How to Hold A Camera

The title of this post should actually be “How to Hold a Digital SLR So You Won’t Look Like a Poser” but for the sake of space, you get the abbreviated version.

Whilst at Disneyland this Saturday I came across a sight that is slowly becoming more obvious to me than ever before, and it’s quite a pet peeve of mine. You see, the people in question tip themselves off as photo neophytes simply by the way they are holding their DSLR: wrongly.

As I had mentioned a few posts back, I’m a photo hobbyist. That simply means I’ve been taking pictures since my high school days, developed my own film, printed my own black-and-white prints, worked in photo labs and got high off the acetic acid in the bleach fix*, etc. In short, I know a little bit about photography.

Then there are those that don’t like the ones I am going to speak of in this post. Just because you own a DSLR doesn’t mean you have to make a mockery of photography by holding the damn thing any way you please.

And here’s the best description I can devise.

To make yourself look like a completely clueless moron to those of us that have been shooting photos for years, simply do the following: when holding the camera, position your left index and middle fingers on the top of the lens and your thumb at the bottom. Lesson over.

Why does this bother me so much? Well, when I first picked up an SLR in high school—it was a Pentax K1000—I was taught just the opposite so that adjusting the f/stop, focusing and zooming could all be achieved quickly. Not only that, it’s an easy way to use your elbow for stability by resting it against your body whether composing portrait or landscape shots. Anybody who has held and used a manual-everything film camera can attest to this.

To summarize: THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF PREFERENCE! This is how it was, is and will continue to be forever and ever in a world without end, amen. That is, of course, you don’t care about taking clear shots in which case you should trade in your spiffy DSLR camera for something more your speed.

But no, there are legions of clueless people who head over to their local big-box electronics retailer and buy the top-of-the-line DSLR (for a non-camera store, that is), never take one photography class and try to pass themselves off big shots because of the money spent on equipment. So if you’re one of those people and your ego’s too big to fit in a classroom, fer Chrissakes at least do a Google search on the topic.

As long as these twits keep holding their cameras wrongly, I and veteran photographers can’t help but laugh at them because let’s face it: nobody likes a poser.

Just ask Robby Van Winkle.

* I never did that. Acetic acid will singe your nosehairs if you’re not careful.

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An Announcement

I’ve made an announcement over at my other blog.

Go by and check it out!


Here’s a list of 10 things I do without really thinking.

  • Without fail, I eat fries before the main course (when I do eat fries).
  • Speaking of fries, I sprinkle salt and pepper on the ketchup rather than the fries.
  • When drinking a bottled beverage with a sticker label, the label’s seam is always facing away from me and running the length of my fingers. Same rule applies to paper cups with seams.
  • I punch out all the thingies on restaurant beverage to-go lids.
  • Although right-handed, I use my left hand to open tightly sealed lids while holding the jar with my right. I’ve tried it the other way around—EPIC FAIL.
  • Footwear: sock-sock; shoe-shoe.
  • Sleep pattern: back, right side, left side, asleep.
  • I always sit in the front car of both trains when going to work. While going home, I sit in the last car.
  • I still park in the employee parking section whenever I go to the Target store I used to work at.

These don’t really fall under idiosyncrasies; they are more or less things about me because, well, I know you’re all dying to know more.

  • I never leave home without eating breakfast. It doesn’t sound that strange, but it’s amazing how many people skip breakfast or have it at the office. Go ahead—ask around!
  • When eating a banana, I always pull the last portion out of the peel. (As a kid I ate a banana that someone had pierced with a needle through the bottom. I bit into the needle and it freaked me out, so I’ve been doing it ever since.)
  • I wear size Q pantyhose. I mean, I’ve worn size Q pantyhose when I’ve had to. (*crickets chirping*) Okay, it was Halloween so I’ve never really had to wear them, but now you know. (*crickets chirping*)
  • I always wear a watch.
  • I seem to wear out my left shoe faster than my right.
  • My left clavicle is shorter than my right. So now, after losing all this weight and I can see them clearly, I notice a freaking flaw. That’s just great!
  • On the subject of left, I can pop my left arm out of its socket without pulling on it. I just use my arm muscles and there it goes. I’m beginning to think there’s something seriously wrong with the left side of my body.

