Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 40 of 40

Thread: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

  1. #1
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Hello All, I'm new to posting here!

    Let me open by saying that this forum is a phenomenal resource and I truly appreciate the input from everyone. Not only are all the technical discussions amazingly helpful (and found almost nowhere else!), but the work shared on this board is truly inspiring. I mean, to have a positive and friendly group of busy professional and amateur photographers take their time to not only share their own work, but to critique and assist others is really amazing. Thank you all for contributing to this great site! As a photography student, you have genuinely inspired me, and continue to do so as I develop my own skills.

    Alright, thank you's aside, here is what has really been plaguing me. I have recently been brought to a rather major crossroads in my life. I have to actually CHOOSE my major in undergraduate studies! Option #1: Transfer to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study photography, OR #2: continue my study at the University of Wisconsin and study something else, but continue independent photo study.

    Option #1 is extremely attractive, but even with the considerable Merit scholarship they are offering, it would still cost TWICE as much per year as the UW, and I would be tacking on another year of study. SAIC has Phase backs (2 brand new P45+ s, a number of 22mp backs, and I think one or two somewhere in between), all are available for student use. However, for the amount in financial difference between schools in ONE year, I could OWN a MFDB/kit. Going to SAIC, would be a fantastic experience (top 3 art/photo schools in the country!), but I'm having trouble signing my name to $60k+ in undergraduate debt alone. That's WITHOUT the graduate/law school I'm considering. Any SAIC students/graduates that know it's worth it??

    Option #2 has recently become a much more attractive offer. I can stay at the UW, graduate a semester early, or on time (3-4 semesters from now) and would have money left over. I am seriously thinking I am going to stay here in Madison, and am going to try to make the best of what they offer. In a university with 40,000 students, it is easy to be marginalized. Luckily I am working with a professor who is a working photographer here, and have a great resource in him. Helps a lot! Photo Study Abroad options are enticing too! UW doesn't offer a straight photo major, but an individualized program is an option.

    Note: Major for me doesn't particularly matter for the post-undergrad course I'm on, just so long as I keep my solid GPA.

    Now, the reason this is on here and in the Medium format section!

    Assuming I am fiscally responsible and stay at Madison, I am going to need to upgrade my equipment considerably to continue progressing as I want too. I am coming from a humbled Nikon kit (D200, and a number of lenses, some good, some not, ALL full frame lenses), and a full Sinar 4x5 kit. Obviously as of now, I have been shooting the 4x5 with film, but my skill with that needs to greatly increase. The problem with shooting film for me is the fact that facilities here at the UW are poor to say the least, regarding large/medium format film. I'm a college kid, so home darkroom = not an option. I am left a bit stymied as to what to do, as I feel I am pushing the limits of my small format digital, but don't have the facilities to continue LF film. Also, local lab costs are a reasonable, but an EXPENSIVE way to experiment with and learn 4x5.

    I like to shoot architecture, landscape, and candid portraiture/street photography mostly. Hopefully this is enough to help guide suggestion. I am working on learning more advanced lighting setup's / skills as well. I like to print large! (of course! who doesn't!? haha)

    I've come across the fantastic deal that Hasselblad has going with the H3DII - 31, and the gears have begun turning. A decent kit, building on what I already have (good tripod/head, bags, accessories...) is starting to look reasonable. I really like the idea of the Hasselblad, and they offer considerable breaks to students on lenses through their HERO program (http://www.hasselbladusa.com/69426.aspx). I am looking at getting the H3dii-31 kit with the 80mm and adding the 50-110 HCD and the 28mm HCD. What lenses do ya'll with Hassy experience prefer? Is the 50-110 HCD hand-holdable?

    I like the integrated-ness of the system. From what I read, it would be the most DSLR-like experience, while offering the superior image quality and glass of MF. The lack of a focal plane shutter isn't deterring to me (actually that high sync speed is a plus!), as ND filters aren't scary to me. I'm not afraid of learning to incorporate Phocus into my workflow, as I use Aperture now, and am thinking of changing things up anyhow. The lack of very long exposure, and the inability to be used on my Sinar are the only major downsides for me (microlenses and chromatic abberation are an issue, no?). This camera seems mostly like a fit, but I'm used to Nikon ergonomics, so that might change once I get it in my hands. I love how my Nikon disappears in my hands, but then again, I also enjoy the slow pace of 4x5. Medium format seems like a good compromise for me. Also, I'm in need of a reputable Hassy dealer preferably in Wisconsin/Milwaukee/Madison, but Chicago is a hop and a skip away. Anybody know someone? Leasing is necessary.

    I am forced to consider the many options I have though.

