The new issue of Esquire magazine is dubbed "The Photo Issue."
It's chock full of 146 pages of text and advertisements before you get to the actual special section on photography. But once there, it's an interesting take.
Most of the photographs aren't my preferred style, but they're excellent nonetheless. And the articles are good, from "How To: Photograph Your Dog," to "Hideously Invasive Photographs of Famous People" (celebrities taking pictures of themselves in their private life), to "Serious People Making Funny Faces" (featuring such notables as CBS Correspondent Bob Schieffer and Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry).
The special issue is released for October 2004, and should be on newsstands now.
Every now and then someone comes up with a fantastic use of the World Wide Web. The folks at Confluence.org have done exactly such thing.
The Degree Confluence Project, according to the website, was started in 1996 by Alex Jarrett. A "degree confluence" is defined as a meeting of two whole-integer degrees of latitude and longitude on the globe. For example, 43º00'00"S, 148º00'00"E, is the degree confluence near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
The website's goal is to collect photographs and written accounts of 16,167 of the over 64,000 degree confluences in the world. (The remainder are relatively unreachable, being at the poles or in the ocean.) So far, 3,430 have been found and reported to the project.
Unfortunately, both degree confluences in my home state of Connecticut have already been reported on, so if I want to contribute, I'll have to travel.
Definitely check out Confluence.org. And perhaps even participate for a little bit of fun and posterity.
Today Nikon announced a new professional digital camera, the D2x. This is a serious upgrade from the other digital cameras in Nikon's line, and may again put them in the running with Canon in the digital market. I'll be awaiting reviews, but I'll most likely be buying this camera next year; this release, on paper anyway, seems to be what I've been waiting for from Nikon. To view the official information on the D2x, visit the Nikon website.
In another development, Nikon announced a second new pro camera, the F6. It's a film camera. In the 21st century, a major camera producer like Nikon is still putting resources into developing new film cameras. I'm not sure whether to think that loyal or crazy; at the least, it's interesting.
Recommended reading: The humor publication The Onion has run a great piece titled "Seminal School-Portrait Photographer Dies at 92." A wonderfully witty (I cringe that I just wrote that phrase) satire of a realm of photography we're all abundantly familiar with, the article definitely falls under the heading of "I Wish I Wrote That."
I'm still working the US Open, and I'm still exhausted. And more exhaust is coming. (Er, rather, exhaustion. Unless you count the time I sit in traffic.)
I always think it's silly for people to predict the tournament's champions before the event even starts. You never know how players will be playing (everyone has off weeks), who may get injured, who will be forced into tough schedules due to rainouts, etc.
But in the second week of the tournament, you get a more realistic picture, a better base to begin from.
So my favorites to win the 2004 US Open are (and I base this on ten years of working in the industry): Lindsay Davenport and Andy Roddick.
Those are my favorites. In one sense of the word. But who do I think will actually win the tournament? Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt.
I've been shooting tennis' US Open since 1996, and these past few years I've noticed a dramatic shift in how photographers work the event.
Three years ago a few photographers were using digital cameras, and I thought of it as almost a novelty; I kind of peaked now and then at people using these camera bodies that were just beginning to be good enough for professional sports photography. Still, it was mostly wire and newspaper photographers who were using digital, and everyone else was using film.
Two years ago a couple magazine photographers showed up with digital gear. One of them actually said to me, "You're STILL using film?"
Last year the ratio of film to digital photographers was about 50/50.
This year, about 90 percent of the photographers I'm working around are using digital cameras. Film photographers are so scarce that one veteran saw my stash of Fuji Velvia and Provia and said, "Oh good, you're the other film guy." And the Fuji representatives stationed in the photographers' room in Arthur Ashe Stadium have been referring to the few film photographers as "VIPs."
This dramatic shift has actually changed what and when photographers shoot. It used to be that when the light was bad, all the photographers used that time to eat, edit film, etc. Now when the light's bad, they're out shooting anyway, because digital is so much more versatile than film.
So the advantages to shooting film are now 1) the light tables are always available for use, and 2) there's never a line to drop off film for processing or to pick it up.
The advantages to digital? They're becoming clearer every day.
(As a side note, I did shoot some of last year's US Open with a digital Nikon D1x, and plan to do so again this year. As for my plans to switch to full-time digital work? I'm awaiting word on the newest Nikon digital camera, rumored to be a model "D3" that allows the photographer to switch between two resolutions: 15-meg at a slow frame rate, and 8-meg at a faster frame rate for shooting sports. Last year I wrote an article for this website, "Digital versus Film: One photographer's Experience." I still stand by the feelings I expressed in that article, but the time to switch is nigh. Just don't tell the Fuji reps I said that, because I kind of like being a VIP.)