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Saturday, 14 November 2009


A Leica, an Apple, and an Epson for myself.

how bout Photoshop?

Three things needed -- camera, computer, & vision

Travel, internet(well that comes with a PC) and stories!

I would generalize your list a bit, except that direct digital capture is a must for me:
- DSLR with range of lenses
- computer & printer (pigment not necessary)
- external stimulation (Internet, magazines, books, colleagues)

A fast computer with lots of RAM

A good photo editing program (Photoshop, for me)

A decent image database program.

There are lots more, of course - I could not limit it to just three...

What I noticed when I wanted to start digital is there is no starting place. I guess you covered that with ‘bookshelf’ and I know you started a site some time back for beginners, but I don’t see a place to start right now if you are a raw nebie like I was. For instance someone mentioned B&H and a local camera store told me about the Minolta 5D which seemed like just the thing for me. Of course Minolta sold to Sony a month later and the camera was immediately discontinued…
I have not regretted that decision, it’s been a workhorse and a fine camera and I, like so many others, love the famous Minolta color. But would I have started there knowing what I do now? If there had been direction, a starting point, perhaps not.

Not exactly in the spirit of your ex-editor, since he was looking from his magazine perspective: 1)a small DMD-like camera with a good next to the eye, not arms-stretched visor, 2)an intelligent, simple photo processor to spend most of my time photographing, not processing. 3)internet connection.

Rio, Brazil

Mike - I think you've nailed it, it hard to improve on it. I don't know if it counts, but these days (airports, etc.), I'd say a handful of great, versatile camera bags.

Not trying to being flip, I have trouble getting past the first one: time.

It may not be specific enough, but after that I think of the photography itself: subject; a way to capture; a way to organize and edit. The first one varies a lot; the second is basically any kind of camera; the third is (now) a computer and good editing/organizing software.

Then, last, a way to share photos, whether online or however else.

Break it down to three items and I get: time to do it; the actual photography; a way to post or display the photos.

1. Time - The opportunity to go out into the world and find subjects; time to relax and really notice my current surroundings--where-ever they might be.

2. Good eyesight - The ability not only to see the subject but the image on the ground glass or LCD has to be clear to confirm focus; finally, I want to enjoy the sharpness of a well captured/edited image.

3. Reliable equipment - Whether film or digital, my cameras have to work reliably--or at least consistently enough that I can mentally adjust for their quirks. For posting online and reading photo forums (a favorite past-time), the computer and internet connection must also perform well.

Place, moment, and the patience to wait for it :)

A camera, persistence and time

In my head: one good lens, some good light, and life's indefatigable habit of creating moving geometries and juxtopositions.

In reality: delusions of artisanship, two hours of spare time each week if I'm lucky, and a new camera off eBay every four to six weeks.

Leaving out the obvious, I need a computer, software (Lightroom2 & Photoshop) and a vehicle to go to places where I can shoot landscape photos. Those are the bare necessities. The list of wants is much larger.

Medium format camera, film, friendly neighbourhood photo lab. Taken for granted are lightbox, binders for storing film, etc.
Maybe the photo lab should be taken for granted like the darkroom in the article. In that case, camera, film, tripod are what I need.

Computer, Internet Connecticut, Camera.

The only other need is someone with the same interests to share it with.

1) An insatiable desire to find and capture wonderful/beautiful/crazy moments
2) Good glass
3) Tripod + cable release + right-angle viewfinder
4) A capable digital darkroom (raw converter + editor + color profiling)
5) A good quality (pigment) inkjet printer

Oh crap, that was more then three. Well, since I've broken the rules, I might as well add one more ...

6) An understanding girlfriend/significant-other/wife

Because everything physical can be begged, borrowed, or stolen the three things one needs to take better pictures are: time to take pictures, a critical eye to see where you can improve, and the curiousity to try something new.

I suppose it depends on the kind of photography you are doing. A Sunday morning, some good coffee (in a carry cup) and a Reeaally expensive camera (so people know I MUST be good), 'cos what other people think matters in photography (big tongue in cheek there)!

