In my previous article on the US full frame cameras market size, I mentioned that it might be interesting to see if the strong fall signal was a product of the US commercialization of Christmas and how strong of a market signal it was. Since I had some of the data already cooking, I went back to the CIPA shipment statistics to see what the other regions looked like.

The short of it, is that I’m also entirely certain that the big uptick in shipments in the Americas in October, was driven by the United States’ Christmas retail behavior. The same with the big down turn in shipments in December, January, and February; post holiday cool-off.

Interestingly, the “other” region had a similar signal, though I don’t know what countries “other” covers.

One final note, as alluded to in the title, these charts are based only on interchangeable lens camera (ILC) shipments, from the Japanese camera makers that report shipments to the CIPA. Fixed lens cameras, so point and shoots, are not included.

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Back in the beginning of April (2017) Sony USA put out a press release[1] announcing that for the months of January and February they had taken the number 2 spot for full frame camera sales in the US. Needless to say, the photography press (and photo blog-o-sphere) ran with this, with many seemingly citing it as evidence to support a narrative that Canon and Nikon are clueless and Sony isn’t.

On a related note, I also recently wrote about the lack of data and problems that causes when it comes to talking about camera gear, sales, and features. One of the biggest of those problems is that without clear data and context, it becomes hard if not impossible to identify outlying events, and, more broadly, outliers can be made to fit pretty much any narrative an author chooses.

This article is the result of well, lets be honest, Sony’s press release raised some questions for me and I started digging into whatever information I could find as best and accurately as I could; which raised even more. None of which I think I really answer completely, but then that really wasn’t the point of this kind of exercise for me anyway.

I don’t have any vested interest in any particularly result, though many certainly do. However, as I said in my previous post on bias, without any kind of data and contextualization it’s hard to make sound judgments. While I don’t have tons of hard data, I do want to look what data I can find, and other market factors that may have been at play.

Moreover, the media and blog-o-sphere’s response to this struck a cord me with me. Sites like DP Review (though I’m certainly not singling them out) have far more in the way of resources to talk about and add context to a press release this, at least compared to someone like me. I don’t have a budget for review gear, sophisticated test benches, and most certainly I don’t have the readership and pull to be able to go to a camera manufacture and ask for clarification on press releases that aren’t clear to me. But this kind of research doesn’t get done, because it’s not as shiny and profitable as posting a fluffed up article about the newest camera that’s been announced; so it doesn’t really get done.

So let met preface this article with this. There is a lot of speculation in this article. Most of this speculation is based on hard data, but not always the data I’d like it to be. I do talk about my assumptions and where I get things from. All told I’m probably going to raise more questions than I can answer, but ultimately this is intended to be food for thought, perspective if you will, not a rebuttal or refutation of something.

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You’ll have to forgive me, I have a bit of a rant here with on the level of discussion on the Internet around cameras. Don’t get me wrong, I like talking about cameras and other camera gear, and even to some extent the apparent strategies of various manufactures. Heck, I’ve even written a series of posts advancing ideas that I’d like to see implemented by camera makers. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that a good percentage of us photographers like engaging in these kinds of discussions.

At the same time, I find myself continually annoyed by the level of discourse on these kinds of topics. A large part of that,I believe, stems from the near complete lack of good data and information to work in these kinds of discussions. As a result, it’s very easy to make claims that are both unsupported and subject to significant levels of bias.

It’s not just commenters on various discussion forum who are “guilty”, if you can even call it that, of not being able to discuss things effectively. Many authors of articles published by the photography press have fallen in to the same traps of not having enough data to properly contextualize things they’re talking about — or worse just going for outright sensationalism like so much of the rest of the media.

Certainly there is data out there on things like the demand for features and actual market share rates at a segment level. However, it’s almost always not publicly available, and in many cases almost certainly proprietary and so will never become publicly available.

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Mesa Verde National Park is probably not the first place anyone thinks of when they think of interesting National Parks. Honestly, I can’t say it’s the first place I think of either. But it is interesting in its own way, and it’s especially interesting if you’re interested in anthropology and how early people dealt with the harsh landscape that is the American Southwest.

In late October of 2016, I went with my family on a road trip adventure across some of the American Southwest. I’ve already written about the Grand Canyon and Durango and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad. This time I want to talk about Mesa Verde, a rather obscure National Park focused on protecting some of the cultural heritage of the early peoples of the Southwest.

I’ve been to Mesa Verde twice, once in 1997 and once on this trip. Combined, I’ve probably spent less than 6 or 8 hours in the park. However, I have no recollection of even seeing a cliff dwelling, let alone visiting one, so that was something I wanted to rectify as much as possible this time.

