Meet the rep, online! A chat with Marc Morris of Tamron

Presented across the country, Tamron Tours events are great opportunities for lens fanatics. This Friday, our usual Park Meadows store crew will be joined by Marc Morris—Tamron rep for the Rocky Mountain region and Colorado native—who will bring his full repertoire of glass and expertise to present for your enjoyment. (Psst—there are bonus rebates on select lenses, too!) That night, two of Tamron’s professional photographers will present a seminar on wildlife and nature photography. Then, on Saturday, we’ll board a bus to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO, for a full day of shooting with plenty of lenses to try out on your own camera. (Lunch and entry to the sanctuary are included!) Click HERE to register now!

We are fortunate to have representatives from our manufacturers at many Mike’s Camera special events (as well as in-store appearances “just because!”). Not only can they can provide uniquely deep fonts of knowledge about their respective companies, most of them have a lot of experience in the photographic industry—certainly one of the most fun “industries” there is—and a generally cool cats. Enjoy the read, and don’t forget to sign up for the field trip to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. Trust me—you won’t want to miss this one.

Dustin Sigaty (Blog Master) – It’s easy to forget that there’s a very human side of the companies that allow us to capture our beautiful photographs. You’ve been in the industry for a long time; can you give our readers a little insight into who you are and what brought you to Tamron?

Hi, Marc!

Marc Morris (Tamron) – This is my 21st year in the industry and it has been a wild ride. My generation were some of the last to be truly trained in analog production (film processing and paper techniques) and some of the first to take digital output and make it commercially viable. I always felt lucky to have ridden that paradigm shift of both failure and innovation. Run a few labs (as I know you know, Dustin!) and you will quickly learn to think outside many boxes, often creating entirely new workflow processes out of whole cloth, just to make something work… This sort of innovation and room to grow is why I’m with Tamron lenses. I have been lucky enough to work for major industry innovators throughout my career, even got to witness the birth of the mirrorless camera genre one fine evening in 2008… And I’ve always wanted to remain on the front lines of what’s next. So I left retail (Mike’s Camera, of course, being my last single store home) and worked for Olympus, who were 2nd to mirrorless… and then for Sony who truly pushed the envelope further with the advent of full-frame mirrorless architecture… and now Tamron who are not only the largest lens manufacturer in the world but also own the most patents in lens design. Innovators all. It’s fun to be where the action is.

DS – What sets Tamron lenses apart from other manufacturers’ products?

MM – Tamron is unique in being entirely vertically integrated: they own all their own components which, at this moment in time, sets them apart from every other lens manufacturer in our industry. This allows us to produce high quality optical components at a cost efficiency denied to others who may have to license designs or flat out purchase components in order to complete their product. We are a major OEM which means people often own lenses that we have produced… they just don’t say Tamron on them and when your brand is looking to my brand to maintain your image quality and their reputation, that’s a pretty solid sell for what Tamron is about. It happens that, over the past 3 years, the Tamron branded optics have been superb, in many cases leading the industry from the top down: design, build, resolution, performance… and it’s always good to be in that position. And, you know, as a photographer AND total nerd… it’s not a bad thing to be able to say, “Gosh, I’d love to be able to shoot this with that lens. What’s that? Oh, look! It’s right here! How coincidental!” Not going to lie: some days it’s really nice to be a lens rep 😊

DS – Alright, with the basics done, I’d like to hear a little about the upcoming Colorado stop for Tamron Tours. I think we at Mike’s Camera have been very lucky to receive a lot of support from Tamron (for example, lens rentals at our bird-of-prey workshops), and I’m excited about going on a field trip. As a fellow Colorado native, I’m sure you’ve got some background on our destination. What’s special about the Wild Animal Sanctuary?

MM – To be completely honest, I’ve only been to the Wild Animal Sanctuary once, myself but I can say it is quite the experience. To quote them, directly: “The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the world dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores.” With just under 800 acres of land, the WAS has created a vast living space for a number of predatory mammals from cheetahs to Kodiak grizzlies. They specialize in rescue, rehabilitation, education, and conservation: the animals they have on site were abused, abandoned, illegally kept, or rescued from some other terrible existence (even zoo neglect). The unique perspective they provide is quite literal: the entire time you’re in the park, you’re in the air, viewing the animals from above via a one and a half mile elevated walkway they call “The Mile Into the Wild.” Since animals don’t regard the space above them as territory, they have no sense of fight or flight as humans walk well within their space. It gives a more natural insight into the animals’ behavior while, of course, providing some seriously awesome photographic opportunities. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a truly singular Colorado institution and worth a visit any time of year.

DS – There will be plenty of preparatory education in the seminar and help on-hand, but unfortunately, not all of our readers will be able to make this event. If you could give one piece of advice to photographers aspiring to capture images of animals, whether from lions to lambs, what might that be?

MM – Patience! I know that’s not what anyone wants to hear but patience is absolutely the watchword in photographing… well, almost anything but most certainly wildlife. Your stillness, your ability to sit back and observe will more often than not bring the wildlife to you. It will also allow you to test exposure so you know your lighting is good, and it will force you to be more engaged with your environment so your compositions won’t be as pedestrian when the time comes to finally take that shot.

DS – It’s true of anything that it tends to get better when you’ve built a relationship with it! And, if you’re really lucky you’ll create something you want to incorporate into your own gallery. What’s your favorite way to display your animal photos?

MM – I’ve fallen love with metal over the past few years, which is certainly nothing new: A lot of photographers prefer to show on metal… but there’s a newer technique that uses a foil based or metallic paper and then layers that paper with a clear and slightly beveled acrylic which creates a magnification of the image, and the light hitting the surface of that image, that is truly effective. The colors appear even more vibrant and the images that really suit the process end up having a 3D look that is simply to die for. [Note: these are the kind of prints he’s talking about.] All that being said: there is still nothing better than a high quality, professionally produced image on photographic paper, framed by someone who really knows what their doing. I know you guys have world class framing so I’m glad you’re local.

DS – If you have one, what’s your favorite wild animal image? One of your own, or one you admire.

MM – This type of question always stymies me because it’s like being asked what one’s favorite movie is or what one prefers to listen to while driving. I mean, I’ve seen some phenomenal work done by folks at the zoo. The Phoenix Zoo has an in-house photographer named John Qoyawayma and his images are absolutely stunning. I don’t feel anything is taken from him, knowing that he captures what he does with his access at the zoo: they bring to life the animals he sees through his lenses and that really is the hope for any of us looking to take such pictures for ourselves. I have an image captured of the left-side facial profile of a female bald eagle, just after she roused a bit, taken at 320mm at a distance of oh, maybe 10-12 feet; access afforded to me by HawkQuest at one of your birds of prey events… and it is probably the most technically perfect image I’ve captured of any subject, ever, in my life.

A bold statement to make, but it’s hard to argue with the crisp feathers and compelling framing of the shot! Click the thumbnail below to take a close look at what a Tamron lens is capable of. (That way you don’t have to scroll back up, either.) Then, click here so you can register to join us for Tamron Tours! Thanks, Marc, and to those reading, I hope you enjoyed it.

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