Why I want the Canon 1DX Mark II…

Somehow. Some way. I am getting the Canon 1DX Mark II.

This isn’t GAS. I need it.

My Canon 5D Mark III is awesome and everything, especially with a 70-200 2.8 IS II on the front of it, but for fucks sake it’s so slow at 6 fps. It feels like 1 fps really.

I shot a massive soccer tournament last weekend, a total of 57 games. Um, I really could have used the 14 fps that the 1DX II offers. This is really about speed people. The image quality from my 5d3 will probably prove to be a hair better in daylight shooting. For my upcoming night football this fall, and volleyball as well, the 1dx 2 should fare better when I push up the ISO.

The 1dx 2 is expensive as fuck. It’s $5999, which is basically a billion dollars….

Still, it’s for business purposes only. I have my Fuji X100F for street stuff and even casual portraiture. I’ll likely keep the 5d3 for any major portrait work that pops up, or god forbid a goddamn wedding or something…

Quick 1dx 2 specs: 20.5 megapixels. 61 focus points with 41 cross type (same as my 5d3 basically). Faster focus acquisition and better and more reliable focusing in low light. Built like a weapon. That’s it really besides the burst rate. Well, there’s the “my camera is better than yours” factor I’ll feel when facing every person I meet along the sidelines, regardless of what they have if it’s not my camera.

I’d love to get it by the start of football/soccer/volleyball/cross country season in the fall but most likely it will be around Christmas if that soon. Once again this isn’t GAS. This isn’t me wanting the 2 year old mirrorless Leica Q for $4300 or the slow focusing medium format Hassleblad X1D for $9000. This is strictly business, as I’ll likely not even touch the 1dx 2 when not shooting sports. I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to my purchase date.

Oh….before I exit. That Sony A9? Lol. The sonofabitch has overheating issues in STILLS mode! Wow. If that proves to be a permanent feature of the camera then it’s dead to me. Well, deader than it already is, being a Sony….

Exit.

Stock Tips Needed (The Photography sort…)

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Being a blogger, I am well aware of the need for stock photography. Not that I need stock photos for what I do, I normally use my own self-taken photos, but I can see how non-photographers might be in a tight spot without access to stock photos. As for myself and my eternal desire to earn more green fabrics, I am contemplating shooting stock photos and posting them to one of the sites that play middle-man between we shooters and potential buyers. My main question is: do people still make money doing this?

Oversaturation has smashed almost every online money scheme imaginable. Do you want to sell sneakers? If you do then be prepared to compete with hundreds of already established sneaker sites doing the same. Do you want to sell arts and crafts? ETSY.com has thousands upon thousands of folks already selling all types of shit, with mixed to poor fiscal results on average. Even more involved processes such as app development have ferocious online competition. This is especially true for modern photography as a whole, including stock photography, the competition part. There are millions of stock photos already available online with thousands being added each hour. For every person reportedly making 50k annually on GettyImages there are thousands of poor guys and gals earning somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 bucks a month or less on some lesser site. It’s savage out there…

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Still, something about the prospect of passive income has always attracted me. I am paranoid monetarily and only feel secure when I am able to earn a living from multiple streams of cash. I do not like to load all of my income eggs into one basket, so to speak. Thus, even though I’m not terribly excited about the prospect of uploading 10k images on istockphoto, I would appreciate say…. an extra 200 bucks per month or so, especially if I didn’t have to book clients, drive to and shoot sports, or deal with diva models. I could make a lot more of course if I am lucky and good, but I’m trying to be bearish here.

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Do any of you folks shoot stock? A Facebook chum of mine shoots stock for Getty and she claims to be doing nicely. She even earned enough to buy the mirrorless Hasselblad X1D and a 45mm lens (around 12k worth of gear). Nothing beats a good try right? I’d appreciate some good stock tips here…..

Exit.

…ABOUT FORM VS. FUNCTION

I used to want every pro lens Canon makes, a thousand dollar Gitzo tripod, and two of the latest and greatest Canon camera bodies. Now I want to sell my Canon gear. Now I believe:

“The less gear you own the better. “ ~ RIC RAY

Do not get shit twisted with me. I love gear. I also love women with big boobs and fat asses. A man shouldn’t have too many of those types of gals in his life either, if he is so fortunate to have one at all. In fact one gal is more than enough….

Similarly, one camera and one lens will suffice for most general photographic purposes, unless you are doing professional work. If you own a compact camera like my Fujifilm X100F that’s all the better. 

