Friday, October 31, 2014

Saturday Night Fever

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ahab

Why Moby Dick?

Because looking for a 'good' camera is a lot like searching for that white whale. The good news is unlike Ahab you don't have to go down and beckon, if you have read the last two posts you'll find your white whale and maybe even beckon and all save one, (Probably a Nikon guy), will follow.

So to review, DSLRs don't have to equal the Black Ops budget for The Republic of Irwadistan, they don't have to be more complicated than the stuff NASA uses to launch the space shuttle and you can with the tools I posted find one in less time than it takes to apply for Social Security.

So let's talk about that strange and curious thing quality.

Remember way back when I started this I stated, “Electronics either work or they don't.” That is true and will still be true when you do your search and will be true for the next lifetime unless they develop nanomachines to replace all humans with and the smart bugs won't have any use for cameras.

There just is no real difference between any of the top brands until you get to the professional level and we want to avoid that like the plague cause they cost more than an arm and a leg, they get used and abused more than a coin operated washing machine and they are just a little bit smaller than a '48 Merc.

So all things being equal you can pick any of the top brands and get a camera which will be reliable right out of the box, even if you aren't the first one to open the box.

You do want to chose an entry level camera.

But that doesn't make any sense, all along you have been talking about a 'good' camera and if the idea is to buy a used camera to save a few bucks then why not buy the top of the line?

Because that is where the usage curve starts to work against you. Every DSLR lives and dies on its shutter. The number of times a shutter gets activated is a better indicator of wear and tear than the age of the camera.

All of the top manufacturers engineer their cameras to take a lot of beating about and dragging around and most set the life of the camera at 100,000 shutter activations. Whew that is a lot of shutter pulls and it is more than any but the most dedicated amateur will ever do, but it is not more than a pro will do. That is why it is important to select an entry level camera. They will have a lot more life left in them than the work horse heavy-duty professional photographer's boat anchor.

Nikon and Canon both say one hundred thousand activations, Pentax says fifty thousand, but since that number is seldom reached it is just a likely spot where things might start going wrong. Sony claims one hundred thousand so you can see all of the Big Guys have a long way to go before they hit anything near then end of their service life.

My first Pentax came with 44,000+ activations and I have added another three plus since I got it plus plus I managed to take a dive while wearing it and it is still going so don't let a big number in the shutter count window scare you off.

Let's say that most DSLRs will do one hundred thousand shutter clicks before they head off to the Big Dark Room in the sky. So quality among the top three or four really is just a matter of personal choice.
What's next I heard you ask? Lens availability.

I picked Pentax because of two features; first I wanted AA battery power. Nothing stinks like grabbing your camera and finding the battery dead or almost dead when you get a chance at the perfect shot. And second Pentax has been around since the dawn of SLR cameras and there are literally thousands of compatible lenses made for Pentax cameras so I can use all of them when I find them.

Around here Canon seems to be to go-to brand. One look on Craigslist and you will find a dozen Canon lenses for sale, all of them too expensive but they are there all the same.

Nikon comes in third and they are even more expensive so think about what the lenses will cost when you are deciding what brand of camera you want to hang around your neck.

Oh yeah, Sony comes in last and you'll have to find lenses online or travel to Eugene, Salem, Portland or Seattle.

Now let me say that I have nothing against any brand. I think that Sony and Nikon suffer from name glitter without much substance to back it up. Canon's luster is a little bit of the same but not so dependent on the big budget add dollars. You make your decision on what you believe. Me, I'd rather save a buck or two and avoid the star-power of Nikon, but that's me.

But when making a decision about quality keep in mind this fact, bodies fail, get damaged or lost but lenses go on forever. You can get by with a dinged, dirty, scratched and skinned body, but when it comes to a lens, buy the best you can lay your hands on. That lens will travel with your next camera and the next and when you die the kid will fight over the lenses and throw the camera bodies out with the rest of the dust catchers.

Lenses fit on many bodies and manufacturers design their bodies so they are backward compatible with their older lenses. A good lens will sell for almost as much as you paid for it ten years from now while your camera, even if you bought it new and kept it in a mayonnaise jar over night on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls will be worth ten percent of what you paid if you are lucky. Spend more money on the lens and you'll be happy for years to come.

