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11-01-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year / Where is Pentax Photography

I was at the Natural History Museum to see the BBC Wildlife Magazine Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition winners today. The photography on display was amazing, incredible and inspiring - the technical skills, use of technology, patience, luck and endurance shown by the winners was brilliant.

And I'll be honest about two things. One - I am an analyst and along with admiring the works and reading all the commentary and specs and natural history notes I was also tallying the camera brands used. Just because I wanted to. Two - I was looking for the word "Pentax".

I didn't find it. Not once. And this made me just a little bit sad. Just... would have been nice to see the word somewhere.

For the record, here's the tally of the adult category winners/ commended entries on display:
Canon DSLR : 42
Nikon DSLR : 20
Fuji : 2
Canon Powershot (!) : 1
Linhof : 1

And for the up-and-comers, the next generation of photographers, in the junior category:
Nikon DSLR : 7
Canon DSLR : 6
Olympus : 1
Panasonic Lumix : 1
Canon Powershot (!) : 1
Nikon Coolpix (!) : 1

I heartily recommend going to see the exhibit (it will be traveling around the world, too), or at least giving it a look online at :
Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Online gallery
Some of the stories behind the images are amazing!

And... go Pentaxians in 2009!!!

11-01-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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No surprise.

Pentax does not make the equipment that a professional wildlife photographer would use.

Not to say someone couldn't get lucky once in a while eg. the Lumix, Powershot and Coolpix shots.

There is just too much time and effort involved in serious wildlife photography to "settle" for second rate AF, tracking, FPS. Not to mention that suitable glass is virtually non-existent.
11-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
Pentax does not make the equipment that a professional wildlife photographer would use.

Not to say someone couldn't get lucky once in a while eg. the Lumix, Powershot and Coolpix shots.

There is just too much time and effort involved in serious wildlife photography to "settle" for second rate AF, tracking, FPS. Not to mention that suitable glass is virtually non-existent.
I think Marc Langille would have something to say about that Tom. Note also the P&S entries. I've no doubt some of the entries were taken by serious nature photographers but the vast majority would have been submitted by just your average snapshooters.

As far as no Pentax taken shots in the exhibition, it's just a microcosm of the real world.
Walk into a store and ask to see a camera, they'll show you a Nikon or a Canon or a Sony or an Oly.
11-01-2008, 04:35 PM   #4
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Gary:

A couple of points:

"I think Marc Langille would have something to say about that Tom"

First -I think Marc is one of the very few Pentax photographers that can produce decent wildlife shots with his equipment. But note that his best glass cannot be purchased anywhere - not available for sale - he bought his prize lenses before they were discontinued or shortly thereafter.

Besides, I don't think Marc makes his living as a wildlife photographer.

Next: "Note also the P&S entries". A couple in the kids' competition and one in the adults'. Like I said -" Not to say someone couldn't get lucky once in a while eg. the Lumix, Powershot and Coolpix shots."

Finally : "As far as no Pentax taken shots in the exhibition, it's just a microcosm of the real world." Here's another hint that Pentax is not in the wildlife photography business -

Photo Critique Forums

NPN is one of the best wildlife photography sites on the net, (not just a microcosm, or if it is just one of many where Pentax is not represented) and has many of the best wildlife photographers in the world posting in the galleries, along with amateurs of all levels. There used to be one Pentax shooter (me).

What does that say about Pentax?

11-01-2008, 04:50 PM   #5
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The winning picture was taken with an automatically triggered camera and a wide angle lens
11-01-2008, 04:55 PM   #6
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I mostly agree with what you say Tom but we were talking about the BBC competition which is open to anyone.
Two points, yes you're right about Pentax lenses but I believe the 600 can be special ordered.
And two, a long lens is not required for all wildlife photgraphy so in the case of this particular competition, I stand by my comment of a microcosm because most of the entries would have been taken by your average Joe (not the plumber).

Admittedly, I suspect that the winners would be the cream of the crop mostly but this competition wouldn't exist without all the other 'Joes' which isn't true of a lot of the other wildlife competitions.
11-01-2008, 06:46 PM   #7
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oh well...

QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
A couple of points:

"I think Marc Langille would have something to say about that Tom"

First -I think Marc is one of the very few Pentax photographers that can produce decent wildlife shots with his equipment. But note that his best glass cannot be purchased anywhere - not available for sale - he bought his prize lenses before they were discontinued or shortly thereafter.

Besides, I don't think Marc makes his living as a wildlife photographer.
It really doesn't matter! It's a given that Nikon and Canon (for wildlife work) are the obvious choices - too many to mention. So I choose to handicap myself...