    The new Pentax 645D looks very promising. However, any files I have seen from it just don't seem to have the same MF feel that Hassy/Leaf/Mamiya/Phase give. I miss that feeling in the Pentax files, but it is VERY early and tough to tell yet. I've been watching Ed Hurst's thread very patiently.

    The Nikon D3x seems to be a great choice as well, but for the price, I'd be dangerously close to the superior (mostly) Hassy. I'd have to invest in mostly new glass anyway, as well. I think the only lenses I have that might survive the transition are my Nikkor Micro 105mm f/2.8 (version right before VR), 50mm f/1.4G, and 24mm f/2.8. and the Wide angle would get dumped for a new ultra wide zoom.

    Other MFDB? I need to stay around the $10k mark before lenses. Also, as I mentioned before lease capability is a MUST. That requirement rules out most used gear, unfortunately...

    Summary: Looking at new professional grade equipment, it is tough to decide what route to head in when I haven't nailed my style down completely. I like to shoot a number of different things, but high FPS and ultra-fast focusing aren't necessary. I'm going to wait until I've had my hands on a few different things, AND until after Photokina to decide on anything. I've been pondering this for a while, and am starting to take action as prices come down, and quality goes up.

    Sorry for the long post, just wanted to explain my situation thoroughly. Thank you for any thoughts, advice, and ideas. I have read a few threads like this, and you guys are by far the best at guiding a newbie!

    Thanks again, and I hope I can get this figured out!

    -Alexander DeVoe

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    551
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    recommendation: forget tehgear. Go to the best school you can find. Everything else is mutable - a good education, the best you can strive for, is priceless.

  3. #3
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    I realize that Chicago may be a better art school, but financially, it might just not happen. I am at a Big 10 school (academically fantastic!), and the only reason that I would go to SAIC would be because I have the opportunity. A career in photo for me would be fantastic, but for now, I will consider myself just a VERY serious amateur. The gear would only be going to help make a little cash here and there, and to continue my love for photo while I pursue a law degree!

    I think I have basically already made my choice in school, and will be getting a fantastic education either way. I guess I included the top part mostly to explain how I am coming to look at MFD gear at my age. Also, I thought it would be great to hear from actual SAIC grads NOT through the school, if possible. The financial "burden" of a kit that I am looking at would almost be nil, assuming I am staying in Madison. Cheaper living arrangement than now + CONSIDERABLY cheaper tuition than Chicago = surplus in cash/budget. I brew my own beer, so I don't really need the beer money!

    In the end, photo is just something to keep me sane. MF would be an expensive investment in sanity, but as far as that goes, I'm comfortable with it. I don't think I'll be able to make it pay for itself completely, but I know I WILL be able to use it in my education. and make some cash here and there with it. ha.

    -Alex

  4. #4
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    This one is tough. I went to school for a time in Photography and it meant nothing in the end but being a assistant did. But this was years ago and these just don't apply now. Yes you do need reasonable gear to shoot and maybe above the Nikon D200 but that is also a stretch to a H31 which is a great choice BTW to get in. In a way I like your first option you get in a great school and have use of the great gear but at a cost. But I love your option two and for maybe the best reason you get to work with a professor in photography. As a educator myself there is no better option than to learn from someone on that level. You will learn far more and also learn real world. Now you don't need a degree in photography and frankly better off with a degree in business and be a photographer. End of day this is about money and how to earn it. As a artist I am a really good photographer but not a great business man. I wish I knew the business world more as it would make me more money but most artist are in the same league as me, very talented but lack the best skills in business. Sure we get by but I almost rather see the young guns approach the business side first and get a better start that way. But back to learning photography the best is obviously someone taking you under there wing. A great education is nothing to sneeze at and being young you should be taking advantage of that first and plenty of time to get famous. LOL

    You realize I am vacillating here also because it is really hard to guide you here. I think we can all give you a certain amount of ideas but end of day this is your life and you need to make the best call. Us old dog mentality sometimes just don't work anymore and just walking into a studio and getting a assistant job is long gone. Times have changed considerable and in 3 years from now who knows it all maybe video anyway. I'll be retiring my camera straps if that happens.

    But back to gear only the Hassy 31 is a excellent start up and it will last you a good amount of time with that investment and you have a future in that investment as you would with Phase as well since they both are very established and have great upgrade paths. So yes if you can jump in one than it makes some sense as long as you are fiscally responsible for school as well. Again get out and try these things before doing anything. Several threads on that. I will come back to this as i give it more thought
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    206
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Hi Alexander

    You're a disoriented college student Don't sweat it because many of us have been there before.

