When I was a young man in the 1950′s I can remember hearing my Dad and Grandfather say that phrase. As I grew up I heard a lot of others say it and after a while I just accepted it as fact. To this day, I still think it holds a lot of weight. In photography we spend a lot of money on camera bodies, lenses, accessories, tripods, ball heads, and on and on. Even if you had more money than you knew what to do with, you still want to spend it wisely! How does this old quote relate to camera buying? Let’s take the illustration above of three current Nikon cameras; Top, the Nikon D3s our best professional high speed camera, second down is the Nikon D7000 our top DX DSLR, and at the bottom, the Nikon Coolpix P7100, the most advanced, performance Coolpix. The D3s sells for around $5,300. the D7000 for around $1,200. and the P7100 for around $499. That is a large spread of pricing. Can you apply that old saw to these three cameras? Do you really get what you pay for?
Before we tackle that, let me state a pet theory about the value of anything to the buyer. I think there are several factors that will answer that question, the buyer says; I like it. I love it! I want it! I need it! I can afford it! The combination to your answer to those questions will determine what you buy. Is there a difference between theses three cameras? Is there a difference between a S Class Mercedes and a Ford Focus? Of course, but the real question is how much do the differences mean to you? If you budget for a new car is less than $20,000., there is no sense in even test driving the S Class. We all know where to draw the line on what we can afford and that answers much of the question. The problem comes in when we “can” afford any of the choices. Admittedly it’s a good problem, but a problem none the less.
O.K. let’s break this down. if you “need” high speed, very heavy duty build quality, the ultimate in imaging quality, especially at high ISO and you can afford it, the D3s is the ticket, no question about it. If you don’t need the super high speed and buffer of the D3s, and don’t shoot at very high ISOs on a regular basis (I consider very high ISOs above 1600), then the D7000 will do you very nicely, and at a great savings in money and weight to have to carry around! If you just want a near pocketable camera that will give you great images, but will not break the bank the P7100 is real steal at less than $500. Can you see the difference between the images made with all three? Yes, but, it will depend on a number of factors. If you shoot very high ISO, above 1600 a lot, you will definitely see the advantage of the D3s over the other two. If you travel a great deal and carry your camera over you shoulder all the time, you will definitely feel the difference between the D3s and the D7000/P7100. If you mostly show your images on your computer, in emails and small prints, small than 20X24, you will not notice hardly any difference between the three! If you make a living shooting billboards and making 4X6 foot prints, the D3s will be a big, big advantage! Now if you just won the lottery, or had a great year with your investment portfolio, buy all three!
So do you get what you pay for? Yes with qualifiers. Can you make wonderful images with all three cameras? You bet.
Now it’s almost Christmas and you are probably wondering why there is no spiritual content to this blog entry!? You just didn’t read far enough!
There is one time you can get something of incredible value, that you don’t have to pay for at all! Jesus has paid for it in full already! Your salvation, your forgiveness, your acceptance into the family of God are all arranged for already. That present is already wrapped and is under your tree, ready to be opened! You’ve received an invitation, especially if you have read the blog more than three times……. to accept that gift. All that is required of you is to realize you need it, you truly desire it, you recognize Jesus as God’s Only Son. The last part is the hardest for man, to bow down and ask Him to come into your life. If you do, you will get the most valuable thing you have ever received and you will get what He paid for.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 19th, 2011 at 2:38 pm
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I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of year. I love being with family and friends and celebrating our Saviors birth. I do miss my Dad, William Pelle Fortney. My father worked so hard to give my brother Homer and I great Christmas’, and birthdays, and summers. He was devoted to his family and he tried so hard to never disappoint us, and he seldom ever did. I guess that’s why I grew up to be the man that I am, I’m in a constant mission to be as good a man as he was. On lots of days I feel I’m falling way short. Parents are so important, they guide us and encourage us to be better than we would be without their help. When we are young we can’t see it that way, we can’t understand why they just don’t understand! The older we get the more we realize just how smart they really were.
My father taught me many life lessons, mostly by simply how he lived, how he acted, and how he responded to others. When I was in high school he required me to go to work in the summers. My friends were laying around the swimming pool while I was working in the Coca Cola bottling plant, loading the bottle washer or loading trucks. I wasn’t to happy about this slave labor!! One day at work, I was eating lunch, back then we brought it to work in a paper sack. My father had been the manager of the plant some years before and the guys all knew him well and would often talk about him during lunch or breaks. It became apparent to me that they really loved and respected my father. I asked one of the older men one day why he thought so highly of my father. He said, “Well your dad was the manager, the boss, he has the last word on everything, but he cared about us. One day the bottle washer broke down, and we had to get it fixed, we couldn’t run the plant until it was fixed. Your dad called your mom and said he was going to be late. He took off his coat and tie and got a work apron and sat on the concrete floor and helped us until we got it running again!” He didn’t have to do that, he was the boss. He could’ve said get it done before you leave and gone home to dinner, but he didn’t. You see your dad never said it but we knew he never asked us to do anything he wasn’t willing to do himself!”
Many years later when my dad was almost the age I am now I asked him about that conversation I had with the guys at plant way back then. He teared up when I told him how much the men cared for him. I asked him about what G George Riley said, (the old man I had talked with). He said that’s just the way you should do things. A leader is only a leader if he will stand in the same shoes as his men. My father was kind to everyone, he genuinely cared when people were having a hard time and he did things, often, with out anyone knowing, to help them.
