Saturday, April 3, 2010

This is why I have this Pentax Blogsite. This is also why I'm a Pentaxian.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

I am passionate about photography and when someone start talking photography, I can entertained a conversation for hours. Quite a while back, a local school teacher walked in my place of business. It didn't take long before our conversation turned to photography. Her name is Michelle. She is currently taking photography classes and one of her assignment was to write about a photographer that influenced her. I am honored that Michelle chose me.  I write this blog with the desire of helping others. If i influenced Michelle for just one photograph, I'm a happy blogger.

She is majoring in Photography at the Academy of Art University of San Franscisco. The Academy Program was praised by Photo Magazine. 

Here's her MidTerm essay:

Student: Michelle Crawford
Subject: 7.1_Mid_Crawford
Midterm Project
Yvon Bourque
A Photographer I Admire
The photographer that I have selected, has impacted and inspired me more than any of the other photographers I know. And I know a few! Probbly because heʼs always been willing to take the time to show and share his knowledge and excitement about photography. Heʼs been a true mentor and friend.

 few years back, I needed to do business with a facility that was on my work route. Waiting in line to get the necessary info, Iʼm doing a “360” looking around at all the pictures posted around the establishment. I had been shooting about 6 months and had recently purchased a Canon advanced digital zoom. It had a manual setting! Oh boy! I noticed this real cool 11 x 17 image of the happiest dancin' preying mantis I had ever laid eyes on. The critter just seemed to be dancing right in front of me. I realize now, why; which is pretty cool. Finally, I was at the font of the line and I began to speak with this gentleman, the facility manager, who had a little accent. Maybe I heard a hint of French in his inflections, but definitely not from here (SoCal). I explain to him what I'm looking for and as he goes to locate some information for me, the pause gives me the opportunity to segway into a comment about the preying mantis. At which point, I learned he had shot the image and that he was an early-retired mechanical engineer and longtime photographer. Yvon Bourque, Canadian born and raised (Montreal) and had been in the U.S. for some years. We talked for a long time about the new world of digital photography, and he shared about the old world of film. We talked about hardware and software, points of view, visions for the future and more! The street lights had come on and we finally got around to my business. I left there so energized at the prospect of making photography a working part of my life.
How did you become involved in your art?

Yvon was introduced to photography at the ripe old age of 12. Given a few choices for what he might find interesting or fun in school, he chose photography. He was given a little Kodak film camera; no 35mm; just a device to capture the image. What grabbed him wasnʼt the camera, but the black and white darkroom. “I was mesmerized by it. Even more-so than the camera!” I can picture this 12-year old kid doin' a super slo-mo circle as heʼs taking in all the sights or lack of it and smells. Heʼs been shooting ever since.

Who are your mentors, people you learned from or admire?

I asked Yvon about the people he most admired in the field. Now admittedly, I paid close attention to his responses. Here was his line-up: Photographers, Pete Turner and Joe McNally, and Ansel Adams. Pete turner, who worked well with color and Joe McNally, for his amazing lighting technique. Turner and McNally are both very accomplished photographers, who bring very impressive resumes to the table. Finally, Ansel Adams, for his invention of the “zone system”. It taught you how to calculate exposure. Adamsʼ calculations measured light and distance and such. I wish I had a recorder, just for the way Yvon broke it down; amazing! Bottom line is this. Because Adams formulated a means to calculate exposure, Yvon explained that everyone who adhered to this system had a good chance of getting a properly exposed image. Of course, even with our technology today, we know this is still very useful information.

o you shoot digital?

Yvon doesn’t shoot film anymore. He says he will and then shrugging his shoulders, says “but I don’t “. So he’s a “digital convert”. I asked him when he made the leap. In the late 70ʻs, Yvon got his hands on a digital camera by, Casio and knew this was more than a nerdy concept, but the wave of the future. He’s no purist and is always open to innovation. Yvon’s first DSLR was the Pentax, *ist (that’s pronounced “starist”); a 6 megapixel camera. The image of the preying mantis was taken with that camera. When Yvon’s  went “digi”, he chose the camera he started with in the SLR realm, Pentax. He has some good things to say about the quality of the glass they use, ease of use and product competitiveness. Yvon has since become a type of Pentax advocate and spokesperson for the company, as he tries all their new products and discusses his findings on his blog, which is quite popular. Heʼs written several “how-to” books on the various Pentax DSLRs from the K-100 to the K-7”. By the way, they’ve just come out with a medium format camera that is only in Japan right now, he took me to the site where they were previewing it. Its rivaling Hasselblad at way over half the price!

What have been the trials and tribulations of your photographic career?

He talked about his frustration when he is experiencing a “photo dry spell”. With an energetic “but!” he continued by telling me how he breaks himself out of it. He says he randomly grabs one lens and shoots only with that for a month. It forces him to be more interactive in his shooting. “If I need to get closer, than my lens lets me, then I walk closer and usually on the way, I will find other things to shoot.” He says it gets him backon track.

What would you say are your successes?

Of his successes, he says that outside of just being a help to new photographers, he’s very proud of his invention called the autofocus adjustment chart. Its free and downloaded over 400 times a day by Nikon, Canon and “the others”, including the amateur photo-enthusiast. Just go to his site, its pretty amazing.


Yvon is a man of vision. Who has felt for a while that digital photography is redirecting the territorial lines between good pics and professional images. “Everyone thinks they’re a photographer now! Thinking that because they have a good camera, they can take good pictures” and believing that a high number of megapixels grants you entry into the glorious land of shutterbugs and togs. Not true, but he believes that because the price for film is no longer an issue coupled with the fact that you can take an infinite number of shots and better your chances of getting something “priceless”, may just be canceling out some of those once frequent photo events like weddings and such for the professional. So Uncle Bob may just get to shoot his sweet niece’s wedding while the once paying family waves the professional photographer and his trusty medium format camera on.Personally, I don’t know anyone who is more willing to talk and share his craft than Yvon. He shares his tricks-of-the-trade and even his equipment. First hand, I know there are monetary opportunities he’s passed on to share a marketable idea or concept with others, if it meant it was going to result in a more positive shooting experience for them. He’s just that kind of guy! In addition, my mentor, teacher... friend.

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