Photo by iMac
More often, even, than “why do you hate women and men and babies and women?” I am asked what kind of camera I use. I am going to explain it all here, and then stick it in the FAQ, but first be apprised: don’t use me as any kind of camera-chick role model. What I know about photography could fit in George W Bush’s brain.
My first photolosophy is this: it’s already fake; it can’t hurt to make it faker. My other photolosophy is this: taking pictures is creepy voyeurism, but there you are.
The Twisty Institute’s main camera is a Canon 10D, which is a digital SLR. It is very heavy and obtrusive, so of course it, along with about sixteen other electronic devices, is strapped to my person at all times. I never leave the house without it.
Most of my lenses are even heavier and more obtrusive than the camera. I alternate between a Canon EF 16-35mm zoom, a Tamron 18-200mm zoom, a Sigma 30mm, and a Canon 100mm macro. I also have a Canon EF 70-200mm, but it is the size of the Hubble Telescope and can cause fatal traffic accidents if it is pointed at fleeing celebrities, so I only haul it out to take pictures of shy birds. Bug photos require the macro treatment. Most of the shots on the blog were taken with the 16-35. Man, I love that lens. It’s all beat up from being inadvertently swung into about 3679 door jambs and dropped on sidewalks and left to melt on car seats. Just now, as I was gazing upon it with rapt admiration, I perceived that it has a piece of mouldering garlic stuck to it.
To maximize artificiality, I deploy the 10D’s horrid built-in flash on all outdoor photos. The aforementioned flash is stupid, and burns out anything that isn’t already illuminated pretty well, so for indoor shots I bought a small Speedlite. I almost never use it, though, because it makes the camera fit in the bag wrong. Sure, I could take it off, but that sort of thing is counter-intuitive to a busy spinster aunt on the go. Instead, I stick a handy little cheap diffuser thing, called a LumiQuest Soft Screen, over the built-in flash, and stop that shit down a couple. Photos taken this way still sort of suck, but not as bad as they would if I didn’t use anything. The LumiQuest Soft Screen was sold to me by a nice guy at Precision Camera on N. Lamar who told me all about his bad knees.
But that’s only the beginning. I am a rabid devotee of Photoshop, and I don’t care who knows it. I use and abuse it on practically every picture. No color is sacred, no imperfection is safe. I blur, I stretch, I rotate, I make rotten tomatoes look tasty, I make happy people look depressed. All photos are then blogulized (i.e. turned into small JPEGs) using Photoshop’s companion program, ImageReady. Because I am a horrible photographer, I am not above using the “sharpen” filter.
I know nothing whatsoever about film photography.