Photography Friday: What Camera to Buy

Whenever people find out that you’re a photographer, the first question they’ll probably ask you is going to be something along the lines of, “What camera do you use?” If it’s your first time being asked this question, you’ll probably tell them the actual name and model of your camera, and the majority will pretend to know what you’re talking about. You get asked enough times and you’ll realize it’s not worth answering or it’s more fun to tell them something like the Nikon Di1D0 and watch them nod their heads and tell you it’s an amazing machine (shout out to Lance). Inevitably, the conversation will lead to, “What camera should I buy?” or “What’s the best camera out there?” So I, being ever enthusiastic and eager to help lazy people, have decided to answer this question for anyone who wants to get into photography.

I have developed a complex, two-pronged answer to your enquiry and the first prong is to go fuck yourself, possibly with said prong. Yes. GO. FUCK. YOUR. SELF. Look in your kitchen to see if you have two bananas. If you do, great; you can skip this next step. If you don’t, go to the grocery store and don’t come back until you have two bananas. While you’re there, you might also want to pick up a stick of butter. Now that you have the two bananas and optional stick of butter, you’re going to want to eat both of the bananas because they are an excellent source of fiber and potassium. You can save the butter for later use. Then go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself if you think my camera somehow just turns itself on, thinks about how it wants to compose a photo, points itself at the subject, and presses its own buttons. Go fuck yourself if you have the notion that whatever expensive camera you buy is going to help you take better pictures, because it isn’t. Just like buying the best paintbrushes won’t magically make you a better painter, or buying the best shoes won’t make you run any faster. A camera is merely a tool and it is much more important to learn how to use one with time and practice than it is to have the best tool. I’ve seen people who have taken incredible photographs on their iPhone cameras (much thanks to Kevin, whose photo I used below) and I’ve seen people with above $1,000 cameras who still haven’t figured out shutter speed and every photograph they’ve ever taken is out of focus (looking at you, thing-under-mouth-tografy).IMG_0692

With all of that being said, if you’re not a tool whose only intention is to try to impress people with your camera, then I may have actual advice to you on the matter. Your gear does not matter, but I would still much rather have a Ferrari than a Ford Fusion, so fuck a beginner camera. It’s pointless and a waste of money and if I have any regrets, it’s buying a dumb fucking beginner camera because there is literally no difference in learning with a beginner camera and an “intermediate-pro”-level camera and you’ll soon realize that it won’t serve you for very long due to its limited capabilities. So first, figure out what type of content you want to create with your camera and do your research. What works for one person might not work for the next. Do you need a full frame with high ISO capabilities and fast autofocus for weddings? Do you need 4k recording capabilities? What is your budget? Then go buy your camera and learn how to fucking use it. Oh, and save some money for good lenses, because having a great camera with shitty lenses is like having a big penis and no hands. #badanalogy

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Picture Unrelated #7: Public Service Announcement

I never thought I’d have to, but I think it’s important that I preface this next post with the disclaimer that I am not a communist. Capitalism, good (thumbs up); Stalin, bad (grunt, frowny face). But with the November election coming up, I’d like to talk about a few, very inherent, but underlying problems with the way democracy works.

First off, there are no merits or qualifications required to vote, besides that of being 18 years old and a citizen of the United States. This means that your below-average Joe has the right to vote, granted he registers in time and is willing to go to the polls. Not that big of a deal right? Everyone should have a right to vote for who governs them, no matter how uneducated or ill-informed they may be.

The real issue comes from the idea of democracy itself. Basically, you take a vote and whichever side has more votes gets their way. Sounds fair right? Well, yes, in a utilitarian sense, because since more people are satisfied, it must be right. Right? But what if you had a situation where you asked 10 people to vote on something? Let’s say cake or ice cream. I mean there is no wrong answer here because both are delicious. But anyway, 6 people vote for cake and 4 vote for ice cream. That’s (whips out calculator, calculates) 40% of people who are unhappy with the outcome and have to live with whatever decision the other people made, which is almost (counts on fingers) half of the population! Do you see the problem with that? The minority, here, is not so minor and unfortunately, the election for president of the United States isn’t as inconsequential or as tasty as a vote for what to eat for dessert. As divided as this country has been over the two candidates, there will certainly be a very large percentage of citizens who will be part of the losing minority.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers,” this is exactly what it’s warning us about. Just because more people agree on something, doesn’t make it the right answer. What if we added eating poo to the options of desserts, and what if, for some reason, 9 to 1 people voted for eating poo for dessert? I don’t know if I have to spell it out for you, but eating poo here is analogous with having Donald Trump as president. I’m still in utter dismay that walking, orange-skinned, human sewage is one of the final two candidates for president, and yet, here we are. It’s like living in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I mean the other candidate isn’t great either, but this is one of those lesser-of-two-evils type situations. So as flawed as democracy is, it is still better to have the choice to vote for your leader than to not have it. So I urge you to go to the polls on November 8th, so that you don’t have to eat poo and, more importantly, I don’t have to eat poo, because I’ll be damned if I have to eat poo on account of someone else’s stupidity.

