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Reviews of photography products that enhance the enjoyment of taking pictures. Published frequently but irregularly.

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26 September 2013

You hear the car fire up as you see the tail pipe vibrate. Cut to the car cruising down the expressway with quick cuts to a close-up of the idiosyncratic dash, and the bright lacquer paint on the hood. More cruising before a quick cut to some brilliant chrome sparkling detail in the sunlight. All the time, you hear that engine purring.

Lacquer & Chrome. They don't build them like our Rumbalino any more.

Then you hear a phone ringing. A familiar voice answers, "Yeah?"

"It's Jerry," the driver says. "You up for coffee?"

You're watching Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld's video series in which he chats idly over coffee with guys like Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Bob Einsten, Michael Richards, Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, David Letterman, Don Rickles, Seth Meyers ... well, you get the picture.


Very entertaining (there goes the evening) but what, we wondered, would the photographic equivalent be?

Tough one.

Photographers don't meet for coffee. We have coffee brewing in the studio 24/7 (often day old coffee).

Sometimes we go on photo walks, true, but Photographers Walking Around Taking Photos wouldn't be funny even as a director's cut. Besides, photographers are busy people. One man shows. Who has time to sit around in diners trying to impress wait staff and arguing over the check (which doesn't impress wait staff)?

And most of us don't drive vintage automobiles either. Not ones that have been pristinely restored, anyway. In fact, Seinfeld should have called the show Comedians In Classic Cars Arguing Over Checks.

Manual Mode. Both these shots are from a Panasonic ZS8.

Well, OK, maybe not. We're no Jerry Seinfeld. The guy knows what he's doing. We just know a lot of ways not to do stuff.


Undaunted, we thought about this until there was nothing but grounds in our coffee cup. There has to be a photographic spin-off. What could it be?

How about Photographers In Shoes At The Laundromat? Naw, the humor would be either too dirty or all wet. And the change machine would probably always be broken.

How about Photographers Buying Gas For Comedians? Not a believable premise, as they say in Hollywood.

Then we hit on Photographers In Line At The Post Office. Entirely credible. And the wait is long enough for a 15-20 minute production.

We thought about using working photographers, but it would take forever to contact them, find a mutually convenient date and time ... you know, the overhead would kill us.

Instead we thought of standing in an imaginary line with deceased photographers. Historical figures, that is, not the actual corpses. Adams, Cunningham, Weston, guys like that. It could be educational.

And they wouldn't have agents.

We poured another cup of coffee and whittled a sharp point on our Number Two pencil with the petrified eraser....


You hear birds tweeting in the background as you see a Highlight slider quiver in a close-up on the screen. A quick cut to the image of some clouds whose highlight detail is being recovered, then another quick cut to a sheet of photo paper coming out of a large printer, its metallic blue sky shining. Cut to a mailing supplies close-up.


"Yeah. Who is this?"


"Oh, yeah, hi, Mike. What's up?"

"I was just on the way to the Post Office. Wanna go?"

"Yeah, I've got some tubes to drop off. Wait a sec."

Cut to the next scene where we're waiting in line, a long line with one guy balancing a totem pole of boxes bound for some other galaxy. He'll be there all day. Two people working the counter. One closes to go on break.

The situation calls for some extended dialog.

We nod toward the bundle of mailing tubes under Ansel's arm and break the ice, "More landscapes?"

He nods politely.

"So, Ansel, what's with all the nature shots?"

"I don't know," he says softly, "Fresh air is good for you, Mike."

"Yeah, but in a storm? Weren't you a little concerned?"

He smiles. He knows we have no idea what we're talking about.

"Oh, I know," we kid him. "It's the hat. Magical powers."

"Well, it's true I've never been hit by lightning in it," he winks.

We laugh politely. This is our extended dialog here. We don't need any improvisation by minor characters. "No, seriously, no pet photos?"

"Well, no. No pets, actually. Although I did once take apart a clock and wished I'd photographed it first. But I was just a kid."

"Not the same thing at all. Clocks don't have pet eye."

"You're not going to try to sell me Photoshop Elements again are you?" he ribs us.

"Well, it was in the news. That's all I'm saying."

"Sure, so was Angela Merkel."

"Not buying that, huh?"

"Nope, just postage."

"Got ya."

We shuffle our weight from one foot to the other a while (how long are these breaks anyway?) before trying again.

"So what do you think of 4K video?"

"Mike, do me a favor? Hold my place in line. I'm going to run over to the UPS Store for a minute."

And no, we never saw him again or this might have been a series. Maybe we'll give Jerry a call and rethink this over coffee.

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