What about those bodies? And why buy just a body and not a whole camera? Most of those cameras come with an 18-55mm lens. Now this is a good ordinary lens which will take pictures and make your posts to InstaFame look really nice. But it isn't very useful when you start thinking about why you bought the camera. Better to let someone else worry about how to get rid of it and put your money in a lens you'll use.

So buy the body and the lens separately. Maybe you can't spring for the whole thing right now, probably a Nikon buyer, so you get the body and buy the lens later. No it won't be as much fun but it will make you hoard your pennies and save for that lens.

KEH will put you in a Nikon D3100 or a D5000 for $228 or 238 respectively. Then you can get a Nikon 55-200mm F4.5/5.6 for $79 and it is engineered for that body so your total expense is $307 or 317 for a Nikon camera and lens! And the lens will be something which you will actually use instead of trying to stick someone else with on Ebay.

One last word about quality, and this is completely anecdotal and not at all scientific, three weeks ago I was coming home form Coquille and had my Pentax in my hand when I missed a step and fell on my front deck. The camera wound up between me and the deck so it took all 229 pounds of Trawler on the body and lens. I was devastated.

No, not hurt but scared that my Pentax had been smashed to bits. This was not helped since a part of the lens hood went flying by my face as I landed. At the least I expected my lens mount to have been warped by the impact. Nothing doing, the lens hood part snapped back into place and I have run a coupla hundred frames through the Pentax since and there appears to be nothing amiss. That kiddos is quality. Try that with a point 'n' shoot!

So you now know how to get a 'good' camera and why to get a good 'camera' and what to buy with the good 'camera' so why aren't you out there buying a 'good' camera?

Parting shot, if you are truly worried about shutter count there is a free app you can download, Photo ME.


This will tell you the count every time you take a run of frames and you can worry about how close you are to hitting that hundred thousand count!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Type Casting



For Immediate Release                                                          Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 29, 2014                                                                    Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

QUICK OVERVIEW
Title:                            Monotype Workshop with Pat Snyder
What:                          printmaking workshop
Dates:                          Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, 2014
Time:                           10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., both days
Age Range:                  adults only
Skill Level:                   all skill levels welcome
Media:                         monotype printmaking
Where:                        Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR 97420
Workshop Fee:            $75 CAM members / $90 non-members
Registration Ends:       December 4, 2014
For more info:             call (541) 267-3901 or email sldonaldson@coosart.org

IN MORE DETAIL
Learn from one of the area’s most imaginative and skilled printmakers in a two-day, adults only Monotype Workshop Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Coos Art Museum.  Renowned local artist, printmaker and art educator Pat Snyder will share with workshop participants the painterly printmaking process incorporating spontaneous painting and/or drawing within the fine art of printmaking using an etching press.  Materials can include paints, inks, pastels, charcoal and crayons or a combination of materials painted or drawn onto a surface (substrate). Substrates can be plates of wood, metal, glass, or plexiglas, however, for this workshop students will use plexiglas as the substrate. Plexiglas offers a consistent thickness supplying a uniform etching pressure for all students and due to its transparency can be placed over drawings or photographs acting as a useful guide for making the monotype.

Participants will learn the many different tools and materials for applying and subtracting paints and/or inks. Oil-based inks and paints have been popular with artists for their slow drying times. This Monotype Workshop will use non-toxic, slow drying, and safe Akua® water-based paints and inks. Additional topics will include monotype terminology, proper use of the etching press, the limits of materials and supplies, chine colle (specialty paper glued to monotype) and studio setup. 

This workshop is a prerequisite for independent use and rental of Coos Art Museum’s Printmaking Studio.  Cost for the two-day workshop is $75 for CAM members and $90 for non-members.  Registration ends December 4, 2014.  For online registration visit www.coosart.org or contact the Art Education Dept. at (541) 267-3901 or sldonaldson@coosart.org.



Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105






 Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Black Market Alert

Upcoming Events at Black Market Gourmet

Monday, October 27, 2014

Moby Dick

So you thought I was through?

No, because we have only begun to talk about getting you a 'good' camera for holidays or your birthday or Guy Fawkes Day.

So to start, let's define good as a digital single lens reflex camera of 12 megapixels or better with interchangeable lenses and at least 720 video capability.

Why?

A digital single lens reflex camera is now and for the foreseeable future the finest tool for picture making you can put hands on. It is just the BEST. You can change the lenses to fit what you are photographing, take pictures in all kinds of light and weather conditions and when the BIG ONE comes you can video the panic and get on Youtube!

Why 12 megapixels?

