Early in 2012 I decided I would carry a camera with me everywhere.
To that end, I carried one of three Canon point-and-shoot cameras with me almost all of the time.
Remarkably, more than half of my favorite photographs from 2012 are from the Canon point and shoot cameras, mostly the S95 and the G12. My experiment to carry a point and shoot camera with me at all times proved to me that Louis Pasteur spoke to many disciplines when he said:
For what else are we as photographers but observers hell-bent on capturing what Henri Cartier Bresson called “the decisive moment.” A baker’s dozen of my favorite images from 2012.
It was a good year to look skyward with a camera. The annular solar eclipse crossed through southern Utah and we observed this amazing phenomenon from a campsite in Snow Canyon near St. George. A less dramatic partial lunar eclipse followed just a few weeks later and was easily viewed in downtown Salt Lake City. The very rare transit of Venus across the face of the sun finished up an incredible couple weeks of historical celestial events. Just a note on the transit: Salt Lake City was unfortunately covered with clouds during the transit which lasted hours. Luckily, though I was prepared for full sunlight and to shoot the transit with a solar filter on my 300mm f2.8 lens and a 2X teleconverter, I was able to use the natural filtering of the fast moving clouds to capture what I believe was an even more stunning image of the ultra rare event. CANON G12, NIKON D300 70-200mm zoom with 1.4 converter, NIKON D300 300mm f2.8 TC20E converter.
Nikon 50mm f1.4 at f1.4
CANON S95 28mm @ f2
NIKON D700 70-200 ZOOM 1.4 teleconverter
NIKON D300 70-200 zoom TC20E converter
CANON S95 28mm @ f2
NIKON D700 17-35MM f2.8
NIKON D300 70-200 zoom
CANON S95 28mm @ f2
People often ask me what point and shoot camera they should buy.
There are too many point and shoot cameras for me to keep track of so I cut to the chase and tell them what I shoot and leave it at that. I don’t pretend to know all the brands. That would be a full-time job.
I like Canon point and shoot cameras. I’ve had good luck with them and so I stay with Canon cameras. I am sure there are great cameras from almost every manufacturer but I stick with Canon.
I have three Canon point and shoot cameras. Why so many? Because each is specifically good for the task at hand. I own a G11, a D10 and an S95. They are all Made in Japan. Some Canon cameras are made in China but I avoid them.
If I had to pick one Canon point and shoot it would be the G11. I use it every day. It is a perfect complement to my big, heavy Nikon DSLRs. It is lighter but still substantial feeling in my hands. It focuses closer than an SLR. I like the pivoting LCD screen. It has a viewfinder I can use in bright sunlight. I can easily use it on one of its auto settings (I prefer to set the aperture in the A mode most of the time) or just as easily switch to full manual. Most of the most used controls are readily at hand with dials or buttons. I don’t have to go through a menu to change my settings. It shoots in RAW. There are many other things the G11 will do better than smaller point and shoots but I won’t go into those details.
The Canon D10 is an amazing little camera around water. It’s just average when it’s not being used in bad weather or underwater. So I use it when I am in a pool or in really bad weather.
The S95 is the latest camera I bought. Amazon.com had a great deal on it before Christmas so, even though I could have lived without it, I bought one because it was cheap, real cheap. I read all the reviews (David Pogue @ The New York Times and Ken Rockwell to name a few) and they raved about this tiny powerful camera. I bought it mostly because of the 28mm f2 lens. I like to shoot available light when possible. I take this camera out when it’s nighttime or when I want unobtrusive. This camera excels at being unobtrusive because of its diminutive size and that f2 lens that never needs a flash.
None of these cameras replace my pro-line Nikons for assignment work, but not many pictures get away from me any more because I always have one of the Canon cameras with me.
Which camera should you buy? You might need to buy more than one, like me.
University of Utah AirMed helicopter emergency crew at work, 24 July 2011.
SLC skyline and the Kennecott Copper mine in the background, 11 July 2011.
SLC downtown library window, 27 March 2011.
University of Utah fountain, 27 August 2011.
Environmentalist Tim DeChristopher outside federal court, 2 April 2011.
We Are One protest at Utah state capitol, 2 April 2011.
Bill Gates makes a federal court appearance in SLC, 22 November 2011.
An alley near the University of Utah, 4 May 2011.
Underwater in a pool in Murray, Utah 3 July 2011.
