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Author Topic: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?  (Read 60693 times)

jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #60 on: June 19, 2013, 10:14:22 PM »
I know the telemarketer jokes are fun... because telemarketers are universally hated, but that is a pretty crappy job.  I'd try to make them laugh, but I wouldn't buy whatever the were selling...

Love that. I loved doing that when I had a landline phone in the house. The idea of someone using my phone and my time to unexpectedly call me at their convenience -- and then try to sell some crap is so repugnant that I take free rein to give them both barrels. I got a call one day in 1979 from a clown who actually said, "Are you the man of the house?" I paused and haltingly said, "I guess I am now. My father died last night." My unwelcome visitor had nothing else to say.

And now, to fulfill my duty to say something on topic...

One warm summer evening in Phoenix, Arizona around 1981 I was doing a story on some locals who had taken up roadracing their motorcycles in parking garages. They came to my room at the downtown Hyatt and I interviewed them there. Afterward, I went outside and got some pictures of them with their motorcycles in front of the hotel. There was a small contingent of homeless guys on the street watching, and one of them followed me back into the hotel. He was very old, and I presume he had the courage of drink since I was in my thirties and did not look like an easy mark. At the elevator, he pointed to a 35mm Nikon I was holding and asked the insightful questions, "What's that?" I told him it was just an old, junky camera my mother used to use -- not worth much.

The elevator doors opened; I stepped inside and pushed the button for my floor. As the doors began to close, the old guy leaped into the elevator grabbing at the camera and landed on his face. The drink apparently provides more courage than facility. I helped the befuddled old guy up and made a great show of concern for his welfare -- did he need an ambulance, etc? It didn't take long for the hotel security people to get there and escort him back outside to the company of his cohorts.

My Nikon and I safely and serenely ascended to the security of my room. And I never again stayed at the downtown Hyatt in Phoenix, AZ. Oh, and not long after I also switched to Canon.

Nikon brings out a tough crowd... of homeless. 
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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #60 on: June 19, 2013, 10:14:22 PM »

jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #61 on: June 19, 2013, 10:16:58 PM »
I guess it really depends on what I'm shooting and how much the person seems to know or is interested.  I LOVE talking about gear so if I'm not shooting something that is time sensitive or requires my full attention then I'll chat them up.  I remember when I first got my 5DIII I was taking pictures at a carnival and a guy came up to ask me about my camera and said he had a 5DII.  I let him look through the viewfinder so he could see all the focus points and he said "Holy cow that's a lot of red squares!"  I know when I first got into photography I asked tons of questions to people with gear that I wanted to own someday and they were always very nice, so I guess I'm just returning the favor so to speak.

I never shoot time sensitive stuff, but I did chat with a British guy with a hot companion.  The wife said that was his daughter... she's so naive. 

As for the viewfinder of the 5d mkiii...  I wasn't BLOWN away when I looked through the viewfinder.  It seemed very good, but nothing AMAZING... but maybe it is to people who are coming from earlier generations than the 60D.
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #62 on: June 19, 2013, 10:22:14 PM »
I REALLY like that the mkiii and the 70-200 mkii open doors.  I was at a minor league baseball game a few weeks back and I was taking some photos from a distance, nothing special, but the staff basically escorted me to the field box where I was able to get some shots... though the opportunity to get WOW shots was there... I was just pleased to get a little special treatment. 

Also, I get to wander around football fields from goal line to goal line with the presumption that I should be there. 

People haven't parted like the Red Sea for me... yet... but I guess that will come in time.  Maybe I need the 200-400 for that to happen. :D

2. Back in March, I visited our local Zoo, as we had a miraculous day of beautiful, warm weather. I brought my 5D Mark III and (borrowed from a friend) 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS lens. I eventually found my way to the lion pit, wherein there was a group of about 15 people (families, kids, the like). They saw me coming with camera and lens, and they all sort of parted like the Red Sea, making a nice swath of open area for me.

