Playing with the big boys...

Professional and amateur big boys at the Salon de la Photo in Paris. Taken with my Leica.

Every once in a while, I get to play with the big boys. You know, the ones with the extremely large cameras. Professional photographers. They live in a world where most of the inhabitants are males clad in faded jeans and black leather jackets. They carry backpacks stuffed with complicated lenses, tripods and collapsible stools. While waiting for the start of an event, they crack jokes, tell tales and show each other images of scantily clad females caught on their cameras. There's even a king, the United Press International (UPI) photographer, who stakes out his territory like a regal lion in the Serengeti. If a clueless female blogger toting a minuscule camera happens to crouch down in front of the le Roi and his cronies at a fashion show, she's told in no uncertain terms to move to the back. Chivalry, they laughingly explain, has its limits.

Quick to realize that survival of the fittest is the name of the game, I mimic the big boys and tell others to move to the back in a fierce voice that isn't my own. When an alliance forms against the late arrivals, I'm thankful that I claimed my spot an hour before the scheduled start of the show. With ten minutes to go, I tell (not ask) the guy in front of me to lean to the the right so that he doesn't block my view. Much to my surprise, he agrees. For the next hour, we're plastered together as the world around us shrinks to whatever we can see through our viewfinders. We're all trying to get the shot, the best shot.

While my cameras are nowhere nearly as impressive as those of the big boys, they're just what I need when I'm "out and about" in Paris. Plus, they only weigh a fraction of the larger ones.

Since I almost always "point and shoot", I can't tell you about the technical aspects of my cameras but I can tell you what I like about them:

Leica D-Lux 5 - I particularly like to use this compact camera when I'm trying to be discrete about taking photos in stores,  restaurants, museums, etc. It's also very good for shooting close-ups and taking pictures in dim light. Another feature that I like is that it's very easy to change the format of photos from square to rectangular. The only downside is that the zoom range is only 24-90 mm.

Panasonic Lumix FZ-150 - Larger and more than twice the weight of my Leica, this is the camera I usually carry with me in town because the zoom lens allows me to take photos of people in cafes, strolling down the street, etc. The downside is that I always look like a tourist because it's so obvious when it's hanging around my neck. Unfortunately, it doesn't take very good photos in dim light.

If my schedule permits, I hope to take a photography course at WICE next year because they offer some interesting options. Click here for more information.

Here are a couple more photos that I snapped at Le Salon de la Photo in Paris yesterday. In addition to showcasing all of the latest photography equipment, they had special photo opportunities with models, birds of prey and shiny motorcycles!

The model is holding a Leica that's about the same size as mine.

Comments

  1. Where are the birds of prey and the shiny motorcycles? I love that they offered things to shoot at the expo--very good move. Rarely do we really get a chance to shoot models, for example.

    In your first photo there even seems to be a divide between the photographers--some are more professional than others I guess. Or is Mr Knit Cap a King?

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    1. The photo ops were definitely designed with male photographers and not me in mind. The men were all excited about the shiny motorcycles whereas I kept looking for chocolate and shoes!. I took a couple pics of the birds of prey but not very good ones. Since I had just taken some photos of hawks, falcons and owls when we were at Josephine Baker's castle, I wasn't motivated to fight the crowds.

      Good spotting - Mr Knit Cap was a King! He had clear access to the model and all of the rest of us were kept behind the plexiglass barrier. It was funny to watch how he worked with the hairdresser to arrange the models hair. There was one single strand that wouldn't stand up the way he wanted. It didn't seem to make a difference for me but he didn't like the way her hair looked in his viewfinder! And I had no idea that models could frame their face so many different ways with their hands!

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  2. I thought of you when I went to the farm expo this weekend, wanting to get some Mary Kay-esque shots with people in them but not wanting to get up in people's faces. Guess I need a zoom!

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    1. Zooms are great! I still laugh about the time that I startled Roger Federer and his handlers when I got right up in his face to get a closeup. It's good to be able to maintain a certain distance - at least that way I won't end up in jail for accosting someone!

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  3. Wow, those are some intimidatingly big cameras! Your Leica looks so unassuming by comparison. Well, whichever camera you use, it seems to get the job done. I always enjoy your photos.

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    1. They are intimidating but it's fascinating to watch the pros prepare for a shoot because they meticulously check their light meters, change their lenses and do all kinds of technical stuff that looks like wizardry. Of course, I also can't help but wonder how much of it is done for the sole purpose of impressing those of us with the minuscule cameras!

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  4. Is the girl in the picture with the camera real, or a shop dummy? she looks sculpted.

    I think MK has arrived as a photographer. Love the picture of the lady in the stockings.

    Love Denise

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    1. She's real! She's in two photos - the one where she looks like a dummy and the one where she has her hands next to her face. She changed her outfit in between the two pictures. After seeing quite a few photo shoots on the streets of Paris, I've started to notice that models look like dummies when they're not actively posing. Maybe it's a form of self-protection because everyone is staring at their hair, makeup, body with critical eyes and talking about their imperfections as if they're not there. I would think that it could be fairly soul-numbing so the models probably mentally withdraw from the scene.

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    2. I love the 1920s outfit, wish I could wear it the next time I go to the Jazz Age party. Your Josephine Baker post is also good for inspiration.

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  5. My husband has just acquired one of those monsters so I'm going to try a few shots through my window on a tripod. I don't know how they lug them around. And, seriously, you don't need them with the wonderful photos you take!

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    1. I can't wait to see the photos that you take with your husband's monster! One of the pieces of equipment that they were selling at the Salon was a backpack type of harness to carry big cameras so that they don't hang by a strap around your neck.

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  6. The model looks like a mannequin. She's so beautiful and perfect. Her skin is flawless and looks like porcelain.
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    1. When I first saw the model, I thought she was a mannequin and was surprised when she moved.

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  7. I am always impressed by your shots Mary Kay. This time it is the poster in the background of the wonderful shot of the model and photographer with cameras that has caught my eye. Great juxtaposition!!

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    1. Baron, Thanks! Once again you have zoomed in on exactly what pleased me about a photo. I was really pleased to have gotten the wording about professional photographers right above their heads!

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  8. ...and I always seem to be a day behind everyone else with my comments but it merely reflects we live a day ahead by time zones.

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    1. And you'll also start 2013 before we do! It was always a strange sensation to celebrate New Year's Eve in Indonesia and think of my family and friends in the USA who were still in the previous year.

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