    If photography is a way for you to "unwind" or "stay sane" then that might mean it's a hobby. However, if photography drives you insane and makes you crazy then it's a passion. The number one requirement for becoming a professional photographer is passion. Passion trumps everything else (including talent) IF it's passion then go for it as a profession. If it's unwind then photography will make a killer hobby.

    passion or unwind? suffering or relaxing? lol

    Once you've decided that....then the next step is to think about "deliberate practice." Deliberate practice is the key to being good at something. All of the experience that you've had up until this moment is worth something. Don't disregard any of it. You've had a lot of deliberate practice with an SLR and a view camera. You've also had deliberate practice when shooting subjects like architecture and landscapes with a view camera. If you switch systems now, then what elements of your previous past deliberate practice can carry over in a good way into the new system? This might help you make a decision as to what system to buy or whether to buy one at all.

    Think hard about "approach." The type of gear that you work with determines the approach that you will take towards subject matter. For example, SLR's are generally fast so they are really good at capturing moments and quick instances. HOwever, view cameras (especially with film) can be very precise in terms of perspective and control of lines. Some people have a very geometric approach to composition and the view camera approach can aid them in organizing a scene before committing to film. Some people have a very spontaneous approach to photography and are less concerned with organized compositions and relate to other sensory factors like "the moment" or "the expression" etc. Before you make any switches from your current gear...it might be good to think about how the gear you already have effects your approach to photography and subject matter. What do you like that you already have? What would you like to improve? If you can answer those questions about approach then they will probably be more beneficial to your future equipment choice than anything about megapixels or image quality etc. Approach is probably the most important thing for a person getting started. It's very easy to get disoriented and try to be an expert at everythiing. But a young person really needs to concentrate on what is unique about him personally and try and find an equipment set up that is dialed in perfectly to match a personal approach to subject matter. Hope that makes sense...

    Dunno if that helps at all...but Good luck man...Hope things work out well for ya
    Last edited by Mike M; 20th July 2010 at 15:48.

  6. #6
    tetsrfun
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    That's WITHOUT the graduate/law school I'm considering.
    *******
    Stay where you are, work your a** off, get the best grades possible...go to grad/law school and carry as little educational debt as possible. The way the economy is and is heading an undergrad degree in Art, Photography, Poly-Sci, Communications, etc. will get you a minimum wage job flipping burgers. The photo-pros may have a different perspective but making educational decisions based on the goal of pro-photography seems rather risky these days.

    Steve

  7. #7
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Mike-

    Disoriented by choice indeed! I know I am headed to law school. Things would be much easier if I needed a specific degree to go there, but... I don't. In fact, more obscure/less stereotypical degrees are actually a benefit when applying. Law schools like diversity.

    I can confidently say that photography is a passion. I can say that the time that I spend planning, shooting, agonizing in post-process, and anything else photo related is the time I find best spent. I do reproduction/archival work for one of the UW's libraries, and if I didn't love photography, working with their BetterLight system would have gotten very old very quick. (It's nice to be able to read GetDPI during the scans too, but that is neither here nor there! ),. I can honestly say that I love photo. I know exactly what you mean, when you say "if it makes you crazy, then it's a passion", but, I don't necessarily want to be a professional photographer. Does that make sense?

    I am extremely passionate about it, but the idea of shooting on demand is not exactly what I'm all about. I shoot for myself, passionately, but, I don't really want to make a full blown career out of it.

    Approach wise, I am definitely the more careful, planned, slow approach type. I know when and what I am going to be shooting, and I'm not as much a "situational" type photographer (waiting for amazing light in architecture and landscape not included). I've tried the photojournalism deal, I shot sports, editorial, and other stuff for the Badger Herald, our campus newspaper, and found that it really wasn't my bag. I've worked with the design school here, and I DO like shooting fashion as well. I'll post a few pics from my work in a bit to give an idea.

    Slow pace, method/technique, detail, and patience. All things I enjoy in photo.

    This rules out the D700/D3/D3s route. Cannon is out as well: I just don't like how they feel, not to mention I'm already a Nikonian. Leica = not for students (even with the discount), plus I'd miss autofocus. Film, as I explained before, is not for me, at least for the majority of my work.

    more thoughts to come...

  8. #8
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    That's WITHOUT the graduate/law school I'm considering.
    *******
    Stay where you are, work your a** off, get the best grades possible...go to grad/law school and carry as little educational debt as possible. The way the economy is and is heading an undergrad degree in Art, Photography, Poly-Sci, Communications, etc. will get you a minimum wage job flipping burgers. The photo-pros may have a different perspective but making educational decisions based on the goal of pro-photography seems rather risky these days.

    Steve
    Exactly my thoughts, Steve. I get a lot of help from my parents (greatly appreciated!), with the one contingent being that I go to some sort of post undergraduate school. No complaints here.

    The fact that I could graduate relatively debt free, is amazing. The fact that I could invest in pro level photo gear and still do that is really just icing on the cake.