I’m not sure how things work in heaven, I don’t know whether they can look down occasionally and see how things are going here or not, I sure hope they can! I know he would be proud of my brother Homer, he is just like dad, a truly good man. I know he would be proud of my children, Scott, Wesley, and Catherine, they have all turned out better than a father or grandfather could hope for. He would have loved my grandchildren, his great grandchildren, he would have had so much fun playing with them, and they would have adored him.
I hope if he is looking down and can see me, I’ve done right by him, and all his lessons. In case he can, here is my Christmas letter;
I love you, and I miss you. Thanks for all those things you did to show me your love, even the hard lessons, I know now they made me stronger. Thank you for teaching me to be honest, to demand integrity from myself, and to forgive others. Thank you for loving Homer and I, and Mom so much, you gave so much, sacrificed so much, and you never asked for anything in return. I’m sorry I didn’t say this more when you were here with us. I know you thought that this photography thing was not a very good way to make a living, and in these days, it’s not, but it has brought me a lot of happiness and you always told me that happiness was more important than money! You taught me how to be a husband, a father, and a man. You showed me that the things people don’t see are even more important than the things they do see. You taught me that giving to others in need, even when you don’t have much to give, brings a greater reward than you can ever imagine. I wish you were here for one more day, I’d love to give you a bear hug and tell you all this face to face. I will soon, when I join you there, till then Merry Christmas, I’ll bet the celebration up there is like nothing I could ever imagine! Say Hi to Mom, and Ninnie, Virgil, and Nora, and Doug Blair, and all the family that has gone to be with you guys there. I don’t know how often you get to see Jesus in Heaven, but next time you see Him please hug Him for me and tell Him, He has changed my life forever, and I can’t wait to give Him a hug myself. I started to say take care of yourself, but I know there is no sickness, or pain or weeping there, so I’ll just say thanks again for everything, and I love you and I miss you! See you soon.
Love those you care about while you can and make their Christmas special,
This entry was posted on Saturday, December 17th, 2011 at 7:46 pm
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From time to time I want to produce a number of HDR images very quickly, so this is how I do it. Before we start, let me state, with out question, that this is not the Jim Begley, R.C. Concepcion, Trey Ratcliff, or Tony Sweet method, all these great photographers are masters of HDR. This is the; I’m in a hurry, don’t have time for layers, and masks, just want it to look cool, and I need it now method!!!!
Here we go, step by step:
Step One I select a series of HDR exposures of the image I want to work on. This is a Cadillace logo on a car at Old Car City. Five shots one stop apart. Shot on a tripod.
Step Two: I drop the files into Photomatix Pro and click OK that I want to make an HDR image by merging the images.
Step Three: Click OK that these are the five images I want to merge.
Step Four: Select Align Source Images as shown in the illustration below and Reduce Ghosting Artifacts/Automatic and then click PREPROCESS.
Step Five: This will bring up the preprocessed image and give you a series of choices for the effect you would like. I usually use Enhancer/Painterly, and then simply click PROCESS.
Step Six: This will yield a processed image, which is somewhat flat and washed out. It will look like the image below:
Step Seven: Now the image needs to have the contrast and saturation adjusted so I take it into Photoshop CS5 and use the middle slider (mid-point) to adjust the contrast and color depth to my taste. I move the slider to the right both darkening the image and increasing the contrast.
Step Eight: I now sharpen the image. I think sharpening is highly personal, you can see my settings below for this type of image. I experiment and then look at the image at 100% to get the most sharpening without adding artifacts or halos.
The final HDR image:
Sometimes I want to make the image look a little more grungy, depending on the subject, so if I do, I drop the image into Topaz Adjust and apply the Spicey Filter. ( I also use other filters as well but that is the one that usually give me the affect I want.)
Which gives you this final image:
So, the bottom line is, you can go through this entire process in about two and a half minutes depending on the speed of your computer. The results won’t match the careful results of my friend Jim Begley’s art, but they are pretty cool for such a fast, quick and dirty method! I also get great results from NIK HDR Efex Pro and in about the same amount of time.
If you’re a “reality based” based photographer, forgive me for even bringing this up!! If you don’t mind taking a few chances, and stretching your artistic juices, it can be a lot of fun and great way to breath life into old images……..
This entry was posted on Saturday, December 17th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
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I just got back from this great place and can’t wait to get back for some more shooting. So here is the deal, in early March, exact date coming very soon, Jim and I will hold our first Americana Workshop of the year in White, Georgia for two fun filled days of shooting at Old Car City. The plan is to arrive Thursday evening, have a evening meeting, and get together, and then shoot for two full days, (Friday and Saturday), at Old Car City. There is a beautiful, full service, Holiday Inn just 2 miles away and they are offering us a great rate of $69 per night. We will take 20 folks and work the lots of OCC in teams of five plus an instructor.
We will fellowship and do processing, and do show and tells, and critiques, in the evenings. Everyone can depart Sunday a.m. The workshop fee will be $350. and includes all entry fees to Old Car City! I will work up all the plans and post them right after Christmas, but anyone interested can email me and reserve a spot. I expect this will fill up very fast. If you love old rusted cars this is hog heaven!
Full details about the team and other arrangements will be coming soon. White Georgia is about 45 minutes north of Atlanta right off of I-75. Exit 293.
Tommorrow I hope to post a Learning Center Article on how I do HDR, down and dirty. Not to be confused with the Mastery of Jim Begley. Someone asked if I would tell how I process these images, and I’d be happy to share that with you.
For now, enjoy the great scenes of old American at Old Car City.