This single thing will improve your photography the first time out . . .
The #ourwild campaign is about real people telling their public lands stories. This #ourwild video, produced by The Wilderness Society, is part of my public land story. I'm a father. I'm a hunter. I'm a photographer, friend and advocate for keeping the public domain in public hands. I am firmly against selling, or trading the public domain to the states. I'm not a preservationist, I'm a conservationist, which means I believe in using the natural resources, not locking them up. I also believe some places should be off limits to extraction. I'm for sensible, reasoned, and smart use of our public resources.
As a hunter and photographer, I support hunter education in the form of learning the history of conservation in America, in addition to how to be safe with a gun. For example, in order to bow hunt in Montana, during the early elk season, you have to have a special permit and pay an extra fee for it. In order to receive that permit you must go through an approved educational course that includes the history of conservation, the history of bowhunting, and the people who were instrumental in creating of the modern bow.
Conservation and resources management are more important than ever. Resources are limited and as we've seen our appetite, or demand for them is limitless. I believe that all children should be taught the history of conservation.
Conservation and Environmental Reading List
Here is a list of Authors, and titles worth reading.
Aldo Leopold - A Sand County Almanac
Rachel Carson - Silent Spring
Marc Reisner - Cadillac Desert
Henry David Thoreau - Walden
Wendell Berry - The Unsettling of America
James Lovelock - Gaia
Edward Abbey - Desert Solitaire
Vine Deloria - Spirit and Reason
Please help by making your story known. You can also take action here, on the #ourwild page. Leave a comment or share this post and together we can insure that our children have #ourwild. #keepitpublic
I've mentioned micro four thirds, aka "mirrorless," in previous posts. As fast and as far as technology has taken imagery, there still are trade-offs no matter the type of photography you choose. 35mm digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR), along with crop sensor DSLR's are used by most outdoor photographers due to their size, availability, quality construction, quality lenses, and finally, price. I guess one could say, DSLR's today occupy the space on a graph where price and quality meet. Of course there are better cameras with bigger sensors that offer better results, but for most, me included, they are not important to my workflow.
Outdoor sports and adventure photographers, wildlife photographers, and journalists are always looking for smaller, lighter, faster tools, while maintaining a minimal level image and product quality. That minimum level for image quality is today still largely based on the demands of magazine publications i.e., print. So, while I don't like to think I'm compromising on quality, I must in order to get my gear where I need to go - as mentioned, it's a balance between size and quality output. I use full frame Nikon cameras, and large aperture lenses when I'd prefer to use a 50 mega pixel back on a medium format camera resulting in even better files, but that's just not realistic for me, after all I'm a photographer first because I enjoy it!
Micro four thirds cameras offer that smaller size equivalent to DSLR's. But the image quality is still not there for print. I have not found a regular place in my professional photographic workflow (although I do own and use a Nikon AW-1 - a small, interchangeable lens camera - but that's for very specific purposes). The Nikon AW-1 while not a micro four thirds camera is a micro, mirrorless, interchangeable camera that fills a similar niche. The Nikon AW-1 is actually an eight to three ratio and not four thirds. I will go into more detail about this camera in a future post, but for now I'll get back to micro four thirds.
I've spent dozens of hours using the Panasonic Gh 3 and a good selection of prime as well as zoom lenses. For video, I doubt you can find a better set up, for the price, than the new Gh4. But for stills, mainly because I shoot a lot of low iso in low light, the micro four thirds, like the Gh3 still don't produce the quality of files I need for still photography.
I've heard people like Dan Cox say that micro four thirds are good enough for his work and I know there are other's that would agree. Just take a look at Dan's camera bag and read his blog posts about micro four thirds. I love the photo of his camera bag, makes me get scared of photography. In fairness, I like Dan, we are friends, so I'm not ripping on him, I'm pointing out that he's a fantastic, successful photographer and use's four thirds systems. Here's the link to Dan's blog.
Simply put, imagine if you need the quality of a full size DSLR with wide aperture lenses and yet you have the occasion to use a smaller, lighter micro four thirds camera. If size and portability are part of the equation, packing two systems does not make any more sense than leaving the DSLR at home altogether. So, I'm not sure how it helps anyone in my business to support four thirds when it's only marginally useful and if you do any amount of travel, it's nearly useless to try to stuff both systems (or more) into your carry-on. . . If you have a different view, or a real solution to this dilemma please share your thoughts by commenting below, we all would love to hear them.
On January 10, 2015, I'm not ready to change over to micro four thirds as my primary, commercial photography tool. It's not time for me to switch, but it is time to take notice and work one into to my photography business more completely.
If you are interested in learning more about 4k video, and micro four thirds photography, the following video does a great job of showing the benefits of 4k and the weight and ergonomics of micro four thirds. If you're a photographer and have been considering some video work, this video may help you make the move to owning at least one small micro four thirds camera system. 4k might well be the intersection of quality and price when it comes to high quality video. I suggest you take a closer look.
Man photographing Glacier National Park winter scene. The Ansel Adams Act would return restore first amendment rights to photographers on public lands. ©tonybynum.com
Exert from the bill: "Prohibition on Fees, Permits, or Insurance.--No Federal Government agency shall require fees, permits or insurance as a condition to take still or moving images on Federal lands, National Parks and Forests, and public spaces, whether for private, media, or commercial use. (d) Prohibition on the Seizure and Forfeiture of Photographic Equipment.--Federal law enforcement officers or private contractors shall not seize any photographic equipment or their contents or memory cards or film, and shall not order a photographer to erase the contents of a camera or memory card or film"
As a photographer this interests me a great deal. Years ago I tried to make the argument that the Professional Outdoor Media Association ( the only national traditional outdoor media organization, and I honorably and proudly serve as an executive member of the Board of Directors), should push the first amendment rights of photographers when our "rights" are infringed. Much like the National Rifle Association pushes the constitution rights of Americans to own guns. I was denied support in exchange for my support of a bill that would require photographers and videographers to pay a yearly fee for access to our public lands for filming and photography. That bill never became law, although Murkoski of Alaska introduced the bill and Montana's senator John Tester worked hard crafting it.
Today, there's a new bill that shall be referred to as the, "Ansel Adams Act." Its purpose is to return first amendment, constitutionally based rights back to photographers. While the bill does not address video and it will have to define the word "photography" so there's no confusion, it's a step in the right direction. Technology is changing everything and unless our laws keep up with the changing world, we will continue to lose rights, and congress will continue to build it's power over us in exchange for big money from special interests.
I would like the bill to go a step further and add some language about video and the number of people that can be grouped together. In the past, regulations have applied to two or more people leaving being outdoors collecting digital media to the pursuits of a single person acting alone.
If you would like to read the short bill, you'll find the bill, the "Ansel Adams Act," at this address.
I recommend you contact your house and senate members and refer them to the Ansel Adams Act by showing that you support this bill. Share the bill broadly via social media, and if you have the time and capacity, write about it on your own blog.
How do you feel about this bill? Does it make sense, would you support it?