[Note From the Editor]: Moose and I were both emailing back and forth about the angry comments posted here yesterday by readers concerning Nikon’s new D3X product announcement. We were both surprised at all ‘the hatin” goin’ on.
My (Scott’s) take on it was this: “Look, Nikon came out with a new camera. It’s $8.000. If you think it’s too much, or not for you—-don’t buy it. That’s it. End of story. If Toyota comes out with a $75,000 car tomorrow, with just one big advantage over a Toyota Camry—I don’t get mad at Toyota. I don’t berate Toyota. I don’t go on forums and slam Toyota—-they can offer as many Toyotas as they want, at any price they want—I don’t have to buy one—I’ll just stick with my Camry. That’s it.”
Anyway, after writing back and forth, Moose emailed me a short story/follow-up, which I wanted to share with you here today because it’s much more eloquent than my short rant above. It’s Moose’s take on the situation, and I thought it really adds to the discussion. So, here my first mini-guest blog, from my friend Moose. –Scott].
The scent of fresh baked turkeys still lingers in the air, boxes are a strewn across the living floor as xmas reemerges for its grand annual show. The family has all come home and by some amazing good fortune, fresh snow has fallen so inside and out, everything just says happy holidays. Laughter is in the air, stories of past fun being told, adventure while we were apart are being shared. It's what life is all about.
And then there is dad. He's got that black box in his hand and light on a string bouncing of this wall, that ceiling, saying hold still, reposing a prior moment, crawling on the floor looking for a new angle (while you're down there, can you hand me that ornament that just fell). He's even outside on the deck shooting in through the giant window as if some stranger peering in on the family fun. "Honey, come in from out there, you're scaring the neighbors!" All this just to preserve forever the special moments that, when we look back on the photograph, a smile comes to our face, a warmth to our heart.
Photography is a funny thing, it's full of "gotchas!" and "round robins" and "catch 22s." There are probably more idioms involving photography than life itself. And yet, that simple click of the camera can on one hand put a giant smile on your face, or giant frown. To have fun with a camera, you've gotta take some aspects seriously. Take photography too seriously and all the fun goes out of it. Throw into this mix the human factor and oh man, all hell can break loose!
The one thing though that has always puzzled me about photographers and their photography is, the stress they seem to pile on it. In all honesty, it's just a picture. Yeah, the photograph can have an impact, they can change the world but, they are still a picture. The sun will rise tomorrow with or without those pixels corralled, shined and displayed. That's more than can be said for some photographers though.
What brings me to this wondering rant is the current blogishsphere response to the D3x. Not too many years ago, photographers were daring the photo industry to come out with more pixels. Daring is probably too gentle a word, demanding is more accurate. While many of us were saying quality is more important that quantity, the web was alive with forecasts of world doom if we didn't get more pixels. So the manufactures produced, on their time schedule (which never, ever matches photographers) said cameras and being more pixels, charged more. And with that done, now the outrage, the anger because what, they delivered what you asked for but at a price so they can stay in business? They are not putting a gun to your head to buy them, they are not taking away all the other less expensive options forcing you to jump on board. All they did was add another body to the line up. They brought out a tool that some demanded and others truly need. And with that, the flood of anger. Emotion in photography is good, it's a must for powerful images, and contained in your image is where that emotion should be focused.
I had a very wise high school photo teacher, Mr Traub. Most of his lessons, being the typical dumb kid, didn't sink in until long after I'd left his class. I learned a lot about photography, and photographers in those two years. One day after a number of the upper classman had moaned about how they were stuck using the "old" cameras, twin eye monsters, and not able to use the new Nikon F2, they weren't able to take good images. Mr. Traub in his oh not so subtle style handed them his Nikon F2 with 55f3.5 Micro and said, "You go shoot with that, I'll go out with this broken TEM and we'll compare what we get." We all know the outcome, Mr. Traub had great images, the kids had kid's stuff. It wasn't the gear but the inspiration, the talent and the emotion behind it that made the images.
I'm the first to admit: "Hi, my name is Moose, I'm addicted to cameras." And yet with that admission, I still have a small camera bag of gear. I am very fortunate and thank the powers to be that I have the opportunity to evaluate gear before putting down hard earn cash so I add only those pieces, those tools that permit me to make a click into a smile. I would suggest if we took ourselves and our photography just a little less seriously, we'd have a whole lot more fun, better images to share and witness the best outcome of our efforts. Bringing a smile to the hearts of those we expose to our photography from the emotion we've packed into our photograph!
— Moose Peterson