Category Archives: Photography Principles


Our daughter wrote recently in her blog entry called PHOTOholic “So now I take pictures whenever I can of my family. I am known in my family as the picture nazi.” It reminded me so much of myself. When we had a young family I would constantly be taking pictures. Since it was the days of film I didn’t take nearly as many as I would today with a digital camera, but still enough that people would complain. Ann’s mother would often say “I hate it when you take my picture”. And yet those pictures over the years are one of the main links with the past and each year they increase in worth.

As many, I moved into taking video. But video is a very different animal. It takes a lot more time to edit and it is more difficult to share, more difficult to sort through and throw out way you don’t want. The video tapes sit on the shelf and are almost rarely used, while the still images are viewed frequently. I came to the conclusion that video was a diversion and for the most part stopped using that format so I could focus on still images. The videos I do create are mostly done with still images anyway.

So Sara, keep on taking those photographs. You can never recover what you did not capture. Your children will grow so fast that you only have one fleeting moment to capture each of them at this stage of their life.

Here are some additional images from our daughter’s blog which clearly demonstrate she has far greater talent than we do in capturing those precious moments:



Abigail - 1 week oldEmma - 2 1/2 years old

Peter - 5 years oldAndrew - 7 years old

What Makes for a Great Photo

When I first moved from film SLRs to a Nikon digital SLR, the D70, I would spend time at the online forums learning a lot about the digital world. Since I recently bought a D300 I have again been spending time on the D200/300 forum. It seems that one thing has not changed, one of the favorite topics is still which lens is sharper.

Recently my wife and I rode our tandem bicycle in a 100 mile event taking pictures from the bike of the participants. I had my D70 in a harness on my chest and would shoot one handed as I was controlling the bike. My wife used a Canon P&S from the rear. Guess what, her pictures turned about better than mine. How could that be. It made me think about what makes for a good picture.

Although all the following attributes are important, I came to the conclusion that the ones towards the artistic side are more important than those toward the technical side. I t have broken these into three areas ranging from the more artistic aspect to the more technical.

While all of these are important I believe that too many focus on the Technical area because anybody who has money can buy the top quality equipment and with their expensive lens they can go out and take pictures of walls to show everyone how sharp it is. Does that make them a good photographer? Because it is a subjective matter, it may not be obvious. Can a super sharp picture win over one that has much more of the artistic attributes?

I think that answers why my wife’s pictures from the back of the tandem were better. She could take pictures as we were passing people, up close and personal with much better framing and interaction with the subject. I had to shoot from the hip because I still need one hand to control things traveling at upwards of 30 mph.

I am not saying a sharp lens is not important, but what I am saying is that is not enough.

Long Term Value

I am waiting at home for the delivery of my new Nikon D300 digital SLR. I thought it was a good time to clean out some of the files and worked to throw out some of the old receipts. It struck me how much money I had spend on computer related hardware and software and how much of that I can’t even recall ever using or where it is. The computer industry was a master at making things obsolete and over charging for things that had limited long term value. And what to I have to show for all those past purchases? Other than tracking my financial history and digitization of photographic images, very little. I am speaking of just the money spent but when I think of the wasted hours building computers, buying expensive memory, purchasing video cards that were underpowered with the next operating system, I realize how that hobby was a big money and time sink hole.

Today much more can be done over the internet. No longer do I need to buy a mapping program. Moving to the Apple Mac platform has also been very benefical because it comes with far more useable software than Windows ever did. Now days I rarely go to Frys. When I do I see that most of the customers there are overweight nerds. I am glad I have moved on in my life to other interests.

While cleaning out the receipts I saw some that were 20 years old for some camera lenses. I still have those lenses and have used them over the years. When I made the move to a digital SLR with the Nikon D70, I was not able to use them in a practical way since there was no metering and no real focusing aids for those manual focus lenses. But with the new D300 I will once again be able to use them. They still work great and are very sharp. What single computer related hardware or software item that is even half that old is still around? None.

And what do I have to show for the investment over the years in photographic equipment? I have a treasure of images that are priceless, especially of the family and kids when they were much younger.