Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forgotten Camera: John Edward Bain

Camp Hill Burying Ground by John Edward Bain, January 12, 2006
(click on either image to see it larger)

"The photo was made with my Nikon S2 with 50mm lens. On January 12, 2006, The day Nikon announced that they were effectively abandoning film cameras.

"I have gradually learned from colleagues across North America that I was by no means alone in getting out that day with my oldest film Nikon. It was a symbolic thing. Something ya gotta do! The camera, 'retired with honor' for a year or so, came back from Pete Smith (The master Nikonsmith in Florida) earlier this year, restored, good for another fifty years, and is back in daily service."
Halifax, Nova Scotia

J.E.B. with Nikon S2 by Colette Bain

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Forgotten Camera: Hoainam Tran

Hoainam by his girlfriend
(click on either image to see them larger)

"Three years ago, my girlfriend inherited the ubiquitous Canon AE-1 from her parents. It already had a roll of film loaded (heaven knows when) so we brought it along with us whenever we remembered. We didn't finish off the roll until this summer. My girlfriend took this photo of me last March at Gooseberry Falls in northern Minnesota. You can see Lake Superior partially thawed in the background."
Hoainam Tran

Family Snapshot: Chris Gage

My Father by Chris Gage
(click on image to see it larger)

"Camera: Nikon D40x, the first day I got it.

"This is a picture of my father, who I was just shooting from the hip, so to say. It's not a solid or good picture by any means, but it's how my dad looks when he thinks I am being dense. His expression is flat and his hands are limp on the arms of the blue leather chair (that's his chair; there's a matching one for mom) as if to say: Remind me: whose kid are you again, because you're much too odd to be mine? He's in his Sunday late-morning finery, with his collar still on, but he's changed into black jeans—and he's not complete without suspenders and a $5 watch. He'll chop wood in these clothes, or take his pickup to the garden store for fertilizer, or walk his blind black Labrador, Ben.

"That's why I like this photo. I would have loved it to be better composed, better colored, better flashed. But I like the expression and I like that the colors and activity make it a busy picture, one in which he is almost indistinguishable from the background, one in which he and blends into the house with his dark shirt and dark pants against a dark chair and dark background except for his bookcase. It makes the photo look comforting, as it's his house and he should blend into it. Mostly, it's only his face and hands that pop out, and in this picture those are what signify his befuddlement."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Kids: Amin Sabet

Looking Up by Amin Sabet
(click on image to see it larger)

"This is a photo I took of my older son Oliver in September of 2004. I remember the day well. My parents were down visiting for the weekend. I borrowed my Dad's Canon 70–200mm ƒ/2.8 IS zoom, mounted it on my Digital Rebel (300D), and the three of us went out for a walk.

"Shooting telephoto is not an approach that I typically enjoy, nor one with which I often get good results. However, in this case I was staying at a distance because the two of them were enjoying the time with each other so much. The bond between my Dad and Oliver, 17 months old at the time, was amazing. I took this photo at 200mm and ƒ/2.8. It's one of my dearest family photos because Oliver is holding my dad's hand as they walked together, and I think Oliver's love and admiration for his grandfather comes across."

Best Beginner Book

Adam McA., a friend of this site, recommended a book he thinks is a good instruction manual for beginner and casual photographers. So we ordered a copy, and, true to his prediction, How To Photograph Your Life by Nick Kelsh is indeed unusually good.

Technical how-to books are thick on the ground, and they are helpful…technically. But what many beginners and casual photographers want to know is what makes better pictures and how they can take them. That's where Kelsh excels. He uses as examples more than 40 everyday family situations, shows an average amateur snapshot that attempts to capture the occasion (you'll probably recognize a few of these—we did), and then explains, clearly and concretely, how to conceive, organize, and make a much better one. It's a book about how to see pictures, rather than just how to work your camera. Especially if you're just starting out, you'll learn a lot from this book.

