“Snap-o’-the-Day”

© Sam Garcia

© Sam Garcia

To all the ships at sea, there’s an old cliche : Honesty is the best policy. My doctor suggested that I get a hobby to try and minimize the stress and pressure in my life. What I’ve done is I have hired Sam Garcia on a six-month trial basis to lighten up my life. He is one of the very few people that can make me laugh. He sends the “snap-o’-the-day” to a very close circle of friends and photographers. Hmm… friends, or photographers? Not sure about that. I read this email this morning at 2:45 AM and at the end all I could think of was the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

“(this edition of snap-o’-the-day includes an overview of the picture setting, the site, some dawn-of-aviation info, and is kind of a walk through the woods. If you’re not interested there’s no reason you have to do anything other than look at this top photo, and then hit ‘Delete’ as usual. The rest is merely exposition… I won’t be offended if you skip it.)

3.L1020297 SOTD

I was a bit surprised myself last night when the light in the street corner of my apt started to look so interesting I had to make a shot or two.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been.

Ever since the hurricane two years ago damaged the outside roof and leaked into my apartment, requiring the entire wall surface to be replaced and repainted, the light over in that corner has really changed. (No, not this corner. Over there…, yeah, that one…)

Except for the fact most folk would be horrified by my dark cell of a ‘home’, I’d love to start bringing people in here to photograph, I so like the way light now affects the wall and that corner much of the day, but often most dramatically as the sunset light slices or slithers into the room, depending on the time of the year.

It’s kind of a North/East-ish exposure. I wish the window were twice as large, but it is what it is in this rattletrap place, carved out of the second floor of an over 130 year old building, which has always been a public bar or restaurant on the ground floor.

1. lower Main St., Port Washington, NY

2.home

(on my refrigerator door)

ANYway…

Not a bad snap of a nice Polish crystal vase I bought years ago and use to hold my change.

It’s really more a snapshot than it (I hope) looks.

I did place it there ‘artificially’, in order to make the shot. I was curious to see what the glass shape did with the curtained light.

But other than wiping off fingerprints (rather casually, I’m afraid…I’m not the obsessive compulsive studio control freak I’d like to be, so as to glean some of the big bucks those guys can make in one of the last genuinely lucrative aspects of the business) I really just took the picture.

So it really looked like that.

But, of course it didn’t at the same time.

I know what the meter ‘sees’ vs what I want to gather in the frame, so I adjusted accordingly. In this case, dialing in about two stops of underexposure. And the vase disappears into a design of light.

Although I made a couple of various snaps with three different cameras (the object originally sitting on the top of this box, which rests on the nightstand besides my mattress-on-a-metal-frame [I’d hardly call it a ‘bed’] which caught my attention was my glasses) this photograph of the vase was made on a Leica SL, with their 24-90mm zoom probably nearer the long end.

I was jammed into the wall, scrunching up pillows between my poor head and the wall surface. (That, unfortunately, being the angle where the light was nice.)

Photography rule: the light is virtually NEVER nice from an angle which allows shooting from a comfortable, seated position.

Let’s see…, what else? Oh, yeah…sorry…, obviously decided to shoot it in black and white. 

Starting with the Nikon Coolpix P7000, up to the D600, the D4, then the D800E, followed by the Leica Q, and now their professional mirrorless body, the wildly frustrating and excellent SL, I’ve shot more black and white in the last few years than in the first thirty years in photography, because NOW shooting black and white is a delight when you can PREVIEW it in the finder and then see the results on the screen. Nirvana for b&w folk. Many cameras shoot b&w, the ones I just listed seem to do a much better than average job for the way I like it to look. (I should add, I’m not as fond of Fuji’s black and white file as others seem to be. It’s EXCELLENT, but it’s just not for me. This is all REALLY personal preference stuff, not science. I like a sharper, more contrasting black to white, whereas some photogs like a longer tonal range. For me, the Nikon’s P7000 and D800E, and the Leica Q just nail it brilliantly.)

