Nestled in the small woodsy town of Willits California the annual Kinetic Carnivale transforms the streets, museum, and parks into a celebration of quasi-science steam based whimsical fun.
Vehicles, structures, costumes and more abound at this festival. While not everyone shows up in costume, there was so much atmosphere that you don't even notice. It feels like walking into a Victorian world.
Even the vendors were in costume.
The evening performers were top notch and included greats such as Lee Presson and the Nails.
Don't miss the next Kinetic Carnivale - click here to learn more.
Digital cameras have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Many old-timers in the business still miss the resolution film negatives can hold, and it's true that digital has only recently begun to catch up to the wonders of medium-format film, but digital has so many advantages that it has long dominated the professional world, and crushed the hobbyist market.
Professionals and amateurs alike are still faced with the same challenges when choosing their camera system, but the world of digital marketing has changed how that challenge is presented. In the film days size, durability and features were the prime considerations, and how the camera feels in your hand was the other side of that coin. These are still the prime considerations, but those problems are obfuscated by the clever marketing words camera companies use to sway us to their team.
I prefer Pentax cameras. Like most DSLRs, Pentax offers a camera that takes great pictures. Most cameras take great pictures, especially if you're doing portraits or prints at 8x10 or smaller. So, what makes one camera better than another? It all boils down to how the piece feels in your hand, and the subtle features that you don't think you'll need, until you need them.
I currently use the Pentax K-3.
Like all Pentax cameras, the K-3 allows me to use any K mount lens with ease, which means all my lenses from the film days work without messing with adapters or any other weirdness. It also means that I can find cheap lenses at garage sales and thrift stores. I can also bring a film body with me without having to bring separate lenses for each.
The weather sealing on the K-3 is pretty awesome as well. I love taking pictures in the rain without having to worry. Waterfalls and rivers pose no problem either. If you're wondering if the weather sealing actually works, it does. I've drenched my camera while shooting away having a great time.
The K-3 is made of a pretty rugged metal, which means my clumsy self has NOT broken my camera despite dropping it on many occasions.
The subtle features of Pentax make me love this camera even more: The three customizable user modes are awesome. I have one set up to take black and white images that replicate my favorite b&w film, one custom mode that is full manual, but the top lcd panel lights up (I keep the top lcd off to save battery - I take a lot of pictures), and custom mode 3 is TAV mode with the top lcd on. TAV is a great mode that allows you to set the shutter speed and aperture, but allow the cameras built-in meter to decide the ISO. I don't let the lack of light stop me from taking pictures, so being able to turn on the top panel LCD with a switch is a beloved feature for me. The great high-ISO performance of the K-3 helps me keep shooting even in the dark.
One of the features the Pentax K-3 (and the K-50, K-500, K-5, K-7 etc.) have that I prefer over all other cameras is the location of the shutter/aperture dials. Unlike one very popular camera, Pentax puts the shutter speed dial on the front, where your index finger rests, and the aperture is on the back. I don't know why, but this has always been my preference. Even on film cameras I like to control the shutter speed by finger rather than thumb.
Another feature unique to Pentax digital SLRs that I absolutely LOVE is the way you stop down. Most cameras have a button somewhere around the lens mount that stops down the aperture so you can get a depth-of-field preview in the viewfinder. I hate that. The Pentax K-3 uses the off/on switch that surrounds the shutter button. You turn it towards the right to get your DOF preview - once again, I like doing things with my finger, especially when it can be done without taking my finger off the shutter button.
Even if all these little features didn't tickle my fancy, the K-3 feels great in my hands. I love holding the camera, it feels like it was made specifically for me. This is probably the single most ignored consideration when buying a camera, and it's the most important to me. If you use your camera every day, it should feel like a part of you, not like a pain that you have learned to tolerate, but like something you were born with. When people ask me what camera they should buy, I always suggest holding a ton of cameras first. Decide what feels good in your hands and narrow it down from there.
To see what other gear I use, click HERE. Use the comment section below to tell me what camera YOU love, and why, and to ask me what you would like me to tell you about the world of photography and cameras.
The Ukiah State Fair might be small, but any state fair is a great time to enjoy the overpriced rides and take some photos.
The boy on the left doesn't have a toy gun, so he uses a stick. The game continues as usual. With your imagination, anything is possible if you want it enough.
Here are some of the people I met today at the Santa Rosa Toy Con.
There were a ton of cosplayers too. I'll post images of some of them soon.
Every day I see images on social media that have such heavy-handed post-processing they no longer look like photographs. Usually the posters are very proud of the strangeness they have created in their favorite editing program. Now, I'm not going to go into detail about the fact that clicking a preset does not make you an artist (it actually shows the talent of the preset creator more than the user), and I'm not going to get into the debate over photography versus digital art, what I AM going to do is tell you why all the old-timers out there are cringing at your images.
Most working professional photographers still remember using film; some fondly and some begrudgingly, but if you've ever used film for a job, you remember that feeling of dread when you get your negatives back from the lab, or take that first look at them after they dry, and all you see is an incorrectly exposed or incorrectly developed negative. Did you use the wrong chemicals? Were your baths too old? Did you time it wrong? Did you use the wrong color balanced film? Did you leave your camera on the dashboard during the summer? Why do my pictures look like crap? And then you have to call your client and tell them that you messed up and need to re-shoot.
Yes, almost every "filter" offered on popular image sharing sites, and most of them in image editing programs replicate an effect that you could get with film when you did something wrong. Cross-process, bleach bypass, over-saturation, etc. are all accidents that someone MAY have used at some point to "show off" their "artiness" but it's more likely that they were just trying to cover their blunder.
People that use digital filters, presets, or heavy-handed processing do so to try to make their images different, but the easy way to make your pictures different is to change your perspective before you take the picture. It's one of the first things they teach you in school, and it's what makes YOU like a picture when you see it - not some crappy pre-set.
It's fun to play around with the amazing things image editing programs can do - it was fun to play around with film! That's where we get the excellent techniques of push-processing, dodging/burning, painting, smudging, etc. etc. blah blah blah. But however fun it may be, it's not the way to create a truly great image. Trust me, not only will time tell on this one, but when you deliver that stuff to clients they will try someone else out the next time.