Focus on Photography
Photo of the Week: (from the archives) "Ventura Harbor at Sunset" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon 7DMKII camera with Tamron 16-300mm lens @24mm. Exposure; ISO 1600, aperture f/11, 1/80 second shutter speed.
Photo of the Week: (from the archives) "Ventura Harbor at Sunset" by Bob Crum. Photo data: Canon 7DMKII camera with Tamron 16-300mm lens @24mm. Exposure; ISO 1600, aperture f/11, 1/80 second shutter speed.
Johnny did it!
Bob Crum
Bob Crum

The call came at 2:30 PM one day last August. No sooner had I uttered howdy when Johnny G. blurted, "I'm ready." I was not surprised. It began when Johnny tagged along with me to the Ventura Harbor. A photographer friend, Arnold, commissioned to shoot a commercial project at the Harbor, was coming up from San Diego. I was delighted for the opportunity to reconnect with Arnold, a friend I miss. He was a great excuse to visit Ojai, his previous homestead.

Arnold's photoshoot involved a commercial fishing boat recently refurbished in a nearby boatyard. The company, proud of its workmanship, and the happy captain, needed photos for a new company brochure touting the company's staff and competency. We left Arnold to do his work. Back in the Village, my photoshoot began. As in any harbor replete with ships of all stripes, it's a treasure chest of photo ops to shoot. Selectivity becomes key. Some subjects are naturally photogenic, while others are just interesting. And of course, all manner of wildlife has to be photographed-it's a law-so to speak.

As we were walking along, I was photoing several subjects. Not so much for Johnny. Curious, I asked why he was taking so few photos? Let's get a drink he suggested. With two tall glasses of refreshing ice tea before us, Johnny began his tale of woe.

"I notice that you take an inordinate amount of time composing a photo. I also notice that you also take several photos of the same subject using various exposures. And you vary the format, some vertical and some horizontal photos. All of which makes my iPhone inadequate. I frame the subject I'm shooting, push the button and done. It doesn't feel like I even took a photo." I empathized but Johnny did capture some interesting photos.

As Johnny spoke in a subdued monotone voice, I empathized. As our discussion continued, I also learned that Johnny was developing a better understanding of photography as a creative exercise. He also began to realize that phonetography did not scratch his creative itch. The kind of creativity he saw me exercising during our walk. The phone call announcing that Johnny was 'ready' meant that he was ready to buy a camera.

I suggested Johnny first outline and define his photographic intentions and desires. When finished, distill it further to its essence. The distilled list will help determine the best system to consider.

It was immediately apparent that he needed more than a point and shoot. Briefly considered were all-in-one bridge cameras with dSLR's ergonomics, a superzoom lens and compact convenience. Furthermore, bridge cameras sell at bargain prices. But without the ability to change lenses, this didn't fulfill Johnny's needs either. Johnny was ready for a prosumer dSLR camera. With the category defined, he could concentrate on specifics: brand, model and price.

Update. Johnny understood that one does not just buy a dSLR camera - you buy into a system: lenses and a host of accessories. Canon was his decision. No arm twisting on my part. Due in stores soon, he pre-ordered a Canon EOS Rebel T8i. He also bought a Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO, but not because it's my favorite lens. Johnny made his decisions without any persuasion on my part. Seriously!

From the archives, the photo of the week is one I made at the Ventura Harbor during the photo walk described above. Pay especial attention to the tower on the building on the left. It plays a "star" role next. Happy photoing!

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