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Mike points out, in reply to Ken, that the purpose of certification is to assure potential clients that you're as capable as you say. I get that, but in my view, the issue isn't that people are getting shafted by incompetent photographers; rather that people are creating demand for incompetent photographers by being so cheap. (I'm not sure certification would solve anything in that regard; they would still price shop and ignore the lack of certification). As some have said, this issue predates digital. I recall a friend who hired a relative (at the urging of her parents) who "does photography on weekends". He shot many rolls of Kodak Max film which he had processed at a local one hour lab. And due to a gear failure, she got a dozen envelopes full of strips of black negatives. She was happy to have my photos, but they weren't much to speak of, because I purposely steered clear or the paid photographer. Ultimately, buyers have to beware. Do a little research. You have the same issue with any small business. Is the florist going to deliver the flowers on time - will they be fresh ? Will the cake be there on time, fully cooked, but not overcooked and will it look like what you saw in the picture ? The caterers ? If people can figure out how to hire competent small businesses for other purposes, they ought to be able to find a competent photographers without needing a certificate. (Problem is, they get sticker shock and settle for Uncle Joe who has a nice camera).
That's a tough question because I don't see any obvious choices in a market where every option has pros & cons. I'd absolutely intend to take advantage of the opportunity to simplify my kit (I use an RX100 and a DSLR and a mirrorless now). But I'd still want things that are hard to do with minimal gear. So I really don't know. What's intriguing to me is a kind of crazy setup: RX1 RX100 (any model) RX10-II RX10-III But that's a small fortune in fixed lens cameras that need to be replaced if they fail, and still a bit of redundancy of purpose (though a consistent user interface between them). The appealing thing about it is on any given day, I'd be happy carrying just one camera (and, obviously, one lens). Part of the reason I keep looking at new camera & lens announcements is I'm waiting for some system to be the obvious replacement for my existing hodge podge.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2016 on Start Over, Begin Again at The Online Photographer
The state is big enough that having a term for "everything other than the city and Long Island" seems a little pointless to me. I remember being "down" in Wappingers Falls and hearing a guy on his cell phone telling someone "yeah, yeah, I'm upstate right now". To me, that says nothing, because he could be anywhere from Westchester to Niagara, but I guess to a city rat, you're either in the city ... or you're not ! I tend to think "upstate" starts much higher than that. Westchester, Putnam and Orange are all more like the city and NJ than northern NY and Dutchess is questionable. Really, you can look at where metro north reaches. I just draw an imaginary line connecting the northern edges of PA and CT and think of that big piece of NY above that as upstate. Either way, but the standard definition or mine, you're safe :)
I think the D500 is well liked among sports shooters, photojournalists, event shooters. The most common phrase I see used to describe it is a "mini D5". I'd thoroughly enjoy using a camera like this for the handful of things I use my 70-200/2.8 for. (Right now, I have a D7000). But I'm doing less and less of that and my future is mirrorless. (I also have an A6000 and that's the camera I prefer to pick up and carry right now). I'm not committed to Sony. At some point, I expect to ditch the DSLR and possibly the Sony and settle on one system. Could even be Nikon, but has to be mirrorless. Or an RX10. That's probably the camera for me; I just take myself a smidgeon too seriously to accept it.
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2016 on Any Love for the D500? at The Online Photographer
Well that was disheartening. I scrolled through my LR catalog looking at images from specific cameras (during lunch break !) The 7D has a lot of pretty files. Also a lot of problematic files. Many technically poor (OOF) and some where it handled artifically lit scenes poorly. The A700 had quite a few pretty files. The old Canon A610 had files that would be pretty except for a slightly pixelated look, even viewed small. The Nikon D7000 that replaced the A700 doesn't have especially pretty files; rather, I seem to have to work more with them than with other cameras. The A6000 is very technical. Nothing pretty about it, but nothing problematic, either. The NEX-5 I had before it had ugly green-gray shadows. Probably the newer camera I have with files that I like is the RX100: I'm not sure what to take away from that. Maybe I should consider finding a camera whose files I like better ? Maybe I like cameras that generate more contrasty files because they capture less dynamic range ? I can't read too much into it because it's mostly an apples to oranges comparison, where my earlier digital photos included lots of charming candids of little kids and later ones have lots of high ISO indoor sports & performance shots. But if I'm ever wowed by a photo any more, it's because of the moment or the lighting - the content. Not because the camera rendered it especially well.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2016 on The Prettiest Image Files at The Online Photographer
