Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some changes are coming...

Dear Pentaxians and friends.
I have operated this blogsite for a little over than one year now. It has grown far more than I had anticipated. It is still a blog dedicated to Pentax, although I post subjects related to photography in general, but never about other brands of camera. I wish that I could post everyday, but I cannot always find the time.

As a result, I have asked a few Pentax photographers to participate in this blog by posting articles either weekly or every-now-and-then. In the weeks ahead, you will see articles by other Pentax photographers and enthusiasts. If you are like me and surf all the Pentax blogs and forums, you will recognize some of the passionate Pentaxians from other sites. I'm excited to open the blogsite to other and hope that this will help the site grow even more with posts from a variety of Pentax users.

Keep your eyes open. Changes are coming on. As it currently is, this site will remain free of paid advertisement and Google ads. My goal is that someday, will become a favorite among Pentax photographers.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beach towns - Last visit to San Diego, CA

Hi fellow Pentaxians and friends,

We were in San Diego a few weeks back. My step son lives there. We went for a drive along the beach. I actually don't know the name of the beach, but it wasn't very far from the airport. I love the beach life. It always seem that people are more relaxed in beach towns. Of course, I'm getting up in age and don't really take pleasure in soaking up the sun or even swimming in the ocean anymore. I leave that to younger people. They have the bodies for it.

This guy to the right is clearly looking at the nice surfboard!
Is everybody looking as us now?
Scream and they will look at us.
Oh Sh _ _..... this is not as fun as I thought.
Of course, this being in California, there were a lot of surfers. We had a few drinks at a typical beach bar and then strolled down the main street. We did not have much time on our hands and, not being alone, I respected everyone's time and only took a few photographs. I had my K20D with me and the DA*200mm f/2.8 mounted. So I took all pictures with the DA*200mm. What a great lens. It's fast and crystal clear. I'm still working on a review of the lens.

Just keeping in touch.
By the way, I think that's a good looking sea gull ...don't you agree?

Best Regards,

Yvon Bourque

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's happening with the Pro-Photographers?

Dear Pentax friends,

For a while now, I have been watching what the Professional Photographers are doing. Of course there are many different field in which photographers can specialize. From wedding Pro-Photographers to National Geographic contributors, from Sport Pro-photographers to Stock Photography photographers. I see a trend that has me worried about the future of Professional photography.

Now that digital photography has surpassed film photography in Image Quality (for the most part), now that digital has a clear advantage in the number of photographs one can take at no costs other than the cost of memory cards, now that the price for a good DSLR is affordable for the masses, it seems that everyone can join the world of photography and come up with photos that rival Pro-Photographers. Yes, Pros know more about the techniques of photography and that was well and good in the film era. In the film era, it was costly to take pictures and a lot of time was spent composing the images. With DSLRs, you can shoot thousands of pictures in one weekend or even in one day. By sheer luck, fantastic pictures can emerge out of so many takes.

So everyone owning a decent DSLR and good glass can now do just as good as the Pros do, by shooting a ridiculous amount of pictures, and in Auto-Mode. One good picture will emerge every now-and-then even if an amateur doesn't know all of the composition rules.

I read most of the Canadian and American magazines every months. Out of all the magazines I read, two are a pretty good indication of what is going on with the Pro-Photographers. They are ShutterBug and Outdoor Photographer. I see current well-known Pro-Photographers writing articles and offering photo seminars and workshops in these two magazines. Look for yourself, you will find these well-known photographers offering educational seminars and workshops. Bruce Dale, who published more than 2000 photos in National Geographic. Bob Krist, who published in National Photographic as well. Frans Lanting (Who I believe is the current most talented photographer of all). The list goes on forever: John Shaw, George Lepp, Joe Farace, Moose Peterson, etc, they all offer seminars and workshops. Why aren't they busy making tons of money shooting for publications and corporations? Yet, maybe they are, but something's going on. Don't get me wrong, these and many other Pros not named here are the masters of the trade and I admire their photographs and buy their books. I just don't think that they will be replaced in the future.

Magazines, publications, advertisement companies can buy any type of photographs these days for next to nothing. Stock Photography Agencies are chuck full of good pictures that they sell for just a few dollars, leaving enough profit to the photographers to buy a McDonald hamburger with fries and a large Coke. The market is wide open and very few companies are giving out assignments worth several thousands of dollars. What are Pro-Photographers to do?

Well, thousands of newcomers and amateur photographers are still aspiring to become Pro-Photographers, get famous and make big bucks. Looking at the current trend, it seems to me that some of the well known Pro-Photographers have an opportunity to make big bucks, for a while anyway, by fueling the aspiration of newcomers. There is a lot of money to be made by giving seminars and workshops about our beloved subject of photography. The Pros know that the profession is rapidly fading away and other than publishing coffee table books and teaching the skills to other, the market has shrunk tremendously. It is as difficult to become a famous photographer nowadays, as it is to become a Rock Star. The best way to make money may be by fueling the desire of individuals aspiring to become famous.

In the very near future, I believe that still DSLRs will give way to sophisticated Camcorders that will render very high quality still photos from the streaming videos. Imagine that, picking any of the video frames and rendering a 14 megapixels or more still photograph from one frame. Magazines, as we know them today, are gradually fading and giving way to Internet based news and hobby forums and blogs. You...reading this very blog does indicates that, doesn't it?