They make cameras with forty megapixels, why should I be satisfied with just a dozen. Cause we are trying to get the dog to hunt for less than you paid for your car. Sure you can get a humongous number of pixels and I am sure that they would come in handy if you are trying to copy US currency so you can make your own money and get it past the gimlet-eyed Treasury Agents, (You know they have no sense of humor or proportion, you know that and they will catch you and kick you around the parking lot) so you really don't need all that many pixels so you won't be tempted, but if you are remember to run the new paper through the dryer a few times so that it looks like it has been in circulation for a while and didn't just come from you HP.

And if you are not going to try to make your own money then you won't need so many megapixels and the Treasury Agents can go back to beating the tar out of people who jump over the White House fence and that is a much better use of their time.

So let's say that twelve megapixels is good enough for starters. Sure if you fall in love and win the lotto and learn how to use all of the controls on that twelve megapixel camera then you can go out and buy a forty megapixel whizzbang and show it to all of your friends and be on a first name basis at the bank cause you will need just about the GNP of Moldavia if you are really going to buy one.

And because I want you to concentrate on picture taking and not on how you are going to pay for the beast. Remember this is going to be a really big adventurer and if you are so worried about what it costs you won't have time to enjoy the ride.

Also with a twelve megapixel DSLR you will have a tool which you can work with and grow with and play with for years and still not completely tame.

But it is just too complicated.

Yes, I won't kid you DSLRs are very complicated, but everyone of them has an Auto setting which will allow you to use the camera like a big ole point 'n' shoot. Better still most have a P setting which will check thousands of pre-programed scenes and select the one which most closely matches your scene and adjust the camera accordingly. So without much effort you can put the animal to work right out of the box.
That means it isn't all that complicated unless you want it to be.

They cost an arm and a leg and more than it takes to send the kid back to school in the fall.

They can, but one of the other reasons why we are talking about twelve megapixel cameras is they have all of the bells and whistles of their big brethren without the price tag. In fact having completed an informal survey, they can be had for under three hundred dollars in almost every case. (That's Nikon but we'll talk about that later.)

Three hundred dollars is a lot of money, but it is money you'd spend on many things without so much as a blink. The phone in your back pocket, the video game console by your TV, the cable package you got because you just had to see the final season of Boardwalk Empire and then you wanted to take a look at Outlander and see if trans-dimensional adultery is as much fun as they said it was and the thing on the sofa just wanted to see if that lanky Irish Miss was going to get nekkid and she did and did pretty nekkid pretty well for someone committing sin in two time zones.

So the cost isn't more than you would spend on many things and the camera you use, no not the one in your phone, they don't count, probably cost nearly as much without being able to do nearly as much so this is a good purchase.

So now you know it doesn't cost more than the appropriation bill for Senate toilet paper and it isn't as complicated as trying to read the congressional record it is still terrifying, right?

Who wants to go out on the dark and scary Internet alone to try and find one of those under three hundred dollar cameras. You do and you can with just a little bit of work.

The first and the most important thing you need to know is what you are looking for. Now some of you will want a Nikon and I can't help that although I hear there are twelve step groups for that sort of thing and some of you will want a Canon, almost as bad, but better and some of you will want a Sony, name identification gone mad and some of you will want a Pentax and then there are a whole bunch of others. So, you gotta pick.


This site will help more than anything I can say. You find a camera you like and enter it and then you can compare it to any other camera and get a side by side look, a numerical rating and a list of features. Snapsort will also give you places where you can buy the one you want, but they are almost always more expensive than the places I am going to give you, like...


These guys are very, very good and their inventory is always first rate and I bought my own much loved Pentax there and they did right by me so I think they will do right by you.


B&H will do almost everything which KEH can do and they do it almost as well. I have used them and they did exactly what they said they were going to do and they did it when they said they were going to do it and the followed instructions which is more than I can say for Amazon so they are all right by me.

Adorama is not one that I have used, but they are one of the ones which you could use and they will do the same sort of stuff which B&H and KEH will do and you can count on them and trust them and buy from them.


I can hear they grousing and complaining, “Why can't you just buy 'Merican for crying out loud?” And you can and I have listed three good American sources, but I would be doing you no favors if I didn't list Henry's. Henry's lists on Ebay a lot, but they also have a real, ordinary, normal online shop and you will find that they have some of the best bargains on cameras in the ether.

So now you know where to buy and how to find out what to buy and you've narrowed the field to three or four brands and you are ready to but, what next?