God save the poor fuck staying up late nights dreaming of gear….

At the end of months of gear research, the prospective gear buyer arrives at the sterling conclusion that he MUST buy camera X. He has studied many online gear forums and has read and watched dozens of reviews. He has developed a budget so he can reasonably afford the camera. In fact, he has applied reason so thoroughly that reason has given way to a passionate, almost scientific defense of his camera choice. When challenged about his choice, he speaks as if he already owns the camera. 

There is nothing wrong with this, but in truth nobody should buy a camera or lens because of rationality alone. How the piece of kit looks, feels, and how it makes you feel is as important as burst rate, 4K video, and image quality. Indeed any camera will take a fine photo theses days much like any gun can kill a person, but since that is the case I think it is better to buy something that inspires you as opposed to the “best tool for the job” if these two criterion don’t intersect. This is partly why I detest Sony as a camera maker, because however great their cameras may be, they seem to hoist function over form. 

I understand that a pro sports shooter needs something that focuses swiftly and shoots a lot of photos equally as fast. I get it that wedding shooters need low light champion cameras that can focus in near darkness reliably. These shooters may choose function over form. Still, there are plenty of shooters tackling weddings with elegant yet hard to use digital rangefinder Leica’s and film cameras….

I can honestly say I don’t want another piece of camera gear right now. I’m good. Maybe if Leica drops the price on the Q or if a new similar camera comes out from them or a full frame Fuji compact then I’d start planning my budgets again. I still have my Canon 5d3 with the 70-200 2.8 IS II to shoot sports with. Between my two bodies I could probably cover a large number of paid events but fuck all that. I’ve been on that train of thought. It is too easy to surrender to gear lusting. It is way too tempting to put off shooting photos now and surrender to watching gear porn on YouTube while mentally assembling a kit you will hopefully complete a year in the future. 

I know I often defend GAS. This is a bit of a departure from that. I’m not being passionate or speaking from a lectern here today. These are more random thoughts than anything. In fact, let me get the fuck out of here like this: 

“It is man’s natural sickness to believe that he possesses the truth.”  ~ Blaise Pascal

Exit. 

What Do You Love? Paper Chasers…

My dream is for all photographers who only shoot photos to make money and not for personal enjoyment to sell their DSLR’s and retire.

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This includes bored moms, intrepid self-starter entrepreneur hustlers who shoot everything they can for a buck, tireless wedding warriors, and sports shooters who only bring out their massive cameras to shoot games and don’t even have photos of their kids to share. Just fucking quit. All of you.

Fortunately (unfortunately) photography isn’t the cash cow it once was. These days it’s amazingly hard to earn a living as a photographer  and this situation will not improve. Ever. The record business was blindsided by Napster and has never recovered. The once incredibly lucrative DVD porn industry was crippled by tube sites and file sharing, and has not recovered. Cell phone technology, particularly cameras, will not worsen. Consequently, people can effortlessly take photos of themselves and others with decent resolution and quality.

Girls on Instagram don’t hire pro photographers. They snap selfies in the bathroom mirror with an iphone and drum up hundreds of thousands of followers. They don’t need you. It doesn’t matter how good you are with speed-lites or flash portraiture. In the years to come nobody will care enough to hire you. In the coming years you will quit because you don’t love photography. You just love what it can do for you.

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The financial world is becoming tighter and less of a wild frontier. As a result, most of the historically “easy money” streams will dry up as economic 2.0 takes over, led by ideas such as Uber and social media, where the lines between amateur and professional are sketchy at best. If you love something enough, you may become what’s known as an artist and find yourself able to make some extra cash selling artsy photos or instructing others who want to learn the industry. Everyone else will be kicking rocks while complaining how the world is changing before their eyes. I look forward to this because many of you are only here for there paper. Fuck off. Maybe you can change careers? I hear that there is always a need for nurses….maybe you can try that instead.

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Exit.

 

Fake Celebrities in Street Photography

At some point in the past 20 years talent ceased to be a prerequisite for a person becoming a celebrity.

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I blame MTV. That network, to my knowledge, was the first to present reality TV as we know and love/hate it today when they premiered a show called “The Real World”. Since then there have been dozens upon dozens of reality TV shows and at a later time YouTube channels, which present no-talent but handsome men and self absorbed yet beautiful women, transforming them from models and socialites into international superstars.

