Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Too Many Images...

So I finally broke down and bought a digital camera. I can imagine some of you are dragging their mouse pointer towards the bookmarks section of your browser right now because you're expecting some sort of techno-phobic rant about how digital isn't better than film... Read on; you may be surprised!

First of all, I'm not a technophobe. For those of you that read my motorcycle posts you should know that I tend to gravitate away from carburators and more towards EFI. Same goes for photography. I've always been a fan of digital image manipulation (i.e. digital darkroom) because it makes professional photography techniques more accessible. You no longer need a darkroom with enlargers and bottles of image fixers and other chemicals. A decent computer with Photoshop will do the trick. Although, I admit, Photoshop is almost as expensive as a complete traditional darkroom!

My biggest beef with digital cameras was the lack of quality; still is, actually. You see, my 20+ year old Minolta SLR still consistently outperforms my new Fuji S2 Pro. Doesn't really make sense, does it? You see, film technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, just like its digital counterparts. Even a budget point-&-shoot camera loaded with pro-quality 400 speed film will outperform even the most expensive digital SLR in many situations.

So why is everybody jumping on the digital bandwagon? Money baby, M-O-N-E-Y! I've done a few wedding gigs and the latest craze is "non-intrusive" or "documentary" style pics. These are basically un-posed pics of the bride fixing her makeup or the groom putting on his socks. For whatever reason, people like it. The problem with doing this style of photography is that alot of it is hit-or-miss; in other words, you'll be shooting alot of film to get very few sellable pics. In comes digital photography. I've got two memory cards that each hold about 1GB's worth of photos. If that's not enough, I've got a digital wallet onto which I can dump the memory card's contents (it holds 40GB). This effectively means that I can machine-gun the shutter throughout the whole ceremony then sort through the pics and select the best ones when I get back to the studio. Once the initial selection has been made, I can print out contact sheets for the client or have them browse through the pics on the website. They can then make their selection, including size and number of prints, and I print them out then mount them in albums or frames and the job is done!

Here's the other cool bit: they can give their online photo album's address to grandparents, aunts and uncles and they can also order prints. It only takes a fraction (and I don't use that word lightly) of the time that is used to for me which means I make a better profit margin while charging less to my clients and offering them a better service.

Like I said: M-O-N-E-Y!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cabin Fever... or The Impatient Motorcyclist.

So the kitchen sink clogged-up beyond belief last Saturday. Leftover bits and pieces of food from the garbage disposal’s diet were floating around in gently spiralling motion, which would have been kind of beautiful had it not been for the stench. What does this have to do with motorcycling you ask? Patience, my friend. You see, being the man of the house (i.e. slave to my wife); I took it upon myself to try and fix this nuisance that was depriving me of the great pleasure I get when doing the dishes. I trotted out in the snow to the storage barn in the corner of our land in search of a plunger and drain snake (“our land” is actually one tenth of an acre in suburbia – the seventh circle of hell). After fiddling with the frozen lock for ten minutes, I finally got in and froze in my tracks when I saw it: my motorcycle (actually, I was also literally frozen in my tracks)!

It almost seems like years since I put it away for the winter. I’ve got to give credit to my brain for effectively masking out the thought of motorcycling throughout most of these cold months; I guess it’s a form of self-therapy. Somehow when I saw it there in the corner, the overwhelming urge to ride it came back with a vengeance (damn you, brain for giving up on me). The best I could do for now, given the 50+ feet of snow outside, was to sit on it and pretend I was somewhere warm; which was a particularly difficult thing to imagine considering that the seat was rather cold on my – ahem - twiddly bits. Eventually I managed to mentally filter out the cold (or my body simply went numb) and enjoy my brief daydream of a ride down some summer road through twisty corners with no traffic. The lack of feeling in my extremities (all of them) ultimately brought me back to reality with a deafening thud. Dismounting the bike proved to be a rather disgraceful dance since most of my joints were no longer functioning within normal parameters due to lack of heat. Regardless, my little fantasy did me some good and proved to be helpful therapy in coping with the long wait until the snow melts and Mother Nature brings the warmth of Spring back to my life.

I slowly made my way back to the house with images of summer rides still filling my mind. I somehow felt as though things weren’t that bad and the wait for warmth would now be bearable. Of course, all feelings of well being were completely shot to hell when I walked through the door and saw my wife still pointing at the kitchen sink. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to go back to the storage barn and get that plunger and snake... But first I’ll just dream a few laps around the neighbourhood.