You have to decide what you really want to buy cause if you get something just because you think it is the bestest thing since Sofia Vergara, and Sofia Vergara is pretty closet to the bestest thing, you will not be a happy camper.

No, silly say yes to Sofia, but when you are thinking about a camera devote a little less eyeball and a little more brain.

Now go and shop and think and plan and we'll meet back here in a day or so and talk about quality.
out quality.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Jug of Wine, A loaf of Bread and Thou



For Immediate Release                                                       Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 23, 2014                                                                  Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

QUICK OVERVIEW
Title:                            “Of Men, Myths and Jars of Clay” presented by Steven Broocks, Coos Art Museum Executive Director
What:                          lecture
Dates:                         Thursday, October 30, 2014
Time:                          5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Where:                       Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR
Fee:                            FREE for CAM members/ $5 non-members
For more info:           call (541) 267-3901 or email sldonaldson@coosart.org

IN MORE DETAIL
Join Coos Art Museum on Thursday, October 30, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for “Of Men, Myths and Jars of Clay”, a lecture presented by Steven Broocks, Coos Art Museum Executive Director.

The lecture covers the technical, historical and aesthetic development of Greek ceramics from the civilization of Minoan Crete through the Classical era in Athens. Through pottery painting Greek artists reveal themselves as individuals, they are among the first named artists in history. Pottery painting is also an incredible window into classical times unveiling myth, history and everyday lives.

Steven Broocks received his Master’s degree in Art History with a minor in Ceramics from Northern Illinois University. As a past professional potter and art history instructor he brings uncommon insight into the study of ancient ceramics.

Lecture is free for CAM members and $5 for non-members. For additional information contact the Art Education Department at (541) 267-3901.


Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105






Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.


Art by the Sea

Class Schedule - 2014
In the Continuum Building, Old Town Bandon
541-347-5355
 
Thurs.  Oct. 16 – Watercolor by Vinita Pappas  1-4:00  $30
Tues.  Oct. 21 – Wet on Wet, Acrylic  “A Breaking Wave”  by Paul Kingsbury  10:30-4:00  $35  (See materials list.)
Thurs.  Oct. 23 – Watercolor by Vinita Pappas  1-4:00  $30
Sat.  Oct. 25 – Drawing Lips and Hands Play Day  by Kandi Wyatt  1-3:00  $16  (Bring pencils.)
Sun.  Oct. 26 – Design & Create Beautiful Jewelry  by Shawn Tempesta  1-4:00   $25  (Learn to use jewelry wire & crimps.  Make a bracelet & earrings with gemstones, crystals, glass beads, & metal findings.  All materials included.)
Fri.  Nov. 7 – Felting, Landscapes by Mattie Lane  11-4:00  $25  ($10 materials fee)
Mon.  Nov. 10 & Mon.  Nov. 17 – Hopes & Dreams Safe Keeper  (journal enclosed in a box)  by Deborah Fisher  12:30-3:30  $130 (Fee includes both classes, Part One & Part Two)
Wed.  Nov. 12 - Holiday Card Play Day by Joanne Drapkin  1-3:00  $16
Thurs.  Nov. 13 – Journals Play Day by Sandy Schroeder  1-4:00  $16
Fri.  Nov. 14 – Play Day Surprise (YUPO) by Ava Richey  1-4:00 $16
Tues.  Nov. 18 – Ocean Painting in Acrylics by Paul Kingsbury  10:30-4:00  $35
Wed.  Nov. 19 – Fabric Collage by Susan DeSalvatore  11-4:00  $30
Fri.  Nov. 21 – One Sheet Journal by Deborah Fisher  1-3:45  $35  
 
Contact the Gallery at 541-347-5355 for more information.  Most classes have a materials list of what to bring with you.
*Sign up at the Gallery.   Fee may be paid the day of the class.  Classes fill up quickly, however, so full prepayment guarantees your place in the class!  We no longer accept deposits.
*If interested in the “Drop-In” Play Day Classes, you may leave your name and email address at the gallery to be emailed with a reminder.
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wall Art

Once upon a time art meant many things, painting, sculpting, carving, drawing, acting dance and even talk. Now we say art and all we are thinking about is the kind of art which hangs out on museum walls, two-dimensional, flat, painted Fine Art.