    Unfortunately in the modern employment environment it seems like a graduate degree is the new undergraduate. It is tough for any body with only a BS/BA to get a job.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    206
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander DeVoe View Post

    Slow pace, method/technique, detail, and patience. All things I enjoy in photo.

    This rules out the D700/D3/D3s route. Cannon is out as well: I just don't like how they feel, not to mention I'm already a Nikonian. Leica = not for students (even with the discount), plus I'd miss autofocus. Film, as I explained before, is not for me, at least for the majority of my work.

    more thoughts to come...
    Ah OK...this is good

    slow pace, method/technique, detail and patience

    Have you ruled out medium format digital backs with tech cameras? Is there a reason that an SLR system (like a hasselblad) will improve your approach to shooting? (rather than just IQ)

  10. #10
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Guy-

    Thanks for the advice. It seems to be very inline with what my CCO/executive mom has to say. LOL!

    From the young and relatively successful phot professionals that I know (and I know a fair few), the general trend seems to be no or very little formal photo education. I think I could gain just as much knowledge working with my current photo prof, and just shooting my *** off. I just need the equipment to do it.

    So, to all-

    Any body else on the line between D3X and Hassy 31/similar system? I'm pretty familiar with the D3 breed, worked with a friend's this past semester. Need more advice on the Hassy though. Is it significantly more of a "prima donna" than a Nikon? I mean in regards to ruggedness, weather proofing, dust, reliability, fragility? What are the long term things I need to consider in owning a MFDB/ MFD system?

  11. #11
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    Ah OK...this is good

    slow pace, method/technique, detail and patience

    Have you ruled out medium format digital backs with tech cameras? Is there a reason that an SLR system (like a hasselblad) will improve your approach to shooting? (rather than just IQ)
    The IQ is a huge driving factor, but I also just frankly like the "look" that MFD produces. The tonality, DR, and workability of the files is huge for me. The tech camera idea is good, but I feel like it is A: more expensive, B: Less Flexible, C: Significantly Less Portable, and D: Completely not hand holdable.

    I do like working slow and methodically, but there are many times when I need the fleibility of an SLR. I like to travel, and to keep my camera with me. I realize that the Hassy isn't exactly a small creature, but neither is a Pro Nikon + lenses, and a Tech Camera is DEFINITELY not. Plus, I have my 4x5 that I can shoot if I need movements. Or I could invest in the (expensive!) HTS 1.5.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    206
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Cool! - Best of luck Alexander, I hope things work out well for you

  13. #13
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    I can confidently say that photography is a passion. I can say that the time that I spend planning, shooting, agonizing in post-process, and anything else photo related is the time I find best spent.

    First, grad school is hard and you MUST be focused to thrive. During your studies, you should probably not pursue photography with zeal unless it is part of your studies or absolutely necessary for mental well-being. Despite proclamations that grad is the new undergrad, I would not depend on a graduate education as a strategic advantage to secure your employment. The factor that ultimately determines your success is your commitment to excellence in the field of your choice.

    Grad school is almost certain to be a catalyst for change if you decide on that route and in that sense, it can be very exciting. You may hit the wall, wake up in a daze, and then discover your real calling. Or, you could have a relatively straightforward path and end up a highly specialized professional where you will have the luxury to indulge your photography on the sideline.

    Debt is not so bad, especially if it allows you to pursue a dream that is otherwise out of your reach. Some recent reforms to the student loan system are improving matters further (I earned an M.S. in '09, before they took effect ).

    Finally, I think it is fun to read through the interviews at Two Way Lens (http://2waylens.blogspot.com/). Photographers find their voice in many different ways, and sometimes, just exercising their point of view is worth more than the best paying job in the world.

  14. #14
    Ken Tanaka
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Alexander,

    The SAIC is strongest in its graduate programs (and not necessarily in for photography, per se). Undergrad...not so much. Get the best undergrad experience you can get without mortgaging yourself too badly. Then, if you're still pumped and able to do so, pursue your MFA at SAIC, Yale, RIT, or another academically-strong school. (Versus vo-tech schools whose "degrees" carry no weight.) You may believe that photography is the only purpose for your life today. But it's a fair chance that such plans will be distant memories in 15 years. That's where a stronger and broader educational background will come in handy.

    Beg, borrow, and steal your equipment. Now is not the time for you to fart around with such expenditures. Now is the time to experiment and orient yourself to various photographic techniques. Don't be a dope with money.

    Now push back from the keyboard and stay far, far away from this place for the next several years.

    Best of luck to you.

  15. #15
    tetsrfun
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    You may hit the wall...
    ******
    Sounds like my GF..14+ years out of High School and still doing post-grad. "i am getting to old for this sh*t".