Side note: Art Wolfe was a judge at VLF one or two competitions ago - (if others don't know who he is then I suggest you search online). Art stated (to John Martin, Executive Chair of VLF) that it was the toughest and fairest competition he's ever been involved with as either a competitor or a judge in the last 30 years. They thought that 4 of my images are good enough to be published in their latest book. Two taken with Canon (two 3rd in class placings), two with Pentax (1st in class, 2nd in class placings): Valley Land Fund Contest Winner

FWIW, I was the lone person using Pentax.

Most people may not know this fact: the majority of people don't make their living as a wildlife photographer - they do workshops, field trips, may have some income from stock images etc. to supplement their income. Ever look at those field trip prices? Most are quite expensive.

I guess I can make "decent wildlife shots": I did pull in an order for 15 8x10 images to decorate a new cabin being built, and more to come. Last month was $1K from photography... and I'm not full time, nor am I really trying to promote myself in any way.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
Finally : "As far as no Pentax taken shots in the exhibition, it's just a microcosm of the real world." Here's another hint that Pentax is not in the wildlife photography business -

Photo Critique Forums

NPN is one of the best wildlife photography sites on the net, (not just a microcosm, or if it is just one of many where Pentax is not represented) and has many of the best wildlife photographers in the world posting in the galleries, along with amateurs of all levels. There used to be one Pentax shooter (me).

What does that say about Pentax?
That means that I am now the lone NPN Pentax shooter?? I have been an NPN member for over a year and a half. I haven't submitted to the macro critique forum for a while, due to time commitments. I noticed your link is to the Avian Critique forum? Some nice shots Tom. BTW, all photo critique forums delete entries over 35 days old. I guess that means my images have no value now, because I am not submitting to the critique forum(s)...?

What others may not know is that is only a part of the entire site - here is the Membership Websites Directory:
Nature, Wildlife and Landscape Photography Resource

NPN Online Magazine will be publishing an article that I am writing. Four images are to be submitted with the article - two will be with Pentax, two with Canon...

Regards,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 11-01-2008 at 07:30 PM. Reason: typo
11-01-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
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Tom, didn't you get a picture of the year award recently with a Pentax?

11-01-2008, 07:51 PM   #9
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PENTAXIAN.com | The Community for PENTAX Users
11-01-2008, 09:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by impete82 Quote
Thanks for the link, Pete. I think myself that Pentax's global cred can only be on the way up. Although I view Wheatfield's posts as bordering on badgering, he has a point that melding the best features of the K20D onto a FF sensor - as well as taking care of all the other nitpicks that people have with the current lineup - would be a major boost. I'm one of those who tend to think that it is the person behind the camera that makes the difference in the shot, not the hardware. I still recommend people look around for any of Freeman Paterson's books such as "Photography and the Art of Seeing". It holds for digital as well as film photography. And yes, we Pentaxian's have the glass

Jack
11-01-2008, 11:55 PM   #11
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I should add that I was fortunate enough to see last year's exhibition in person, and not only was there a shot taken with a Pentax, it was an *istD.

If I'm remembering correctly, it was a shot of hummingbirds feeding at a birdfeeder, taken with a DFA 100mm macro.

For a 6mpixel shot, they'd blown it up to a fairly decent size, too.
11-02-2008, 07:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom Lusk Quote
Pentax does not make the equipment that a professional wildlife photographer would use.

Not to say someone couldn't get lucky once in a while eg. the Lumix, Powershot and Coolpix shots.

There is just too much time and effort involved in serious wildlife photography to "settle" for second rate AF, tracking, FPS. Not to mention that suitable glass is virtually non-existent.

I'm not so sure it is all equipment, I think even the pro's need luck, and it is because they are pro's and they spend more time out there, they get lucky more often.

Just look at the last page of the november issue Outdoor Photography Canada. A photo of a Pileated woodpecker feeding it's young. The photographer just happened on it, didn't plan on shooting woodpeckers, had over slept, missed the sunrise and stopped for a coffee. No where in any of that scenario does the ownership of camera come into play.
11-02-2008, 08:08 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
No where in any of that scenario does the ownership of camera come into play.
Well, they had to have a camera, right?
11-02-2008, 08:25 AM   #14
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Forgive me for my ignorance and disbelief.

After perusing through the winners and highly commended for the under 10's - I also looked at the equipment used.

An 8 yr old using a Canon 1ds Mk111, 400mm + teleconvertor with -1 stop dialled in taking a perfectly sharp bird in flight - huh???

There were quite a few in this age bracket using such hardware-what gives??

An another note some incredible shots were made with Canon 350D's which just goes to show that it's not all about the camera and how expensive it is

cheers

D
11-02-2008, 08:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
Well, they had to have a camera, right?
Jim

that's the point, any camera would do!
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