So what do you do/what the hell is wrong with you?

Living in the 80s: Cars

Okay peeps, the first set of my 80s pictures is up and running. There aren’t too many there just yet but keep checking back as I will start to upload them when I can. Believe me, more are coming!

First topic: cars. These are pictures I took at car shows, at home, in general. And although it’s not included yet, but you’re gonna dig my Chevy Chevette when you see it. Can you say “CHICK MAGNET”?

Also note that I will be adding sets by category: people, places, etc. Many more are on the way.

Here’s the link, or you can subscribe to the RSS feed by going here.


Living in the 80s

Sounds cliché but hey, why not?

For a good portion of my life, I worked in photo labs. In fact, my first job back in 1987 was at a photo lab in Long Beach, CA inside Ralphs “The Giant” store on South Street. The next one was also in Long Beach and because she lived right around the block from the place, I could have quite possibly had my (future) wife as a customer. Of course back then she was a teenager and I probably wouldn’t have given her the time of day, but anyway…

If you work in a photo lab and are even remotely interested in photography, naturally you take tons of photos. It costs you nothing provided the boss/owner isn’t around and isn’t anal about print counts matching the day’s take.

Since I was just out of high school and my Minolta X-370 still had that opened-on-Christmas-Day freshness, you bet I took lots of photos. The content didn’t matter; I was doing it because I loved to shoot pictures.

Flash-forward to a dusty storage shed in 2008. I was cleaning out said shed and came across a box of photos I took between 1986 when I first got my Minolta X-370 (which I still own), and 1989 when I started to work at Knott’s Berry Farm (and my free film-processing ride ended). I found it hard to believe how many pictures I took between those years but then again, my camera was my constant companion no matter where I went: Disneyland, baseball games, car shows, Las Vegas, etc.

As I looked through them, I realized how lucky I was to take so many damned pictures of so many stupid things. Back then they were just ordinary snapshots but today they are a slice of Americana from a crazy time to be alive.

That said, I thought it would be fun to share some of the best with everybody. I started to scan them last night and will begin to upload them to my Flickr account when they are all done, which could take a while after I crop, adjust, rename, save, upload and then tag, add descriptions, etc.

Either way, I’m sure they will be a hoot when finished and when they are, I will post a link to the album for all to enjoy.

Let’s just say this: my 1982 Chevy Chevette was awesome! Okay, not really.

Oh, and about the banner, aka Noritsu Nora (courtesy That is a print from a Noritsu control negative, which was used to color-balance Noritsu printers. Each different film type had its own channel which had to be set manually by the person printing: Kodak was 1, Fuji was 2, Agfa was 3, etc. Then they had to set the ASA: 100 was 1, 200 was 2, 400 was 3, etc. So the Fuji 400 film channel setting was 2-3.

Pain in the ass? Oh yeah, but every film type–35mm, 110 and even 126–and manufacturer had to be calibrated. Thank [insert appropriate deity here] Fuji came along with their Frontier system and pretty much eliminated that whole mess.

And I always thought a mannequin a perfect gauge for measuring human skin tones. Thanks, Aperion, Inc., for using a real person on your control negs!

Hi, I'm Trudy TruColor!

See? You kids have no idea what you missed out on!

Stay tuned…!

UPDATE: I scanned a few pictures of friends/relatives last night and e-mailed them. Their reactions were as follows, along with the image sent.

From one friend (jokingly):

"Good GOD! Can't you find anything better to do with your time?"

From another:

"Shit, dude! I had to look at that for a few minutes before I realized who it was and where it was taken!"

Either way, they have brought smiles to their faces. Cool.