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Andy Rouse…photographer ?

Some time ago I wrote a brief but complimentary entry about Andy Rouse. I'm beginning to wonder if he isn't actually being a bit of a pillock, to be honest.

in General Rants , Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Some time ago I wrote a brief but complimentary entry about Andy Rouse. I'm beginning to wonder if he isn't actually being a bit of a pillock, to be honest. He's now heavily involved in Pixmantec's mega-hyped RawShooter, intially as a endorser, he uses nothing else (in which case I can understand if his sales are dropping off), but now apparently as a core member of the company - from Pixmantec's latest mailing: "Many of you will know Andy Rouse by his reputation as a wildlife photographer but few will know that before this career path he was a software marketer. This, coupled with his knowledge of RAW workflow and his digital profile in the press, has led to him working for Pixmantec as our Marketing Director." Ok, but why do I think this makes him a pillock ? First because he is seriously undermining any claim he may have to impartiality, and since he does a fair amount of product reviewing, this matters. Amateur phtographers presumeably are supposed to feel comfortable that a product endorsed by Andy Rouse is a good one, rather than one in which he has a financial stake. Second, because he's associating himself with a product which is still unproven, relying on Rent-A-Quotes from fellow hacks like Martin Evening (author of the most over-rated Photoshop book ever, IMHO), is a shameless rip off of another product (CaptureOne) which Andy used to endorse...er, no, sorry, still does endorse ("C1 is my product of choice" -- at least get your ducks in a row, Andy), and which is so firmly entrenched in the Microsoft camp that their newsletter states: "Be aware that links in Pixmantec NEWS may only function when using Microsoft Internet Explorer." (why ? so the embedded campaigns.com spyware can run properly ?) A startup tech company like Pixmantec, even when it has another company (PhaseOne) to do their R&D for them, needs totally dedicated top-flight marketing (I know this from very painful recent experience). I cannot see how a pro wildlife photographer can supply this. And why does Andy Rouse matter ? Because he is arguably one of the very best wildlife photographers working today (personally I'd put him in the top 3, and joining one of his workshops is a recurring daydream), not because he used to be one of the UK's army of mindless corporate IT suits. Although his recent writings on Nature Photography Network indicate that his creativity is alive and well, I'd seriously examine my priorities if I was him. Have I actually used RawShooter ? Nope. I'm a Mac user, and it doesn't run on Macs. I upgraded to Microsoft VirtualPC 7 expressly to try it, and it didn't work. Why not ? Dunno, CaptureOne works fine under VPC7 emulation, so I cannot see any good reason, save poor design, why RawShooter couldn't. I'd get out and do some photography if I were you, Andy.

Time of no photography

in Photography , Thursday, May 19, 2005

I haven't written anything here in the last two months basically because I have done practically no photography, and apart from trying to catch up on reading - slowly - Alain Briot's excellent Aesthetics and Photography series (buy the CD!) I haven't really done anything even related. The demands of a new job and moving to a new appartment in an unfamiliar region take their toll. However in the last couple of days I have been going around with my Ricoh GR1, just in case I stumble upon a quick opportunity. I've often considered that the GR1 was highly significant to me, as using it was the first time I really appreciated what a difference a really high quality lens could make. But for some reason it occured to me this morning that there might have been another factor: autofocus. The first autofocus SLR I ever owned was the Olympus E1, and the first thing I did with it was to work out how to enable the manual focus overide. I was quite fixated on the idea that I wanted to be in control. Later - much later - I came to realise that the problem of control was not so much over focus as over autofocus. I assumed, somehow, that autofocus "just works" and if I was getting bad results it was because it wasn't very good, and anyway was somehow cheating. Of course I was wrong, completely wrong. To use autofocus efficiently and creatively you have to understand it and practice, like any other tool. But maybe with the GR1 the fact that autofocus can only really be disabled in favour of "SNAP" mode, which sets up hyperfocal focusing, gave me the benefits of autofocus coupled with the excellent lens. Ironically I did consider buying the GR1v, which includes a kind of manual focus mode. Whatever, it is nice to rediscover this camera. It is the only one I own which can really be taken anywhere for opportunistic shooting. I have an "ancient" Olympus C4040 (ancient despite being 3 or 4 years younger than the GR1), but it is relatively bulky and the handling, especially compared to the GR1, is horrible, So all I need now is to find somewhere I can still get slide film developed. [Posted from the scene with hblogger 2.0]