I'm not seeing anything unique to Fuji in the small web images. But I like the shot and have a soft spot for farm/rural landscapes myself. I also agree on the usefulness of a longer lens. Though, curiously, I've been thinking recently how nice it would be to have a camera like the RX10-III, with it's 600mm equivalent on a decent sensor, and then when I saw a very recent post by Kirk Tuck featuring street shots from San Antonio taken with it, they all look like voyeuristic "stalker" shots to me ... it's obvious from the perspective that they were taken from far away with a long lens, and I fear that having such a long lens handy all the time might tempt me to use it more than I should. Really, I'm comfortable with 24-200 for most things; 300 can see a lot of use on vacations, and a longer lens (which I used to own, but don't any more) would be for nature & wildlife, which I just don't find much time to do. The net of all this is that as much as I'd love to simplify everything down to a fixed lens camera or a single camera with a couple lenses, I just want different cameras & lenses for different things.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2016 on On the Way Home at The Online Photographer
It's funny; back when you posted your "photo art" piece, I was reflecting on how I like to enjoy looking at (some) types of art that I have little interest in trying to produce, myself. But I don't know if that necessarily argues against the idea of a "natural terrain". I like to produce the same types of photos you do, from the sounds of it - minimally manipulated versions of things I see, because for me, photography is all about responding to things I see (and, through photography, learning to see better). I love looking at Julie Blackmon's works, but have no interest in trying to do what she does. (I'm happy to capture a candid scene that's similar, but no desire to stage a scene). I can enjoy a posed picture, but don't want to pose people. And so on. The biggest difference in what I enjoy looking at and what I enjoy shooting, though, is that most of my books are of black and white photographs, while I'm a color photographer. All that said, there's photography that I'm comfortable looking at; photography that rarely fails to draw me in, that's similar enough to what I like to shoot (outside of the b/w v. color discrepancy) and the further I get from this comfort zone, the less likely it is that I'll enjoy looking at it (or looking at a lot of it).
But m43 is just so much quicker to type. Like when you use "Canikon" to refer to Canon and Nikon.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2016 on Micro 4/3 at The Online Photographer
As John Krill says, APS-C is the 35mm of digital. But it's a whole lot easier to dabble, to test the waters or even use multiple systems these days. Years ago, when 35mm was the 35mm (!) using something smaller was really undesirable (half frame was obscure, 126 was outdated, that left 110 and disc for a carry-everywhere compact and no thanks !) And using something larger was a pretty big deal. The cameras and lenses got bigger and heavier, the film costs grew. I dabbled with a Rolleiflex TLR, but nothing with interchangeable lenses. Now in addition to tiny sensors in our phones being better for snaps than those old disc cameras, we have 1", m43, APS-C and FF; four "respectable" choices that are within reach for many. So in that sense, we're not driven to 35mm as the common denominator in quite the same way. Which is best (for me) ? Darned if I know. I currently use 1" (in the RX100) and APS-C. I find FF appealing and m43 intriguing; I also love the idea of simplifying and using an RX10 and acknowledge the practicality of APS-C. None of those will ever be more than a compromise.
Toggle Commented Jul 5, 2016 on The Ideal Sensor at The Online Photographer
A little late with this comment. I was reading a thread, somewhere, about sensor size & someone chimed in that FF is old news, tomorrow everyone will want medium format. It brought to mind the old "Googlephonic" bit by Steve Martin: Not hysterical or anything, but relevant. (Warning: contains profanity)
Lots of discussion (mostly elsewhere) dwells on where cameras are heading, as if they're evolving towards something, rather than diversifying. I know touch screens have their fans and for good reason, but so do cameras with well placed physical controls allowing an event photographer to change precisely the things he needs to change while shooting, with gloves when necessary, and without taking his eye from the viewfinder. From event & sports & wedding photographers to fine art and landscape photographers, moms and dads and everyone else who picks up a camera, there's no design that's best for everyone.
Re: Steve McCurry as a photoartist. What do you say about someone who produces photographs much of the time and photoart some of the time ? (Therein lies the controversy; McCurry's lack of forthrightness means you can't trust whether or not a given photograph is straight). But, gray areas aside, it seems fine to label each work as one thing or the other, but if the person produces both, it's unfair/inaccurate to label him or her. Then you get into awkward clarifications like a "photographer who dabbles in photoartistry" or "photoartist and former photographer" or maybe "photographer and part time photoartist". I just think that some photographers aren't going to to fit the scheme as well as others or as well as individual works.