I thought it was pretty amazing that they did this without issue-- I assume they saw the lens and thought I must've meant business, haha. As I began shooting, I heard comments from, "that's a huge lens," to "he must be a professional." One of the ladies to my left even suggested I enter into the Zoo's annual photo contest.

It's always nice to meet a fellow photographer that's kind, and to have a group make room for you, instead of you making a room and constantly saying, "Excuse me, excuse me...sorry, excuse me!"
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #63 on: June 19, 2013, 10:26:18 PM »
Actually when i get that I use it to get a portrait done.

-"Nice camera"
- "Yeah it's great.......wanna see the results? I can take your picture and email it to you later!"

90% yes results. Of course it's not candids but it makes the best of an otherwise useless small talk.

I do something very similar, but upload it to an invisible locked gallery, send them the .jpg, and let them know that there are no strings attached, purchase if you please, but here's the .jpg if you would just like a desktop background of your son/daughter/boyfriend-girlfriend etc.

-Tabor

I think I'll give that a go.  I normally send "free photos" at 10% of the original .jpg via email so they can text the photo or post it to Facebook. I imagine if they print it as a 4x6, it would look like crap.  What site do you use for the photo hosting?  Do they print the image for you, or do you order and have it mailed to them?
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #64 on: June 19, 2013, 10:30:17 PM »
Would the comparable situation be a photographer with a CF/SD card in the camera?

From what I gather photography is a bit like fishing; no sooner have you picked a quiet spot to practise your hobby than someone appears from nowhere to enquire what you're doing or if the fish are biting. I'm convinced many fishermen don't have a hook on their line, they just want the peace and quiet of sitting on their own for a couple of hours. Maybe with a beer and a sandwich. Perhaps there's a nice bit of Parma ham on the sandwich....sorry, I'm getting off track....

I often go to my local park and whilst lining up a shot a few years ago (40D and 17-50mm lens, so nothing "fancy") an old woman once asked, "oh, what are you taking a picture of?" I looked at her blankly hoping her tiny brain would allow her head to turn in the direction I was facing and make some half-baked guess as to the subject (it's a public park for ****'s sake!). However the evil voices in my head made me say I was an architect and the park had been bought over and was to be redeveloped for housing - I was taking pics to show a before and after "vision" for a large piece in the local paper. The park contains a large stately home dating back about 600 years and the notion of it being bulldozed would certainly set tongues wagging among the blue-rinse brigade. Job done. (Note to non-Brits: for some reason old women here insist on dying their hair blue or pink. Must be some 1977 punk throwback thing.)

However the thing that always demands public scrutiny is carrying a big white lens (anything less than 300mm need not apply). People are quite insistant that you're a professional. They cannot conceive that a person may have a job, save for years then buy things that make them happy. I got so fed up of people queing up to interrogate me that I cut the sleeve off a black sweatshirt and use that as a lens-coat. Not once has anyone spoken to me when I'm in "stealth mode"!

The old woman was looking for some sex with a young stud...

I saved for years.  Buying and selling gear, making $20 per sell, and finally I wind up with some really nice gear and it seems crazy that my first purchase was a nikon zoom lens... not a body... just 2 lenses.
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #65 on: June 19, 2013, 10:33:04 PM »
I dunno...just struck me as quite odd to hear so many seem to actually almost take offense at someone bothering to speak to them in public at all. I know in the NE of the US, that people aren't quite as friendly as we are in general in the southern US, but I just figured it was mostly up there, but sounds like this is prevalent in much of the world?

If so...sad.  I'm used to walking about, smiling and very often saying something, even if briefly passing a stranger and something bout them catches my eye. Especially if a pretty girl (of course), but even with other men, I'll say hi, or smile or say "Hey..nice xyz"...that just seems common to me.

But I am saddened a bit when I hear so much negativity with simply being outgoing and friendly to those you meet or even just pass by during life.