Sailing on the Great Salt Lake with Antelope Island backdrop, 11 August 2011.
David Burnett, co-founder of Contact Press Images, returned to his home town of Salt Lake City and opened his exhibit Too Close at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the University of Utah campus, 6 October, 2011.
His exhibit might also be called “Outtakes” since it is composed mostly of unpublished images from his illustrious career. The exhibit title is a tongue in cheek homage to Robert Capa’s quote “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”
These images are spectacularly suited to a gallery setting and as Burnett himself noted, “Worth studying. Even many years later they have something to say.”
Burnett has been a hero to photojournalists for most of his 40 years as a photographer. That includes me. And I’ve only been at it for 30 years. Burnett is a true photographic innovator with his use of multiple camera types and formats. His images are iconic.
Some quotes from Burnett’s entertaining lecture:
“Time will change how you view your pictures. Keep everything.”
“The most important pictures are of your own life, from the same room that you are living in.”
“Photojournalism is pronounced dead every five years or so. It will always be with us.”
On digital photography and the lack of darkroom training for young photographers:”There’s something wrong with that, vastly wrong.”
Burnett shed light on two cherished moments from the 1980’s in his long, globe-trotting career.
During the first meeting ever in Russia of President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev Burnett sheepishly admitted to manipulating history. Burnett and a few other photographers covering the event feigned taking light meter readings on stage and moved the chairs where the two world leaders would sit to about a foot apart.
While covering the overthrow of the Shah of Iran Burnett told how he, with the help of about 10,000 Iranians, was able to throw/relay a roll of Tri-X film to French photographer Patrick Chauvel during a massive Khomeini rally of nearly a million in Tehran.
Burnett is wonderfully modest. He’s a heart-felt speaker with a great flare for humor and obvious love for photojournalism (and film). I hear he is an avid blogger. I intend to sign in and follow him.
His exhibit continues at UMFA until January 29, 2012.
Just after the 15 days it took for the Chinese to fill the reservoir behind the Three Gorges dam in 2003, astronomers detected a wobble in the earth’s orbit. They attributed the wobble directly to the massive displacement of water from the Yangzi River.
Edward Burtynsky noted this inconceivable fact during his lecture that officially opened a exhibit of his photography at Weber State University the night of 16 Septmember 2011.
To him the Industrial Revolution was unbolted from the west and reassembled in China. And now China and the rest of the world are carrying on the new industrial revolution on an unprecedented scale. Burtynsky went on to say he hoped his photographs are poignant illustrations of more “wobbles” our industrialized civlization has wrought all over the planet. “I invite the viewer to contemplate our industrial progress.”
Burtynsky said he reached a significant turning point in his work with his 1983 photograph of the Bingham copper mine located near Salt Lake City. He noted that man, instead of being dwarfed by and inspired by nature, had reversed that notion with an “inversion of the sublime.” “We became a rogue species,” he said.
Fittingly, his image of the Bingham copper mine is the first photograph one sees upon entry into his exhibit. After 27 years the Bingham mine is a lot deeper and poignant and so is the Burtsynsky photographic message. He said he believes peak oil and limited water supply will finally slow global industrialization. Since he has done in-depth work on oil he showed his latest work on water use.
The affable artist answered questions from an enthralled, standing-room-only crowd. Since the beginning of his photographic work in the late 1970’s and Burtynsky said that he had come a long way from the solitary days when it was just his car and camera and him in the quarries of Vermont. He casually alluded to being arrested more than once as part of making his photographs in China. “I never lost any film,” he said, an impressive fete since he worked entirely with a massive 8×10 view camera on a tripod, an easy target for soldiers to snatch or otherwise damage.
These days he works with an entire crew that allows him to more efficiently concentrate on making photographs instead of the intense preparation and logistics of his world travel. He commonly works 16-20 hour days for weeks at a time while on a project.
In his 50’s now, Burtzynsky also said, “I’m happy to have the someone else carrying my stuff.” To which a young and eager member of the audience asked, “Are there any openings for someone to carry your stuff?” Burtzynsky said seemed please to entertain the question knowing he was reaching a new generation with his work. “Give me your contact information,” he answered.
Burtynsky’s work is on display at Weber State University in Ogden until November 29, 2011 when the exhibit travels to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. A documentary about Burzynsky called “Manufactured Landscapes” is on DVD.