This week, I’m just doing a photo dump. If you follow my Instagram, (nhatflix) you’ve probably already seen these, but if you don’t, here they are in their high-res glory. As always, thanks for reading.

Dance, Monkey. Dance.

There are so many things I want to say about dancing but I’ll try to keep it as short as possible. Dancers are my favorite type of people. I don’t necessarily mean professional ballerinas or salsa masters who dance with the stars or the ladies trying to pay for college, although they are by no means excluded from conversation. Continue reading “Dance, Monkey. Dance.”

This Makes Me So Soft

February 14th is right around the corner, so I suppose this might be an appropriate time to dig into my feelings and write a few thoughts about love, relationships, and the like. I’ll admit that I’ve always been a fan of Valentine’s Day, or at least the idea of it; I know there are a few people out there who like to express the sentiment that it’s a Hallmark holiday or that it’s an arbitrary day because you should show your significant other the same love every other day of the year but those people are usually fedora tipping neckbeards who think saying things like that will earn them some brownie points somehow. But really though, I think that if you should have a day to highlight and celebrate something, there are worse options than love.

If I’m being completely honest, I did contemplate writing a really negative post about how tragic my love life (or lack thereof) has been, but I decided against it because I kind of felt like it undermined the whole concept of love. If anyone was wondering, I haven’t had a real girlfriend since my freshman year of college (7 years give or take) and my wiener is like a rookie pirate who hasn’t pillaged or plundered any villages: no booty. It just occurred to me that I’ve been single for both of Barack Obama’s presidential terms. But frankly, I haven’t been actively looking to get into any type of romantic relationships so it’s a semi-deliberate decision, and I think I’ve narrowed it to two overarching reasons as to why. The first is that, although there is a running joke within my circle of friends that I fall in love with every girl I meet, I am dreadfully particular about everything, especially people. My friends who are reading this are probably nodding their heads because they know that I have a natural propensity for disdain and contempt towards strangers. It’s not that I do it intentionally; I think it’s more of a defense mechanism and there’s just so many stupid people out there. The second reason for my chronic single-dom, which kind of is an extension of the first, is that I am actually afraid to put myself out there. Actually I take that back. I’m not afraid to put myself out there; I’m afraid that if I cast my rod (ayyy) with my worm (ayyy) into this dating ocean, the wrong fish will bite. I don’t have that much bait to begin with, so I’m not trying to catch whales or crabs, and definitely nothing with tentacles. Bad metaphor aside, what I’m trying to say is love is a remarkable thing. I mean anyone who has ever been in love can attest to that fact. Food tastes better. You’ve got a pep in your step. Watching Netflix becomes a little more fun. But you know what doesn’t taste good? Giving your love to the wrong person and finding out that this motherfucker wasn’t who you thought they were. And it’s pathetic to say, but for a while, I kept donning this mask and cape and becoming Captain Save-a-Hoe, vigilantly trying to rescue damsels in distress only to find out they didn’t need rescuing and I was just a homewrecking piece of shit. So at this point in my life, I’m choosing not to chase after people so I don’t waste my time getting myself into further shitty situations. Shituations?

Okay so at this point you’re probably feeling really bad for me because I just sound really lonely and bitter, but you shouldn’t. When I first got dumped, it hurt like shit for sure. But as time passed, I began to realize that I had an itch for solitude and I’ve been scratching that thing raw ever since. Shit is empowering, yo. And with so much personality, I could be by myself and enjoy the company (thanks, Ye). The best part though is that I fucking love myself now more than ever and I think that to truly be able to love someone else, you have to irrefutably be able to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself, how can anyone believe that you love them?

Lastly, and probably most importantly, there’s nowhere to go but forward so I want to leave you with a little bit of what I hope the future brings. Do you remember the episode of FRIENDS, “The One Where Joey Tells Rachel”? The main plotline of the episode was that Joey was going to tell Rachel that he was in love with her. Many feels were had with that whole situation, but what really appealed to me was the subplot where Phoebe starts to date a guy named Don, but she believes Don to be Monica’s solemate (ha). Much to Chandler’s chagrin, Monica and Don get along really well, with both even having dreams of living in a house made of cheese. So even though Chandler doesn’t believe in the idea of soulmates, you see his insecurities start to show when he acts up back at home. Now here comes the best part: Monica tries to figure out what is wrong and Chandler tells her. It is then that Monica reveals that she doesn’t believe in soulmates either and that relationships require a lot of work, and I’ve always thought that in some bizarre way, them both not believing in soulmates ipso facto makes them soulmates. That’s what love is to me and I will not settle for anything less than brilliantly written sitcom romance.