When someone takes interest in my stuff or what I'm doing, I'm flattered, and have quite often ended up talking about that for at least a short time...

My $0.02,

I just hate stupid conversations.  I hate talking about the weather.  I hate talking about sports as a generality.  If you want to discuss the benefits of converting to a tampa 2 defense from a 3-4... I'm game... but if you want to ask if I think the Cowboys might do better this year... well... I think I hear someone calling my name.  Talk later.
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #66 on: June 19, 2013, 10:35:13 PM »
I know in the NE of the US, that people aren't quite as friendly as we are in general in the southern US, but I just figured it was mostly up there

What the *#$%$ are you saying??  That we're *#$%$ unfriendly here in Baaahston?  That our wicked baahd attitudes mean we ignore polite *#$%$ conversation?!?!?

 ;)

S'ok.  I'm a native Californian.  Try LA - they'll give you a big, friendly smile (bleached teeth or caps, of course) as they run you over with their Hummer.  Not that I'm trying to stereotype anyone...    :P

I didn't like Boston when I was there... which was really unfortunate because I really liked the Redsox... but the people of Boston put a wet blanket on my enthusiasm.  It took me years before I started to care for the Sox again.
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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #66 on: June 19, 2013, 10:35:13 PM »

jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #67 on: June 19, 2013, 10:38:41 PM »
Golfers like to give tips too... but during your backswing is the worst possible time to do so. 

But if I were taking a car photo and someone mentioned HDR, I'd be interested and probably look it up afterwards... AFTERWARDS being the operative word. 

People with expensive cars like to take pictures of them, so I get sucked into gear talk all the time in the field. I try to be as polite as possible and answer their questions, but when I'm on deadline and the clock is ticking, it's definitely a distraction.

What never ceases to amaze me is how many people feel entitled to give you photo tips and advice while you're working. I had one dude recently offer unsolicited lighting advice while I was lighting up his buddy's car. Mind you, earlier in the day he showed me a bunch of snapshots he took with his 5D2, Alien Bees, and some expensive primes that could have been taken with an iPhone. At this point he had no credibility, but then he went on to complain about how much the 5D2 sucks in low light, which only compounded matters. Fortunately he didn't take offense to me ignoring his "advice," but believe it or not, a lot of people do.

Don't get me wrong. I love talking about photography techniques, and to a lesser degree gear, with photographers who have useful information to share. That said, I would never tell a working professional in any field how to do their job, especially while they're working, and then get mad if they ignored my useless advice.

Alien Bees?

Working professional... sounds like a lady of the night... and I could see giving them a little bit of direction. :D
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #68 on: June 19, 2013, 10:40:07 PM »
People with expensive cars like to take pictures of them, so I get sucked into gear talk all the time in the field.

Haha!  Just last night as I was shooting a bike race, some guy drives thru in a porsche convertible and seeing my white lens (70-200 2.8L) stops and waves his hands and yells (in a friendly tone) "don't you want to take a picture"?  Uh, no, but thanks.  I just smiled, pointed it in his general direction (without even looking thru the viewfinder) and feigned pushing the shutter.  He smiled, waved and drove off.

At the minor league game, some kid was asking me to take his photo... just child like enthusiasm so I don't hold it against him.  But I hit the pilot on the speedlite...
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Grumbaki

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #69 on: June 19, 2013, 10:41:46 PM »
Actually when i get that I use it to get a portrait done.

-"Nice camera"
- "Yeah it's great.......wanna see the results? I can take your picture and email it to you later!"

90% yes results. Of course it's not candids but it makes the best of an otherwise useless small talk.
are you a pro?   that's good  direct marketing for you to get clients.

I'm not at all a pro but yeah, that could be used as marketing.