But have things really changed so much that only painted art can be understood as Art? Certainly in the beginning, art was magical and flat or at least as flat as the cave walls it was reverently applied to. This was Big Magic, to take animals and men from The Wild and capture their image and place it on a wall. That was big-time, secret, powerful, dark magic stuff.

And given the materials the first artists had to work with it was. I'm not at all certain I would have ventured into the bowels of an ice age cave with nothing but a bowl of burning bear fat, and that's another thing the first artists did not go to Art Connection and but a bottle of refined bear fat for their media, they had to get that bear to give it up and I'm pretty sure that most of those bears did not give up easily, so after killing the bear and rendering the fat the artists still had to go into the dark spooky cave and I'm not wild about going out on my own street after dark so the innards of a cave is pretty much out of the question but the first artists did and that is why they left their mark and I didn't.

But before they went down that dark and spooky cave they sat around the campfire with Mrs. First Artist wearing the latest fashions from the recent hunt, animal prints I'm pretty sure and boldly baring one or both breasts cause there was no Velcro or snaps and it is hard to get the proper off-the-shoulder hang without snaps and so there in the dark and damp cave with Mrs. First Artist provocatively offering a much more enjoyable evening plan, that ole cave guy picked up his paints and his bear fat and went off into the darker reaches of the cave to do his prosperity sign and leaving Mrs First Artist to create the story line for Shonda Rhymes next ABC Thursday night soap opera.

But before he did any of that and she did any of that they listened to the witch doctor, or sage or shaman tell tales of Gods and heroes and might deeds and that is why ole cave guy left Mrs First Artist to her own devices and went away to paint.

So you see the whole impetus for all of the prosperity making was not Mrs. First Artist and her daring animal print nor was it ole cave guys desire to express his inner self but it was the magic of the witch doctor's tales and that is why we still pay the Big Bucks to folks who can manage a story and get all of us to get out of the Baracalounger and out into the cave doing God only knows what and so you see it isn't flat, two dimensional art which makes the nights burn a little brighter but it is the sound of the human voice spinning tales in the light of the fire and holding off the things that go bump in the night.

So why then have we decided not to value the magic in the words of the tale teller?

Our own museum the Coos Art Museum has collected a motley crew of tale tellers for your evenings around the fire and they will certainly hold back the things going bump but they ought to have someone around the campfire to do it for.

Now the Ole Trawler did one of these tale telling lectures and I am happy to report that I had a goodly number verdure away from the bright glowing tube in the middle of the living room and maybe it was just because the BAAA meeting was scheduled right after so some of the guys might have been Baaaers but they still sat still and let me run on and maybe they heard a word or two and maybe they got something out of the time they spent away from the Tube and why aren't you doing it more often and not just on the nights when there is a BAAA meeting?

The wonderful, intel;ligent, educated and gifted Anne Sobbotta did the first one and sad to say there was a terribly limited turn out for such a well-delivered lecture. So we are one for one.

But that's just not good enough.

Tonight you have another chance to go to the Museum and hear a wonderful talk about the art of the folks we stole this property from and we probably should at least listen to their stories since we swiped their fish and trees and water and all that other good stuff and that was even before there was an iphone so we could tell everyone onTwatter and Faceplant and instaPhlemg.

Turn off the TV, put on your big guy pants and go to the Museum for the lecture series and gain back some of the brain cells you have so gleefully killed off watching Survivor and the Real Housewives of Bugtussel. And just maybe the next time someone trues to tell you art is only good for hanging on the walls you can set them straight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Doing

You may have noticed the Ole Trawler hasn't been writing much lately and that's mostly my fault cause I have been suffering from the Donwannas.

But I have been busy with several other projects and that brings me back to the point which I hate cause I rather beat around the bush and fill up this post with words, but I suppose you have things to do a don't want to spend the whole afternoon waiting for the Ole Trawler to get around to coming to the point so I will.

A few weeks back the Museum had it's Fall Fling for the Arts and they put on a Mystery Dinner show and I had the joy and privilege of heading up the production.

Now this was not new and different for the Ole Trawler cause in another life that's what I did. I ran Poison Pen Murder Mysteries of Dallas for fifteen years and in my spare time I wrote eighteen murder mysteries which are still hanging around to this very day. But writing and producing a mystery which you wrote is something very different from taking one someone else wrote and trying to make it fit with what the buyer needs and finding the people with the right chemistry to make up the cast and getting them all in one place at one time and then getting them to do what you think needs to be done so that the nice folks who come through the door will be entertained and not annoyed and they won't cut up feather pillows and start boiling tar and act like the peasants in a Frankenstein movie even though it is awfully close to Halloween and 'Dear' Boris', (Would he have lived forever) birthday but getting hot sticky tar off can be a real chore so you can see why I wasn't in a hurry for that to happen so it was a good idea to do it right in the first place and not get tarred and feathered and so that's what I did.

