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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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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