This trend has also extended into sports, where instead of pro and amateur athletes being the main draw of a network now there are folks talking and giving opinions about athletes who have been elevated into superstardom. Mind you, the sports related discussion methods that have made many of these folks famous are borrowed directly from black barbershops across America. These new barber shop inspired sports pundits don’t really have any oratory talent per se, besides perhaps being able to craft memorable one-liners occasionally. The funny thing is many of the folks on ESPN and other sports networks were once sports writers who displayed a bit of talent in their day, but when offered they decided to forsake their talents for the promise of mindless fame and fortune. Instead of writing columns they now just emote on TV about issues that have no calculable significance to the public at large, and in fact these pundits have caused the demise of many athletes by over-hyping issues that decades ago were ignored by the public.

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As for we photographers our fake celebrities are on YouTube. How many photographers do you see posting camera and lens reviews on YouTube despite the fact that they don’t themselves take good photos with ANY camera? Is there talent in being able to operate a video camera, edit movie files and add music? Similar to sports, is there talent in deciding to be provocative and dissing cameras and lenses just to get views? Are some of the folks posting videos themed “how to do street photography” even able to take more than one good street photo per year? I dunno….all I do know is I see a lot of fake ass celebrities on TV and the internet and trend doesn’t seem like it will end anytime soon. If ever.

I mean…..our president was himself a reality TV star, plucked right from the belly of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and reared on “The Apprentice”. Of course I’m just a fucking hater…..

Exit.

When You Have No Control…

Let me just state for the record that control is an illusion. We never have control over much of anything in our lives. We have responsibility and we have authority, but we seldom, if ever, have control. This applies to street photography as much as it applies to day-to-day life.

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I’m not a handsome dude. It’s a shame because my mother and my youngest sister (my mom’s daughter, I have 2 other sisters besides) are drop dead gorgeous. As for me however, I’m unattractive, and this is made painfully clear by the number of failed dates with women I have had in my life. I’m just not impressive I suppose. I used to be a skinny guy and I thought that women didn’t like me because I was skinny, so I started hitting the gym 5 days a week and still do to this day. Now I’m pretty buff but I get the same results: I get passed over like the glasses-wearing fat chick at a sophomore ring dance. Currently I’m thinking I need to be rich and famous and maybe then women will flock to me. Hmmmm…..Familiar logic. I sense that life has laid out a an obviuos pattern for me….

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As for being rich and famous as a photographer and internet personality I still wouldn’t have any control. In that circumstance I’d be an easy target for ridicule over my looks or my lack of formal education (I never finished at Morehouse college). I’d be roasted on twitter every time I misspoke or posted a poorly composed photograph. This was once a scary prospect until I realized that the control I fear I’d lack then is the same control I lack NOW. The only difference is at this point I have no support. No fans. No one is in my corner and everyone thinks I’m just some uneducated nigger with a big mouth and an expensive camera. Perhaps they are right. I’m beginning to realize that what people think about me, and what I think about myself largely does not matter. Only my actions matter.

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There will come a day that I will have authority. I will be the best at what I do, perhaps the finest ever. I will have the power to help others and the discretion to obliterate any enemies that may emerge. Until then I’ll keep grinding, day by day, and try my best to keep things under control….

Exit.

 

Where is the Money?

Money is vanishing.

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In photography, the money is drying up. It is happening in every photographic genre.

Street photography never paid shit so lets just clear that up firstly. I’m not delusional here. I know that shooting candid photos of people having brunch at a hipster cafe in Denver isn’t the roadmap to making 200k per year….

Wedding photography is changing however, and that genre is one of the holy trinity of cash cows in photography (the other two being photojournalism and portraiture).

Firstly, I blame Canon and Nikon. They have been engaged in a nuclear war for quite some time, and the fallout has been nothing less than the annihilation of the wedding photography market. Both camera and lens makers have been churning out high quality entry-level (consumer) DSLR’s for over a decade and a half, and have placed them at a price point that tempts a casual shopper into trying his or her hand at photography. This in turn leads to casual shooters who realize early on that they can make money from these high resolution images they are taking. Unfortunately, the nubile shooters don’t have much skill, but most of them are not foolish enough to ignore this fact. To compensate they may charge bargain basement prices to shoot a wedding, as low as $250 or even lower, as opposed to the $5000 a reputable and seasoned wedding photographer charges on average. Thats a huge fucking disparity.

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It would seem logical that the seasoned photographer’s photos would be qualitatively better than the nubile photographer’s collection and this is indeed the case. The problem is the photos aren’t $4500 better normally, at least not to the casual observer. This is blatantly obvious to price-conscious brides when viewing competing wedding portfolios, and will influence her decision. Thus the bride, not wanting to have a tacky amateur photographer but also not wanting to be financially raped, will settle on a happy medium: a photographer who charges between $1000-$2500 dollars. No problem right? Wrong.

