I’ve always been a fan of technology; in fact I’ve made my entire career out of it. I owe my fascination with gadgets and gear to my father, a commercial photographer who surrounded me with camera gear at an early age. In 1979, when I was nine, my father took me to a brand-new entity—the computer store—and bought me an Apple ][+ computer. While he didn’t particularly like computers, he knew that they were going to come to rule the world, and he knew that understanding them would be a key to life in the future.
He probably couldn’t have predicted the convergence of computing and photography that is digital photography (and he definitely wouldn’t have liked giving up film) but it’s a logical progression and one that I embraced at its infancy, when I purchased an Apple QuickTake 100 camera, which I used at professional mountain bike races to capture live images and post them to this new thing called the World Wide Web. The shutter lag was so long that I had to send someone down the racecourse a few hundred feet and have them yell “now!” so that I’d press the shutter release in time to catch one of the cyclists as they passed.
Today’s technology blows my mind, especially when I look at how far we’ve come. The amount of power and performance in today’s cameras and computers is staggering. ISO ranges into the millions, frame rates above a dozen images per second, hard drives made of solid-state memory….
I’ve told people recently that I think that the rate of development in photography is the highest it’s been since the switch from film to digital took place. There are more excellent cameras on the market now than ever before, and in fact it’s hard these days to buy a bad camera.
As with all things technological, the pace is only going to pick up, and in the coming weeks we look at the coming trends in technology for the photographer. Drones, the still/video convergence, gigabit Ethernet connections to the home or office, tablets more powerful than yesterday’s mainframes and more. It’s a look at where we are, where we’re going and what we might be able to do in the coming years.
It’s an exciting time for digital photography (and for technology in general), and I’m excited to play with the next round of advances. I can’t wait to take pictures with my flying 3D camera and send it to a client using my Internet implant so they can watch it on their holographic TV. Okay, maybe that’s not tomorrow, but a tech junkie can dream.