A 2003 title, this is probably near the end of its in-print life. If you're interested, better order it now.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pets: Nita Daniel

Howard Wants Bacon by Nita Daniel
(click on image to see it larger)

"This photo shows my dog, Howard. For me, the photo is as much about the people you don't see: my second cousin (now deceased), his wife, and my great-aunt Betty. Howard had just spent twenty minutes listening to the humans talk while being handed whole slices of premium bacon. A few minutes before taking the photo, I had put a moratorium on the handouts, and his reaction was flabbergasted dismay. There's not a little desperation and hope there too; he's aimed at the kitchen door.

"I took this picture without looking—just popped the camera (a Fuji Finepix E550) under the table for a moment. I have hundreds if not thousands of photographs of Howard, and many of them are objectively better than this one. I also have a handful of photos of each family member present that day. However, it's this photo of his reaction that plunges me right back into that morning of brunch, dog admiration, and meandering conversation."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kids: Sebastian Methner

Mika and his Bobbycar by Sebastian Methner
(click on image to see it larger)

"A picture of our son Mika (2 1/2 years old).

"It was shot a few steps from our house. These days he was so happy and proud to drive his bobby-car around. Every time we went somewhere, he said 'Mama, Papa, let's take the bobby car with us' (in our dialect from Freiburg, Black Forest: 'Mami, Papa Bobbycar mitnehme'). For this shot I've waited in a crouch to get him while he flits around this curve, and yes I got him, happily focused with my Pentax *ist DL and the kit lens (DA 18–55mm).

"I like this shot, because it shows his happiness of these days. I think that shooting from a crouch was right. This picture has a friendly dynamic in it. I also like that his eyes and expression lets me smile every time I look at the picture. I have made some prints of it for my wife's and my desk at work, and also for Mika's grandparents."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Personal Meaning: Wes Norman

Genevieve and Me by Wes Norman
(click on image to see it larger)

"I am submitting a photo of my 95-year-old aunt and me, taken when I was visiting during the past summer. Each year, I spend about three weeks with my brother and his wife in southern Illinois. While there we have several family dinners, and this picture was taken at the end of one of those gatherings. Just as my aunt and her son were leaving (we were on the front porch), I said I would like to have a picture taken with my aunt. My cousin took the picture, with my camera. This aunt has always been my favorite aunt and is now the only one I have left. She is bright, active and a whole lot of fun to be with. I just wanted to have something to look at and to enjoy each day. I printed an 8x10 for her and she was delighted."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Camera I.D.—Just In Case

After reading this wonderful story about a family of amateur photo-detectives in New York City who worked long and hard to return a lost camera to an Australian tourist, Chris Savery made a smart suggestion: Try putting your email address someplace unobtrusive on your camera, such as inside the memory-card bay door.

That way, in case some good Samaritan wants to return your lost camera to you, they'll have an easier time doing so.

UPDATE September 16th, 2008—Very sad, because it was a lovely story, but the link had been broken now. It was about a family in New York city who worked long and hard to return a lost camera to its owner in Australia. Oh well—the advice above is still good.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Welcome to

What It Is
Photoborg publishes one or two pictures every weekday in one of several categories: Personal Meaning, Pets, Kids, Personal Best, Personal Favorite, Forgotten Cameras, Found Photo, and Historical Find. All the categories are explained under the "Submit a Picture!" tab on the main page (on the upper right).

Who Can Submit a Picture
Anyone can submit an entry. Whether you're a full-time professional or a beginner on your first day with a new camera, whether you're a kid or a grandparent, you're welcome. People anywhere in the world are welcome. We encourage submissions from non-photographers, too. If there's a picture you love or that has special meaning for you, and that you think other people would enjoy too, we'd like to hear about it.

What It's For
The internet is full of places that talk about cameras and photo equipment and techniques, and we have no problem with that. There are also a lot of places where people post scads of their own pictures, often with little editing and minimal or no explanation of what the picture shows or what it means to the person who took it. Photoborg is simply a place to see a few photographs that matter or have meaning to people, and find out why.