Persistence, luck and a VERY patient wife.

Good light, patience and the willingness to work diligently to find the image within the light. Everything else can be bought with a credit card.

Oh my goodness...
Mike, these days none of which you mattered is important! To me at least.
Suspect in my own case the desire to create,
and the ability to do so is secondary.
The secondary being the hardware (or these days for those so inclined the software).
If you don't have the desire then why bother
with the balance, the remainder?

And that's where I currently am at, the desire to create is gone, due to to all too many other things whirling round in my life.

And have tried and tried to to create and it just isn't there. You can't invent the unobtainable! And too may I add, buying new
or different gear simply doesn't make things any easier, perhaps makes things more difficult.

You have to have the desire to create, the desire to be something to yourself. If that doesn't happen...

A brain would be a possible fourth or first necessity?


I would also add the following at a minmum:

1. A computer
2. Software to edit, print, etc.

As you mentioned in your post, these are almost an assumed ust like the darkroom.

Stan Semuskie

1. A camera loaded with B&W film
2. A dedicated film scanner
3. A good pair of walking shoes

Leaving out the digital source as you did, as well as the computer, 1) monitor calibration hardware and software, 2) image processing software with raw processing capabilities, and 3) an Internet connection.

I'm trading the ability to print for the ability to post on the Internet.

- Tim

I guess that the three things that I would need most (A camera being a given) would be Photoshop, a fast computer with lots of storage and an ink-jet printer . Having only recently gotten a highspeed connection (it just wasn't available out here in the boonies until August this year) I would have to say that it enhances my pleasure, but is not a necessity. I also have a fairly extensive photo library which I would have to number in my expanded list, along with a larger travel budget, studio space, lights etc. BUT, if I had to pare it down to three, then I stand by my list above.

1. Camera -- film or digital. If film then I have to add 1b) scanner
2. Photoshop / Lightroom -- I need to process it somehow
3. Internet -- this is the only way these days I can get people to see the pics.

I think I can take a good digital camera, a good computer, good image editing software and a good printer for granted. A quite good setup costs quite a bit less than a new car. So for me the crucial needs are all about how to nurture my work. What I need is:

1. The discipline to do my work when I can around the edges of a demanding job. It is so easy to dribble time away.

2. Deadlines, so that I have reason to finish work. My monthly Photo Salon helps with that. So does having projects and applying to shows.

3. A dialog with some sophisticated people to help me understand what I am doing. Having that dialog is a tremendous accelerator. (Photo Salon again).

I think that a fourth need is emerging - venues. Satisfying that need is a time problem of course, every hour spent applying to shows is an hour spent not creating the work. So it tends to get slighted a lot. Working on the pictures is more immediately gratifying.

The ability to SEE Light.

To Sean:

Thank you for sharing that. For what it's worth, I thought it was very well written, came from the heart, and that anyone would be proud to write so clearly and to express their thoughts and feelings so directly. I hope you continue to enjoy your photographic journey and your greater life adventures.

Rod G.

For me the 3 thingsI need are:
Any kind of camera.

Printer, Ink and Plenty of Paper

A sturdy tripod

Hmm i'll have to think on this, the original was specifically about minimum must have hardware for acheiving a standard of quality (not only was the darkroom presumed as obvious but apparantly the talent as well). So i would lump all software and a computer/monitor and printer as "darkroom". This leaves me with 1) a camera of sufficient quality for the work and that does not get in your way of taking pictures 2) an agenda that is very loosely held (this gets you out the door but otherwise does not get in the way of taking the pictures that actually present themselves to you).
Uhmm hmm no 3 right now…

1. a vision,
2. enough time,
3. and Hope

Time, access and light. Those are absolutely necessary. The rest is up to you.

I can do fine with your first three even though now I use a medium format more than the 4x5.
Even more important is a sense of adventure and some good walking shoes. After all, a good photograph is really an acknowledgment of an experience.