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2016 on 'Photoart' at The Online Photographer
I've dabbled just enough in flower photography to agree with you. I don't think I've ever taken a flower photograph that I really like. Same with (posed) portraits. Candids, sure, I love candids. Maybe if I just hung around a flower garden with a camera, I could catch them doing something interesting, instead of trying to pose them.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2016 on Specialists at The Online Photographer
"... but it would have made a wonderful picture. I can still see it in my mind's eye." That's precisely what I love about photography. As Dorothea Lange (supposedly) said, "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." I love the feedback loop - how the more I photograph, the more I find visually interesting things around me. That's a beautiful photo. Though I think you photoshopped the clouds in ;) Here are a couple of my own farm photos, one taken near Lancaster, PA and the other closer to Hershey (I don't believe either of them is Amish owned, though). As for the honeymoon, it doesn't have to end. My wife and I have been in our current home in a quiet town in CT for 20 years now and still marvel at the wildlife and the scenery. I love coming home after a vacation. We can spend a week away from work and chores, enjoying a new place, then drive 5 or 6 or more hours through cities, but as soon as we're within half an hour of home, traffic drops off, restaurants and gas stations disappear, we see forests and farms and it feels good.
My daughter recently went on her 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. There were 14 kids in her class, roughly that number in another 8th grade class that went with them, and about 8 teachers & staff to chaperone. Out of that entire group, my daughter was the only one with a "real" camera (and that was only a point & shoot, albeit a decent one).
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2016 on iPhone Apocalypse at The Online Photographer
Somewhat relevant to the T.S. Eliot discussion, here's an article that I bookmarked a few years ago and just revisited last week:
That photo appears in her "Homegrown" gallery. The description of the book, on Amazon, says "Though her photographs continue to be undeniably contemporary, references to classic painting and portraiture can be detected: the influence of seventeenth-century Dutch painter Jan Steen mixes with more contemporary figures, such as Balthus, Edward Gorey, Tim Burton and Federico Fellini. " On her website, Blackmon credits Steen "and others". In a WSJ piece showing 11 of her photos, the caption under 'Queen' says "Does this seem familiar? Ms. Blackmon saw her niece dressed up in this princess outfit for Halloween with a serious face on, and immediately thought of Spanish painter Velazquez's 'Las Meninas.'" An article on states "Blackmon’s more recent citations of artists like Edward Gorey and Tim Burton as influences are not as apparent without some closer inspection." I don't know where those citations might be found, but it seems that she's blatant about it. It's part of her "schtick", so to speak. I enjoy her work. This revelation that she interprets classic paintings doesn't immediately change how I feel about it. Time will tell whether it does in the long run.
I was going to say that TOP is getting to be bad for my wallet - first, the Clyde Butcher book, now this set. (I passed on the first book from the museum, but between the D. Lange book and the Civil War book, this set looks promising). But then it occurred to me that I would have paid this for a few rolls of film and processing a dozen years ago. I really need to get back to spending money on this hobby (maybe start printing some photo books) before my wife gets used to the status quo !
Mike, Is Julie Blackmon the name you're looking for ? I like her work quite a bit, maybe more so because it's a little outside my normal fare. I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations for you, though, because I don't really pay attention to photo illustrators. I did watch a couple of videos by Ben von Wong - creator of "epic" photographs. He's an impressive young man - I particularly appreciate how outgoing he is; how confident and sociable enough to pull people together and do these projects. The end results, to me, look like still frames from motion pictures, and make me think "gosh, cinematographers do this a couple hundred thousand times for a movie". I enjoy the videos on how he creates his images more than the images themselves. And, at least in his case, the images are extreme enough that rather than be disappointed that they're "shopped", I find myself impressed with how much of the image is NOT shopped. But ultimately, having learned a little about him, I'm not likely to revisit his site, at least not often ... meanwhile, Clyde Butcher's book (the one you linked to a while back) arrived in the mail last night.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2016 on Educate Me? at The Online Photographer
"The Nikon D500 is a milestone." But not a game changer ;) On the A6300 versus A6000, it's nice that Sony does these "refinements", but should be noted that along the way, they do some ... UNrefinements ? The A6000 had a lower res EVF than the NEX-6 and, inexplicably, lacked the "virtual horizon", which seems like one of those intrinsic-to-any-live-view-camera types of features that helps them distinguish themselves from DSLRs. So some of the A6300's refinements are really the restoration of things that were made worse in the previous iteration. Much of what makes the A6300 more expensive has to do with video. I'd probably upgrade if it were my only camera, but I still think of my A6000 as a "second" camera to my DSLR (even though I probably shoot it more these days).
