They’re BACK!

 To the best of my knowledge, Polaroid was defunct.

So I was a little surprised when a friend of mine pointed this out to me.

Polaroid Cube

I’ve always been a gadget fan and this seems hugely innovative. The size of it is incredible and I noticed the mounting system. It’s Clever. Very Clever. With this little device I see the possibilities as endless, based solely on size. If the video quality is as cool as the entire concept, these guys just might be on to something.

Polaroid Cube Link

John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

The Best And The Worst Cameras of 2014

Chris and Jordan are at it again… I mean the Camera Store carries virtually everything.

As a result they’ve seen it all, all year long. Personally I can’t comment on Video. As Gregory Heisler said when somebody asked if he ever did Video. He said something like “I have NETFLIX”. Can’t find the quote directly but it was something akin to all that. Since the advent of Digital it’s an ongoing Learning Curve, isn’t it?

At any rate I really do like these guys, they don’t pull punches, good OR bad.

I think you’ll enjoy this a whole bunch.

John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

I Had NO idea.

Considered, perhaps,the all time Master of Photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a Legend.
I stumbled into this fact only a day or so ago. Everyone who knows the ‘History of Photography’ has heard that Cartier-Bresson was the father of modern photo journalism, as did I.
However, I’d assumed that he lived and died many, many years ago. I was very surprised to find out that he passed away at the age of 95, on August 3, 2004, a little over 10 years ago at the point of this writing. Far more recent than I’d ever imagined.

Here’s a link to his page on Wikipedia.
There are some wonderful insights contained in these two videos.
I hope you enjoy them.
J0hn Sharpe/ Sharpeshots


I have a Canon 100-400 4.5/5.6 L Series Zoom.

I’m selling it. Chris At the Camera Store in Calgary knows me and the lens very well. He told me to sell it for $1400. It’s a Lens I THOUGHT I’d get loads of use out of. I just don’t. It’s lovely and sharp and that 400 end really is outstanding, however….

If you don’t get out there to use it, it’s just a lot of added weight to lug around. It’s NO SECRET that I want to get out of DSLR’s and into Mirrorless completely. This is one step closer to that. Here’s the good news. I doubt I’ve used it 6 times in total. I bought it to shoot BEARS. I just never go anymore. I paid $1700 +GST. I’m going to let it go for $1200. It’s absolutely immaculate. It has everything it came with Box, Case, Strap the whole Magilla.

Canon-EF-100-400mm-f-4.5-5.6-L-IS-USM-Lens canon_100-400_with_tripod_ring




This is a CASH ONLY deal and only available Locally (*Calgary). I’ve had a few wanna’ be scammers on Kijiji…. if you know what I mean.

John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

Documentary Photography

At some point in time, memories fade.

The Bhopal Tragedy. Thirty years ago now. I was 31 and preoccupied with entirely different things. I was involved in Photography as a very happy amateur and working in the camera stores learning gear, gear, gear. I was eight years away from hanging out my shingle. Sometimes stupidity is bliss, isn’t it? Too damned stupid to know I couldn’t possibly make a go of it.

Well, it worked in it’s own fashion.

At that point in time I remember hearing about the Bhopal Disaster. I couldn’t comprehend it. These days I’m far slower and much savvier than I was back then, which brings me to documentary photography.

This article in The Atlantic contains some very powerful images; a stark reminder to 30 years ago. I’m amazed that the structures were left standing… a double slap in the face, they never even cleaned the site up. In image 8, a man is hosing down canvas to keep further fumes from leaking and wearing no protective gear whatsoever.


I’m pleased to see proper photo credits were given on these images.

Without the men and women who go out and get images like this it’s LOST. Thirty years have passed, it’s a distant memory to US. It certainly isn’t to them. Photography like this keeps these events alive.

Bhopal: The World’s Worst Industrial Disaster, 30 Years Later

John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

Some Serious Thinking About Your Craft

I actually like the guy a lot. Never met him, doubt I ever will.

