I'm sort of a photography enthusiast.
Real photo enthusiasts carry digital SLR cameras with bazooka lenses.
I do have an old manual 35mm SLR with all the works (now a farm for growing fungi) but my current walkabout is an ordinary 傻瓜机 (idiotproof box) with a temperamental autofocus and a useless flash.
It's far from perfect, but oh well, it takes photos.
That suddenly reminds me of a great line from a lady stand-up comedian!
She asked a member of the audience: "What car do you drive sir?"
He said, "I drive a '04 Ford Mustang 2-door coupe with V6 engine and 5-speed manual transmission."
She then said, "Ask me what car I drive."
"What car do you drive?"
"I drive a white car."
I use a silver camera.
First up - registration. This feels rather formal because they need to print a name tag for you on the spot.
After receiving my name tag I mindlessly asked the counter staff: "Can I take photographs in the exhibition?"
She replied,"Well, I should suppose so since this is a photography exhibition."
Ask a stupid question...
And here is the entrance! Where are the thronging crowds?
The interior of the exhibition hall is only about half-filled. The Canon booth is the most prominent. Most of the exhibitors are companies selling photo printing machines and studio lighting equipment. There is also a number of photographic clubs present.
Compared to popular sales exhibitions like COMEX or SITEX, the hall is almost deserted, but this exhibition targets a slightly more professional demographic.
Two areas are designated for showcasing
In this era of photoshop, I guess it's fashionable to modify your original shots by that much.
As I walked around this area, I noticed that only a few people were looking at photographs.
Where are the others?
Checking out the bazookas, why of course. Canon set up this high platform to show off its range of super long lenses.
I tried out the huge Canon 600mm f/4, coupled to an EOS-1D Mark III body. The magnification is quite impressive, but the viewfinder looks dim and the autofocus isn't as snappy as one of their shorter white lenses.
When I examine the Mark III more closely, I concede that this is the sort of equipment that only professionals can handle, since only real men can haul this brick around all day and not injure their wrist.
I wouldn't (and couldn't) buy one of these as a walkabout camera, without heading to the gym first.
Want to see another bazooka?
Check this out. The gargantuan Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 zoom lens actually resembles a bazooka.
Just looking at it gives me a backache.
Suddenly there was a flurry of activity at the Canon pavilion. Hordes of photographers were rushing there.
Is someone giving away free memory cards?
The Canon babes are here, HOORAY!
Everyone is jostling to get a clear shot at these extremely thin ladies. Regular Fresh Brainz readers know that I'm no fan of skinny women, but the one in the middle does look quite cute.
It must feel like a superstar to be the centre of attention for so many photographers, with their flash units blazing like crazy, snapping hundreds of photos macam no tomorrow.
Then the commotion shifted to the Bowens booth because, you've guessed it - the Bowens babe arrived.
You can see a fan machine blowing into the model's face, making her hair flutter slightly. She reminds of Claire Danes for some reason.
A veteran professional photographer was demonstrating how to use studio lighting, turned on one at a time, to achieve good portrait results. He explained that the control of light is very important, and that stray ambient light must be minimized. He also recommended that beginners invest in an umbrella light first, before trying to use box lights.
The crowd was nodding away, pretending to listen.
It's hard to pay attention when a hot babe is standing right there.
I love redheads.
Here's a shot of the model having an expressionless "passport photo" look. If you see her on the streets, that's how she would look like. Pretty women tend to have an "averaged" face and she is no exception.
However, once she's in front of the camera, she starts working it...
The photographer was communicating by hand signals to tell her how to tilt her face and where to look. She responds quickly and accurately - definitely a professional model.
The photos he took were immediately displayed on the computer monitors at the booth. I noticed that the results he obtained had higher contrast than my photos. Since the studio lighting was so subtle, I don't really understand how he managed to eliminate the stray light pouring down from the exhibition hall ceiling.
And his photos were tack sharp, of course. My compact camera was hunting around in the low light conditions, trying (and often failing) to get a good focus. My apologies for the lack of sharpness.
Did I mention that she was posing with a motorcycle?
I didn't notice it at all when I was there.
Then it was time to turn the fan on full-blast. Check out how beautifully her hair flies! This almost looks like one of those covers on a fashion magazine.
Maybe you don't need expensive optics when you have a hot babe.
After a lengthy explanation of the lighting system, the photographer decided it was time to let the people in the crowd to take their own photos of the model. The crowd immediately came alive and started to surge forward, aiming their big bazookas at her.
What a flurry of activity!
I doubt many people were really listening to the demonstrator's talk, because they were firing their powerful flashes at her non-stop. Here's one of my photos that coincidentally caught the flash of somebody else's camera - it was so bright and so direct that it flattened out her facial features, defeating the whole purpose of having all those studio lights.
Compare the previous photo with this one - with warm studio lighting from overhead, from her front and her right. I find this result more pleasing.
And yes, she is HOT.
Please marry me.
Later in the afternoon, the Profoto booth also demonstrated their lighting equipment with a live photo session. Here the photographer is using a large ring flash to accentuate the glow of the model's features and to produce a subtle shadow around her.
From this angle it looks as if he is trying to nuke her with a microwave radar dish!
And finally - here is the Profoto babe. She looks great on photos but seems rather snotty in person.
Overall, it was an interesting learning experience, but despite the eye candy I get a nagging feeling that I'm not cut out to be a professional photographer.
"Your destiny lies on a different path than mine."
I prefer my destiny to lean against a motorcycle with hair flying in the wind.