    Steve

  16. #16
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    710
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    ... The way the economy is and is heading an undergrad degree in Art, Photography, Poly-Sci, Communications, etc. will get you a minimum wage job flipping burgers.
    I can't offer much more than the excellent advice already posted, but just to underscore the above quote my nephew is a recent UofW (Eau Clare) graduate with an art degree (using Nikon digital, Leica-R, 6x6cm and 4x5 film cameras) and he's working mucking out a dairy.

  17. #17
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,333
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Please count these as the rumblings of an old man...

    This is almost a "if I had to do it all over again" type thread (at least for me).

    Eight years military then on to the federal workforce ending with Dept Homeland Security at a GS14 all told close to 33 years and retired at 55. Not bad if you don't count the travel, being shot at and hit, working for people who would slit your throat in a heart beat (the people I worked with were for the most part great).

    During it all I had a constant love affair with photography.

    If I had to do it all over again? Stay with the government however in a totally different area - National Park Service. Can you image waking up to go to work in the Grand Canyon? How about Yosemite, Yellowstone or Denali? Okay the pay might not be as good however the more I get to these places and meet the Rangers there I'm finding a lot of them not only truly love what they are doing some of them are great photographers in their own right. How many people can say they truly love what they do?

    Doing something you have a passion for and doing it well is a hell of a reward. Sometimes the ends justify the means. Grad school/law school will get you where in life? Will you truly be doing what you want to do? Whose dreams are you chasing - yours or someone else's?

    The discussion has been great here. I can't offer any true advise other than look inside yourself and ask those tough questions you might not be willing to ask or answer. What is it you want to do with your life...

    By the way - I've know a heck of a lot of attorneys who are not practicing law.

    My best to you.

    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  18. #18
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Alexander, this is difficult to answer because it is screwing around with someone's life yet to be lived.

    I've spent my entire life in creative pursuits ... a major percentage of that as a Creative Director in advertising ... where, "Art was my in to Advertising". I've had the good fortune to mentor hundreds of young art directors, writers, illustrators, designers and ... photographers, some who are now leaders in the communication industry. In return, I was mentored by some great creative people ... including many different photographers (still and motion).

    This trek paid a LOT of money without money being the actual goal. Exercising creative curiosity and passion was the intent. To live a creative and emotionally rewarding life was all that was desired ... it just so happened that it paid well.

    Here is what I've learned ...

    Stand back and survey the future, and get other perspectives on what that may be. Stare reality in the face, whether you like that face or not.

    The cross roads you are at now is NOT which school to attend, or which piece of gear to buy. It is which road will lead somewhere rewarding as defined by you now at your stage of your life looking forward. Then you can move on to the other decisions, which I'd wager will be clearer.

    I say this because, broad or narrow, there has to be purpose attached to a decision. Nothing feeds passion like purpose.

    To pursue photography as a hobby is one thing, to make a living at it requires application. An application others place a value on. What might that be in future?

    Many young people make very broad initial decisions because they don't necessarily have a personal passion to guide them. However, your specific passion for photography may be to narrow right now. Perhaps think more in terms of becoming more "visually literate" ... with photography your chosen tool of expression ... keeping in mind that specific focus may well be changed by future demand and/or technology.

    We live in an exponentially multiplying visual world. If you can think visually, solve problems visually, communicate with visual ideas, the future will always be bright ... and the technology, whatever its form, will merely be a means to an end.

    -Marc

    P.S., so the question better put here may be ... where do you experienced folks think the future is headed?

  19. #19
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    710
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    [SIZE=3][FONT=Times New Roman]

    [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3]If I had to do it all over again? Stay with the government however in a totally different area - National Park Service. Can you image waking up to go to work in the Grand Canyon? How about Yosemite, Yellowstone or Denali?
    Denali, Everglades, Death Valley, Yosemite. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

  20. #20
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter, Fla.
    Posts
    1,967
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    [B]
    P.S., so the question better put here may be ... where do you experienced folks think the future is headed?
    That's a heck of a question Marc and one I ask myself frequently... not so much for myself but to guide my two kids who are in college. As much as I hate to say it I think the future is brightest beyond the borders of our own country. I don't want to open up a can of worms with my political opinions but the increasing polarity in that arena does not bode well (IMHO) for our future. If I were Alexander's age I'd make it a point to become multi-lingual so as to give myself the option of relocating to a place where economic prospects may be brighter. I hope I'm wrong about this but I think the advice is sound in any event. Speaking more than one language fluently provides options and that can only be a good thing. If I were young I'd probably head down to South America for a summer to pursue my passion in photography and immerse myself in another culture and language. And for the record, I think a degree in law is an excellent goal. It's stood me in good stead when I left the practice to pursue other business interests.

