It’s Not About the Camera…really!

© Aaron Johnson,

I just got my May copy of National Geographic and was pleasantly surprised to find a double page picture of mine in the Visions of Earth section. I’ve submitted to this section before but never made the cut and was tickled by the fact that when they were trolling the files at Corbis looking for fodder for this feature, they actually pulled this one out.

Of course, I would have been more tickled had they then contacted me, so I could have made the sale and not shared the booty with my agency! But you know what they say about half a loaf….er, actually, when my current contract lapses, and I sign the new contract, it’ll be more like 45% of a loaf. But that’s a topic for another post.

For a quick look at the spread, and one other funny thing about the whole situation, hit the jump.

from the May, 2009 issue of National Geographic, image © Bob Krist

It’s a nice enough shot, but it’s not from an assignment.  It’s a family vacation snapshot, made with what was then my favorite lightweight “walkabout” setup, a D80 with the 18-200mm VR Nikkor (now it’s the same lens but with the D90). Along with my wife, Peggy and her brother and sister in law, I was in Cornwall, England, doing a lot of hiking and pubbing after visiting my family in nearby Devon.

We were in the gardens at Glendurgan when I saw this couple looking a bit forlorn after making it through the maze.  Knocked off a couple of frames, but there were Cornish pasties to eat and real ale to drink, so I didn’t linger as it was lunch time and my hiking companions were high tailing it to the pub.

So, next time one of your big-camera-toting buddies dismisses your little DSLR as “not professional,” remind him that it’s not about the camera. And remind him too of what Kent Kobersteen, former director of photography at the National Geographic, once zinged me with when I was showing him some stuff; and that is: “it’s better to be lucky than good.” (Ouch!) To which I’d like to add, “but it’s best to be both!”

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Bob, congratulations on your photo making National Geographic–heady stuff! I most enjoyed the story behind the photo and agree with you comment “it’s best to be both lucky and good.” For myself, I never discount the lucky part. ~smile~

    1. Earl: Yes, being lucky is definitely good. But some other things never change; I shot three stories for NG during the film era, including a cover, and even then I was using the “non-professional” FM and FE2 bodies!

  2. Love the quote and your addition to it. I cannot agree more that the camera is just a tool for the craft – a fantastic tool albeit, but a tool nevertheless.

  3. Great post, Bob.

    As for the being lucky part, it reminds me of a quotation: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” by Seneca, Roman dramatist, philosopher, & politician (5 BC – 65 AD)

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