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Welcome! I don't know about you guys, but I plan on having a good time. It's a lot of work putting together each episode, but photography has been in my life — work and play — since I was a strapping sapling simpleton. And that's saying something (especially if you try to say it through thrice).

Connect or comment, please. Each episode will have a conversation, and I'll be glad to strike one up with you, too!

- Mark

Jul 8, 2018

Mary had a little lamb, its fleas were white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, people were scratching below. (Hey! I'm a poet!)

Of course, the reason I crafted this little rhyme is to celebrate the 473rd anniversary of the original ditty, a fact I completely made up, just this instant, based on nothing at all, but it fills the space, helping me adhere to that hard-learned dictum of, "it doesn't have to be good, it just has to be on." (Thanks Danny Tripp for those words of wisdom.)

Model One

Speaking of history, Nikon was founded 101 years ago and over that century has retained a core focus on optics for production and metrology and imaging.

I shoot Nikon cameras myself, but don't extrapolate that to mean I think other cameras suck. I've had the occasion to shoot with several other brands over the years and I have my preferences, but a good photographer is good regardless of the equipment, perhaps even in spite of unideal equipment, and for the way I have been shooting for nearly 40 years, I like Nikon.

Nikon 1 prototype

A prototype of Nikon's first 35 millimeter film camera, circa 1947. Photo by Morio via Wikipedia.

You can learn a lot more about Nikon's history at their web site, or more specifically the timeline of photography products at

Too Much Light

I made this image on Nellis Air Force Base, outside Las Vegas, but my exposure settings weren't quite right and is what is called "blown out" — so bright that lighter areas are devoid of detail. Rather than trash it, I thought I saw a future for it and made that future come true, come through, not by "fixing" the overexposure but by exaggerating it. The as-shot is on the left, by the way.


With that example in mind, I went out and photographed some local desert greenery, purposefully overexposing by three stops (or more — who knows!?) Then, using computer software, I played with what I'd captured until I liked what I was getting. In this case, super high contrast giving me that, "oh, man, this desert is menacingly hot." I tried other approaches too, as should you. The operative word, at least to start, is "play." The as-shot version is on top.

original saguaro

revised saguaro

Tres Masterlleros

Gina Santi was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and has accumulated master's degrees about as fast as she has accumulated frequent flier miles. She has worked and or studied on four continents, if my count is right, and photography has come to be her constant companion. Listen in as I discover her history, her love of learning, and her report on traffic conditions in Kathmandu.

You can learn more about Gina, see her work, and reach out to her at her web site,

Gina Santi

Gina Santi.

Genuine Faux

When you're looking for good optics, you reach for a hot lens. When you're looking for hot coffee, do you reach for a lens of any sort? You do if you have the CamLabs version of this Nikkor. It rates a zero in the optics department but should keep your joe hot long enough to last a tank of gas.

That's right, folks, if you think the object in this photo is the $2,100 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II zoom lens, you are to be forgiven (and commended, for remembering that string of letters and numbers!). It is, instead, the $40 rendition of that lens as a vacuum insulated beverage bottle. (I'd call it a Thermos™, but that's a brand name, and beverage bottle is what that brand calls this type of product, so there you go.)

CamLabs 1

CamLabs 3

CamLabs 2

Unscrew the rear end of the "lens" and you have both a cup, with handle, and access to the red-plungered screw-in cap. When loaded with your favorite hot or cold beverage, a press-click on the center of the red plunger allows liquid to flow out without unscrewing the cap. Press-click to reseal. Oh, and it comes with a drawstring bag for all your beverage bottle in a bag needs.

Close examination reveals some softness of details compared to the actual lens, but even an extended glance doesn't spoil the masquerade. Well done, I say. Search Amazon for CamLabs and you should find it.

Easy Fiver

"I couldn't get another movie, so I lived in Mexico City for a couple of years. I lived in Paris for a couple of years. I didn't take any photographs, and then I went to Japan and saw a Nikon used. I bought it, and I just started, like an alcoholic. I shot 300 rolls of film. That was the beginning of me starting again." — Dennis Hopper

Apparently Hopper had trouble finding filmmaking work after he directed, co-wrote and co-starred in Easy Rider. This quote reflects a bit of his history at that time. I was surprised to learn that he was, in addition to a multi-talented filmmaker, a well-known photographer, before and after that iconic film. I share a few more quotes by the man, including one that involves underwear. (!?)

Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper at Cannes, 2008. Photo by Georges Biard via Wikipedia.

Deep Six

Thank you all who listen and read. Please leave me a comment or question in the comments section at the bottom of this, or any episode's, page. Better yet, or additionally even, go to iTunes and rate the show. If you're ever going to get me to stop hassling you about that, you just gotta do it. Eventually, when enough people know about the show and artificial intelligence takes over production (based on what you get, it's gotta be not much more complicated than what could be handled by a turbocharged Tomagotchi, right?) I can finally retire to that island in the lower Gila River.