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Pooling Resources

April 17, 2010

I was having lunch the other day with a local friend of mine who is also heavy into 3D these days. Since I started back at it a few months ago, we try and get together at least every couple of week s for a little social hour and the requisite Geek Talk 😉 My friend Dan, like me, is a photographer looking to enhance the marketability of his skillset by incorporating 3D elements and technology.

At lunch, the conversation turned to books, and it was rather amazing that we discovered that we both had many of the same book titles in out inventory. We both improved our macro shooting skills via things learned from Digital Nature Photography book by Jon Cox (it’s a great title if you are a macro beginner BTW), and we both had the old Photoshop for Photographers book by a gent named Martin Evening.  I just found it rather amazing that we sort of gravitated towards the same stuff. And so with these common interests and goals in mind, we’ve decided to pool our resources with regards to some of the 3D stuff. We already do this with the photo gear. Dan has a nice Leica lens which I borrow from time to time, I have a PC tilt/shift lens for the Nikons which Dan loves to use.

While with software licenses are involved and the swapping is generally not allowed by the terms of that license, we’ve decided to save ourselves a little cash when it comes to books. While some photography books can come by pretty cheap these days, with specialist titles out there in 3D land, you are sometimes talking $35 to $60 bucks a pop. So we’ll be buying a few titles and sharing them. The actual book ownership will be retained by the purchaser. Really, think about it – when you’re not referencing the book, it really just sits on the shelf unused. The savings won’t be monumental, but in today’s economy, ever little bit helps. And we live close enough to each other where the swapping won’t be an inconvenience. So I’ll be posting up a few book reviews in the near future.

There’s one more factor that makes me like this arrangement. In the past with a few photography books, I’ve gotten hold of some real clunkers. With the sharing arrangement, that bite may hurt a little less. Because what seems to be a clunker to you may have value to another party.

While Photoshop and Flash titles abound in our local public library, the book inventory there for 3D and animation stuff is a bit on the short side. And by the time the title hits the library shelves, the technology is sometimes already out of date.

Don’t have a 3D buddy? Consider forming a small users group in your area. I find that groups of 4 or 5 at the max are best – once you get into higher numbers, people want to form clubs and be presidents and stuff, and ugly club politics rear their ugly head. That starts to defeat the purpose of having the group. It’s supposed to be about learning and advancing your skills, not about bowing down to someone who’s on their own power trip.

We have a a small group of 4 here where we go out and do infrared photography. The group of 4 works out well. If we take a small road trip, all of us and our gear generally fit into one vehicle, and it’s no hassle splitting up fuel charges or the bill when lunching. You don’t need large clubs and groups to help foster your interests. Just a buddy or a very small group will do it.


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