The cameraman

I’M INTERESTED in taking better photos. I’ll need a new camera. My current ride is a Kodak Easyshare, inexpensive, but it works fine.

Except for one thing: It only zooms to 3X, which doesn’t get you very far, literally. It does have 16 megapixels, which means the photos are pretty sharp, but the zoom’s gotta go a lot farther.

I’ve asked some good photographers I know for camera recommendations. The Gold Standard is Billie Mercer, but that was like asking Donald Trump for a restaurant recommendation: First, take the Learjet to Paris … have the limo waiting on the tarmac.  Billie is way past my pay grade.

I’d have to rob a bank.

I ran into the same problem with Kim G. and Steve Cotton, good photographers both. But wealthy guys with sterling gear.

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The Canon

I’m just a poor, humble Mexican.

A recommendation more in my fiscal comfort zone, a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200, came from Angeline, but I opted for a Canon Powershot SX520, which is similar.

A slightly pricier version, the SX60 HS, had been recommended by Jack Brock who is, by the way, one of the world’s premier wood sculptors.

Then came the issue of getting the camera into my hands. I looked around my mountaintop to no avail. I imagine I could have found it down the slope in the state capital, but this is 2015, so I looked online.

First, I went to Mercado Libre (Free Market), a longtime website that connects Mexican buyers and retailers. I found the Canon readily available and was on the verge of buying it when I thought of Amazon, which just weeks ago opened its Mexican operation.

I love Amazon, capitalism at its finest. I found the camera for just a few pesos more, free delivery, and ordered it. They promised it by Friday.

One of the reasons I decided to get a better camera is a new photo website, Eyes of the Moon, I’ve opened on Tumblr.

At the moment, I’ve added a few of my older photos, but when the new camera arrives, expect more. They will all be black and white, which captures a certain elegance, plus it reflects my grim personality.

Maybe I’ll become a papparazzi. I’m so ancient, with white hair and glasses, perhaps nobody will punch me out.

* * * *

(Note: Also on Tumblr, you’ll find my other recent addition, Satellite Moon, progressing nicely. It’s a politics-free zone, all sweetness and light.)

21 thoughts on “The cameraman”

  1. Good slection! If you factor in affordability, the Canon Powershot series is the best available in my opinion. I bought one five years ago, and I have been very happy with it.

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    1. Great to hear, Andrés. Jack Brock occasionally sends me a series of photos that he took with his PowerShot, and I’ve always been very impressed. The close-ups are amazing, and that is what my Kodak cannot do.

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  2. I wonder if many people take lots of pics due to being uncomfortable in social settings… Suzie is like this… She doesn’t talk much, but will go around snapping scores of pics at an event or social engagement. Me, I just like to hide in a corner and people watch…

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  3. I just checked. That Canon I have and used to use is a Powershot, didn’t check which model. I went out with it a couple months ago into one of the local vineyards, and remembered why I like it. It does have excellent qualities. My tags for those photos on my blog site are Rubino Estates.

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    1. Angeline: It does seem to be a good choice in that price range. By the way, if you checked out the new photo site already, I just changed its appearance drastically. Much better now.

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  4. I was going to suggest a Canon, as that is what this poor sailor’s wife owns and I love it. I ordered a photography course on DVD, lessons taught by a National Geographic photographer, that was very informative. I was clueless about why some of my photos were so poor – when the subject matter was so good – until I worked through these lessons.

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  5. How exciting! A new camera! To go along with your new camera, I will recommend what I think is the single best book on taking great photos: The Rules of Photography & When to Break Them, by Haje Jan Kamps, a surprisingly young Dutchman. The book is a fairly easy read, and after reading it your photographs will improve by orders of magnitude.

    I read this book fairly late in my photographic career, and I still found it to be very helpful.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, Ma
    Where we think the photographer is *way* more important than the camera, particularly if the photographer doesn’t know what all the settings do.

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    1. P.S. While I’m now a (reasonably happy) prisoner of the Canon system, one of the reasons I originally chose Canon was that the ergonomics were very good, probably the best. Typically Canon cameras have adjustments which are very easy to get to, and intuitive to adjust. You’ll like it.

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    2. Kim: I’m hoping the words “point and shoot” will see me through most circumstances. If I absolutely have to do homework, I’ll see if that book is available on Kindle. Or I might even read the camera instructions. You never know. I’m really not a gizmo guy.

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      1. I’d buy a hard copy of that book. Kindle doesn’t do photos well, and there are a lot in that book. Also, it’s a book that’s mostly about composition, something your camera manual will completely omit.

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        1. Kim: Thanks again. I’ll see how it goes. As for composition, it’s already something I excel at, if I do say so myself, due to 30 years of newspaper layouts.

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  6. I have a Canon PowerShot A710, purchased from Amazon in 2007, if I recall correctly. My gizmo expert brother in law guided me in its purchase and helped set it up. I’m quite happy with it, most of the time, once I learned a few simple procedures. I try to stay out of the deeper settings if at all possible. No doubt there’s a lot more that could be done with it.

    I don’t think that exact model is still being manufactured by Canon, having been superseded by more recent models.

    So, you are pleased with the Amazon.mx service?

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

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    1. Señor Cuevas: Staying out of the deeper camera settings will be my goal too. With luck, I can do that. As for being happy with the Mexican Amazon, sure, so far. But the only thing I’ve done is order the camera. They say it will go out of the DF, or wherever it is, facility tomorrow via DHL and will arrive here Thursday or Friday. I have no reason to doubt that. DHL is good. The Mexican Amazon website looks pretty much like the Gringo version except it’s written in Spanish.

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    2. One more thing. I found the same camera on the Gringo Amazon, cheaper, of course, but the price difference looks to be about what the import tax would be, making the entire thing a price wash, which is good.

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  7. I just looked at your Tumbler photo site. You are taking some very good photos, with lots of atmospheric character. Congratulations.The child’s coffin in the doorway was especially poignant.

    Why do the photos dim when I pass the mouse cursor over them? I know, it’s a Tumbler thing. Pinterest is like that too. I often don’t “get” the new WWW.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

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    1. In-freaking-credible, Carole. And it is not all that expensive. Website says $700 till Aug. 15 (pre-sale price) and $1,000 after that.

      We live in amazing times.

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