1) Compact camera with a fast 35 mm (equivalent) and a fast 75 or 90 mm lens.

2) Good editing program like Lightroom or Aperture.

3) ISO 100-3200.

4) Good printer.

5) Computer/Screen/internet connection.

A bookcase? Yes. But in addition, you can now download Kindle books on a PC (Windows) from Amazon (without buying the Kindle), and I suspect that Apple and several other companies will offer similar services within the next year. A bookcase with selected work by Cartier-Bresson, Frank, Evans, etc, ---and 5000 books on your iMac!

Vision, curiosity, a camera with me at all times

Taking lens


1. A film camera of some sort (I like digital, but my mind works in film-mode, because that's all I could afford when I seriously started photography, and I stuck to it).
2. Light (photographing old buildings in the overcast just doesn't work).
3. A way to see my images (film scanner).

light, vision & capture device

1.thinking of Don McCullin.
2.thinking of my latest inspiration, which can be from reading, music, or the images of others.
3. did I pack enough booze?


1 - Sex and drugs and rock & Roll (Ian Dury)
2 - Love, Love, Love (The Beatles)
3 - A nymphomaniac coke connection with a Ferarri dealership (George Carlin)

Amongst the predictable suggestions you've received so far a few unpredictable gems stood out. I like "A peer group of critics I respect" best.

Comfortable shoes


Good luck

I am surprised no one has mentioned a TRIPOD!

3. PRINTING ABILITY (darkroom, computer, printer, software etc)

Well if your into landscapes as I am...

1..the ability to stick with the camera you have, master it, and not go chasing technology.

2..the time to study the history of photography and painting and devour as many images as will fit through the eyes into the brain.

3..the ability to know when a photograph needs work, and when to stop.

1. a stylish outfit and a nice jacket
2. a car
3. discipline

Fitness, film and friends.*,**

* I'm very lucky in that "friends" at this moment includes artistic mentors as well as peers and appreciators.

** For a time, the internet was probably at least as essential to enjoying my photography as anything I listed, and is still very important, but I didn't include it because: a) it doesn't begin with "F"; and b) I now take it as much for granted as electricity or telephones or mail, all of which are in some way essential to the kind of photography I enjoy doing, but seem too mundane to mention in this context.

1) a fertile creative imagination
2) a computer with all the appropriate software to exercise said imagination with
3) a lifetime of meaningful experiences from which to draw

Camera, film and er... more film.

1. camera
2. map
3. tank of gas
4. a few bucks for a 2x whopper on the way home

Good health (you don't miss it until you don't have it), passion, and a good eye, in that order.

It seems to me that the original statement wasn't really about what one needed for photography, but rather what was specifically needed to engage in the subject of that magazine at the time, which I would gather was the careful control of image tonality. The three things specified had very specific roles in that pursuit:

1. Measurement of the light reflected from the subject (spot meter).

2. Measurement of the effect of light on the film (densitometer).

3. A camera that would allow the sensor properties (film and development) to be chosen for each image.

These days the same requirements can be met with:

1. A digital camera (with its built in exposure meter and histogram functions)

2. A digital camera (with its histogram function)

3. A digital camera (with the ability to set the ISO for each exposure, or use raw format)

For myself, I don't have a digital camera yet. But, I do have meter with a spot attachment (sort of) and a densitometer. I use medium format film, so I can't (and don't really want to) develop the frames individually. But, scanning and digital adjustments significantly reduce the problems of dealing with variations in subject contrast.

Probably like most photographers here, I have way more stuff than I need to take pictures, and not enough time.

2. Laptop

2. Laptop
3. Blog

A clear head
The appropriate equipment

1. Time

2. Patience

3. Luck

1. Digicam
2. Memory card
3. Cable to connect cam to computer, or a card reader

It's an uninspired list, but when it comes to bare necessities in the digital age, it doesn't come much more basic than this.

An appreciation of light
An appreciation of the equipment
A something else - call it desire, enthusiasm, a unique eye. Simply that soemthing else!

