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You go Guy!!
Toggle Commented yesterday on Blog Note at The Online Photographer
"I also learned that, as a rule, camera sales staff sell cameras and do not make images." I have no idea if it is true today. For most of the history of retail camera shops, manufacturers offered "spiffs", cash bonuses to sales people for sales of their equipment. As you might imagine, this had a major effect on what they recommended at any given time. I already knew it, but tales from a close friend as he spent a couple of years behind the counter in the mid 60s further opened my eyes. I don't even think the sales people are necessarily wrong. Most of them know what has been repeated in this thread so many times: it's the photographer, not the camera and that the practical differences between the various major brands were minimal in actually making images. So why not make a little money?
"It's as I've always said: the taming of contrast is the main technical concern of outdoor photographers. Always was, still is." Seems to me that, with proper equipment and technique, that capturing a very wide DR is now possible. The trick now seems to be finding a way to represent it in low DR media that looks natural. Still a difficulty, but the nature of the problem has moved.
"Back then, the best digital cameras were barely good enough, and bad ones were, well, just plain awful." Then again, I've spent time looking for ones that were awful in interesting, possibly useful, ways. "It's never mattered much to me what someone else uses to take their pictures with, as long as I'm getting something out of looking at their pictures." Never any snobbery, in any direction, in which images you or I get something out of. \;~)> No matter how dressed up, our preferences, individual or group tastes, are all judgements, and only valid or meaningful within the context of those who hold them. One person's loathsome snap of rubble in an abandoned building is another's wonderful art. It's often fun to explore where our individual tastes do and don't overlap, as in the comments to your Random Excellence post of Juan Buhler's dog in a pick-up back in 2007. We change, too, as we experience the world. We had an [incomplete] interchange of viewpoints about this in "Color Pictures vs. Pictures in Color vs. Pictures of Colors" earlier this year. Then, you experienced something that changed your opinion, or taste, in one area. "I even have to eat some very recent words (written to Moose) because David Boyce sent a print that is almost purely a rectangle of brilliant blue, with just a bit of variation, and I have to admit it really works as a print." I admit my inspiration was physical paintings I had seen years ago, similar affects to which I wished to create. So I had "seen the prints" when I created my web images. You "got" it when you saw a print. Taste is a very tricksy thing. Looking back, I see that this theme of differences in taste/preferences is one I come back to again and again, as in Seeking the Best
"The article assumes the show will be controversial. I don't see why." Sounds more like an attempt at marketing manipulation in the hope that people will think a lot of recycled images are somehow new and startling. I'm not saying anything about the premise, only that it's recycled "news".
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Hall of Shame at The Online Photographer
"Making a picture that's technically what you want is where photography begins, not where it ends." And that first part is hard.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2015 on Quote o' the Day: Mike at The Online Photographer
"...And, Does the D800 Have Too Many?" Well, the D810 certainly does. I would call it the Rainbow Camera for what happens with tiny, repetitive detail, or perhaps the Moiré Queen. I did some comparisons of the E-M5 II in High Res Mode to other cameras with high native resolutions using the standard test subjects on DPR and IR. I was floored by the really awful moiré effects of the D810. Until someone comes up with a proper AA filter, an alternative, different color arrays and/or demosaicing algorithms* or a way to sense all colors at all sensel sites, without the drawbacks of Foveon or the Olympus multi-shot merge, the full apparent potential of such high resolutions on less than MF size sensors for general purpose work won't be realized. Size, weight and price aside, I couldn't use a D810 for much of what I photograph. * Fuji's X-Trans does not, as yet, address the AA/resolution problem.
I'm always a little bemused about "street shooting". Somehow, it's almost always about one specific technique for candid photography of people on city streets. (No, haven't seen your book as yet.) As the Godfather of this genre, it seems to me that H C-B used the first/only equipment that was at that time usable for this. And virtually everyone following has followed in his footsteps. Moderate WA to 'normal' FL, stealth to get close, then snap camera to eye to catch the decisive moment seems to me to be only one of the options, not THE way to do it. I sometimes wonder what a young H C-B, presented with the equipment available today, would choose. I'm not a regular street shooter, although I take the opportunity that presents itself. But notice the FL, 300 mm, in FF terms. Could I have got closer? Of course. Would I have got the moment/expression? Almost certainly not. My most extended time of street shooting was in Brooklyn. Camera, big black blob Canon 5D; lens, big black blob Tamron 28-300. Most used FL, probably 300 mm. Shooting from a distance, I get a different perspective, which I like. I also feel I generally get different, more natural, candid images. For all but the most sneaky, innocuous looking photographers with the tiniest cameras, getting close enough for the desired framing changes the subjects. Most people, most of the time, are aware of who is physically close to them, and it affects facial and body language. I'm not saying that either approach, or the social method of approach and ask, is better, only that there are more viable alternatives than seem to be generally known and used. About equipment/technique: Multi-point AF is a non-starter for me, as is face recognition. I find single point AF far more reliable. "Because I focused manually and by eye, I knew the camera couldn’t try to refocus as soon as ..." As to MF vs. AF, various cameras allow AF to be set on a separate button on the top back, with MF fine tuning available and no AF on the shutter button. Tap the AF button, wait for the cyclist. Usually, this also shortens the shutter lag time. How well that works for any individual will vary, depending on style, reaction time, DoF, etc. As to responsiveness, some cameras wake from sleep in the time it takes to bring them up to my eye, if I train myself to tap the shutter release as soon as a potential shot is suspected. Otherwise, batteries are cheap, small and light; just leave it on full time and put a couple of spare batteries in a pocket.