Mesa Verde isn’t the biggest, the most impressive, or the most grand of the National Parks; that not its focus. Its focus is to protect archaeological sites of the ancestral Pueblo peoples that lived there more than 700 years ago.. These people survived in this harsh inhospitable area for nearly 700 years, only abandoning it in the late 13th century. Mesa Verde protects almost 5,000 archaeological sites, of which nearly 600 are cliff dwellings.

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Smell is as powerful as any other sense when it comes to triggering and forming memories. Smoke mixed with valve oil and steam from a coal fired stem engine is one of those triggers for me.

In late October of 2016, my family and I embarked on a 14 day road trip adventure around some of the American Southwest. This is the third installment in a series of posts detailing that trip. The first two posts detailing road tripping, driving, and traveling and the Grand Canyon National park can be found through those links.

Our second destination was Durango, Colorado. Home of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and a close neighbor to Mesa Verde National Park.


Why Durango?

Why not?

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I’ve never been one for doing posts about the gear I use. In many ways, I don’t see the point. You’re not me. Your eye, your objectives, your interests, and so on, aren’t the same as mine. The natural consequence of that is that your gear isn’t going to, and probably shouldn’t, be the same as mine either.

However, I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that what I’ve used over time would prove to be an interesting look into my evolution as a photograpehr. When I realized that, I also realized that I was a little sorry that I haven’t regularly been writing up something about what I use and why. If only so I could go back and look at how my own preferences have changed over time.

So I’m starting here. I’m not going to list every piece of gear I own or go through my camera bag and pull everything out and talk about it. I don’t have a fixed bag of gear; what I’ll have on me at any point changes based on what I’m doing and where I’m doing it. Instead I’ll be talking about what I find I gravitate towards most regularly, and why. That’s where I think the interesting things come from over time anyway.

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As if it was a lighthouse in the dark of night, the brilliant golden glow of the setting sun reflects off the unseen windows of the main dining hall on the North Rim. The building is unseen, buried in 100 foot high firs and pines that line the North Rim some 14 miles away.

It’s hard to talk about something like the Grand Canyon in a meaningful way. For those that get it; those that care; those that are willing to allow themselves to stand quite, humbled in the face of rock and water and air at the precipice, there’s little that really needs to be said.

For others, there are few, if any, words that can convey anything of value. They can come and stand at the precipice, and see only a tick in a box on a bucket list of places that merely visiting for a brief moment is felt sufficient to speak accomplishment.

This is my struggle when it comes to writing about the Grand Canyon. Anything I write seems to me to be either an echo of something already known, or merely noise demanding care or attention over something seen with little value.

In late October of 2016, I went with my family on a 2 week road trip around the American Southwest. This is the second part of my ongoing story. The first article talked a bit about the traveling aspects of the trip: driving and flying. This time I’ll be talking about the Grand Canyon.

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In late October of 2016, my family and I went on a 2 week road trip around the American Southwest. Over 14 days we drove nearly 1,400 miles visiting almost a dozen major points of interest. This is the first post in a serious of posts detailing my experiences in visiting and photographing those locations.

Before I start talking about specific places, I want to talk a bit about my overall objectives with this series and the broader points around travel as it related to this trip.

When I came back from Alaska in 2015, I wrote up a series of posts detailing my experiences — with an eye towards trying to maximize photographic opportunities — on that trip. In many ways, I like that idea if only because it leaves me a record of what I did right and what I thought I could do better given another shot.

I’ve been struggling with trying to do the same for this trip, and I really mean struggling. In 2015, I managed to get my first article up within 2 months of coming back. This time I’ve been banging my head agains the wall trying to write about the experiences for almost 5 months now.

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I was recently reading the comments — I know, I know, I shouldn’t read comments — on Canon Rumors post about Lens Rentals Tear down of Canon’s new EF 70–300 f/4.5–5.6 IS USM II and a poster was lamenting about how Canon is redefining full time manual to mean something other than the focus ring being mechanically connected to the focusing mechanism.

I see arguments like this come up over with some regularity when people talk about focus by wire, or electronic focus, lenses. Presumably, based on the tone of most if not all of these kinds of posts, it’s meant to be a complaint or criticism of electronic focusing lenses. And I just don’t see the point, I guess you could call it, that they’re making.

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Over the last weeks of 2016, I’ve been working on a lot of behind the scenes upgrades to my site here. About half of those change have been behind the scenes tweaks and improvements that make things more efficient. The other half has been a bit of an overhaul of the theme, layout, and front end.

While I could go on to great lengths about the ins and outs of the design change and the code behind the scenes, that’s not really the purpose here. Instead, I want to talk about one specific area, displaying images on a computer, or rather how I’m increasingly finding computers a poor way to display images.

For a while now, my gallery has been somewhat unloved, and I’ve not been especially happy with it’s presentation either. One of my objectives, though I didn’t know it when I started, with this update cycle was to do something about the gallery to make it more appealing to me.

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