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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online


What it Takes to be a Wildlife Photographer by Dr. Leonard Lee Rue III

This was a very delightful article. Your attitude is right-on for for more than just being a wildlife photographer but for living itself. Your article sums up my attitude toward living, but I had never tried to put it into words. Thanks for saying it for me.

Bob Peebles

Superb article!!! I really like this man!! He seems to have dedicated his life to photography, especially wildlife. Has he ever been to the Indian sub-continent? There, there are places in which he can get into a variety of animals and stuff like that - even in Sri Lanka also.

Venu Dhananjayan

Just a few words to say how inspiring your autobiographic story and writing was. What a talent. 

Thank you so much, 
Avinoam Strahilevitz, Israel

Just finished the article by Lennie Lee Rue. What a disappointment. If I wanted to hear someone brag about all his accomplishments I'd look up an article from Galen Rowell. Sorry but you guys missed on this one. Sure, the images were very good but the article was worthless - nothing for aspiring wildlife photographers to learn. Just a lot of snobby bragging about how great he is.

Nevertheless, most of your articles are very good. I'll keep reading.
Steve Horne

I didn't see it as blowing his own horn, but rather telling the story of how he came to be where he is today. In my experience Lennie is very down to earth. Remember this man really has accomplished an awful lot. Telling the story of your life doesn't make you a snob or a braggart if you've really accomplished what you say. (Ed.) 

Digital's Dirty Little Secret

McGee you're a Luddite! Digital is da bomb!


I've never set fire to a wooden loom, I swear it!

The "Dirty Little Secrets" article was excellent and brings up a number of good points. I would like to think that most of the photographers currently embracing digital consider the fact that the cameras and related accessories are just an additional set of tools for us to have to pursue our craft. 

I just bought a Canon D60 and requisite memory cards. Will it replace my current 35mm gear - NO WAY?! Will I chuck my medium format - NOT A CHANCE?! Might I someday - who knows? 

For those who are interested in the latest and greatest - digital or otherwise, unless they are independently wealthy, they can never keep up. Technology has a way of increasing exponentially. Having been involved in computer graphics for some 28 years and photography for over 30, I use whatever it takes to get the shot - period. Computers are helpful, yes but it still comes down to seeing the shot to begin with from our own points of view.

Chris Brennan 

I just read "Digital's Dirty Little Secrets". First you tell me there's no free lunch. Then you tell me that the advertising guys lied. Next you'll tell me that politicians lie! :-0


You're right on the first two but I've never heard a politician lie - when his mouth was closed. 

It's no Dirty Little Secret if you're living it. I do industrial photography. We've been through a procession of Kodak professional digital cameras, a Fuji FinePix, and most recently a D1 that we're supposed to be replacing with a D1X. We could have bought a couple of F5s and a truck load of film for what we've spent to "save" money with digital. You can't even give those old digitals away. Nobody wants them. But what to you think a used F5 would be worth? 


About the article "Digital's Dirty Little Secrets". I work in the computer industry and agree wholeheartedly with the points you made in your article. I've gone from DOS 3.1 to Windows XP. Each step has been both a step forward and a step backward. With each step forward you give up even more freedom as you gain more capabilities.

Hopefully people will pay attention to your warning and learn more about the technology they are entering. It troubles me when people stumble in a buy the whole sales pitch without considering the ramifications. That or they do not consider what they need to invest in time to truly learn what it is they are working with.

Great article! I've lived it.
Stephen Glover

I've got 22 years in IT (Information Technology). I could fill a garage with the computers, printers, and peripherals I've owned over the years and if I ever totaled up the cost of upgrading everything every 18 months I know I'd break down and cry. But 22 years ago I got my first "real" camera, a Nikon, with my first real paycheck. I've upgraded to bodies with more features twice. About once every 11 years, not because I needed to but because I wanted autofocus and more recently because I was just ready to do it. And you know what that 22 year old Nikon still works fine if I want to use it.

I've been lucky with stock options. Later this year I'm retiring. I'd much rather spend my money on lenses and film and never buy another thousand dollar "disposable" computer as long as I live. The people who are going on so much about digital will get some very nasty surprises. 

Coasting to retirement,
Rich Flowers

I disagree with the suggestion that you give in the article Digital's Dirty Secrets. While I agree with your concerns about technological obsolescence (I have been a computer engineer since the 80's and seen most of my life's hard work become obsolete), I think that storing your photographs on a HD is risky. 

Hard Drives are a magnetic based media with moving parts. Over a 50 year period, I feel that the risk of failure for a HD is far higher than failure of a CD-R (which doesn't have moving parts and isn't susceptible to magnetic fields). If you are concerned about the possibility of CDs becoming obsolete, it would be better to back up on CD and keep an IDE CD-R drive in storage. Even better would be to keep a an old computer that you use to browse your archive. Keep that computer with a compatible version of Photoshop installed (if file formats really do loose backwards compatibility, you can save to a RAW file and always import in a newer version of Photoshop). Use that old computer as your burning station. 

With all that said, I still prefer film. There is nothing in the world like holding the 100 year old photograph of my grandparents... knowing that they held the same photo as well.

Best wishes and thank you for a wonderful site, 
Ravi Mehta

See the next comment

The article has one fundamental flaw - if you want to keep data on older media (let ignore the actual vs projected life span of CDR's and CDRW's) it pays to keep an older drive reader handy or migrate as newer media appear. Yes there is a cost - but there is also a cost to maintain in perfect state the orginal film bases media. The paper based prints - color is iffy it might not last without significant fading black and white is probably a hundred years.

The hard disk back up method proposed is a limited end solution. As the sheer size of the files add up increases the need to either sift off disk or be caught in a recurring hard disk expansion cycle - see it no change from the the initial constant upgrade of CDR, DVD. Similar dangers apply in terms that hard disk may also disappear some day to be replaced by other data storage media.

In technology nothing stays the same for very long. Within the last 15 years, the hard disk has become from a luxury item to a staple, with size and specifications leap frogging as time passes. As users of technology, this change cycle has to be managed.

Ellery Chua

What I was recommending is that an external hard drive act as a backup. I would never expect a hard drive to last 50 years. The problem with a backup machine connected to old technology is that in a few years you won't have any way to get the files off of it. The solution I proposed was to use and external drive for backup and for loading the next generation of systems. But it's critical to keep an eye on where standards are going. USB is already giving way to firewire, so if I were to buy a drive today it would be a firewire drive to replace my USB drive. The whole point is to keep two copies of all your image files in two locations - one copy on your hard drive and one copy on an external backup drive. The best of all worlds would be to keep copies in two locations as protection against fire or some other disaster. This assumes that 1) you have a lot of images, 2) you will be upgrading your computers regularly, 3) that you have images you care about preserving.

The Key to Success!

I'm a very beginner photographer and really appreciate your magazine. I have learned so much!! Now if you just had a secret for remembering it all at the appropriate time! I look forward to each issue of the magazine and read it from front to back.

Thanks so much,
Carol Husske

We write everything on the back of our hand with magic marker ;^)


I just read Gary Stanley's article on getting the most out of your photography. Excellent advice! I took Moose's advice a while back on having an 81A on every lens...and was quite surprised and pleased with the results it has rendered in my estimation of positive enhancement. I think I'll give Gary's Red 81A a try now...what do I have to lose? How do we know until we're willing to stretch our imagination to another challenging level..what results may render?

Thanks for another good article VLP!
Paul Eanes

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