People have mortgages, car payments, gambling habits and all sorts of fuckery to support with their photography. There are only a precious few brides getting married per year in a given community so the competition is horribly fierce EVERYWHERE. This will drag that $1000 down to $750 when an “early booking discount” is factored in or whatever. What follows is a buyers market, where brides have shooters tripping over themselves to book a wedding, as opposed to a sellers market where brides pay no less than premium for the services of very competent artists.

Photojournalism is dying because the print media is dead. Not really much to say about that. Sports Illustrated fired their ENTIRE staff of photographers a few years back, and then fired the department that fired the photographers a year later. Nuff fucking said….

The portrait market suffers from nearly the same woes as the wedding photography market. There are a lot of amateurs with capable gear who undercut the shit out of the masters of light…..

Of course cell phones getting better and better doesn’t help pro photographers earn more money….

Where is the money then? I shoot sports but basically the clients are parents who want to buy photos of little Davon or Tyler playing football and soccer in high school. I see more and more Canon 6D’s with 70-200 2.8 lenses on the sidelines these days, as moms have decided that its cheaper in the long run to invest in gear than to spend hours combing through photos only to buy one or two per season. Also, taking photos is fun so there’s that……

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Stock photography doesn’t pay a lot unless you go all-in. If anybody makes a shit ton of cash from that then comment below please.

Selling fine art prints is…… some bullshit unless you can maintain the “mysterious artist” persona constantly. I am indeed a mysterious fucking artist but I’m too lazy to try to sell prints of my shit. That could change though…..

If you’re making good money let me know what you do……

Exit.

 

Commercialism and Street Photography

I shoot sports for a living. While shooting with my $4000 Canon DSLR setup I see a lot of people on the sidelines with entry-level consumer cameras. They shoot with Canon and Nikon bodies always, as I never see amateurs with mirrorless cameras trying to shoot sports. I don’t know if I feel as enthusiastic about seeing all these amateur shooters as I perhaps should feel. I’m a bit of a hater I guess.

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I’m moving away from Canon and Nikon (spiritually, as I’ve never shot with a Nikon) and moving towards Fuji, Leica, and Hasselblad. Ok, Leica and Hasselblad are dreams, but Fuji is my future. Meanwhile, as I prepare to gracefully bow out of DSLR’s for my street and event photography, I’m seeing more and more people buying entry level bodies. Even though every living human has a camera with them at all times on their phones, the internet exposes the mediocre performance of cell phone cameras as opposed to a Nikon D3400, for instance. Nikon does a fabulous job with their APS-C cameras, a fact I never wanted to admit before I decided to go mirrorless. As a result, many people are trying their hand at photography, and buying Nikons, because on some level, EVERY PERSON wants to be a photographer.

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Where will this all lead? Who knows? One thing I do know is that I hate doing what everyone else is doing. I get inboxed on Facebook several times a week with people asking me what camera themselves or a family member should buy for Christmas. I always politely oblige them, telling them to get a Rebel or one of the 3000 series Nikons. I ask them what they plan on shooting with the camera, and I’d probably punch them if they said they wanted to shoot street.

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Even my future brother-in-law has an entry level Nikon DSLR and two kit lenses. My sister, ironically, has a Sony A6000. Sony, Nikon, Canon…..All these brands and Christmas is rapidly approaching and all I want to do is go out and shoot, but it’s cold as fuck so I’m here typing. Plus I’m at work, so there’s that. I’m done with this rambling mess. You can go back to your Amazon wish list now.

Stay Low…..

 

Unsatisfactory

I never feel satisfied with my portfolio (or lack thereof).

I shoot a lot of photos during the high school sports seasons, yet I keep practically none of them. I delete 99.9% of them to clear space on drive and because, to be honest, I don’t particularly like viewing sports photos. They don’t satisfy my hunger for art.

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As I look into selling prints and other things associated with fine-art photography, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to identify photos I think are good enough to sell. Most likely, I’ll say “nah” and shelve 99% them, forever chasing that elusive perfect capture.

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So to recap….

I delete most of my sports photos because they bore me.

I delete or don’t want to sell most of my street/art photos because I’m a perfectionist. (As if people would buy my street stuff anyhow.)

This whole shit is unsatisfactory. Gotta love it though. Stay low and keep shooting…