Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reporters! Get a life, get a camera!

Super-zoom bridge cameras are perfect for reporters.
It is becoming more and more common for working journalists to be required to shoot their own pictures. Coming from a former newspaper photographer this may surprise you, but I think it's a good idea that is gaining traction at exactly the right moment.

When I was on the street shooting for a daily paper, the equipment was big, clunky and somewhat difficult to use. To expect a reporter to carry that stuff would have been silly. To expect them to come back with professional quality pictures with the amateur gear then available would also have been silly.

Shot with an FinePix HS10.
No more. With the advent of bridge cameras — cameras that bridge the divide between amateur and professional gear — the birth of the successful two-way reporter/photographer is at hand.

There is absolutely no reason that a reporter cannot take a head and shoulders picture to accompany a story. I recall the contempt that award winning photographer and photo editor Dick Wallace had for headshots. He refused to call them portraits.

The new Fuji FinePix HS20, to be available this March, with its 24mm to 720mm zoom can replace a whole camera bag of lenses. It will even take a hot shoe mounted flash syncing to the camera with through the lens metering (TTL).

I've written about this before but then I was pushing the HS10. As good as it was, I still had some reservations about that camera. The HS20 has put many of my qualms to rest.

Heck, I'd even give photographers at newspapers one of these babies. And yes, news shooters are still needed but give them a pen, some paper and encourage them to write more. Let's make reporters AND photographers more productive.

Shot through my windshield with my HS10 while stopped behind school bus.

To see an example of a story both written and illustrated by a (former) newspaper shooter see my report on the new urbanist development of Cornell and Upper Cornell in Markham, Ontario, or my two recent looks at sledding, etc., on a small, local slope: Upside to snow, and More on snow. Important note: The action pictures would be better if shot with the soon to be released HS20.

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