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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

Stop Thinking 

Thank you for this wonderful article... I am a budding photographer and you captured EXACTLY the same thoughts that often through my mind... I suppose you were TOO a budding photographer at one time. :)

Thanks again. 

We all had to start somewhere, and some days I STILL feel like a beginnerů

Great magazine. I particularly like this months articles by Jim McGee and the one by Gary Stanley. Stopping the thinking process is not easy, but I can see it is necessary. Keep up the great work. I look forward to receiving Vivid Light every month.


Your article "Stop Thinking" was in a word, PROFOUND! I can't count how many potentially very good photographers I have known who just simply gave up because of thinking too much. Thinking about what this book or that book had to say.....and eventually what thirty books had to say. There seems to be a fatal disease that runs amongst many "would be" photographers as well as some pros. It's the scourge of LACK OF CONFIDENCE in their own vision and convictions of what is important. This seems to occur only when they begin to seek more knowledge from many different sources. We all see the world differently, so why not be true to our own beliefs and approach to photographing this incredible world we live in.

Of course we need help when first starting out. I don't mean to say that everyone should go it alone from the get go. Some don't need help, but many do. And those who need help seem to seek too much, too often, from too many sources. They then end up becoming someone else rather than themselves. I wish everyone who is starting out with an interest in becoming a good photographer could read your article. Photography would be better off for it!

Lee Burdette

Thanks for the glowing review Lee, a check is on the way...  :-)

One thing that beginners, like myself, need is clear explanations, rather than technically correct, but muddy (to us), complicated discussions of things that we will never understand. Your article on your beginnings is very clear, encouraging and, best of all, lets us know that, yes, even the pros start out making dumb, over-intellectualizing mistakes.

It is very difficult to learn all the techniques that are necessary to take good pictures and we (the amateurs) want to learn them all at once. It is VERY frustrating to take an ALMOST good photograph -- and then another ALMOST good photo, over and over again, until we want to scream.

I guess it is like learning to type -- at least I hope it is -- at some point we will learn it all. If not, I have this nice equipment that I'll have to hock and go back to buying books to look at.


I don't respond to magazines, but this article is worth it. Often an author has good intensions but will still detach themselves from their readers. Jim is a real person. Jim has taught a valuable lesson and encouraged me by not talking down. Russ Whatley

Curves & Levels

Very interesting I have been using levels but now I can see that the curves control has much more effect on my work.

Thanks for the information, 
Lamar Howard

Great articles (I& II) on Curves and Levels. Keep up the good work.

Hal Hamm

The Photoshop articles are simple and concise. They are truly helpful. You've got a great 'zine going here! Thank you.

Rick Ciaburri

Finally someone who can write about PhotoShop in English!


I just wrote Gary Stanley a thank you note for his wonderful columns on Curves command of Photoshop. I just wanted to voice an opinion, that his column is a true gem. He writes in a way that folks can understand.

Would love to see a column on Photoshop by him on a permanent basis....


Gary has become a true PhotoShop geek. He actually called to tell me about the cool videos on the Adobe press release CD - Yikes!!! 

Gary You really made the Curves and Levels details easy to understand. I think I will go and practice! 


Light Chasers

I have "hobbied" with and loved photography for most of my 60 (+)years and have spent a lot of time and money combined with a lot of reading in phogorraphy--I have rarely in any field-my profession-medicine,photography, etc.,read an article that brings out the true emotion and satisfaction that is evident in the "light chasers" article.

Thank you and congratulations. 

Thank you for the kind words. It helps to love what you do. I've said in the past: "When the fun goes out of my photography, it's just another job." - Gary

Family Time

Bravo, For the great "family time" column, I found a lot of good advice in it.

Once again, Vividlight hit right on the target ! 
Guy Desrosiers

What a great article by Bill Hartley about photographing your family! His two examples couldn't tell the story much better. I have way too many "cheese" pictures, myself and I will remember his advice (and images) the next time I am trying to capture a moment. 

