Day by Day

Monday, October 31, 2005

Digital vs. 35mm

Or, crap that I like to photograph.

If I had to name one word that would describe my philosophy on modern life, it would be "technophobe". Quite honestly, if it has moving parts, it can break. The more moving parts a thing has, the easier it is to break.

Think about this for a moment: My father, when I was growing up, had a 1976 Ford F250 pickup truck. V8 engine. Both my father and I could sit on the wheelwells INSIDE THE HOOD and work on that engine. Should it start to rain, we could lower the hood a bit while we were still inside it, hang a light on the hood latch and continue working. All we needed to tune that truck up was a socket wrench, the various sized sockets, an oil filter wrench, and the parts that were going to be replaced.

Now fast forward a decade. Just changing the sparkplugs on my 1988 Nissan pickup requires a degree in spacial engineering. I needed a socket wrench, the socket, a hinge joint, and two different extentions just to get to the rear sparkplug. Don't even get me started on the belts, hoses, fuel injectors, what have you. It's a royal pain in the ass. More moving parts.

In any case, I have been asked several times why I don't go get a digital camera. "More Moving Parts" is my normal response. But there's more to it than that.

Let's start with the fact that if I were to buy my same exact camera new today, I would have to spend several thousand dollars for the camera and lenses that I have. Add in my tripler, and you can tack on a few hundred more. I don't have an all-in-one automatic camera, I've got the full SLR with three different lenses and a tripler for those really far far away shots.

Trying to replace everything I have with a digital set up would cost me over five thousand dollars. That's a lot of clams. Mebbe in a few years when the prices come down, I'll think about it.

But anyways, switching to just a plain digital camera is out of the question for me, because there are too many things that a regular camera just can't do. Controlling shutter speed, for instance.

It was Helly's picture of Mars that made me remember this picture of mine. I took it when I was driving to my parent's house. I looked up, and saw the moon sitting over a group of trees. I set my camera up on a tripod, set the shutter speed to manual, and then held the shutter open with a cable release for five seconds.

Can't do that with a digital camera. Not with the basic models, in any case. Want more shutter-speed fun?

Pioneer Square at night. Once again, camera, tripod, cable shutter release and shutter speed on manual. This was a three second exposure.

I mentioned the lenses I had, didn't I? Some wildlife shots you just can't get close to. Lake Coeur d'Alene hosts flocks of Bald Eagles in December and January, when the Kokanee salmon are spawning. The eagles come down for a while to chow down on fish before continuing South.

That particular bird was sitting in a tree about one hundred yards from my position. I have a 70-210 zoom lens that I stacked with my tripler in order to get this shot. To the naked eye, it was barely a speck. But add enough magnification, and voila! Unfortunately, you can't stack lenses on a regular camera

One more shot just for kicks....

I got this shot while visiting my aunt and uncle in Ft. Lewis, WA. I had to open up the apature all the way in order to get enough light through the fog. You can't adjust apature settings on a regular camera, because a regular camera has a fixed apature.

So anyways, there are four pictures I couldn't have taken with a regular camera. Pictures like this are the reason I'm waiting until prices come down to switch to digital. I've got quite a few more, obviously, but I don't want to overload any computers by posting tons of photos. I've also shrank these four down by at least 50% so that I don't mess up the blog paramiters. If you like the photo and you want the full sized image, email me and I'll email it back to you.

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