Paul De Zan recently sent me this, with the subject heading "The vampire cameras come out at sunset." He called it "a view I stumbled upon while trying to shoot something else. This is ISO 25600, my new favorite integer. (Remember when we had something called night, during which you couldn't take pictures?)"
I recall that. Coming home from walking the dog the other night I was musing on my little pool-table-installation self-assignment, and running through, in my mind, just what would have been involved to do that project in, say, the 1980s. It would have been exponentially more difficult to shoot—possibly beyond my skills. As it was, I did it almost offhandedly, not even trying, really. Most of my light sources were LED, including the main ceiling lights, a little flashlight I used to light the inside of a pocket, and an LED panel for fill in the final shot—perched on the seat of a chair.
Then as Lulu and I approached the house I noticed a tripod in the neighbors' driveway—and two little kids crouched next to it intent upon something unseen. The neighbor kid is somewhere within shooting distance of ten years old, and his friend, a little girl, looked about the same.
"Whatcha doin'?" I said.
"We're making a movie!"
I love it when reality mirrors what's in my head.
"Cool," I said, "That would have been really hard to do when I was your age."
It would have been, too. I had one early experience with a Super-8 movie camera, and that was enough for me.
Then in that evening's email came this great shot, from Will von Dauster, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photographer in Colorado. He took it on the first day of the recent Colorado floods. The NOAA office was closed, but Will was out with his OM-D E-M5 and the "underrated" (Will's word) 14–150mm lens. He said he doesn't know the other pro, the one in the picture.
Sign o' the times, eh? I do hope the people in those cars were okay.
I have to say the thought crossed my mind that the camera this fellow is using is the real vampire camera, sucking the blood out of the digicam market. But never mind.
(Thanks to Paul and Will)
[UPDATE: Andre writes, "Yes, they were all okay. The washed out section is Old Dillon Road (east of Boulder, somewhere around the Louisville/Broomfield border) and all three people involved were pulled out of their vehicles without major injuries." Thanks, Andre.]
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
MikeR: "That has to be the funniest photog image I've seen in a long time."
Janne: "I do wonder if high ISO is not somewhat akin to fast lenses; most users will reach the practical limit of what they need or use well before the makers reach the true technical limits to sensitivity. I've had my Pentax K-5 II for almost a year now, and one thing I've loved about it is that it's nicely usable at least to ISO 12800 for me, and even 25600 is useful in a pinch. But when I look at the shots over last year, I almost never stray above 3200 in practice, and not once have I used 12800 in a 'real' picture. Turns out that for the places I typically shoot (nighttime streets, for instance), ISO3200 and decent SR [shake reduction, Pentax's name for its IS —Ed.] is plenty. No need for me to incur the extra expense of a camera with radically higher sensitivity. And I sort of wonder where that limit is for most hobbyists. Because shortly beyond that lies the financial limit for the manufacturers to improve it."
Paddy C: "That second photo is priceless! So good. I often think of how easier (and more amazing) it must be to be a 'creative youth' these days. A $300 camera and iMovie (or better) and you're off to the races."
Another Phil: "Phone cams are great when you need to send an image to the rest of the world immediately. That's where other cameras fall down in a lot of people's eyes."
Mike replies: Sure, he might even be messaging his editor, saying, "Do you want me to do more of this"? Carl Weese wrote an article for my magazine way back in the '90s about how he used little digital cameras to scout locations and standpoints for his ultra-large-format view cameras. There are lots of perfectly logical explanations for what this guy is doing.
But it still looks pretty funny.
Geoff Wittig: "Cell phone photos are great and all, what with always having it with you while that DSLR and all the spiffy lenses are back home in your closet. But there's a mind-numbing sameness to all those millions of ~28–35mm-equivalent cell phone images with endless depth of field and 'close enough' exposure. I invariably look at the ones I've taken and cringe, seeing instantly what I'd do with a real camera."
Michael Farrell: "I try not to be reliant on my phone for pictures, just because the image parameters are so limited. Sometimes, though, it gives me a very nice look.
"If I may, here's an Instagram of Calgary's Stanley Park from June 21, 2013, taken the morning our little urban stream, the Elbow River, decided it wanted to be the Mississippi."
Bruno Masset: "I'm not a news photographer, but I also sometimes take a picture of a scene both with my cell phone and my 'real' camera, as the latter, unlike the cell phone, doesn't have an in-built GPS receiver that records the precise coordinates where a picture was taken."
Greg Magruder: "The guy in the photo may be Cliff Grasmick, photog for Boulder Camera newspaper."
Mike replies: Anybody out there know Cliff who could check with him?
Jonathan Castner: "That is Cliff Grasmick from the Boulder Daily Camera that is in the second photo. The photogs of the paper used their phones' GPS to post constantly updating coverage of the floods and it would show up on a map indicating where the damage was. This let them have images up in seconds rather than minutes. Not 'good' images but something usable, and, in the case of the floods, telling and helpful, as the situation was constantly changing. The 'good' images were uploaded maybe hourly. Interesting to think that given our modern world that waiting 45 minutes after a major news event to see the photos online is our equivalent to 'Breaking news...film at 11.'"