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Thursday, 22 January 2009


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And they're blocking each others light that way. Doug probably waited for them to clear and then took his own pen shot I guess?

It looks like a cosy bunch though. I wonder how friendly these guys are to each other. They're obviously competitors, but they also spend a lot of time together.

My favorite was also published in the NYT. Surrounded by a
group of pleased observers, President George W. Bush is signing
the Patriot Act. Standing to his immediate right (with a some sort of superzoom P&S, I think) is Dick Cheney, grinning as he captures the moment.


Two Nikon and two Canons. Very democratic...

Interesting demographics - two Canons and two Nikons in the full shot. The Times obviously prefers Nikons...

What in the H is a "meta-photo?"

"I'm normally one of those never-crop guys, but I have to admit that the top picture is a lot stronger the way the editors ran it."

But they cropped out the newbie photographer on the left! That'll teach him not to stray too far from the pack...

In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean "about its own category." For example, metadata are data about data (Wikipedia). It follows that a "meta photo" would be a photo about a photo, eh?

Mike J.

Personally, I'm more curious to know what brand of pen it is. My guess is it's a Cross Townsend rolling ball. Anybody know for sure?

BTW, just like President Obama, I'm a lefty. It's a lot harder to find a smooth writing pen when you push it across the paper (i.e., the normal way) instead of pulling it, the way you right-handed folks do.

As a correction, this is the best copy found through an image


At least I remembered part of it accurately. I still like it, but
the printed version was far better. I think.


Sheesh, and I thought this was finally a post about Hockey....

Aha! Looks like a Cross Townsend fountain pen to me: I wonder if they use 'bulletproof' ink.

I was just looking through the wires and found another photo from the event - a photo of a guy taking a photo of the other photographers taking a photo of the pen. Now that's meta!

Gee, I am an "always" crop guy. Maybe you could do a writeup someday about why you don't like to crop, or, in a more positive vein, how you get it right out of the camera.

So Mike,
Is that the meta-comment or is this the meta-comment?

You know, it is just a pen for goodness sake.

Does anyone else see this as ridiculous?

steve p,
That's kinda my point....

Mike J.

It's not just any old fancy pen. It has Barack Obama's signature on it. What's the backstory on that?

Google and ye shall find.


PS: I hate the modern era. Whatever happened to getting arcane questions answered by smart friends and acquaintances?

This reminds me of one of the funnier and more telling pictures I made on a trip to Albania with fellow photo-enthusiasts. I'm not usually one to bother other people with my snaps, but make an exception with this link: http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=8415977&size=lg
Best, Nick

"And incidentally, I'm normally one of those never-crop guys, but I have to admit that the top picture is a lot stronger the way the editors ran it."

It looks like they just cropped it in one dimension to get a square. If we really aren't supposed to crop even for that sort of thing, then we can only produce photos at the native aspect ratio of our chosen format, which seems awfully limiting, and not really in a good way.

I like the nikon/canon political correctness of the photograph ;-)


Hi Mike,

I featured this picture as well after arriving at work and seeing it in our copy of the NYT. Given the caption, however, I am convinced that the image was published in error. Despite a diligent search on the NYT website for a better copy I could not find it.

The caption reads: “President Obama's order freezing the salaries of his senior aides and the pen he used to sign it.” This caption sounds more suitable to your last image above rather than to an image of a bunch of photographers shooting the order and the pen. Just my 2 cents worth.


Benjamin R. George,
Who said anything about what YOU are supposed to do? I was just saying what I do. That's a very common leap that people make on the internet...every time someone says they do something, people read it as implying an admonition to everyone else that they should do likewise. I'm advocating, not ordering. I don't crop. All magazine and newspaper editors crop, to the extent that uncropped pictures are most likely more the exception than the rule in most publications. (Although at my magazine we didn't crop artwork, only illustration photographs.) YOU should do whatever YOU prefer!

Mike J.


Sorry, simple reader error on my part - I misread "never-crop guys" as "'never crop' guys", i.e. guys who say "never crop" (presumably as an imperative or normative claim).

To the extent that you advocate not cropping, it seems like you're advocating something which would have some odd secondary consequences for the photographer who would adopt this strategy (people who subscribe to this view and shoot in only one system will shoot in only one aspect ratio, and people who subscribe to this and shoot with certain kinds of equipment (e.g. DSLRs) will never produce any photos with certain aspect rations (e.g. squares)).

Of course, it would be silly to order somebody to shoot in more than one aspect ratio (or even to advocate it - many great photographers have found one aspect ratio the liked and stuck with it), but I'm still curious about what the thinking that goes into advocating the opposite is (since, if your thinking on various other subjects is any indication, your reasons will be good reading and probably also eye-opening).

I should admit somewhere in here that my favorite aspect ratio is 4:5, and the system I've bought into is (for various reasons) Pentax digital, so I crop prettymuch everything.

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