The Last Canon Hold Out
While some of you who know me may be surprised to read this, my very first camera was the 10.2MP giant, the Nikon D200. I only owned it for a month. My second camera was a Canon 40D and my third, just one year later was the 15.1MP Canon 50D. I continued to use the 50D for over three years until the release of the 22.3MP Canon 5D3, my first full frame camera.
Between 2010 and 2013 I took a LOT of photographs. I spent every minute of free time I had out shooting. I would shoot sunrise before work and go shooting again right after. Friday night was the beginning of the next adventure often driving many miles to find new locations to photograph. In fact, I bought a brand new car in 2012 and in ten months I put 118,000 miles on it. I almost feel bad for the person who bought that car.
During this same time, beginning in October of 2013, Sony released their first mirrorless full frame camera. While many told tales of the DSLR soon breathing it's last breath, I did not care much for the size of these new mirrorless cameras and vowed the stick it out with Canon and my trusty DSLR until the end.
A Change In Focus
With the birth of our first child on the horizon and the majority of my free time already accounted for working a full time job and teaching a full workshop schedule, I knew I needed to make some changes if I was going to be able to continue my goal of nature photography as a career. In late 2013, I decided to focus all my attention on selling limited edition prints online through my website.
In early 2014, our little girl was born and I became a father. In an instant my world changed in just about every way possible. A beautiful green eyed girl became the center of my universe and put everything else on hold. For the next 18 months the only photographs I captured were of her.
Over the next year, I poured everything I had into it, day and night and around mid 2014 it began to pay off. Collectors started connecting with my work on a scale I had never imagined. I began selling multiple large prints every week and on more than one occasion was fortunate to fill entire homes with my art. Even though I was spending all of my time at home, I had a decent backlog of images and used my time to continue to focus on my business instead of creating more art.
Less Pixels Mo Problems
As more and more of my customers requested larger prints, I began considering medium format cameras. I wanted the resolution and dynamic range they offered but at the time, was not interested in any of the traditional options like Phase One or Hasselblad. In February 2015, Canon released the 50MP 5DSR. I purchased the camera the day it was released and it has been the camera I have used to this day.
Companies like Nikon and Sony released comparable and in many ways more advanced cameras during this time but none of them offered a large enough jump in megapixels or dynamic range to entice me to switch. Regularly selling prints ranging from 60" to 84" and larger, these are the specs that mattered most to me. I continued to resist the temptation to switch to medium format even when I began to have problems that couldn't be resolved (pun intended) with my current camera.
Regardless of the limits of my camera, my fine art print business continues to grow. International galleries have now began to sell my work in other countries. At home, I am fortunate to spend all of my time with my family that has now grown to four after the birth of our son in 2017.
Extreme Resolution: The Fuji GFX100
Finally, in May of 2019 FujiFilm announced and GFX100, the powerful 102-megapixel mirrorless digital camera I had been waiting for. While I enjoy the ease of use that a DSLR provides, the increased image quality is far more important to me. The fact that FujiFilm has packed some incredible technology into a camera with this type of resolution and dynamic range has me convinced. I hope to turn this first post into a series describing my leap into the world of medium format mirrorless and my experience with the GFX100 after it arrives. If you are interested in following along on this journey with me, you can bookmark my blog and keep an eye out for future entires, hopefully beginning very shortly after the expected June 27th ship date.
The Business Of Fine Art Nature Photography
My success in the world of fine art nature photography has led to me teaching others the steps I took to get here. My highly successful Business Of Nature Photography Workshop is held in Seattle, WA twice per year. The next event in this August and at the time of this writing there are still a few spaces left for those who may be interested. A smaller group of us will also be taking a two day trip to Mt Rainier Park after the workshop where we will have a chance to photograph the park in all it's summer splendor and find out how many wildflowers you can fit onto a 102MP sensor. Happy Shooting!!