Saturday, April 19

kodak.com presents
Rick Sammon, Professional Photographer

Chat with a Pro Shooter!
October 26, 2000

Kodak.com's guest editor, Rick Sammon, takes his cameras around the world--and always returns with great photos. Rick's captivating travel and undersea pictures and stories appear in Popular Photography, Sport Diver, and Caribbean Travel & Life. The host of ESPN's "Photo Safari," Rick shares his secrets and tips for great pictures with any camera.


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Kodak: What makes a great photo? Do you need a bag full of lenses, or just a point-and-shoot camera? Let's ask someone who's crossed the globe and gone under the sea in search of great pictures. Tonight we kick off our kodak.com chat series with pro photographer Rick Sammon, kodak.com's first guest editor. He's here to share some pictures and stories, and answer your questions about taking terrific pictures.

Rick Sammon: Hi! I'm really glad to be here! I'm glad you're here, Ask away!

Just Me: I don't own a camera but was thinking about getting one, what do you recommend for a regular person's photography needs?

Rick Sammon: I would start with a basic automatic model. And I would use color print film because it's more forgiving than slide film. And remember, cameras don't take pictures, people do. So it's up to YOU to get the great shots.

Here's a picture of me in Nepal making my photography more interactive with a digital camera. I do this to make the photography session more fun for my subject. This really helps me get great shots.

Techie Chick: What do you think of the quality of digital cameras' images vs. that of a camera with film? Are there any pros or cons to going digital?

Rick Sammon: Digital photography is a lot of fun, and again it makes photography more interactive and more fun. If you want to make a photo quality print, you need at least a 3 mega pixel camera. Personally, I shoot slides, negatives, and I use a digital camera. For most of my magazine work, and all of my bookwork, I use slides and negatives. This picture of a woman in Nepal was taken with a 2-mega pixel digital camera.

Sandy OR: Does it make a difference on where you have your film developed? Like at a discount store vs. a photo lab?

Rick Sammon: Sandy, for professional work, I would suggest a professional lab. However, many discount stores send their pictures to Kodak Picture Processing for excellent results. And I use Kodak Picture Processing for my slides. If you're unhappy with your prints, ask for a remake. In most cases, the lab will make the print at no charge. And that has to do with making the print lighter, darker, or correcting the color.

This picture of a cowboy was taken with a wide-angle lens. And I like to use wide-angle lenses to get closer to the subject. It makes the session more personal, and with the wide-angle lens I can include some of the background and environment in my picture whereas a telephoto lens would blur the background and isolate the subject.

Gary ATX: I don't understand all this stuff about film speeds. Can you enlighten me a little?

Rick Sammon: Sure! If it's 100 percent sunny outside, use 100-speed film. A film for general fun, one film for fun, use 400 speed film. For a general purpose film, being indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light, flash, no flash, use an 800-speed film. Basically, fast film (400 to 800) is more sensitive to light than slower films (50--100). Use the fast film to stop action. Use the slower film for landscapes and close-ups. Finally, slower films have a finer grain than faster films.

Peter Burian: Rick, I have seen you hosting the "Canon Photo Safari" TV program. How did you get involved with that?

Rick Sammon: Five years ago I hosted a television show for Popular Photography called "Freeze Frame" on the Travel Channel. ESPN saw me on this show, and asked me to be involved in the series. So far I've hosted ten programs.

One in the Galapagos, and that's the picture on the screen now. I was there with actress Dana Delany from TV's "China Beach", and we did three shows there. I've also done shows in Thailand, Botswana, Belize, and Lake Placid. The shows may look like a lot of fun, and they are, but they are also a lot of work. I'm glad you watched that! My next show is on December 23rd on ESPN.

While we were filming in Botswana, we came across a lion eating this baby giraffe. It was a touching scene, and the producer of the show was actually crying in the back of the safari vehicle. But it was a rare photo opportunity, but I knew I had to get the shot.

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