It all began sometime around the time I purchased my first Fuji Camera, the X-100. THAT was a total love/hate relationship which Fuji and I have now grown well past. I flogged that camera and took a $700 beat down for the privilege; it was STILL on Warranty! I wasn’t using it, I couldn’t deal with all of it’s quirks.  Even so, Zack did an exceptionally thorough review on that camera that at least let me know I was on the right track. Fuji is still evolving these cameras. I now own the XE-2. *(I’ll be selling that one shortly as well.) They’re getting very close to what I think would work well for me after 22 years as a Pro, although they’re certainly not there yet.

I’ve seen Zack do interviews with Chase Jarvis and numerous other things that I’ve enjoyed very much.  He’s a superb shooter with a seasoned eye and quite edgy. I like that too.

Despite only being in his mid-thirties, (I’m not being patronizing here)… this guy really has things to say worth listening to, he’s got his ducks in a row, his poop in a scoop.

All of this leads to this video which I found on YouTube. Now, admittedly, I’m not quite sure what the first 1:30 seconds has to do with the rest, it’s entertaining enough but then it changes.

It gets DEEP, Baby. His discussing WINTER at the 3 minute mark is, ostensibly, about ‘sharpening the saw’, although you’d never know it. What else would YOU care to do when it’s -35 outside?

Winter comes for ME? I very seldom go out unless it’s absolutely required. I just share Zack’s depression. On those cold, snowy, endlessly dreary days I pull the blinds and refuse to acknowledge or even LOOK at what’s out there. Black Ice, dead batteries, slippery and freezing everything.

I suppose that make this the perfect time to do so ‘Wool Gathering’– Indulging in Idle Dreams or Fantasies.

That is where I think this comes in. There’s plenty to ponder here and ultimately? It’s about humility and gratitude, which I find sorely lacking– as badly in too Photographers who cross my path as the well known lack vitamin D we all suffer from in this alternate-universe of Polar Darkness.

So…Thank You, Zack. This reminds us all to put some things back into perspective. There’s plenty of take-away here. I enjoyed it very much. I believe you will too.


John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

*Addendum… Had to add this TOO. Enjoy s’more.

Video Review of the Canon 7D MarkII

The Camera Store, in Calgary, does some of the finest, no nonsense and current camera reviews you’ll find anywhere.

There’s been a lot of good press on the new Canon 7D Mark II. In some ways it’s a big improvement, but as the video states it’s been 5 YEARS in the making. All seemed well until they compared a still from the new Canon to the base model Nikon. Why is it the boys at the camera store can do this simple little, and to my mind, quite disappointing little test and Canon themselves doesn’t seem to have done so? I was quite surprised. I mean …C’mon, Canon! Is that really the best you can do with 5 full years to do so? If you’ve followed my Blog for a while you already know that I dream of selling all of my Canon system and moving over to Mirrorless. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion it’s not quite ready for primetime when you need it for Professional work. Even so, I’m selling my current Canon 100-400 4.5/5.6 L Series Zoom. At 61, I just don’t handle the weight of my gear the way I used to….

At any rate this is an exceptional review. if you’ve been considering a new 7D MarkII, this one is a do not miss.


John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

A Home Session

This is one of the nicest homes I’ve ever had the privilege to photograph.

I really enjoyed shooting this place. The client was Smart Timberframes.

It’s beautifully decorated and the open beam ceilings give it a wonderful, cozy feel. I’m a huge fan of cozy. It’s a bit of a drive out of town. The home is situated way out in West Bragg Creek. It has a real wood burning fireplace. I rarely see those anymore.

John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots

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Now this is VERY, Very Cool!

To Quote Gizmodo:

“It’s pretty rare that a new product truly surprises us. But today Amazon did just that, introducing Echo, a talking, listening piece of electronic furniture. It’s like having the internet on your kitchen table, cracking jokes and settling bets, and it’s the most innovative device Amazon’s made in years.”

