Me with a spider monkey on my head.
1. “What kind of camera should I buy?”
I have no idea, but if you’ll drop me an e-mail and answer the following questions, I’ll reply with the best recommendation I can come up with that seems suited to your needs.

  • What’s your experience/knowledge level?
  • Do you want something that can zoom in a bunch?
  • What do you plan to do with the pictures?
  • Will most of your photos be taken indoors or outdoors? What sort of activities?
  • Do you use photo editing software to crop and enhance your pics?


2. “You’ve got some talent. Shouldn’t you be using a real camera?”
You have to understand that I do some pretty stupid things with my gear. I hunt and fish in all sorts of weather conditions, I climb around on rocks a lot when I’m hiking, I paddle around in my kayak, and when I’m working I spend a lot of time poking around on dirty construction sites. If I spent so much on a camera that I wasn’t willing to drag it through all that crap with me, then it would be useless as far as I’m concerned. I might be sacrificing a little bit in terms of image quality, but I’m comfortable with that trade-off. A reasonably priced camera in your hand at the key moment is infinitely better than the high-dollar rig you left at home because you were afraid of trashing it.

Besides, bridge cameras are already much more convenient than dSLRs (no lenses to tote around), and they’re getting better and better every year in the image quality department.

3. “Why do you release all your images to the public domain?”
I think I covered most of that pretty well on the Copyright Info page. I just can’t see the logic in pretending to own a photo of something I don’t own. I realize the law says I can, but the fact that I can doesn’t mean I should.

Besides, I genuinely think most copyright laws are an unenforcable absurdity and an anachronism in the digital age. When half the people on the planet are capable of making a million perfect copies of virtually any media, and distributing them across the globe in an instant, what exactly does a copyright do? Many of the electronic gadgets we own right now are intentionally crippled by their manufacturers because of their paranoia about copyright violations. I see it as a modern equivalent of the candlemakers who sued Edison for inventing the lightbulb. Sounds amusing now, but I’ll bet those candlemakers weren’t laughing at the time.

Reality is shifting, but it will take awhile for our culture and our legal systems to catch up. In the meantime, all I can legally do to speed up the process is my little bit to undermine the existing system, and that has a lot to do with the way I release my images. The way I see it, every time someone uses a photo of mine in a publication, free of restrictions and free of charge, then that’s one less person who will buy an image ‘license’ from some stock photo clearinghouse.

4. “Sometimes you say you’re a redneck, and sometimes a hillbilly. Which is it?”
Both. Hillbillies are kind of a small subtribe of the greater redneck nation. Just like everyone from New Jersey is a yankee, but not all yankees are from New Jersey – all hillbillies are rednecks, but not all rednecks are hillbillies. So saying I’m a redneck is fine, but saying I’m a hillbilly is more precise.


5. “But hillbillies are stupid, violent, and close-minded! How can you call yourself that?”
Welcome to 2009. Might be time to reevaluate your stereotypes.