  21. #21
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    I'm telling my 13 year old to learn the Chinese language NOW
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    85
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I'm telling my 13 year old to learn the Chinese language NOW
    Guy - I think that is marvelous advice. I am a software consultant [I was a CPA until 1985, decided to change career], working at the moment in Bangkok. The demand for professionals of any kind with language abilities is very high, especially for Chinese language.

    Photography - I put myself though University. Found I was working in my bathroom/darkroom until 3 am or later, with lectures starting at 8 am - decided to go for the degree. Now - some many years later - I am regaining my passion for photography and other creative activities [writing]. So I am due for another career change very soon!

    I would recommend a good degree/double degree or post grad, plus the addition of fluency in Chinese. A winning combination.

    John

  23. #23
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Houston TX USA
    Posts
    273
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Drop it all, get an Math/CS degree, then MBA, wait till you're 40 to start taking photos, then get a MFDB ..........

    Oh, wait a minute, that's what I did

    Pick any of you plans and do it with a passion! I do believe my money spent on university was my best investment ever.

    Closely followed by my decision keep jobs that let me travel the world for 15 years rather than be in to corporate rat race.

    Happily typed from the staring line on yet another marketing powerpoint from Rat Stable # 715

    Dave

  24. #24
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brooklyn
    Posts
    4,043
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1253

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    my advice is that what you retain from the university is the problem solving and mind/vision expanding experiences, not the specifics. You will likely never have that University opportunity again where you can take poetry, philosophy, math and science, for example. When you are finally in your career, it is unlikely you will be solving differential equations, (everything is computer modeled) but you will understand them.

    as far as specifics, I'm 100% with Guy: work as an apprentice, no schooling can prepare you as well.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Photography had better be a calling, something that you cannot avoid doing. To become a photographer, professionally you really need passion. A passion that simply will not allow you to do anything else.

    For many it's a great hobby, more the power to them.

    The future of Photography belongs to those who have great ideas and are able to execute them, the camera is just a tool.

  26. #26
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Have to say on this topic after 35 years I did alright by yesterdays standards. Wife , home 2 kids , 3 cars and we are doing okay. But retirement is sketchy and if I did it right back than I would have a career backup. Like a Pro sports athlete your career will end at some point and better have something to turn too. I wish I did have something like a law degree or a masters in business. As it is I have nothing really to turn too as a 53 year old no one wants me out there in the market outside of photography. I can teach and damn good at it so I have that but if I had to do it all over again I would have a REAL career backup plan. Photography school is great but it will not make you a star out here and I have seen more Brooks grads go out of business than can make your head spin. Photography is a long learned process and best is being a assistant, take some classes and do workshops and what I did mostly is worked my *** off and taught myself. Some more added thoughts, need to go catch a flight. Check in later
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  27. #27
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I'm telling my 13 year old to learn the Chinese language NOW
    2 semesters down, and nothing to show for it. Chinese is a brutal language to learn... haha, I've tried. You've gotta start early on with language, it helps immensely. Maybe my window for languages has closed a bit... German came/is coming very easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso
    Photography is a long learned process and best is being a assistant, take some classes and do workshops and what I did mostly is worked my *** off and taught myself.
    I've found that I learn best by teaching myself. At least in photography. I really don't think there is any better way than just spending time with a given camera, shooting the same subject over and over, and seeing what works and what doesn't. I've revisited the Milwaukee Art Museum designed by Calatrava COUNTLESS times, just to re-shoot it. And I'm getting better. noticeably. Sprinkle in forums, a class here and there, working with a practicing professional, and maybe a workshop someday, and I think I'll be fine without a full blown photo degree.

  28. #28
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by djonesii View Post
    Pick any of you plans and do it with a passion! I do believe my money spent on university was my best investment ever.

    Closely followed by my decision keep jobs that let me travel the world for 15 years rather than be in to corporate rat race.
    Dave
    More travel is definitely one goal of mine. I'm in the process already of jury rigging an individualized major with a study abroad requirement. I think a semester or two in Europe couldn't hurt!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby
    If I had to do it all over again? Stay with the government however in a totally different area - National Park Service. Can you image waking up to go to work in the Grand Canyon? How about Yosemite, Yellowstone or Denali? Okay the pay might not be as good however the more I get to these places and meet the Rangers there I'm finding a lot of them not only truly love what they are doing some of them are great photographers in their own right. How many people can say they truly love what they do?

    Doing something you have a passion for and doing it well is a hell of a reward. Sometimes the ends justify the means. Grad school/law school will get you where in life? Will you truly be doing what you want to do? Whose dreams are you chasing - yours or someone else's?
    I'm lucky enough to have visited Arches, Wind Cave, Badlands, Bryce, Rocky Mountain, Zion, and Capitol Reef. I spent more than a month in the back country of Glacier last summer helping with grad student research. A life goal of mine is to visit every National Park. At 20, I feel I have a healthy start.

