"Pictures on the Run" — Notes on May, 2010, Meeting — by Dick Jordan

Many thanks to Dick Jordan and Sandy Sims for sharing their notes from the May, 2010, BATW meeting: the “Pictures on the Run” panel presentation by Morton Beebe, Robert Holmes, David Sanger and Glenn Steiner.

May 2010 BATW “Pictures on the Run” Presentation Notes

Presenters: Robert Holmes, David Sanger and Glenn Steiner; organized by Morton Beebe

Robert Holmes has been a professional travel photographer for 35 years and laments the fact that his profession has begun to fade away.  The main focus of his work in recent years has been the production of books.  He has collaborated on 47 books including his most recent, Passion for Pinot, focusing on wineries producing Pinot Noir in Oregon and California.  His current photographic pursuits fit right in with Bob’s love of wine and cooking.

A good part of his international travel today involves teaching photographic workshops abroad rather than being sent on assignment by publishers, and his slideshow included shots taken during a workshop he taught in Burma earlier this year.  His other work as a professional photographer is being done closer to home, making life easier for him as a single father of two teenage girls.

Bob said that the proliferation of photographs available on the Internet has reduced sales of his stock photos substantially during the last three years.  However, he pointed out that Apple’s newly released iPad is creating an emerging market for photographic content and that the iPad application Beautiful Planet is a good example of this trend.

In Bob’s opinion, the best time of day to shoot photos is dawn when the light is beautiful, even more so than at sunset.  More importantly, those pesky tourists who might walk into your shot at the end of the day are usually still in bed in the early hours of the morning!   Bob suggests getting up before daybreak and beginning to shoot as the morning light evolves.

Unlike many professional photographers, Bob rarely uses a tripod unless the light level is so low that shooting with his camera hand-held is impossible.  When shooting photographs of people, Bob likes to “personalize down” his subjects, often shooting them in silhouette or from behind.

David Sanger has been a professional travel photographer for 19 years.  He feels it is difficult for one to be both photographer and writer and do both tasks well.  His photos illustrate the book San Francisco Bay: Portrait of an Estuary.

David likes to do photo essays with minimum captions. His slideshow presentation included several stories accompanied by his photographs.  He likes to have one main image that will tell the whole story and be the “photographic nut graf.”

He usually researches the location ahead of time and works from a shot list of images he needs for the story.  However, he prefers not to work with the text of the story in-hand when he is in the field.  David often shoots 6,000 images a week and submits about 400 to the editor.

Although he has shot many photos on assignment, today he primarily works as a stock photographer.  However, like Robert Holmes, he has found that on-line photo image sites such as Getty Images have decreased his own stock photo sales.

Glenn Steiner has been a professional photographer for 34 years often working with advertising agencies and directly with advertisers.  He spends two to three months a year in Greece shooting photos and teaching photo workshops.  He also teaches at universities.

Since Glenn was getting ready to depart for Greece in four days, he brought along the equipment that he typically carries on a trip.  This includes a Sony VAIO F690 light-weight laptop (about 3 pounds, costs $2,500 to $3,000; note that this model is no longer available), a Nikon D700 DSLR and three or four lenses for it.  A Canon G10 or G11 serves as his backup camera.  Glenn thinks amateurs can get great shots with today’s digital cameras.

He is fascinated by the light in Greece and likes to shoot people when he is on location there.  He said you can secretly take photos of people from a distance, but you need a long lens to do so.

He says if you get a great idea for a shot, keep going back to find it.  He likes to include interesting foregrounds and backgrounds in his shots.

Glenn usually shoots 20 to 30 variations of the same scene to give editors great flexibility in choosing the right image for the project in question.  (Marc Longwood said that we need to be aware of editor’s needs and shoot both vertical and horizontal shots of a scene to make it easier for the editor to chose the one that will best fit the photos into the page layout along with the text).

Like Robert and David, Glenn shoots images in RAW because you can get more color and tone variation.  Although some professional photographers like to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for photo editing, Glenn prefers Adobe’s original Photoshop program.

–        Dick Jordan and Sandy Sims, BATW Program Chair

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