Perhaps all is not lost. Maybe there’s still some hope. When I was wandering around Zabriskie Pint in the pre-dawn light a few weeks ago I saw this young woman setting up, complete with a really nice DSLR and a very solid tripod. She definitely seemed to know what she was doing. At first I was a little annoyed – she’d moved into my field of view without so much as an “excuse me”. Most “seasoned” landscape photographers won’t do that; they’ll simply wait until you’re finished (or go elsewhere). But she seemed very intent on occupying this particular spot.
So I made her the subject. And I got to thinking that in many ways she was (is) something of an anomaly. Most people her age are, at best, smartphone picture-takers. They might have a small point-and-shoot, but that would also be rare these days. If it doesn’t fit in their pocket, they don’t want it. Also, note the high quality – and probably expensive – hiking boots. She wasn’t wearing flip-flops or cheap sneakers. It was kind of like seeing a young version of an endangered species out in the wild. Clearly, something we should nourish and protect.
Please don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against iphone or tablet photography. I’m using my own iphone more frequently than ever (for photography, anyway. The older I get, the fewer calls and texts I receive). It’s really a very fine little piece of photographic equipment. But there’s so much that an iphone simply can’t do. It focuses very well, but DOF is uncontrollable. Heck, everything is usually in focus. Also, there’s no such thing as “compression”. And what about long exposures? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smartphone with Image Stabilization.
Of course, they do take wonderful little “selfies”. Not for nothing, but people who spend their time taking selfies – especially in places like this – ought to be shot.
So I applaud this young woman. Let’s just hope that she’s not the only one.