1. A looong course in printer calibration, so what I see on my calibrated monitor is actually what I get out of the damn printer...
2. Financial freedom to travel to the places I like to photograph.
3. Sherpas to carry all the gear I usually want to bring along.

So far printer calibration is my biggest problem, I printed about 8 copies of a photo earlier today trying to get the tones I wanted and finally gave up at pretty close. Why is this so damn difficult?
All in all though, I'm having the photographic time of my life. I grew up poor enough to be unable to afford a lot of film to hone my technique, now I've got digital and a decent income. I've learned more in the last 5 years than I learned in the previous 41. Life is good.

A smile
Good legs
Sense of occasion

A camera, Photoshop and naked lady! Alright alright, cos this is a family site, substitute that last item for something a little less compelling. A white squirrel perhaps?
Dennis F.

Right light
Eye conected to brain
Loaded camera

Shoebox, oainted black and with a pinhole at one end; one piece of 4x5 film; One piece of 4x5 printing paper.

Little of what I'd want, some of what I need, and the ability to persevere.

A camera.
At least one hand with at least a thumb and an index finger.

I’m a lomographer, so that’s definitely enough.

Also in answer to the Rollei announcement and the comments.

A medium format camera

A scanner

A Printer

(I am also buying into the Impossible project and polaroids. I just bought a converted 110a and am ordering film tommorrow.

I feel that pure digital lacks a certain amount of soul. I can't explain it I just feel it.

Three is not a lot if you don't make assumptions about computers/software/Internet being freebies, so I'd go with:

1.) an iPhone - you get the camera, a way to share your photography and software all in one
2.) God - without Him, I would lose perspective, lack a joy that infects my clients and photography would become an end onto itself
3.) an Epson 3800 - there's still something magical about a print in your hand. It doesn't require color calibration, doesn't face technological obsolesce and requires human contact to share

... that being said, I guess I'd need a fourth to have paper for my 3800.

Ok, Here goes..
1. Camera (assuming digital here but film does apply).
2. Calibration of system (x-rite passport or DNG profile editor - IT8 and color analyzer for film).
3. Software (it is a toss-up between Lightroom and CS4 - it is a matter of library/cataloging preference).
4. Printing (calibrated printer or means of calibrating an enlarger and color system).
5. Someone besides your self to enjoy your work - unless you are a hermit - in that case, none of the above apply.

I own and use film scanners in addition to my digital cameras. Film is a far more stable archiving means than solid state storage - I use both.

What leaped immediately to mind was, "Eyes, balls, and a camera."

However, I don't that's really true for me. At least, I don't like to think that my photography is defined by testosterone..."Courage," perhaps would be less moronic.

Everyone is just too afraid to provide the honest answer:

1. online camera reviews
2. credit card
3. The Online Photographer's link to amazon.com

What, photography cannot possibly be about photographs!

I'm old school. I need a camera, film, paper, chemicals and a darkroom. I don't need a computer, a printer, and the internet to create photographic images to exhibit and sell.

Morry Katz

1) A camera with a satisfying shutter sound. 2) HP5 or PhotoShop Lightroom. 3) Appreciative friends who don't mind being the subject of my neverending quest for the perfect portrait.

I suppose I take the internet for granted for sharing and reference.

Following both digital and analogue paths, the three things necessarily differ. A camera is a given in both cases.

1) Mac
2) Lightroom
3) Epson 3800

1) Darkroom
2) Enlarger
3) A3 Scanner

Passion, Vision and a camera. Everything else is optional.

1. Computer with software and internet assumed
2. On-line friends to share your work
3. Passion something to drive you

For me, the original list (spot meter, sheet film camera & densitometer) pretty much do it. Which will sound contradictory to those who know me, as right now I am doing nothing with those tools. Add to that an aging body and some physical challenges, and it's expected that no one would believe me.

But stripped down, that is pretty much "who" I am as a photographer, and it has nothing to do, as sort of implicated by an early comment, with pursuing an Adams (or Picker, Weston, etc.,) genre. It is about the bare essentials and about the quality of light-struck b&w film, about pace and contemplation.

