,000 USD) will make it inaccessible to most, but for those who can, there is one additional consideration: it comes with a health warning. Some people should not use it.

This is a first – I’ve never seen a health warning attached to any camera equipment. I had to explore that further, and found myself quite concerned. This is the actual warning that appeared in their press release on January 18, 2022:

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Vernacular Photography

Hello and Happy 2022! Hope you had a pleasant holiday season and were able to enjoy it with family and friends, despite our ongoing Covid challenges. As mentioned previously, I spent the holidays working at a camera store and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. But now it’s back to my photography. I’m dedicating myself to it this year, and hope to show much more new work shortly, so stay tuned.

But learning continues to be a focus as well. I thought I had heard of almost everything to do with photography – yes, there might be some obscure piece of equipment I had never heard of, but in terms of genres, I thought I knew it all. Not so. Listened to a great podcast driving to work about a totally new (to me) genre called “vernacular photography”. What is it? Read on.

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Never Say Never

I did something last week that I never thought I would do again. I started a new job. That’s right. I’m back in the workforce, earning bucks. It’s not full-time and may not even be for a long time, but it is an official job.

A few weeks ago, my local camera store held a job fair. Anyone interested could meet with management and have a chat. I happened to hear about the opportunity and thought, why not. I love talking to people about photography, I love helping people discover something new, and to be truthful, Covid has had such a bad effect on my psyche that getting out into a public space on a regular basis would be good for me.

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The World Has Changed

We are all looking forward to a “return to normal” as Covid-19 is wrestled to the ground. We seem to get hit in the face repeatedly as we wrestle though. But I’m confident that eventually, there will be no Covid-19 driven restrictions.

But the world has changed, and normal just won’t be that. We see signs of it everywhere – job postings that are not filled because potential employees are afraid of being in service industries, chip shortages, no trucks to ship products, no fresh produce, gas prices that are ridiculously high, more and more people working from home, and my favourite, cameras that are announced one day and cancelled the next.

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Travelling with Friends

I recently took a trip – the first one in a long time. It wasn’t to an exotic far-away location, but rather about 3 hours north of my home. The area is very popular with city residents and tourists alike, because of its small towns, wide open tracts of land covered with trees, rock formations that are part of the Canadian Shield and fresh air.

I don’t travel much with friends, at least driving in the same vehicle and staying in the same hotel suite. I instead prefer to meet my companions at our desired destination and prefer to have a quiet place to myself at the end of the day. At least, that’s what I’ve concluded now after several trips done in more traditional fashion.

The bigger challenge, and the purpose of this post, is how to manage my photographic interests while travelling with others. It is hugely difficult when travelling with those who are not photographers – family especially. I won’t go into those details, for fear of alienating any family member who might choose to read this (ha!).

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Can You Really Do What You Love (for a Living)?

I recently watched an interesting YouTube clip from landscape photographer Mark Denney. He wasn’t talking about the latest natural wonder he had visited or even his plans to do so. Instead, he talked about his journey from corporate worker to artist. He had a financially lucrative and successful career, but decided in 2019 to give it up and turn to what he loved, landscape photography. He did that with a family of four to support.

His journey has been an interesting one, and it got me thinking about how I arrived at where I am today. I thought that would make a great subject for my new YouTube video, which I have sadly been remiss in producing regularly. But I got it done, and I would love it if you would check it out.

And at the very least, I’ve memorialized my Covid mop of hair for all time. I feel like I’m back in the 70’s, when hair was long on both girls and boys, and unkempt and flowing. Those were the good old days. Now where’s my mini-skirt?

I Can See Clearly Now

If you are reading this on the day it is released, then I am or will have been in surgery for a cataract today. It’s the ultimate irony for a photographer to lose their vision, but also a reality for many of us who are older. In my case, it is doubly frustrating. Other eye issues I’ve had since 2014 mean that the eye being operated on today is my only “good” eye.

I’m titling this in the hope that this will be the outcome. Of course, every surgeon has to apprise you of the risks, which even for routine, production line surgery like this are still somewhat frightening. Bleeding, swelling, damage to other eye structures, infection, reaction to the materials that the new lens is made of, and on and on. But it is “routine” surgery, sometimes even performed with the aid of computer guided instruments. Hope that computer doesn’t have a crash today.

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