Six months and two cameras later….

No, I haven’t gotten rid of any cameras. I probably should have. But that would mean making holes in my two systems, however flawed those systems may be.

The Canon system is arguably the “better” system, as a DSLR with a couple of extra bodies, a handful of reliable prime lenses and several cheap but worthy zooms. It is still indispensable for sports, and youth sports R us these days, with two kids in high school.

The Panasonic micro 4/3 system is, however, lighter, quieter, and more fun. The photos here are all from the Panasonic camera bodies and lenses. The sensor-lens combinations are stunningly tolerant, even before I tweak the photos in Lightroom. 

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Lucy in mid-wash. The photo’s a bit too dark; I needed to do some more editing.

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The ubiquitous evening primroses by the river walk.

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Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon in a dark reception room in front of a bright sunny window.

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My lovely musical friends trying to doo-wop to FROZEN’s “Let It Go,” sung by two little girls. The adults had never heard the song! How easy it is to tell who has school-aged kids and who doesn’t.

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Beautiful Gabe in a pensive moment over pizza.

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The requisite monochromatic barrel. But it’s nice, isn’t it?

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The view from my rooftop. Nyah, nyah….

I know that in this blog, purportedly focused on the myriad intersections of photography and history — the study of history, the presentation of history, even the capturing of history when it was not yet history — there are many recursions to STUFF: the equipment that makes photography so much fun for so many of us. And here I am talking about cameras and lenses AGAIN. For a firm believer in the primacy of art over technology (though not over technique), this may seem a bit hypocritical. 

But it is important to match equipment to the mission. I’ve talked about the iPhone’s strengths, but of course it has weaknesses as a primary photographic tool. Like most Mac-heads, I’m waiting for that September announcement to see if Apple has somehow packed a Canon or Leica into that thinner-than-ever Swiss Army knife of a phone. But forced to give up my pocket camera dreams, I’ve acquired the Panasonic system over the last few years because it is small, lightweight, silent (almost), and capable of delivering sharp, detailed images. I shoot a lot in churches, in concerts, and on the street, where I don’t always want my subjects to pose or to interrupt what they are doing to worry about what I’m doing. You will note, above, that this approach worked well with my friend Gabe but not so well with my cat Lucy. Shooting (photos of) the governor at a political reception was also, in a sense, easier because I looked like a fan girl trying to get a few good snaps of a celebrity ( — oh, yeah; that was true –)…and because, as I’ve confessed before, I look rather old. Not frail, but old. Who is gonna challenge a grey-haired woman? In addition, the Panasonic lenses are unbelievably deft at low light captures. Most of them incorporate Leica optics — I mean….!!!!

The Panasonic GX7, my go-to body right now, looks quite retro — appropriate to the spirit of this blog — and people often wonder if I’m still shooting film. I should probably lie and say yes, because it might make me seem so cool, but instead I charge into an explanation of this niche system, blah blah blah. Better to lie, I guess, for their sakes as well as mine.

I’m on my way back to Paris this week. For travel this time, I will use the Panasonic lenses and a body that looks like it shrank in the dryer. Four lenses, a charger, three batteries (not enough), ten SD cards, and a camera body: maybe two pounds. Hmm. But that’s the mission. For processing, the iPad. More later. 

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