Since the day I returned from Mozambique Africa in 2001, where I spent 4 weeks working in an orphanage and photographing children, I saw the writing on the wall that the days of film were over. Because of the ease and inconspicuous use of my little 3 MP Canon G1 digi cam, I photographed with it extensively, while my big film camera and lenses spent a lot of time in the camera bag. I reviewed the pictures with amazement, and reproduced them quite large with beautiful results. From there, I bought Canon’s first version of the 1D, and have migrated along the way, keeping Canon’s flagship 1D & 1Ds cameras in my line up ever since. The big digital/film debate lasted a few years and was silenced in an amazingly short period of time. At least for most anyway.
I’m often asked if I miss photographing with film. The answer is simple: No. As a matter of fact, my criterion for accepting or rejecting current digital files have become so critical, that many of my film shots would now be rejected. Its exciting to work in an industry that is so rapidly changing.
I know this is a blog about Alaska, but I thought I’d make a little detour and show some pictures from Africa, since it was my first illuminating experience with digital photography.
A brief comment about the children. There were 500 of them in this orphanage, and if they saw me with a camera I was nearly mobbed and begged incessantly to take their picture. Never before, and never since have I photographed people who displayed such an interesting and natural poise and facial expression as these kids. I did not coach them, except perhaps to back up since they would fight one another to be in the frame. No one has taught them to smile, or say cheese, or any of that baloney that creates an unnatural look. Quite simply, they are beautiful.
All the shots were taken with the Canon G1 (By the way, I think that camera is now at the G11 version). In a few cases, I used an off camera Canon 550EX flash, with a tiny softbox. The G1 supported use of Canon’s infrared transmitter, that permits off camera ETTL triggering of a remote flash-an amazing feature for a little digi cam in that era.
You can see more of these photos on my website. It is a little buried, in a section devoted to “Beyond Alaska“, and you can explore some of my other travels there also.