Napa Valley – April 8, 2012

Posted by Admin on Apr 8, 2012 in Featured Photo of the Week | 1 comment

Napa Valley – April 8, 2012

I’ve posted a few images in previous posts that pre-date my conversion to digital methods; this week’s featured photo is one of my first photographs after I initially made the significant (to me, at the time) investment on my first digital camera.  It was early 2006, and after much research, and cost evaluations, I opted for what could be considered an entry level 8.1 Megapixel Canon DSLR. 

I’ve since upgraded both my camera body and the lenses that I shoot through, but this Canon model, one of the first that was targeted towards “prosumers,” along with the kit lens, was my primary photographic weapon.  After close to four years, and who knows how many exposures – many of which are featured throughout this site, I eventually decided to upgrade.  My decision came right in the knick of time, as soon after being relegated to a back-up role, and well beyond it’s listed shutter life, my early Canon finally stopped working.  I’m currently debating on whether to pay to have the shutter replaced, or to apply the funds towards a back-up body with more current technology.  With how far camera technology has come in the last six years, I’m leaning towards the latter. 

With the brief background out of the way, to this day, one of the most frequent questions I get asked when people find out I’m a photographer (a close second to only: “what do you photograph”) is “what camera do you use”?  I usually answer openly, but I always think it’s a strange question.  Would those same people, upon finding out someone is a gourmet chef, immediately ask what kind of oven that person use?  Would they ask a writer what kind of word processing software they use?  The reality is that the camera is only a tool and can only see what it’s pointed at.  The most expensive or advanced camera, without someone behind it is only an overpriced paperweight. 

Even though my first camera was considered entry level, and would get more than a few snide looks if I were to take it into a room of other professionals, I was able to capture some of my favorite work with this camera.  It traveled with me to numerous international destinations, as well as local & domestic locations.  I was able to successfully use it for a number of portrait sessions, and even a few weddings.  Like the cameras I currently shoot with and the film cameras I used prior, I knew my original digital camera intimately.  When I saw a scene, I did not have to stop & think of how to adust my camera’s settings to best capture what I saw.  The capturing process was (and is) automatic, which let me focus on the real aspects of photograpy as  “the art of seeing”.

Napa Valley / Since 1900

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Getting back on track to the specifics of this week’s featured image, it is actually the 18th photo (thanks to file numbering – otherwise I would never have known) I took with my new purchase in 2006.  I was still getting a feel for the new tool, and set up a home studio immediately upon bringing it home.  The makeshift studio, which consisted of a couple of incandescent desk lamps, along with some dark sheets to use as a backdrop, still needed a subject.  Being an avid wine fan after my time spent in Europe, and having a few bottles around my place, I set out to recreate an old black & white film image I took a number of years before.  As with many other images I’ve tried to recreate, the “copy” was not nearly as succesful as the original – I view it as being similar to a photocopy that loses quality each time it’s duplicated, Once I started shooting however, I kept seeing more interesting perspectives, this is the result of one of those sights.  I love the interaction of the reds & yellows on the black background, along with the abstract geometric forms drawn into focus by the bottle text in the lower left being the single focal point.

-Antuany Smith

1 Comment

  1. This my favorite post to date.

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