Tripods When You Need Them You Love Them

Ralph Morse behind camera with Ron Thompson looking on © Joe DiMaggio
A few days ago, I did a blog on tripods. On April 30, my blog was “Tripods: Love them or Hate them”. I started to think about it a little more.  I looked over in the corner of the studio, saw that old Gitzo, and started to run the numbers. That tripod is 37 years old. It doesn’t look new, but it’s always worked perfectly. Pretty impressive. I looked around for a few photos and came up with a photo of the great LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Morse, an amazingly great Nikon tech-rep and good friend of mine Ron Thompson, and a very fine photographer by the name of Al Satterwhite. Ralph is alive and well and lives in Florida,  Ron sadly, went to the great dark room in the sky about 15 years ago. This photo was taken in July of 1975 at the launch of Apollo-Soyuz. For the record, I take this big bad boy out today when I want to mount 2 or 3 cameras at a time and it’s still viable. But please keep in mind I adore my new Manfrotto’s. They’re super light, easy to pack, and work very well with the new DSLRs. Talking about that, imagine if you had a DSLR and was able to shoot HD video in July of 1975! How cool would that be? Ralph was kind enough to take a young photographer by the name of DiMaggio and teach him the ins and outs of how to photograph rocket launches. He came from the old school, and while I’m at it,  he went to DeWitt Clinton High School, which coincidentally was the same school my dad went to! Sometimes it’s just a small world. 

30 Years and Counting

Back in the Apollo days, it was a great time for photographers. As a matter of fact, the comradery between photographers was equal to the competition between the photographers. It may have been the end of the golden age of photography and the very beginning of the cold, calculating, digitizing of photography. Al was never a close friend but he was, and is, a great recorder of light, action, stories, and now a very accomplished filmmaker. You learn in our business, you have to respect the competition. Respect is paramount in any relationship, or for that matter it may be the only critical part of a relationship. Al e-mailed me a multi-media show he did which is absolutely awesome called The South in the 60’s and I’d like to share it with you. I’m hoping Al and I will have the opportunity to work together in the near future. Check him out; check out his books, he’s an old school heavy weight. Joe D

Al Satterwhite –

Al Satterwhite film –

Ron Thompson, Anthony Donna, Director of Photography Time Magazine- Arnold Drapkin, Ralph Morse, Joe DiMaggio &