Long Exposure #1 : My role model

The goal with the Long Exposure series is to share weekly with you my point of views .

As we still get acquainted, I thought it would be interesting to start with a little more about myself and more especially my role model.

The oldest camera I remember owning was one of these flat horizontal ones. You couldn’t set anything up. You just had to put the odd-looking film in, point and shoot. I think I liked it because I could pretend to be a spy and also pretend I was taking pictures like my father. I remember him carrying a black leather bag, red in the inside with his precious camera and films. It was an old fashioned reflex. I can’t remember what brand it might be as I haven’t seen it in years but I know that he cherished it. When people were sending their films to a studio lab, he was developing his pictures in the basement. I never had the opportunity to see him in action but I wish I had.

This first photography period of my life ended up with me giving up on it for a long time. Maybe I grew up and didn’t want to be a spy anymore. Or maybe I felt ashamed of being a master of beheading. I believe that if at the time my life depended on it, I wouldn’t have been able to take a shot without maiming my subject. This was a time when there was no second chance, no way to check the result before the print version and even if I love all the chemistry involved in old films and the mechanics, I believe I wasn’t made to be a photographer at that time.

When the DSLR boom happened I had just started working and I felt pulled back in the photographic work. Being in a new city, Paris, and pretty shy I had a lot of time to read the National Geographic and swim in the books from Philip Plisson and Yann Arthus-Bertrand. They all gave me a great feeling of freedom and a beautiful view on the Nature and I thought that I’d like to give photography another go. With my hard earned cash and single life, I splurged on a Canon EOS 300D that was not Rebel at the time and had barely half of the current 6+Megapixels. It was a new experience for me. Not only was I not killing people off but I could also see immediately the result of my genius shot. Back home I could put my masterpieces on my computer and admire my work without printing it.

One of the first pictures I’m really proud of is this portrait of my father. I like it because I believe I was able to catch a moment and make it forever mine.
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In 2004, I moved to New York with my new toy and was amazed and in awe in my new playing field.
In 2005 during an epic New York blizzard I met Celine. More than anyone else she his my role model and I wish I could emulate her just a little. I love her passion. I love her dedication. One thing that brought us closer was photography. She just had a camera that could be described today as cute but she was already took mind blowing shots. She didn’t really edit her shots yet but I’m not sure she really had to. To give you an idea here’s a picture from that time that I do still envy her for.

Celine Ruffino – Photography

Today her equipment may have improved but so does her passion and dedication. She always looks for new techniques and new tools to do better shots. Have you ever heard of Lensbaby? Photomatix? Built a camera from bits and pieces? I do and I’ve seen it. She spends hours a week working on Photoblogchallenges and when she’s not, she’s writing comments and visiting photoblogs because she can’t think of a world without photography. Without her, I would never had done a tenth of what we did and I would never be where I am today.

Celine Ruffino – Photography

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Macro

Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉

Macro of a Mineral by Sebastien Grobelny

Endangered Species?

Last week, I read this article from Ashley Feinberg on Gizmodo : Those Adorable Animal Pics May Be Fake—and Cruel.
The article is based on an article by Jenn Wei at Peta Pixel.
It shed some light on some practices I wish I had never known about.
I always thought that a nature photographer was the paramount protector of the fauna he tries to catch. What would he do if the endangered species and their habitat were to disappear?
Unfortunately it appears that some amazing shots over the years are the result of pure and simple cheating without any form of respect for the animal or their surroundings. Using props and wires has no place in nature photography. To be a photographer is to be an observer, not an actor.
The issue with revelations like these is that it will cast a doubt on all the nature photographers. Who is going to believe you spent hours and hours studying and following your “prey” for that lucky shot when it could have been staged in minutes?
To finish on a lighter note, please enjoy this capture of a Felis Catus in her wild environment. Full disclosure : No catnip or chloroform were used to take that shot.

Photoblog Challenges : Results #1

This week on photoblogchallenges,  congratulations are in order for Treur, Fototopia and Rue Du Lavoir winners for Best of 33 (05 Aug – 11 Aug), Theme 33 : Begins with “F” and Technique 16 : Macro of insects.

Celine and I are permanent guest judges and since the middle of the year we switched the roles a little. She has to pick one favorite from the winning pictures and I have to pick several “non-winners”.

Each week I will try to shed some light on some of my choices.

  • For Best of 33 : I particularly liked the submission from Treur for the great silhouette and Tapio for the adventures of his ladybug. I picked Deja for his intriguing macro, Leovi for a sharp fresh abstract,  Light Impressions for a very detailed flamingo with amazing colors and Remus for a puzzling work in Black and White.

bestof33

theme33

technique16

My pick of the week, among all the winners would have to be Rue Du Lavoir for is macro of insect. Here it is.

Rue Du Lavoir - Technique 16

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