    I'm not setting anything of myself aside by going after grad/law school as well. Next to photo in high school was the business club/DECA competition. We placed in the international level. Two years running. Won first in state one year. I can say that I love it, and look forward to coming out with a law degree.

    For what it sounds like for a few of you, you are photographers that are wishing you had a backup plan/career. I'm going to (fingers crossed, hopefully!) have a career in Financial Law. The industry is booming (gotta thank the MUCH more strict registration requirements!), both nationally and internationally. Photography will be my backup for when I get sick of working 70 hour work weeks, and sitting in an office/cube/desk, and want to do something... well, something else.

    I'm doing what I love, but making the safe bet, I believe.

  29. #29
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    Here is what I've learned ...

    Stand back and survey the future, and get other perspectives on what that may be. Stare reality in the face, whether you like that face or not.

    The cross roads you are at now is NOT which school to attend, or which piece of gear to buy. It is which road will lead somewhere rewarding as defined by you now at your stage of your life looking forward. Then you can move on to the other decisions, which I'd wager will be clearer.

    I say this because, broad or narrow, there has to be purpose attached to a decision. Nothing feeds passion like purpose.
    And this is where the last bit of hang up for me exists. In 5 or 10 years from now, am I going to be saying, "I wish I had gone to art school!" or, "I wish I wasn't $75k in debt, because I don't have a reliable job and have no real way to pay it back."

    I'm NOT going to be a damn couch surfer at 27. I WON'T be living in my mom's basement. I think a law degree is a safer bet to insuring that neither of those things happen.

    I realize that would most likely be the worst case scenario, but in the current economic environment, I think it isn't that unlikely.

    I guess what is rewarding for me at this point is stability and independence. Or... money. Hate to be a bit shallow, but I feel like I will be able to pursue things a little bit easier if I am financially stable/successful. The course I'm on now (UW to law school to work) seems to be one of the routes that will lead me most in the direction I want to go in.

    And yes, I do realize that often, with money you lose independence. Where's it coming from? Oh yeah, that 70 hour a week death march job. So, I have considered this. Early retirement (if I am blessed), or midlife career change to photo is my opt out for when this goes to hell.
    Last edited by Alexander DeVoe; 21st July 2010 at 07:39. Reason: Added stuff

  30. #30
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    I have to say thank you to all of you for the rather sage advice. It is amazing to hear from so many professional and otherwise, and to hear what many of you did.

    Thank you all!

    Oddly, though, I think I had this mostly figured out. I'm signing my lease sometime this week to live here in Madison for the next year. I figured I'd just throw this on here as a last resort, hail mary, should I DEFINITELY go to art school kinda thing. I'm not hearing much of that (a little, yes, but a majority otherwise).

    All of you have done an amazing job in basically reaffirming the things that I have been mulling over for the past two weeks. My parents, professors, girlfriend, and everyone else seems to agree: Go for what I think is most right for me. Follow my passion. Right now, I'd have to say that is to stay the course and make the most of my UW education.

    A perk of this course for me, is the fact that I now have the opportunity to invest in some higher end equipment. I REALLY hope that it doesn't seem as though I am choosing equipment over school. That is honestly not the case. I am staying where I am for financial, personal, and education related reasons.

    Now, a few equipment questions:
    1. Would any of you go through Calumet for a purchase as large as a MFD system? Should I only use smaller, more personal dealers? Is there a good Hassy dealer in/near Wisconsin/Chicago?

    2. Hassy lenses. How is the 50-110 HCD? I've read that it is near prime quality, but what would I be losing? A little speed, yes, but is it too big to use handheld?

    3. Long term costs and maintenance. Think of it this way: When you buy a Mercedes or a Ferrari, its not just the sticker price that is high... it's every time you need maintenance too. (I can attest with my 1987 300E AMG. HOW MUCH IS A SIDE MIRROR!? YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING!) These cars throw hissy fits, and they don't run for 200,000 miles without a problem like a Toyota. Are MF cameras the same way? Do I need to be wary of things like this?

  31. #31
    tetsrfun
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Ferrari, its not just the sticker price that is high... it's every time you need maintenance too...
    *****
    Gas cap $450.... :>)

  32. #32
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by tetsrfun View Post
    Ferrari, its not just the sticker price that is high... it's every time you need maintenance too...
    *****
    Gas cap $450.... :>)
    Exactly, haha! On my neighbor's Merc, he had to replace the power window motor, and it was well over $1000. Redic.

    I guess something I need to make clear, is that I'm not going to be starving to make this investment. I wouldn't consider it if that was the case. I'm not on the college ramen diet, in fact my girlfriend and I eat better than just about anyone I know. I'm not going to be struggling to afford this, is what is important.

