Friday, December 30, 2011

Ten Things I Learned in 2011

1.     That I learn as much from my students as I teach them.
2.     That persistence pays off. Eventually.
3.     That gray hair is really OK after all.
4.     That Atlanta is the best possible place for me to be.
5.     That losing ten pounds isn’t really that hard. And it makes a big difference.
6.     That my children never stop amazing and impressing me with their intelligence, talent, and humanity.
7.     That new friends are just as wonderful as old friends- they just have less history.
8.     That old dogs really can learn new tricks.
9.     That great photography can still take my breath away.
10. That just when I thought I couldn’t love my wife Andrea any more- I do.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Light Meters

Sometimes I wonder if I'm old school and a borderline dinosaur. But then I think about it and I realize that sound technique is critical to fine photography. It's not a substitute for a keen eye and interesting content, but when combined with those attributes, a photograph sings and encourages the viewer to spend time and linger.

I've been a diligent user of handheld light meters for a very long time. My first serious meter was a Gossen Luna Pro. It was the industry standard for decades- if you wanted the most accurate results, you owned a Luna Pro. As I started using flash, my meter use became even more important. When I light a scene, I can do it faster because I've taken meter readings all over and I know exactly what things will look like.

Now, many years later, I still use Gossen meters. In my Studio in a Backpack I carried the Gossen Digisky. It's a very full featured meter with a huge range of f/stops, shutter speeds, and ISO settings available. It's always on the money and consistently repeatable. And the nicest thing is that it has a wireless transmitter built in. The Elinchrom strobes I use (stay tuned- there will be an in depth article about them in next week or two.) have a wireless system built in, too. The Skyport system (also to be reviewed in coming weeks) is a small and powerful radio slave and having it inside my Digisky makes things simpler and more convenient. My Skyport can stay connected to the camera while I walk around reading the strobe exposures. Nice.

Now, if you don't need the extensive features contained in the Digisky, you might want to look at the Digipro F. I carried it as my back up and I've found it to be a perfect complement to the more expensive unit and available for a price that the budget conscious photographer will find attractive.