"Besides, the more you photograph something, the more likely the magic lightning is to strike." Ah, finally, the rationale I needed.
If you are beautiful and talented enough, you don't need a stick. [Shot before the artificial selfie aids existed. /;-|> ]
Wow! Replies to two topics in one! 1. How I ended up with a selfie stick. When I first saw this young woman with her selfie stick hanging around at a very famous photogenic spot, internal judgement alarm bells went off. But I was wrong. She was using it creatively as an extension of her arm to take very close-up/macro shots/videos. So I then of course needed one in my bag of tricks. 2. I believe this qualifies as a non cliché image of Weston Beach. \;~)>
"... I have to say, for me, the ways in which the Olympus EM5 is superior to the EP1 are, in order of importance, –– Exposure range (which is two stops greater) –– Image stabilization (at least one stop better and two with many of my lenses) –– ISO 400+ noise (one stop better) Yes, the extra bit of resolution is nice, I ain't complaining, but it's fourth on the list." The E-M5 II adds little to sensor system performance. It does bring significant improvement in IS. I don't know that this is of great significance for 'normal' focal lengths and uses. I have yet to press it much in the dark, although a couple of grab shots (NO photography!!) last night in an auditorium with 75/1.8 @ f9, before I remembered to change aperture, are remarkably free of blur at 1/20 sec. I do a lot of very long lens and macro work, often shooting the same subject from very close with the 12-50 in macro mode or 60/2.8 macro and from a distance with 75-300 near its long end. Oly claims improved IS for macro, which I've not really tested. Certainly I know the O-M5 is significantly better at macro IS than any of the Pens through the E-PM2. At the long end, the improvement is quite noticeable. It's almost as though the 75-300 @ 300 mm suddenly became a better lens. There is what appears to me to be an exposure anomaly in A Mode, in the range bounded between good and dim light. It's choosing exposures in A Mode with shutter speeds far too low for any but short focal lengths before using Auto ISO to keep shutter speeds reasonable. The algorithm is clearly different from that of the Mark I body, in side by side tests. I've been in contact with Oly support; they seem concerned, in what may be a continuing dialog, as I now have more info.
"And when I imported the pictures to Lightroom, the Fuji ones were mostly gorgeous from the start and required minimal processing of the colors. But the ones form the Nikon overly just didn't feel right and I had to use some serious tweaking to get them where I was satisfied. Especially skintones of outdoor pictures were something that cost me quite a few hours to get where I liked it." In PhotoShop, Image=>Adjustments=>Match Color will often do an amazing job of converting the color 'look' of one image to that of another. I can't guarantee it will work for your Fuji/Nikon images, but where it does, it's like magic and saves a great deal of work.
Semi random comments: It wouldn't hurt for many here to reread Ctein's 2012 columns, Why ISO isn't ISO and RAW is not Raw The first clarifies how ISO is determined and why Fuji may properly use different criteria than others. The second shows* how at least some of the differences between Fuji and other RAW files may go beyond simple EV adjustment. If everything Fuji does with its ISO, response curves in RAW files and DR settings may be duplicated with EV settings and converters that allow saved custom settings, then what Fuji provides is neither magic nor cheating, but simply providing convenience for those whose tastes coincide with theirs. It also strikes me that a hidden part of this discussion may be the "Purity of Essence" feeling that what comes out of official camera settings is somehow more correct or true than what is done by the photographer in manual setting adjustments and in post. If Fuji (or any maker) happens to add controls that duplicate what may be done in post, it may simply make some users more comfortable in that the results are in accordance with some more official source of authority and/or expertise. I have known photographers who have an almost religious reluctance to make EV adjustments, let alone go further ... If convenience and/or the comfort of authority make users happy with Fujis, that seems to me like a good thing for both parties. I have not had a Fuji since my much loved F30 of years ago, and no "dog in this fight". I'm pretty brand agnostic; if the Fuji's had been available when I needed a change of tools, I could well be a Fuji user instead of Oly. So I believe my comments are pretty impartial. Finally, I have Ctein's sample E-P1 print. I also have Pens with the same sensor system and E-M5 and E-M5 II. While the print is every bit as impressive as advertised, from that old 12 MP sensor system, the 16 MP sensor systems in the OMDs are a significant step up in practical resolution and other IQ factors. * Among other useful things.
