Sunday, December 23, 2007

Nikonos V

I received an email from my dad last night, and found out he is having a secret love affair:

"Felix: I just rinsed my good old Nikonos cameras - do you know what I felt? I felt that I actually love them.

These awkward looking olive-green instruments have really served me well, and I would never trade them for a digital camera.

When I compare myself to the digital photographers, I now realize that when I take a picture, I am in full control: I look through the view-finder, I set the focus, I compose, and, most importantly, I do not shoot wildly. I normally take one roll of film (36 images) on a dive, and have, thus, to be careful not to waste precious film material whereas "they", my digital colleagues, have no such worries and can happily squeeze the shutter 200-300 times during the same time.

Of course, there are exceptions, Roger Horrocks, Thomas Peschak, Sijmon de Waal, for instance, and certainly many other pros who, as excellent photographers such as David Doubilet, Doug Perrine, or Amos Nachoum have the images in their heads before "exposing" the chip (or whatever a digital camera does...). To be sure, I have seen absolutely stunning digital photographs, images that can hardly be surpassed with a Nikonos or another traditional underwater camera.

When I take a picture, I do it very consciously - digital photography generally tempts the photographers to shoot indiscriminately; as I said, they can afford doing that. I have seen many holding their cameras away from them, so as to move the lens, not themselves, closer to their subjects, and then all they do is just firing - to get as many frames per second as possible. These photographers and their digital cameras are not a unity anymore.

I have also seen guys attaching their digital cameras to a pole and lowering them into the water to be able to photograph sharks from a distance of a few inches. Admittedly, that way you could, with some luck, get spectacular close-ups - but, sorry, that kind of photography does not have any appeal to me whatsoever. The disciples of the new technology would tell me in answer: "At the end of the day it is the quality of the pic that counts, not how you made it". Yes, and yet....

To sum it up, despite all the limitations of the traditional photography, there is still much soul and that indescribable old mystique in it which the digital technology has taken away from the joy of photography - well, that is how I feel about it.

I will, therefore, stick to my Nikonos as long as I will be able to dive, and as long as there will still be 35mm film around - and, of course, folks to develop them.

Ah, there is something else: the digital photographers have the dubious pleasure of instant gratification - they can see right away whether or not the pics they took came out well whereas I have to wait days, if not weeks, with much suspense before I can appreciate the results of my photography. But that's just it - can you imagine the immense kick I get going through my freshly developed negatives and being able to intensely relive my diving adventures long after the vacation has ended?...."

1 comment:

zim said...

I think my dad would be feelling exactly like that with the nikonos.he uses the same system.
I wonder if I am a shuterbug like you describe.I think I do visualize before shooting and try to get the best possible shot.hehe..i try