Toggle Commented May 23, 2016 on Best Cameras at The Online Photographer
Dogs: My wife and I both commute to work (though one of us or the other works from home a couple days each week). A dog would make life more complicated. Dogs are demanding. They make life better, except when they don't. Cars: The most I would spend is far less than the most I *could* spend, because cars just aren't my thing. Cameras: The max I could image is about $2000, but the max I'd likely spend is more like $1000. (I could see myself going for a nice FF kit down the road, probably not in three years, though). Books: I was influenced by Burton Malkiel's "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". On the photography front, I'm part way through Peter Beard's "The End of the Game" though I'm not really treating it as a photography book. Back to cars and cameras, I've probably shared this in a past comment, but years ago, I attended a one day "Nikon School" seminar (I was shooting Minolta at the time). At one point, the presenter said he was going to talk about super telephoto lenses, and the 600/4 in particular. He prefaced his talk by saying that at a past seminar, a woman came up to him and told him he shouldn't have wasted so much time talking about a lens that costs "as much as a small car". He replied "Do you need a small car ?" He then explained that while the lens obviously isn't for everyone, you have to decide how much photography means to you and if it's important enough, it's worth trying to find a way to afford what you want in order to shoot what you want. I suppose that works the other way, too, if a car is important enough to you.
Toggle Commented May 22, 2016 on Open Mike: Theory of Dogs at The Online Photographer
I wrote that "edit" can mean "change" to some people. Others have no such issue. The Rocky Mountain School of Photography site has a page on workflow that describes: capture, import, edit, output. But words editing doesn't have to be done on the computer. Consider this sentence gragment from "When editing a JPEG file (whether created by the camera, scanner, or in post-processing) ..."
Toggle Commented May 17, 2016 on C-E-R at The Online Photographer
I don't pick up on the same negative vibe when I see the term post processing. I interpret it to mean whatever we do after we download our files to the computer, unless it's used derisively on occasion (and then, the derisive person can freely substitute whatever term we choose to replace post processing with !) Whether it makes sense or not depends on how you interpret it. If it's read as "after processing" then it makes little sense, but if it's "processing done after" then it seems reasonable (a shortened version of post-capture processing). Editing, to me, implies changing (even if that's not what editors do in other fields). If the average person hears that you post process your images and that I edit my images, he or she is going to think I'm the one doing unnatural, unethical and possibly immoral things ! Videographers are expected to edit, I believe, so I'm not sure why photographers aren't. But edit also means the process of whittling your photos down to keepers ("edit ruthlessly"). It's probably a good word for it if it weren't already too late. Maybe "finishing" ? Except that you may never be done finishing. I guess we're looking for a term that means "preparing for output" (whether that's print or screen). CER gets too specific IMO - people simply want to distinguish what they do up to pressing the shutter button from what they do with the file after. (After ... post). Image processing comes to mind, but then, the camera does image processing, too. I'm fine with post processing. Processing sounds like something that needs to be done. Post just means after you take the picture - it's probably unnecessary, because you're not doing any processing before.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2016 on C-E-R at The Online Photographer
McCurry has been criticized for portraying a romanticized view of India and other parts of the world. I'm not bothered by a photographer searching out scenes that portray the world the way he wants it portrayed; photographs intended to send a message. That's the power of photography in a nutshell. But changing scenes to portray a world that doesn't exist is something different. Not bad (unless presented as reality), but definitely different. A friend in Sherman, CT sent me a link to a news story about a man who escaped from a Georgia prison 48 years ago and has been living in his town ever since. The news man is standing in a parking lot with a house behind him saying "this is downtown Sherman and this is about all there is". As my friend points out, if the camera were angled slightly to the left, you'd see the grocery store and a few other businesses share that parking lot. (Granted, there REALLY isn't much to that downtown ... but the camera angle exaggerates the situation greatly). Your post points out how many shades of gray there are in all of this. I do a lot of "corrective" edits (especially shooting events in my daughter's school, where the contrast on the stage is too great for the camera's sensor to deal with in a way that resembles what you remember seeing (you don't remember seeing half the kids blown out white with no detail, nor do you remember seeing half the kids in deep shadow, so you can't make out who they are). The pole growing out of someone's head gets to the point where I start to feel uncomfortable; not adamant, but I thing it over. If the shot is worth it, I'll remove some stray annoyance. The McCurry edit is way over the line. Not an ethical line, just not what I enjoy in taking or viewing photographs.
I don't have an ethical issue with post processed images (outside of photojournalism) but like you, I'm just not terribly interested. I watched a video by Ben Von Wong about his "epic" photography recently, and I'm very impressed by the work he does to pull people together to create his results. I find the process far more intriguing than the end result. Similarly, I can find something to appreciate in an abstract image; in a print as an object, a bounded, two-dimensional image, but that's not really why I look at photographs. My appreciation comes from what's intrinsically unique about photography; from the fact that this print or image on my screen originated from something in front of the lens and the beauty of the image is augmented by how I interpret it. Knowing that whatever I see in the picture was in front of the lens can make me wonder or laugh. Knowing that what I see in the picture may not be all that was there or may not have been there at all takes away that connection to the real world. Now the image has to stand entirely on it's own.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2016 on Faked-up Photos at The Online Photographer