Sandra Smith


Just a few notes on your article, It is the most concise I have read so far on the subject...

A couple of extra thoughts: In preparation for a trip to South America back in Nov/Dec 2001 I contacted Headquarters FAA Air Carrier Services Division, Security Section in Washington (referred there from the local Oklahoma City FAA Headquarters)

This is what I learned: 1. They STRONGLY RECOMMEND not to check film of any speed ... the new x-ray equipment will eat it. If you put the film in a lead lined bag they simply increase the power of the x-ray until they see what is in the bag. 2. The gate security at each airport is contracted by one airline (not necessarily yours) with support from each airline at that airport/terminal. 3. If you are traveling with sensitive (high speed) film, large quantities or have special needs, prior to leaving contact the airline's security point of contact at each airport you will be going through security and explain your situation. Request there assistance going through security. This can really expedite and ease the challenges. If they fail to support you, change airlines if possible and let them know why. 4. FAA doesn't require hand checked film to be x-rayed, though airlines can. As your article indicated the security checkers will do whatever they can and even be less than truthful to make there jobs easier. Coordination in item 3 can be invaluable here. 5. The worst airport I have experienced has been Miami (after going through there one can understand why they cannot count votes) Houston was good with the exception of one Continental Airline employee of questionable parentage. I've not had problems in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, or Denver even as busy as they are. 6. Understand the security people have to deal with a lot of unpleasant people, even more unfriendly then they. Sometimes simply being nice and courteous will get you what you want.

Derrell D Dover 
Member Board of Directors 
International Photography Hall of Fame And Museum

I wanted to make a couple of points about flying following sep 11. I flew from San Francisco for a month long tour of Asia. From an international perspective I found no difference in hand searches for film. I used a clear bag to put my exposed and un-exposed film in. I took this bag out while waiting in line for the x-ray machine. I simply asked if I could have this film hand checked, as it is "professional film". They did their job well, opened up a sampling of film canisters and made sure it was film. My plan was to develop and buy more film as I went. This plan worked out better than I thought it would. My primary problem was that I shoot 90% slide film and most places don't develop slide quickly. When you're constantly on the move that can be an issue but if you have enough film to develop anything is possible and prices were reasonable.

One note. I had a bad experience at Beijing airport. I asked the guys to check my film and they placed my plastic bag on top of the x-ray machine. I would have expected that x-rays would be contained within the machine. Anyway when I got the film processed I did notice a couple of rolls were washed out for a few exposures in a narrow band, like I had opened the back of the camera. Fortunately I had developed a bunch of film and that minimized my unexposed work. Obviously I can't prove it was the machine. It could have been one of four things; bad film, processing error, user error (me), x-ray. Following this I did buy an x-ray bag. This turned out better than I thought too. This bag has a Velcro covered flap. I would open the bag, ask for a hand inspection and flip the cover back over as I gave it to the security guy. He could easily open it again and it prevented spillage. Though it's a big black back they didn't seem to mind.

As for my camera bag. I tried to minimize weight. This is not such a bad thing if your doing a lot of walking. I chose my F100 rather than F5, even though the weight difference is nominal and chose a bunch of lenses. This allowed me to use a smaller tarmac camera backpack that just about made the carry on requirements. I went through numerous checkpoints and the only questioning was over a can of compressed air. After demonstrating that on myself they let me go.

Chris Collins

I think an important piece of info that photographers need to be aware of, is that if your purchasing memory cards through mail order, the Postal Service is now using radiation to kill the anthrax virus. There's been reports (from friends as well) that the memory cards can destroy the info on those cards. The x-ray machines at airports aren't harming digital cards.

Thank goodness, 
Mark Nunez

One thing you forgot to mention is to leave bad jokes at home when going through airport security. The dude in front of me on a flight during the Christmas holidays was asked to open his bag for inspection and he told the guy at the gate "That's not necessary I left my bomb at home."

