Paul Duncan has practiced photography for a couple of decades. Originally intending to use photography as a note-taking tool for drawing and painting, he soon found it a compelling end in itself. Like many dabblers in photography, his constant struggle has been to resist the siren song of technology; fascination with gear and techniques can too-easily smother the artistic and expressive possibilities. This is particularly difficult in the digital imaging and printing revolution we’re going through now—it’s a wonderfully exciting time to participate in the leaps forward in imaging technology.
These are exciting times for professional photographers as well. The whole landscape of the profession is shifting dramatically as the market is flooded with images, often given away for nothing or close to it. Magazines and newspapers are tightening belts or going out of business, and even the old reliable wedding business is changing as many couples think their event can be covered by the dozens of friends and relatives with all manner of devices to record images and video. The most creative photographers with business and marketing skills and a willingness to adapt will likely survive but many others are being driven out of business.
Now is a great time to be an amateur, free of the need to compete in a brutal market, with ready access to a breathtaking array of tools and information. Some of us are able to make a little money from occasional print sales or publication to cover expenses. Paul Duncan is finding it a great time to stretch and flex the imagination. After a few decades, he still can’t point to a single image and say it’s the best he can do. But he keeps working at it.
Watch the video below for an overview of the technologies behind focal plane shutters and shoe-mount electronic flashes shows how the two synchronize. Features such as high-speed sync, second-curtain sync, and electronic shutter mode are explained as well.