And I had the help of seven wonderful people who have real lives and jobs and they do all of the things that you do only they took on the extra work of doing this mystery and they are the ones who really deserve the credit, but there was one tiny little problem...

Since the Ole Trawler was in the thick of it and had his hands full and couldn't break character to get out and take pictures there are no pictures of the wonderful people who brought this mystery to life and they are the ones who did all of the hard work and they deserve all of the credit cause it was a big hit and that was a good thing for the Museum and they made a dollar so they were happy and they folks who came were baffled and mystified and confused and that is what is supposed to happen with a mystery and some of that was even because they couldn't figure out how to play and not because of the actual mystery but that's okay because it was supposed to be confusing and baffling and mystifying so it worked out and everyone had a good time except the Ole Trawler cause he has no pictures of the guys who did all of the hard work and how can he applaused and congratulate and flatter and toady if he doesn't have any pictures to wave about and call attention to the guys who did all of the hard work?

So if you went to the Fall Fling for the Arts and took pictures with your vastly inferior iPhone or telephone camera or spy cam instead of having on hand a 'real' camera like the Ole Trawler told you you should have, could you please share them with the Trawler so that he can make sure that all of the hard working actors get the praise they richly deserve?

Tell you what, send them to the Trawler at


or
If you don't trust the Trawler with your pictures send them to


or


so that we can get a complete look at what the mystery was like for the people who were not doing it.

It is so hard to do something and be outside doing the other something which needs doing and so you don't do either very well and I thought it was probably best to do the mystery part better than to take pictures so I did the mystery, but you can see how that would limit the time I had to take pictures.

So if you have any pictures of the Mystery at the Museum I would love to see them and thank you for doing what I didn't have time to do cause I was doing the other thing which needed doing.

Stalling

It is that time once again when I start my annual rant about why you should get a “good” camera.

You are an artist and don't need a camera and you need your money for stuff and to pay the bills and feed the kids and get that thing off the couch and out in the yard with the mower one last time before winter sets in and you can't afford to spend money on frivolous toys like a camera and you have one in your phone anyway so you just don't need one.

But you do and there are so many out there just waiting for you you can get one for less than you would spend on dinner for the family.

So let's start at the beginning, you do have one in your phone/tablet/surface and you don't need another.

You do have a camera in your phone, but it isn't very good and it isn't very flexible and while having a camera when you need one is the cardinal rule of photography, having a bad one isn't the same thing.

The camera in your phone is a wonderful thing and you've heard that it has forty megapixels and can walk on water and turn on your alarm system from downtown North Bend and isn't that just the niftiest thing you ever heard?

Nope. The camera in your phone does have as many as forty megapixels and that is a whole helluva bunch of megapixels, but they are tiny. In order to get all those megapixels in that little back-pocket sized phone they have to be smaller than a politician's conscious. Now that is a good thing for getting a bunch of megapixels in one place and taking them with you, but it doesn't mean that you have a perfect picture making tool.

Let's go back, a lot of megapixels is a good thing right? Not always. There is a point where the bunch of megapixels gets so big they have to get small and that is where there is a big difference between a “good” camera and the camera in your phone.

Just how many megapixels do you need? If they are good and reasonably large ten or twelve megapixels will do the job most of the time. With a frame that dense you can print 8 x 10 or even larger and not lose a thing. Try that with a forty megapixel phone image. It just ain't the same.

The camera in your phone has to make a compromise with its lens. It has to have one lens which will do almost everything. This means it is probably a short 'normal' or a 'long' wide-angle. You don't say. I do say, for most digital cameras a 35mm lens is what the manufacturers call 'normal' and anything shorter than that is a wide-angel, so your phone camera has something between a 35mm and a 20mm which will do two things really well. It will keep almost everything in focus most of the time and it 'sees' the same view that your eye does so you feel like you are seeing 'real life'.