I don’t convert to b&w from a color file. Seeing it all later on a computer is useless to what I want to do.

Oh, I mentioned it’s real, but not real. Well, like Life, it’s just in how you interpret I suppose.

Since I decided to ramble on about the apartment light I made one additional snap, just for you. Here’s the way most cameras on full automatic or program would have seen the same subject in the light as it existed. And I widened the shot to show you can pull clean design out of visual clutter.

4.real

And…

No…

that pretty much covers it.

S.”

But of course, because of the stress, at 2:30 I meant to send this reply to Sam but accidentally sent it to Samy of Samy’s Cameras. I MAY have to cancel my subscription  to GarciaJokes.com!

Hi Joe,

I hope all is well with you.

Did you mean to send this to me or did you want to send it to Samy?

Samy’s email is samy@samys.com.

many thanks,

Karen”

My reply:

Hi Sam,

I guess I missed the class on multiples at Nikon School.  I was out generating National Ads and award winning editorial photography.

There was no reason to send that particular photo to you other than Getty selected it.  One thing I will share with you that many fine photographers have forgotten.  One of the reasons most photographers get involved in photography is because they love it and want to have fun.  I’ve spent the last 4 decades breaking teeth, breaking my back trying desperately to make my clients happy and make a reasonable livelihood.  I’ve chosen to spend the balance of my days left on the planet having fun and learning how to become an amateur photographer.  Let’s call it full circle.

Have a fabulous, great, happy day.

Joe D”

©Joe DiMaggio - Please find Sam!

©Joe DiMaggio – Please find Sam Garcia!

Fish On Friday

© Joe DiMaggio

I just received an email by a wild life photographer from Australia wanting some private lessons. We are in the process of arranging three days on both wild life photography and sports photography. All indications are that this is going to be a lot of fun for both student and mentor. He motivated me to look at some of my Great Barrier Reef photographs. Cannon camera, 24mm lens, Fuji Velvia, 1/80 of a second, f/5.6, Ikelite housing, and two Ikelite strobes. Have a great weekend- Joe D

20 Years Ahead of the Curve

 ©Joe DiMaggio

There is an old adage when all else fails tell the truth. It’s something I genuinely believe in.  The new word today is “transparency” – tough to stay up with the brave new world!  About 20 years ago I had a conversation with one of the most powerful women in the world of photography.  She took a $50,000 corporation and turned it into the second largest agency in the world and sold it for upwards of thirty-million dollars.  I said to Sally, I guess I’m 20 years behind the time and she said that it was the exact opposite and that I was way ahead of my time.  It was a wonderful compliment but I’m not sure if I actually believed it.  When the technology came for the motor drives, I did not embrace it. The next big leap was auto programming and I did not embrace this. Shortly afterwards, autofocusing came out and I did an interview and was quoted as saying my clients want me to focus the camera – I’m not a grandfather yet!  Need I say, I did not embrace that technology either? I’ve been making photographs on film for 5 decades. When digital came out I did not embrace it.  Is it possible that one man could be wrong about so many things? I’m afraid the answer is yes.

Of course, in 2011, I utilize all this new technology. There is no doubt that when you use these tools properly you’ll be rewarded. Wiebetech has given me an opportunity to not be 20 years behind the times but actually to be 20 years ahead of the time. The combination of the big three – The Double Barreled Derringer (ToughTech Duo), The Little Gun (RTX220-QR) and the Big Gun (RTX800-IR) give me a tremendous advantage in filing, storing and retrieving all of my photographs and films.  It is definitively the best technology today and to be honest, probably for a long time to come. Wiebetech has allowed me for the first time in a long time, to be ahead of the curve. I strongly recommend that every advanced photographer and filmmaker incorporates this technology to protect their life’s work. We all travel different roads and have different motivations and needs but with your solutions we will have choices. Thanks so much.  Keep up the great work.

Joe DiMaggio