The guy got on his radio and the joker suddenly had security all around him and nobody looked amused. I don't know what happened to him but I don't think he'll be telling any more bomb jokes at the airport.


Hope he enjoyed the strip search!

Leica M6 

You're quite wrong about there being only two Leica M6 TTL bodies. There is also a .58X body for those using mainly the wide angle angle lenses. 

Peter G. Kokalis

Peter is correct

You would have to be absolutely friggin' nuts to spend $5,200 on any camera let alone spending it on a manual range finder. 

Alfred Mangen

I've owned my Leica for 12 years along with two lenses purchased new with the camera and one purchased used a few years ago. I've never regretted a dime that I spent on this camera. I expect that it will be with me for a lifetime. 


Nice article on the M6. A few points about the cost of getting into the system...

Price really isn't as much of an obstacle to entering the M-system as you put forth in your article, *if* you're willing to buy used gear. (And even some of the really old gear feels better in my hands than some of the latest camera bodies out there.) I snagged a demo M6 TTL for about $1300, with a newer 50/2 demo for $550 and an older 90/2.8 for $450. $2300 is a pretty decent deal, considering that Leica makes some excellent glass. The M6 body had some marks on it from use, but body marks have never hurt my images.

Pre-ASPH 35/2 lenses can be found for good deals as well, and their tiny size makes the camera even more unobtrusive.

As for flash, I don't even bother. It's such a great available-light camera, there's not really much need for it with the fast glass. (Also, the 1/50 sync speed isn't that hot, IMHO.) If I want to use flash, I dig out my EOS.

Older M3 and M2 bodies can be found in user condition for $700-$1000, so long as you don't mind a few body scratches and the idiosyncrasies of the older models.

One of the more frustrating aspects of using Leicas is the "collector factor," as I call it. Collectors frequently drive up prices on used equipment in any condition higher than Ex+. They buy up older cameras and take them out of circulation, which I find tends to drive prices up artificially for some used gear. (But not all of it.)

Of course, I also have a BIG problem with people buying cameras and not using them. It just seems wrong to me. Leave preservation to museums.

Keep up the good work.
Sincerely, Rich Fowler.

Rich, I'll buy your argument as long as we're talking about a used M6 TTL. But when you start talking about M2 & M3 bodies you're a long way from the M6 and well into classic camera territory. Besides we were reviewing new cameras in the article. If you want to open the discussion up to all manual SLR and rangefinder cameras ever made it would be a long article indeed.

I'd like to see a street photography "shootout". Basically, I'm an M user and the most useful focal length for me is the 35 mm. This is on the M cameras. I would like to see an article that details the competition between the rangefinder and SLR camp. The rules would be, 1 body, 1 lens of your choice, and 3 rolls of 36 exp film. No still life. Get someone who is proficient with the rangefinder and likewise with the SLR. No pros. Leica users have been extolling the virtues of the M system for decades now... time to put it to the test.

John Chan

John, we talked over your idea and decided that you really need to lay off the Clint Eastwood movies. :-)

Fluorescent Lighting

A little further to your answer on light sources and colour rendition. Photographers should be very wary of fluorescent light. Not only is the colour temperature different than daylight but this light source produces an incomplete spectrum. While colours may appear acceptable to your eye they may not be "accurately" recorded by the film. Even so called continuous spectrum florescent tubes emit bright lines of different wavelengths. The result may be "unnatural colours.

Brian Palmer

Mr. "All Work" has Fans 

We received a bunch of these that basically said the same thing.

Good God will someone please get William Manteuffel a bottle of scotch and tell him to lighten up!


Photography all work! I pity poor William Manteuffel it doesn't sound like he's enjoying himself very much.

Smiling all the time! 
Susan G.

William Manteuffel was right about one thing. Reading your articles it sounds like you all love what you do. If you ask me you all are blessed to be doing something you love.

Cheryl Lynn

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