But a whole bunch of the good stuff takes place outside of normal. Like birds, they seldom come into normal range and they don't stay long so if you want a hummingbird image for your desktop you will have to download one from the Internet or get a better camera. Ever try to capture the excitement of the start of a race? There are folks everywhere and they don't all take off at the same time and they don't all run at the same pace so there are people all around and that phone camera will not be able to get them all in the right place. And then there's all the stuff that goes on indoors, like birthdays, weddings and the cat falling off the bed cause he got so relaxed he just oozed off the blanket. That phone cam won't have the speed to get it even if you do have it clutched in a death grip in your hot, little hand.

Now why do I think this? Because I do have a 'good' camera and I don't own a phone with anything, but telephone stuff. I don't want to surf or tweet or blog or face or anything when I am out of the house and I have voice mail so if someone wants me they can leave a message and I'll get back to them. And no I am just not that important that I need to be in constant communication with the one other person who is likely to call me. The Long Sufferin' will track me down if she wants me and that is something which she does not need help with and the United States Marshall Service should have her on their staff cause no one would ever get away with anything.

I would rather have a 'good' camera which will do all of the things I need for it to do so that when that special moment comes along I won't miss it. The sea lions hauled out basking in the sun on the pier at Charleston, a rainbow falling across the Charleston boat basin or the fabulous nineteen thirty-two pickup parked by the side of the road. I don't want to miss any of those things and that is why I have a 'good' camera.



You need your money.

Don't we all. I could use a whole bunch more, please tell the Mega Millions folks before some ungrateful lout wins my money. But buying a 'good' camera doesn't have to break the piggy bank, ruin the college fund or make you miss a payment on the F150. No there are thousands of fantastic cameras much more capable than I am just waiting for someone to come along and give them a good home.

What's your poison? Nikon, Canon, Sony or maybe like me you think a company which spends more on development than it does on advertising is a better idea? (That's Pentax if you didn't guess.) It doens'
t matter what you favor there are cameras out there in every price range just waiting for you to come along and get in the groove.

Okay, number one: Electronics work or they don't. It is a sad fact, but the industry has gotten so good at building stuff that you don't ever have to replace anything because it stopped working. When was the last time you bought a TV because the old one died? Yeppers back in the seventies I'm thinking. We buy new things because they are shiny and they have all sorts of new bells and whistles and we get caught up in the flashing lights and the hype and spend a whole wad of money and what have we got, something which isn't substantially different from what we had.

But this is a good thing for you because when a guy goes out and buys a new super megapixel, auto-focus, weather-sealed, mirror-less camera they have to do something with their old equipment and if they have kept it well, cleaned and protected it from wind, rain and the kids it will function just like it did when they took it out of the box except it will be worth several thousand dollars less than what they paid for it.

You did notice the part about several thousand dollars less? Yes, several thousand dollars less.

You want a Nikon. I can't understand why, but you do and you have never even considered it cause the average Nikon costs more than your first house and you would never get that big a hole in the checkbook by the Long Sufferin' so you have always wanted one but never really thought about getting one.

You can have one for under $250. Yes, you can, a real Nikon. I did a quick informal survey and the Nikon D5000, 12.3 megapixel DSLR runs between a low of $199 to a high of $238. Yes, you'll have to shell out more to get a lens, but you have to have the body first. Want a simple 18-55 and you're looking at another forty-five to seventy-nine, without shopping around. The whole ball of wax for two forty-four to three-seventeen, For a Nikon for crying out loud.

But Canon is my brand. I've been watching Art Wolfe on PBS and he uses a Canon and I know that is why he takes such wonderful pictures and if only I had a Canon I could take pictures just as wonderful...so get a Canon. The Canon Xsi or the T1i will run $238 and that's a 15.1 megapixel Camera! Put an 18-55mm lens on it for fifty-three more dollars and you have a Canon system for less than three hundred dollars.



Now you want to balk at three hundred dollars? You'd spend that much on a video gaming system for the grand-kids and they'd be bored to death cause it wasn't the newer 3D version with the motion sensor paddles, so quit stalling.

Having a first-class camera is not a luxury, it is not a waste of money, it is not a project for when you win the Lotto. It is the first step on the way to capturing those award winning images. And it is very, very affordable. The cost of a point and shoot now runs into the two hundreds and you are limited by a fixed lens albeit in most cases a super zoom, but still limited. Why not use that same two hundred dollars and get a tool which will last you for decades to come.

Buying any tool depends on three critical options, will you use it, will it allow you to grow as a talent and will it last long enough to cover the cost? That point and shoot is great for sticking in your pocket and forgetting about it. It's like a giant-sized phone camera.

