Passages

Our lives are full of milestones and passages. Birth being a prime one of course, then everything else that happens along the way. These past few weeks have been full of milestones for me. Another birthday, my first trip outside Canada since Covid, a major move for a family member, major surgery for another family member and the loss of a friend and coworker.

Each was a collection of emotions – I guess that’s really what defines a passage. If there was no emotion, it would be just another day.

I’m left with a desire to share the emotions of those moments, while preserving my own and others privacy. Kind of an odd mix. But I guess we discover things about ourselves as we go through these passages and share them.

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Profit vs. Popularity

There was a recent announcement that DPReview (its website, social media and YouTube assets) would be shut down by April 2023 after 25 years of activity. The published outcry has been huge, with opinion firmly expressing the view that this is a big loss for the photographic community.

How is it that something universally popular can be deemed unnecessary? It seems to happen a lot. This piece isn’t a commentary on the merits of any particular service. It’s about the decision-making of corporate owners.

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Technical Skills vs. Artistic Eye

Photography is an interesting hobby/occupation: there is so much to learn to simply take competent photographs. Some (ok, including me) believe that learning the basics is key to eventually being able to express yourself artistically. But some come at it the other way around – using their artistic nature to develop their photographic eye, then learning what is needed to express it digitally, often through trial and error.

I grew up in and worked in very technical arenas – my parents worked in fields where following the rules was paramount and expected, and where training and development were necessary to be able to work in their fields at all. I then spent a career in an engineering company (an electric utility) where “creativity” was not really encouraged and could have devastating consequences.

Then I retired…

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Womanizing Photography

We live in amazing times. The technological, societal and social changes that have occurred over the past century are mind boggling. I grew up in a small immigrant home, with no air conditioning, no fancy electrical devices (we had a hand-wring washing machine) and no technology of any kind. We got our first colour TV when I was 16.

Today, my life is surrounded by convenience gadgets and entertainment toys of all form and function. I connect more than 20 devices to my home internet network to provide everything from the service to write this post to the automated voice that wakes me in the morning to the electronic keyboard and wonderful online instructor that are teaching me how to play piano. No one born in the mid-20th century could have predicted how far we could come.

Despite those changes, some aspects of our society still could stand with some improvement. Women do not equally participate in all aspects of business, culture and sport. We don’t always get recognition even when we do. Even in my little world of hobbyist photography, the vast majority of people who are accomplished artists and who offer their expertise to others are male. I wanted to bring forward some of those challenges in this post. Maybe some of this applies to you. If so, it would be great to share experiences and advice.

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Film Rises Again

Perhaps the most puzzling trend I have seen in photography since I became immersed in it in 2014 is the rising popularity of film photography. The digital revolution essentially killed the still film photography industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Storefronts and labs closed, film production ceased, makers like Kodak essentially went out of business. But things have changed bigtime. There have always been the stalwarts that preferentially choose this medium. The puzzle is around young photographers or average non-photographer folk who now select this as their preferred way of presenting their creations. I have some thoughts on why this might be happening.

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Human Interest

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. I thought I would start off the new year with something a bit different.

It’s been just over a year now since I began working part-time at my local camera store.  I sought out the job not to earn a living, but because 18 months of Covid had left me socially isolated and mentally desolated.  I needed human contact.

Over the course of this past year, I have been blessed with exactly that.  I have discovered the wonderous variety of stories each of us has to tell about our lives, experiences and interests.  I’ve also discovered that customer service isn’t about transactions – it’s about the relationships formed with the people we serve. 

To start off 2023, I wanted to tell you about some of those.

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Gifts for Me!

A little self-serving? Yes, it is. I admit it. But I’ve discovered that friends and family who aren’t into photography and videography often have little idea on what a hobbyist might like. So I thought I would throw out a few inexpensive but meaningful ideas for that last minute shopper with a photographer on their list.

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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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