Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ol' Skool v. Digital

WIN this FRANK ZAPPA framed print!!
(no purchase necessary)

Okay, before I get on with today's magically delicious post, I have pictorial proof of last night's internet splat...

How ironic that I was working on a post about the subject of old school versus digital. Internet Fail. Chalk one up for the Ol' Skool team.

I didn't feel like going back into the archives so I opened up my Concert Photography file drawer that has all the stuff that wasn't in , all stuff from the box that I've already scanned and filed. Or so I thought. Turns out I had also stashed a couple of contact sheets and negs from last year's Harmony Festival in the drawer.

The Harmony Festival happened right after I bought my Nikon D300. Yup, that's the Digital in Ol' Skool v. Digital. But I also took the groovy Pentax Spotmatic II I bought on ebay to the festival. It's the exact camera I used to shoot all my rock'n'roll shows of yore, but this was my first opportunity to shoot with it at a concert. And that is when I first discovered the pros of going digital (a hard thing for me to admit).

Using digital and film cameras at the same time is really hard. It's like having Tivo for a while and then going to a hotel and trying to rewind to catch something you missed on a TV show. At the concert I shot a bunch of frames on the digital camera - easy peasy - no focusing necessary, no advancing the film. Chalk two up for Digital. Then I put the Pentax up to my eye - not so easy peasy - oops, gotta focus...I take the shot...go for another shot...oops, I didn't advance the film. Then back to the digital...what, I don't have to focus? Trust me. It really messes with your brain. And your arms. The Pentax is a fraction of the weight I have to bear with the Nikon D300. Yay, chalk one up for Ol' Skool. Okay, that's 2 points for Ol' Skool and 2 points for Digital. We're even steven.

Last night I pulled out the negs I shot with the Pentax. I picked a contact sheet and decided to scan a frame from each strip. When I looked at the scans, I fell back in love with the beauty of film. And that's what I was going to post. But then I came up with a better idea. Why not show a similar shot I took with the Nikon D300 and see the difference. Let's see if we can break the tie and decide once and for all if it's time to get rid of all this technology or pack in the silver nitrate.

We've got two shots of each subject, totaling ten pictures. I'll mark them 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc. You have to tell me which one you like best, judging on the image quality not the aesthetic quality. And feel free to say which one you think is the film. SCRATCH THAT...I'm turning this into a CONTEST. I still want to hear which shot you prefer, but to win the contest you have to correctly determine the shots on film and the shots on digital. There's no trick here...each subject has one of each. And there's a nice long list of prizes, rules and how to enter after the photos...

#1 Wavy Gravy shot at the Harmony Festival, June 2008:



#2 Paul Kantner shot at the Harmony Festival, June 2008:



#3 Damian Marley's drummer shot at the Harmony Festival, June 2008:



#4 Damian Marley's bass player shot at the Harmony Festival, June 2008:



#5 Fish shot at BB King's NY, June 2008:



You can click on each photo to view it larger...PLEASE do not download.


The Grand Prize Winner receives this open edition framed and signed silver gelatin print (that's real archival professional photo paper, folks) of FRANK ZAPPA (current value - $300). The grand prize winner will also receive an 8.5x11 signed inkjet print of RINGO STARR.


FIVE Second Prize Winners will receive this 8.5x11 signed inkjet print of RINGO STARR (current value - priceless).


1. Your entry must include each picture number with the word "film" or "digital" next to each.

2. Your entry must be emailed to with Photo Contest in the subject line. PLEASE only ONE ENTRY per PERSON...if I figure out you've enter under multiple addresses all your entries will be disqualified.

3. Your real name and email address must be included in your entry. (I will not share your identity or email address with anyone...EVER!...and if you win you can decline to be announced as a winner)

4. If there are six or less correct entries, the first winning entry received will be deemed the winner. If there are more than six correct entries, all correct entries will be put in the proverbial fish and the grand prize and second place winners will be drawn at random.

5. This contest is open to everyone, everywhere within our solar system. Celebrities, people I know, celebrities I know are all welcome to enter. BUT if you are a celebrity and/or I know you, don't think for one minute that celebrity or friendship will help you in any way. No bribes will be accepted.

6. ONE HITCH...if you win and you live outside the United States you will have to pay the additional postage above and beyond the cost of U.S. shipping or choose to ship it to a friend in the U.S. There is no cost for shipping prizes within the United States. (Not meaning to discriminate here but I can't afford the international or intergalactic shipping costs)

7. Why am I doing this and what's in it for me? This is a way for me to thank all my readers and supporters and lovers of music. I'm also trying to get more people to read my blog and learn about my the fantastic musicians I honor here and in my book, . There is NO PURCHASE REQUIRED to enter or win this is FREE to enter and FREE to win (unless you are shipping your prize outside the U.S.). Although, I'd be super thrilled if you decide to buy a book, but purchasing a book will not help you to win this contest.

8. Contest opens now and closes at 11:59pm PST (that's Los Angeles time) on Tuesday April 21, 2009. NOTE: CONTEST EXTENDED TO 11:59PM FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2009.

9. Any questions regarding this contest please email with Contest Question in the subject line.

10. I have the final say on everything. That's just the way it's gotta be. I hope you will forward this contest to everyone you know!

Lastly, since you made it all the way to the end of this, I reward you with a shot of Damian Marley...
Damian Marley at the Harmony Festival 2008

Thanks for playing.

(P.S. - Comments are closed on this post to prevent, well, comments and online entries. Enter via email to