    But, I DO need to know what to expect as far as lifespan of the gear.
    Last edited by Alexander DeVoe; 21st July 2010 at 08:31.

  33. #33
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    I turn 55 in a few weeks and am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up...

    Jay Maisel had the best advice I've ever heard on photography as a career: If you want to be a photographer, be the best photographer you can be and you will be rewarded. If you want to be highly paid as a photographer, do something else.

    ,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  34. #34
    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Carmel/Tucson
    Posts
    2,355
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander DeVoe View Post
    2 semesters down, and nothing to show for it. Chinese is a brutal language to learn... haha, I've tried. You've gotta start early on with language, it helps immensely.....
    Chinese is extremely difficult. I never could pick it up fluently---luckily I get by with just the "Chinese-look..."

    Education is always a good thing. It really doesn't matter too much what your major is---you're only picking up the basics in any particular field. What is most important is that you're learning how to learn. Your education goes with you no matter where you are in life.

    Btw, I'm one of those attorneys that Don Libby mentioned no longer practices law. After ten years I got tired of (as Don says) "working for people who would slit your throat in a heart beat." And I'm not even talking about ex-wives...


  35. #35
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    710
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander DeVoe View Post
    Exactly, haha! On my neighbor's Merc, he had to replace the power window motor, and it was well over $1000. Redic.
    My brother's Pontiac Vibe (a.k.a. Toyota Matrix), driver's side $850.

  36. #36
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Jay Maisel had the best advice I've ever heard on photography as a career: If you want to be a photographer, be the best photographer you can be and you will be rewarded. If you want to be highly paid as a photographer, do something else.

    ,
    In one book I read, Maisel was positvely brutal toward young, idealistic photographers. The reason for his harsh tone was clear - those close to you are not the ones to judge your fitness for entering the professional workforce with a camera. Some folks even have the notion that photography is a relatively lucrative field. I completely agree with Giorgio:
    The future of Photography belongs to those who have great ideas and are able to execute them, the camera is just a tool.

  37. #37
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,333
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Chinese is extremely difficult. I never could pick it up fluently---luckily I get by with just the "Chinese-look..."

    Education is always a good thing. It really doesn't matter too much what your major is---you're only picking up the basics in any particular field. What is most important is that you're learning how to learn. Your education goes with you no matter where you are in life.

    Btw, I'm one of those attorneys that Don Libby mentioned no longer practices law. After ten years I got tired of (as Don says) "working for people who would slit your throat in a heart beat." And I'm not even talking about ex-wives...

    Wait a minute - I thought you were legal counsel for Iron Creek?

    Actually he's there to help me hide things from Sandy
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  38. #38
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,333
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I turn 55 in a few weeks and am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up...

    Jay Maisel had the best advice I've ever heard on photography as a career: If you want to be a photographer, be the best photographer you can be and you will be rewarded. If you want to be highly paid as a photographer, do something else.

    ,

    I've got the best of all worlds. I get to photograph landscape which is without a doubt my passion all the collecting a steady check at the end of the month. Made the entire [email protected]#T of the 30 plus years well worth it. I also feel that having that steady income has helped my creative juices flow.
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  39. #39
    Alexander DeVoe
    Guest

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    I've got the best of all worlds. I get to photograph landscape which is without a doubt my passion all the collecting a steady check at the end of the month. Made the entire [email protected]#T of the 30 plus years well worth it. I also feel that having that steady income has helped my creative juices flow.
    I think this might be the path that I am headed towards. Hopefully minus a few years of bull****, give or take, but I think this is the deal I'm in for. Put up with (and hopefully enjoy) a demanding job for a while and eventually retire or quit to pursue the things I couldn't without a bit of financial stability.

    I like the steady income idea. I'm not going to lie. For this reason alone, I think I have to rule out photography as a singular career choice.



    Also, to all that have posted:

    A big Thank You! is in order. The myriad of viewpoints offered here have even more confirmed the thoughts I've been having. I've been looking at all of your work, and I have to say, I'm completely inspired. I need to revisit a National Park or two.

    I just want to say that I am going to be a life long photographer: no matter what my career, no matter what equipment I have, and no matter how much money I am making. It's not something I will ever give up. Whether I adopt MFD or not, I am going to be shooting. Whether I go to an art school or law school or any school, I'm going to be shooting.

    Thanks again to everyone.

    -Alex

  40. #40
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    484
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Pondering the plunge... Dante's Inferno here I come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander DeVoe View Post
    I've been looking at all of your work, and I have to say, I'm completely inspired. I need to revisit a National Park or two.
    Speaking of photographing National Parks, you should check out this link as there's some nice stuff inside: http://www.terragalleria.com/parks/
    Last edited by Audii-Dudii; 21st July 2010 at 11:25.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •