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
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.
“The people who are committed to fighting for a livable future will not be discouraged or intimidated by anything that happens here today,” he said. “And neither will I. I will continue to confront the system that threatens our future. Given the destruction of our democratic institutions that once gave citizens access to power, my future will likely involve civil disobedience. Nothing that happens here today will change that. I don’t mean that in any sort of disrespectful way at all, but you don’t have that authority. You have authority over my life, but not my principles. Those are mine alone.”
“Fossil fuels are a limited resources, whoever controls access to that resource in the beginning gets to set all the terms,” he said. “They set the terms for their workers, for the local communities, and apparently even for the regulatory agencies.”
“Since no one can control access to the sun or the wind, the wealth is more likely to flow to whoever does the work of harnessing that energy, and therefore to create a more distributed economic system, which leads to a more distributed political system,” he said. “It threatens the profits of the handful of corporations for whom the current system works, but our question is which segment of the public are you tasked with protecting. I am here today because I have chosen to protect the people locked out of the system over the profits of the corporations running the system. I say this not because I want your mercy, but because I want you to join me.”