A DSLR won't fit in your pocket, it won't fit in a purse and it won't fit in the glove box, but it will grow with you for years to come, survive all but the worst physical disasters and will deliver images you won't believe you took.

Isn't that worth the price of an ipod mini?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life Art

For Immediate Release                                                          Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 20, 2014                                                                    Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

QUICK OVERVIEW
Title:                            “The Art of Native Life” presented by Jesse Beers, Cultural Director for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians
What:                          lecture
Dates:                          Thursday, October 23, 2014
Time:                           5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Where:                        Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR
Fee:                             FREE for CAM members/ $5 non-members
For more info:             call (541) 267-3901 or email sldonaldson@coosart.org

IN MORE DETAIL
Coos Art Museum welcomes Jesse Beers as guest lecturer for the third of four lectures taking place Thursdays in October.  Join us on October 23, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as Jesse covers the lecture topic “The Art of Native Life”. 

Jesse Beers is the Cultural Director for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians.

Lecture is free for CAM members and $5 for non-members. For additional information contact the Art Education Department at (541) 267-3901.


Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105






Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wade in the Watercolor

For Immediate Release                                                          Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 13, 2014                                                                    Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

QUICK OVERVIEW
Title:                            Wonderful World of Watercolor
What:                          watercolor class
Dates:                          Thursdays, Oct. 23, 30, November 6, 13, & 20, 2014
Time:                           10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Age Range:                  adults only
Skill Level:                   some watercolor experience to advanced
Media:                         watercolor
Where:                        Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR 97420
Cost:                           $85 CAM members / $95 non-members
For more info:             call (541) 267-3901 or email sldonaldson@coosart.org

IN MORE DETAIL
One of Coos Art Museum’s most popular art instructors Liv Drahos has less than a handful of spaces left in her upcoming class “Wonderful World of Watercolor” which will feature the wet-into-wet painting technique along with tips for brushwork, layering, edges, and color mixing.  Learn how to section off the surface of your paper and invent color chords (relationships of one color to another) to make an underpainting that provides texture, shape and value. 

Designed for intermediate to advanced watercolorists, this 5-week adults-only workshop will take place on Thursdays, October 23, 30, November 6, 13, and 20, 2014 and costs $85 for CAM members or $95 for non-members.  Register online at http://www.coosart.org/art-ed-registration-form/ or contact CAM’s Art Education Department at (541) 267-3901.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105






Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lies, all lies




Below are the details for next week’s lecture (Thurs. 10/16/14). 

Don’t forget tonight’s lecture by Anne Sobbota titled “How Symbols Speak: The Complexities of Visual Language, Past and Present”.  Lecture starts at 5:30 p.m. at Coos Art Museum.


For Immediate Release                                                          Contact: Stephanie Donaldson
October 9, 2014                                                                      Director of Art Education
                                                                                                Coos Art Museum
                                                                                                (541) 267-3901 ext. 105

QUICK OVERVIEW
Title:                            “Writing Fiction or Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat” presented by Roland Miranda
What:                          lecture
Dates:                          Thursday, October 16, 2014
Time:                           5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Where:                        Coos Art Museum, 235 Anderson, Coos Bay, OR
Fee:                             FREE for CAM members/ $5 non-members
For more info:             call (541) 267-3901 or email sldonaldson@coosart.org

IN MORE DETAIL
What’s the difference between you and a bestselling author?  Find out Thursday, October 16, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Coos Art Museum.  Join the Museum for the second of its October lectures and escape into the world of fiction as local writer and photographer Roland Miranda delves into the lecture topic “Writing Fiction or Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat”.  With his engaging blend of humor and wit, Mr. Miranda will both entertain and educate the audience on what it takes to be a successful fiction writer.

Roland Miranda was for fifteen years the Artistic Director, writer, producer and actor of Poison Pen Mysteries of Dallas, Texas.  He has fifteen produced plays and is a published poet.  Mr. Miranda now lives in Coos Bay where he is active in the Arts Community as a Fine Art Photographer.

Lecture is free for CAM members and $5 for non-members. For additional information contact the Art Education Department at (541) 267-3901.


Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Donaldson
Director of Art Education
p. (541) 267-3901 ext. 105
 
Coos Art Museum
235 Anderson
Coos Bay, OR 97420
p. (541) 267-3901
f. (541) 267-4877
Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.