I was quite surprised to find that the UK monthly magazine, Practical Photography, chose to publish two photographs I submitted to them in October.
The photographs were both taken with the Olympus E-1, which shows that 5Mpix is actually quite adequate for publication.
Since this was only my second attempt at getting published, I suppose I'm allowed to feel slightly pleased with myself - especially since my subject, puffins, was hardly original in itself. Now the pressure is on for a follow-up...
Recent news articles have been highlighting the dramatic environmental and ecological disaster we are facing if governments - and George W Bush's in particular - stay in their greed-fuelled state of denial. The Independent recently published an article reporting Tony Blair's chief scientist's attack on US policies. It states, amongst other things, that "results of a major study showed yesterday that more than a million species will become extinct as a result of global warming over the next 50 years".
So what has this got to do about photography ? Well in fact it need not have to have anything to do with it, but it has. The work of talented and high profile wildlife photographers help to keep issues in the public eye. Seeing a great picture of a wild animal in its natural habitat is always nice - seeing it in the context that your children will probably only ever see it as a historical curiosity is another matter altogether. The photo that sparked off this train of thought - although the environmental issues were already well to the fore in my thoughts - was of a group of lions, published today by Michael Reichman on his Luminous Landscape website.
It illustrates that beyond all the talk of megapixels, L lenses, Canon, Nikon, Leica, etc ad nauseum, that there is, sometimes, some tangible social benefit to this photography stuff. If just a few visitors to his very popular site stop and think, hey, a minute, maybe that goddam pinko liberal limey scientist guy has got a point...then maybe the lions, and the other 999,999 species will have a better chance.
I wonder why...
Maybe it's because the current range of "35mm" digital SLRs are simply not suitable, with the expensive exception of the Canon EOS 1Ds, for landscape photography. The "keyhole" viewfinders restrict the ability to focus manually and preview depth of field and the effective focal length magnification factor of smaller sensors restricts the potential for wide angle photography.
It seems that my personal needs and constraints are not yet met by digital SLRs on the market. So I'll just have to put up with waiting 4 days for processing, followed by endless scanning, for a while yet.
The photography world has been abuzz with talk about the latest Canon digital SLR, the 300D. This could be what the world (well ok, photographers) has been waiting for - a (relatively) cheap and very high quality, changeable lens digital SLR camera, devolved from the more expensive but highly rate 10D. Seems like it should clean up, or at least kill off a lot of the more expensive all-in-one cameras, with their small sensors, awful viewfinders, and crazy shelf-life. It might even kill the new Olympus E-1 and Pentax *ist Digital before they get into the shops. But the gadget factor on the 300D is pretty low. No movie mode! Heavens. (although why not, finally...) No image manipulation gimmicks! No sepia mode! Just a solid little camera with a sensor that delivers results as good as the best 35mm film. Will I get one ? Probably not. I've already got good 35mm film equipment, so in terms of absolute quality it isn't much of a step up. And whilst the camera is cheap (ok, "cheap"), the better lenses certainly are not. For me, a step up would be a medium format 645 system, which, one day, I might be able to afford a digital back for. It seems to be becoming an interesting choice. Unless of course next month Canon releases a full frame DSLR at $1000... they will one day. So, time to take a step back and think, what will make my photos better ? The unwelcome answer is of course, hard work and dedication. Not shopping :-)