June 29th of every year we celebrate the irreplaceable tool in capturing invaluable moments, the camera. With every generation, technologically advanced and improved cameras are introduced to the world. For example, the first digital camera dramatically changed photography by increasing production capabilities and possibilities. Digital photography has allowed individuals to utilize their time more wisely resulting in more production. It is faster, easier, more portable, and over all more efficient.
From a DSLR camera to a homemade film camera made from a suitcase, Gruber Photographers use all different types of mediums to capture and captivate. Their wide range of services and projects allow for multiple photography techniques and uses of equipment. After picking the brain of Award Winning Photographer, Terry Gruber, we have greater insight about the importance of understanding different types of cameras and which to use for specific endeavors.
Best Wedding Camera
When focusing on the niche of wedding photography, Terry suggests the two best camera bodies available are the Cannon 5D Mark 3 and the newer but comparable Nikon version, Nikon D810. Owning a Cannon 5D Mark 3 himself, he admires the sensitivity of the sensor, versatility of the lens choices, and the wide range of ISO capability. You can coordinate flashes on the body and sync up the surrounding flashes in the room; Terry typically utilizes this strategy when shooting in a dark New York venue. However, because of the high ISO ability, this flash is not always needed.
In the world of Canon, the most useful lens is the useful is 24-70mm. If you were to make a second investment, Terry suggests a 50mm 1.2 prime. This lens is known as a normal lens and works beautifully with natural light. This camera and those two lenses allow you to capture everything from a close up of a ring to a wide panorama of the room.
Another significant asset to have when shooting a wedding is a body harness that secures your equipment. It helps when you are using more than one camera and are on your feet for 12 hours during a long event. “Instead of hunching over feeling like you’re going to die the harness distributes the weight and keeps you upright putting less stress on your back and body,” said Terry.
Best Street Camera
When taking pictures of candid moments, also known as street or documentary photography, observing and choosing moments is very important. A certain level of patience is required as well as a sharp eye and strong intuition.
As a photographer, Terry likes to be part of the scene and draw less attention to himself than he does during weddings. “If I was just out on the street I would never wear the harnish and carry around multiple cameras. I would have a black stealthy small camera – the Leica M with a wide-angle prime lens,” he explained. The Leica M allows you to take photos with people hardly noticing because of its antique look and silent shutter. One accessory Terry loves is his Aufsu right angle viewer. The viewer is made up of a mirror, reflecting the subject in frame without looking directly through the camera. The Leica M also has cable release that Terry keeps in his pocket to sneakily snap photos without touching the actual shutter.
Another beautiful feature of the Leica M is that there is no “black out moment”. Unlike the Leica M, the Digital DSLR has a slower reaction time when pressing the shutter causing the frame to go black for a second. Because the Leica M does not have this black pause, the photographer can see the actual photo taken in that precise millisecond. “It gives you the assurance that you captured the moment,” said Terry.
Watch closely to see the “black out moment” when taking a photo with a Digital DSLR camera.
Now, listen closely to hear when the shutter is snapped on the Leica M and you will see that there is no black break in the frame.
Best Fine Art Camera
In the category of Fine Art, Terry deviates from the norm in ranking his Pinhole Camera as his favorite fine art medium. He created this film-based camera from an old wooden accordion case, black velour, metal fixtures, and a film holder. He named his creation “The Accordion.”
Terry’s homemade Pinhole Camera, “The Accordion”
The most special aspect of this square format camera is that it virtually has an infinite depth of field. You push the camera into the subject and its presence with the background is stunning. “It puts an object into focus in a setting in such a magical way that most cameras are incapable of doing,” explained Terry.
The required exposure for the Accordion is an average of 20-30 minutes. “The coolest thing about the long exposure is all of the contributing factors of the environment that influence the final photograph. Wind, the elements, boats that move, the sun, all these things can be factors to make an interesting picture. It’s a gamble because who knows what is going to happen during those 20-30 minutes, it’s exciting!”
Although the Accordion produces a beautiful picture, there are cons that make the use of this medium challenging. It is not easily portable because it is so large. It also only allows you to shoot one sheet of film at a time. Another con is the slow pace of the production because of the 20-30 minute exposure. However, Terry enjoys the change of pace compared to his typical wedding photography gigs. “With this camera the subject has to be still and I have 30 minutes to think about other stuff or look around for the next picture. It slows me down and feels like vacation photography. It’s a change of pace from New York’s ‘boom boom boom!’ energy.”
Terry’s Montana series shot with his Pinhole Camera, “The Accordion”
Best All Around Camera
It is undeniable that the best all around camera is our society’s ultimate sidekick, the iPhone. “The fact that we have iPhone makes everything that happens pretty much photographable” says Terry.
It is very unlikely that a photographer will always have their professional equipment easily accessible at every given moment. However, they more than likely will have their cell phone. It is light, thin, easy to take around, and can withstand many different climates. The photograph is decent, in Terry’s option, but the true beauty of the medium is the fact that you have it on you all of the time.
Below are some of Terry’s iPhone shots