To me it's more a way to start opening the door. I like to do social photography and actually once you start chatting people open up. Being an obvious foreigner in China helps too: culturally chinese people like to have their picture taken (with some limitation of course) and being a foreigner with gear they assume that you have no intention to scam them or sell them anything.
You start the conversation with gear, follow up with name/origin/occupation and before you know it you end up having tea with them and taking pictures of the family on the sofa, of the working place or whatever they have in mind. Just for the cost of an email and a few jpegs

jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #70 on: June 19, 2013, 10:42:19 PM »
As well as photos for the past 20+ years, I also shoot video with my 5DIII (I know, I know, UNCLEAN!!!) so when I'm shooting video I'll put on a Zacuto Z-finder loupe for focusing with the liveview screen. Nothing gets more questions or comments than that does. Last weekend at the farmers market I started to count how many people asked what it was or commented on it...nine in just an hour or so.
Occasionally I'll see other people out shooting video and since I'm sometimes short on crew for projects I like to meet new people in the business. I'll take the opportunity when they're not shooting to try to strike up a polite conversation and surprisingly most of these guys are complete *&%$s. Too bad for them, since they're passing up a chance at a paying gig.

Were you shooting B-role?  And I think if someone else has a camera with them... I'd be more inclined to get into a conversation with them.  It's the brotherhood of photogs...
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #71 on: June 19, 2013, 10:43:37 PM »
Totally depends on who I think I'm talking to.  Out in the wilds, coming across another photographer with their own gear, I might devo into a gear discussion. 

At a social event... I'm usually too busy, thank them, stay busy.

Out and about... non event or nature.... I usually try to avoid or deflect gear related talk... "its not that good..."  "thanks, its very old" "these were considered a bad model, so I got it next to nothing".  If the other person knows their stuff, they'll question me, and I'll know they're safe to talk to.

I don't shoot weddings... but I'm confident I would be willing to chat with cute Bridesmaids and offering free boudoir shoots...
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jdramirez

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #72 on: June 19, 2013, 10:45:44 PM »
Actually when i get that I use it to get a portrait done.

-"Nice camera"
- "Yeah it's great.......wanna see the results? I can take your picture and email it to you later!"

90% yes results. Of course it's not candids but it makes the best of an otherwise useless small talk.
are you a pro?   that's good  direct marketing for you to get clients.

I'm not at all a pro but yeah, that could be used as marketing.

To me it's more a way to start opening the door. I like to do social photography and actually once you start chatting people open up. Being an obvious foreigner in China helps too: culturally chinese people like to have their picture taken (with some limitation of course) and being a foreigner with gear they assume that you have no intention to scam them or sell them anything.
You start the conversation with gear, follow up with name/origin/occupation and before you know it you end up having tea with them and taking pictures of the family on the sofa, of the working place or whatever they have in mind. Just for the cost of an email and a few jpegs

I took a Chinese Art class in college... Ma Yuan still haunts me...
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #72 on: June 19, 2013, 10:45:44 PM »

tpatana

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #73 on: June 19, 2013, 10:49:48 PM »
. Being an obvious foreigner in China helps too: culturally chinese people like to have their picture taken (with some limitation of course) and being a foreigner with gear they assume that you have no intention to scam them or sell them anything.

Few years ago in Japan, maybe second day in, a group of young girls came to me at a park (I was carrying gripped 7D+some lens at the time), and they asked me if it'd be ok to take picture. (can't recall if they asked in Japanese or English, but chance of confusion would be about equal on both) One of them was holding a P&S, so I assumed they looked for someone who might know how to take picture, to take their picture. But no, they wanted that one person to take picture of me posing with the girls. Same thing happened quite several times during that trip, although most times it was only few girls I had to pose with.

tpatana

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #74 on: June 19, 2013, 10:51:42 PM »

I was at the beach and I heard someone say, "Now that's a camera."  Then the other person corrected them and said, "No, it's the lens."  I instantly hated the know it all.


You know the correct answer to the "what's the zoom on that?", if you're shooting with a prime: "How far can you walk?"

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Re: When out & about, how do y'all respond to gear small talk?
« Reply #74 on: June 19, 2013, 10:51:42 PM »