Personal Note

Now, honestly? I don’t need one. But at the listed price it’s about the price of Dinner for Two and it looks like a ton of fun. Handy? Helpful? That remains to be seen. This definitely is a case of Want vs. NEED.


Echo, ostensibly a speaker, is a deceptively boring-looking little tube, as though Amazon’s designers took an old Kindle and rolled it into a cylinder, plugging its unremarkable guts with intelligent software that talks to you. You say Echo’s “wake word” to wake it up—beginning what Amazon hopes will be a life-long (or at least, model life-long) friendship. Want to know the news? Echo streams it. Need someone to settle a bet? Echo calls up whatever information you need. Need something added to your shopping list? Echo—and Amazon—would be happy to oblige.

It is the conversational internet. A tangible, touchable piece of pseudo-furniture that filters data through a very smart-looking piece of voice recognition. The web strung across your living room—or better yet, kitchen. There’s more potential in this little lightsaber handle than we know quite what to do with.

A True Assistant

The easiest way to describe Echo is by comparing it (her?) to its peers. It’s like Siri, but furniture. It’s like Cortana, except in your living room. It’s like the voice recognition speaker Aether, or any number of other voice-controlled devices you can put in your home, except it does more. And it’s made by Amazon.

Echo has plenty of peers, but all of them are bundled with other devices. Siri and Cortana live on your phone. Google’s voice recognition is on your phone and computer. The genius of Echo is that it’s a more nimble, leaner version of a technology that’s been caged up inside of other devices for years. As Apple and Microsoft have struggled to engage consumers in the idea of voice recognition for your phone or your computer or your game console, Amazon snuck a device that puts essentially the same software front and center for no other purpose than to chat with you. Oh, and play you some tunes while it’s at it.

Amazon has another advantage: It’s an alternative path, a kind of dark horse compared to three products that are so similar, and similarly bound to compete with each other for market share. And importantly, it’ll be cheap as hell for Amazon Prime members: Only $100, compared to a few hundred bucks (at least) for a phone that grants you Siri or Cortana access. In that sense, there’s no other product on the market that can do what Echo does: Put dedicated, seemingly reliable, truly hands-free voice recognition in your home for a hundred bucks.

The IQ Test Awaits

Of course, none of this means that Echo will necessarily be a blockbuster success. As Tim Carmody pointed out on Twitter, the open question is still the quality of the artificial intelligence that forms that connective tissue of any of these systems. In fact, Echo may be a kind of litmus test for Amazon. A $100 device that rolls out slowly (you have to request an invite) will let the company cull data from across a broad range of users in a huge range of environments. And down the line—say, when Amazon decides to put Echo on the next Fire phone—its software will be battle-tested.

So Amazon has reversed the product pipeline of its competitors. Apple and Microsoft and Google put their AI on your phones or computers and have let it sit, improving it incrementally but never changing where and how we interact with it. Amazon is putting that software on your kitchen table—and in an app—and maybe someday, if it’s good enough, it will be absorbed into an operating system.

For Amazon’s hardware team, this is an important moment. Kindle’s new Voyage e-reader was awesome, but crazily expensive, and its other dependable e-reader options haven’t broken any molds. Meanwhile, all its other successes and failures have involved following in the footsteps of other companies: Fire phone was a flop. Fire TV was well-received but limited by its price, andFire TV Stick has a powerful direct competitor in the form of Chromecast. With Echo, the hardware team has hit on a design paradigm that’s pretty much terra incognita, and they’ve made it inexpensive and accessible for just about everyone.

If it sucks, Echo could easily become yet another product on a long, decades-old list of failed AI. If it works, it will be world wide web floating through your house, the internet made tangible and speakable and liveable. Either way, Amazon’s trying something brand new. And that’s an exciting change of pace.


John Sharpe/ Sharpeshots