Does that mean that Photography will be a thing of the past. NO, it will be here forever, but I believe it will be more of a tool for personal satisfaction and a mode of expression, shared with family and friends. It will still be one of the most popular hobbies in the world, but I don't think that there will be that many opportunities to become famous and make a good living from it.

Of course, this is just my opinion, but look around and analyze what I wrote herein and look at the world around you. It's moving faster everyday, and technology is making giant leaps.

Photography will be my passion until the I die anyway...I just will not quit my day job, as I still want to buy my beloved Pentax equipment.

As always, thank you very much for reading.

Yvon Bourque

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yes, being a Pentaxian is being a little obsessed.

Yes, being a Pentaxian is being a little obsessed. I have admitted to that a while back.

I had a post a few Months back where I was talking about one of my best photographic gadget. I own this older 1988 Jeep Wrangler that we modified so that it could go just about anywhere. I find it very useful to go where I wouldn't be able to go otherwise. Here in California, we have a lot of mountains and desert areas, and of course, miles and miles of beaches, not all easily accessible. Although many places can be accessed by foot, if you want to go in nature and be back for supper, you have to drive to your destination. That's why I consider my Jeep as part of my photographic equipment.

I have decals on my Jeep, one that says YJ because the Jeep model is a ...YJ. I have one of Yosemite and one of National Geographic. Yosemite because I think it is one of the most beautiful place and National Geographic because I always dreamed of having my photographs features in National Geographic. Although it never happened, it's not uncommon for people to assume that I shoot for National Geographic.

Well, I shoot Pentax and I did not have a Pentax sticker. Of course, there is the LBA sticker, but not everyone knows the meaning. So I went to work and designed a sticker that shows I'm a Pentax shooter. I incorporated a silhouette of my Jeep and a Yucca tree in the background, as well as the blog URL. I had a local sign printing business make the stickers for me in vinyl.

Now, I think that all my hobbies and dreams are affixed to my Jeep for the whole world to see. I'm proud of who I am and what I love.
By the way, all photos were taken with the K20D and the new Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8. Watch for my upcoming photographer's review of the DA* 200mm and the DA* 300mm. For me, a photographer's review will be one of a non-pixel peeper. One that shows real pictures taken with the lenses, instead of graphics inside a studio. One that talks about the construction, the feel and the look of the lenses. It will be about the lenses as a tool for you...the photographers.

That's what being a Pentaxian is all about.

Thank you for reading.

Yvon Bourque

Email received from Chris Pound, Product Manager for Pentax Imaging USA.


I received word that my comments and quoting me won’t really be an issue. Feel free to quote me from the following…

I enjoyed using the chart, and found it easy and straightforward. I really liked that the chart itself folded up into an exact 45° angle, so I didn’t have to mount the chart in any special ways to achieve the proper p ositioning. If people follow the instructions you provide, they should be able to test and adjust their lens focus to their preference, saving those settings in the K20D.

Thanks for taking the time to create this handy tool

~~~~~ PENTAX Imaging Company, Chris Pound, Product Manager - Imaging & Sport Optics ~~~~~
The chart can be downloaded from this blog from the link to the right of the posts.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Share the knowledge...after all you own a Pentax.

About two years ago, Michelle became a tenant of ours. From the start, Michelle and I hit-it-off. I mean that in a sense of art and photography. There is about a quarter century age difference between me and Michelle. I play music and she does too. She loves art and so do I. She was getting into photography and I was already in photography up to my neck.

It was about the time I wrote my first book on Pentax K10D. Every time she would come in, we would get into those long discussions about photography techniques and the whole process involved in the art of photography. Months went by and, being a teacher, Michelle persuaded the school district to purchase about a dozen Point & Shoot cameras so that she could start a photography class at the school. They approved her endeavor and I knew then that she was hooked.

I had a Pentax *ist DS and the K10D. I was going to purchase the K100D so that I could write a book about it as well. I sold the *ist DS to Michelle (cheap) and gave her a few lenses and a tripod. She went on and developed her photography skills as well as PhotoShop skills.

Michelle moved out some time ago, but came to visit us last week. She is still enthusiastic about photography and has even enrolled in a cinematographic class for the summer. She is taking a break from teaching and going for a Master's Degree.

Despite all these commitments, she is taking home some money from photography by taking pictures of events and selling posters/magazine covers type of pictures.

My point in all this is: If you are passionate about what you do and if you never give up, there can only be one outcome...and that is success.
Congratulation Michelle and I know that this is just the beginning of the rest of your successful life.

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The AF Chart is acknowledged by PENTAX.

When I introduced my Auto-Focus charts, It was both accepted by many people but also discredited by others. I received many constructive comments and suggestion, and some were incorporated in the current design.
The time I took to design the charts was to help other Pentaxians. I sent the charts to Pentax and asked them for an opinion. Because Pentax is International, with the head office in Japan and also because they now are owned by Hoya, I will not mention the names at Pentax but here is the email received from them.
Hi, Yvon.

Actually the chart worked just fine for me. A co-worker also tried it. He’s an old hand with the popular one on DPReview, but he says your chart seems just fine. He and I both liked that it folded out to a 45° angle block, which seemed to make the process pretty easy.

Thanks for working on this and making it available.

Best regards,

~~~~~ PENTAX Imaging Company

You can check and download the charts for free here: AF Charts

Thank you for reading. With Pentax, you're in good company,

Yvon Bourque