City College Photo Event with Jay Dickman

On Thursday evening, Sept 21, 2017, NelsonPhoto and Olympus sponsored an evening presentation by photographer and author Jay Dickman at City College.  Jay is an “Olympus Visionary” which is the Olympus version Canon’s “Master of Light” and similar exhalted titles bestowed by various camera and equipment manufacturers on examplarary photographers that use their equipment.   Held in the auditorium in our VTC building we had an audience of about 100 show up.  I’m officially on sabbatical leave this semester but was asked to be the faculty contact person for the event so there I was, trying to help set up and get the place ready for the event.

Jay Dickman at City

We had to call in the cavalry in the person of Sean, City’s  AV guru but he got things up and running fine… until… Jay showed up with a new MacBook Pro laptop.  I was a learning experience for me and not a positive one.  It seems although small and light weight (a LOT more convenient than my Alienware tank of a laptop) it ONLY had USB-C plugs in the body.  None of our connector/adapters worked.

Fortunately, Larry and Nancy were on their way from the store and were intercepted in time to stop and pick up a connector.  We thought we were saved.  Ah…. Not so fast Grasshopper…

We had thoroughly tested the projector system before he got there; it had been up and running fine, well as fine as an old VGA projector system could run.  But it handled sample stuff I brought top it and online stuff just fine using its own computer system at the “smart” podium.

But when Jay launched into his presentation and started showing his really delightful work from a life of journalism and travel (including some serious “conflict” assignments). A bizarre glitch occurred: in the middle of a slide about 15 minutes into the presentation, the red channel faded leaving a washed out blueish image.   That effect came and went for a while then simply settled in and stayed mostly blue washing out the rich warm colors in many of his images.  It was really a shame.  We were not sure what had caused it.  That had never happened before to any of the other slide shows and video using that projector on both its internal computer system and on a variety of laptops.

I am inclined to think the connector and dongle nonsense required by the MacBook was the problem but do not really know.

Fortunately the material, in many cases was well illustrated as much by the composition of the shot as by the real color so his points were not lost by the technical issues.  There was a lot of good material for students who attended and just regular photographers generally.  He stressed really knowing your camera and equipment so that you do not have to think about them. (Aside to my students… does that sound at all familiar????)

He also extolled the virtues of Olympus’s light weight and small form factor equipment to allow him to pack small and light for his continual travels all over the world.

He also made a compelling case for the power of the still image to hold the audience and remain in their emotional memory longer and more accurately than moving images.  I’m not sure I completely agree but the point was valid and well made.  In the professional/commercial world however, it is irrelevant as more and more commercial clients are demanding video because they are, perhaps, more in tuned with the younger generation’s and it ADD drenched need to stimulation making video sales pitches statistically far more successful than even the most beautifully wrought still images.

Even though I am a proponent and lover of video production, I find that to be sad and hope the still image never disappears entirely.  I agree with him about its power and, especially in a fine art sense, its place as a far more viable display piece.

But for working pros, we may be at the end of an era, especially in arenas such as sports, events, and photo-J assignments.  Professional video cameras are reaching the point where 4K and better capture can produce stunning still frames up to 11×14 with very little effort and have a much higher probability, at 30 frames per second, of capturing “the moment” if the photographer is well enough versed in the subject to start shooting a little early and well enough skilled with his equipment to set shutter angle and speed to capture the movement.

So, I managed to get our program’s entry into this field, “Photo 163: Motion Capture for Still Photographers” launched into the system so we will see how it goes this time.  Stay tuned for further developments…




About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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