Now about that densitometer ... anyone have a spare? :D

actions (as in Photoshop actions customized to my workflow)

1. Maintaining a willingness to learn regardless of what you've done before

2. Hard work

3. After 1 & 2; repeat 1 again.

1. Camera
2. Printer (I use a trusty dye-based Designjet...)
3. A place to hang the prints

I've found the last to be more important to me then I realized. I work in a building that has a large number of bare (beige) steel walls---and I've put up 12 x 18" prints (mounted on black foamcore, adhered to the wall with magnets). I started with my office, worked around the corner, and now have nearly 100 prints up around the building.

What's important to me about that is that I get people coming in to talk with me---folks that wouldn't stop by otherwise. Some are photographers, others have been lured in by the prints, and some want to talk about specific subjects. The sharing of the work is really what makes it fun for me---and I find the prints and personal connections more satisfying than the virtual connections made through the internet.


What a deceptively simple yet fiendishly difficult question. Thought about it of and on all day and could come up with only the obvious.




I'm a bit literal minded.....well more than a bit, and I'm not into this touchy feeley philosophical stuff.

As for digital, well, I have a DSLR but feel that I've started all over and that I'm at the Brownie Bullet (my first camera) stage of learning. I also remembered that in the last 3 months my photographic related purchases have been; darkroom chems, paper, 200 feet of flim and another box of empty film cartridges. Guess I'm still stuck in 1971.

The right light.

A bycicle.

A point%shoot camera.

1.Feel like taking pictures, in the mood.
3.Equipment to capture, process and print as you want it to be printed.

1. Perseverance to always carry a camera - even when not on a bike.
2. Solid Camera Technique, so that you miss few shots.
3. Sheer Luck

Works for me.

The list is already pretty complete, so this is more a vote than anything original. Assuming you have a decent camera and computer, my votes are for:

Lightroom (I hardly ever use Photoshop anymore)
Monitor calibration gizmo
Reliable and accurate printer

When I vote for a printer, I don't mean having your own inkjet necessarily, but a source to make prints. I have a lab do prints for me with my settings, and the results are better than what I got by doing them myself.

1 A naked chick on some rocks
2 Full frame 35mm or digital SLR with 35mm and 135mm prime lenses
3 A way to print in black and white (darkroom or digital).

Pretty much the same for the last 20 years except for the change to digital.

- my 4X5 gear
- a plain, dusty, 4X4 truck
- maps

1.) Sunshine
2.) Clear thoughts
3.) The key to my car

Photography is a hobby so I see it as a means for challenging myself and not as a source of income. A luxury in other words. The sad realization for me is that I am most successful when shooting alone so I regret not feeling inspired when in the company of my photo club friends.

1. Curiosity
2. Whatever camera you can get
3. A way to share what you shoot

Some folks are happy making prints that no one ever sees, but the only way to get better is to show off and see what people hate.

Curiosity beats knowledge most times, photography is one of the pastimes where ' What happens when you do this?' isn't usually a precursor to Darwin Award nomination.

What're you trying for?
200 responses?
300 responses?
What's the record???

creativity and...

1) The time to move unhurriedly
2) A sense of discovery
3) Friends with which to share the results

I think I'd better shoot for 200. This comment is number 198. Think we'll make it?

Maybe I'll post two more myself. [g]

I'm pretty sure this is now the record for most comments to a single post.


Dear Mike,

I was going to scoff at the business about needing a spot meter, densitometer, and sheet film camera to 'participate fully' in said magazine. I don't own the latter, never got around to buying the former (tho' I meant to) and only use a densitometer for calibrating my sep work for dye transfer.

So, obviously, I'm proving that wrong.

Then, I remembered: I was never interested in subscribing to said magazine! I only started reading it after I started writing for it.

So, maybe it was a good measure of the readership after all!

pax / Ctein

Three things?

IIRC, the Governator already answered this one...


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