I agree with Nathan. Cleaned up a little, it has a very clean, classic look to me.
Toggle Commented May 27, 2015 on Random Snap at The Online Photographer
"Guess what the world's leading maker of smartphones is up to now?" How do you define "leading"? Apple's share of the smartphone market, in units, is just under 20%, roughly tied with Samsung, after falling behind in 2011. Together, they account for slightly less share than in 2011. Not that's unit share, and the big brand guys certainly account for a much higher monetary share. But nothing there to make them leading in that sense. I happen to prefer iOS to Android, but Android is by far the leading phone and tablet OS
Hi Dave, and thanks. Looking around, there are certainly claims that he is a fraud, although they seem a bit odd themselves. Unless some enterprising documentarian takes it on, I suppose the full story will remain mystery. Which is a shame, as fraudulent biographical details do not necessarily make his work invalid. I've only read The Primal Mind and The Language of Vision so far. I've found them full of unexpected perspectives and insights into the nature of art and the condition of being human that resonate as true to me. They seem to me to naturally connect with David Abrams writing in The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World and Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, in taking me out of the narrow cultural perspective with which I was taught to understand the world into discovery of a much broader and more meaningful world. Perhaps I should come clean and admit that much of the thought about primal mind in general, as opposed to specific Am. Indian examples, in The Primal Mind is largely in harmony with my thoughts and speculations about how different the nature of mind in the millennia of matrilineal, Goddess worshiping societies before the advent of the Attic Greeks, Moghuls and other patrilineal, hierarcical Sky God worshiping societies replaced them 4-5000 years ago could be from the way our minds work.
"calls for...the public to become more educated about Native American culture." If this sort of art doesn't inform anyone out there about the deep differences between Native America culture and the now dominant culture of North America, I recommend Jamake Highwater's book The Primal Mind. Highwater was a unique combination of Indian background and upbringing with US mainstream culture higher education; a powerful intellect matched with great cultural sensitivity. The book is all good; the chapter Image should be of particular interest to those who create images as a form of art. he reveals how many hidden assumptions are in our art and understanding of art. As my friend (and pro Art photographer) who introduced me to this book said, "This will blow your mind!"
Thanks, Edward Taylor. I got a good chuckle, recognizing myself in your story. Back in film days, I managed to accumulate way too many OM mount lenses, 12 distinct prime focal lengths of Zuikos alone, along with many zooms, mirrors, etc. I had 18-1000 mm covered. In my detour in Canon land, I didn't accumulate many lenses. Now, with µ4/3, I must be at home again, as the big brown truck will be delivering my 14th. 'real' µ4/3 lens (plus the 2 lens cap lenses) today. Uses are more variable than with my OMs, though. Two lenses have IS, to go with the tiny GM1 that has no IBIS, for example, but are otherwise focal length duplicates. I have sold off one redundancy, and should clear out a couple of others - but buying and playing with new ones is more fun than selling. \;~)>
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2015 on Crack for Lens Addicts at The Online Photographer
"... three lenses will be enough for your needs. ... Unless you're a pro with special requirements, three lenses will be enough for your needs. We all daydream about owning a cornucopia of lenses, but my experience taught me all we really need is a wide-angle, a standard and a short(ish) telephoto lens." This generalization doesn't work for me, Manuel. Had you written "... three lenses are enough for my needs. ...... but my experience taught me all I really need is a wide-angle, a standard and a short(ish) telephoto lens." I'd have no argument. I shoot at least hundreds of images a year at 600 mm (FF eq.) and would feel severely deprived with nothing longer than a short(ish) telephoto. I also shoot a lot with macro. One of the ways I see the world is in small/tiny extracts of the wider visual field. Your vision was the standard back when I started with 35 mm in the 60s, but I never felt the real freedom to capture the world as I see it until I got true macros and long teles. I see nothing to criticize in the choice of lenses you find fulfill your needs. Why do you feel the need to sell your version to others? We all have different visions of the world that we wish to capture. Different lenses are required to realize them. I have a range of primes, mostly for speed, but prefer zooms when there's enough light. That's just what works for me. Are you really doing anyone with a different way of seeing a favor by recommending that they only use the tools that work for you?
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2015 on Crack for Lens Addicts at The Online Photographer
What is success?
You claim you don't like landscapes. These are, to my taste, the best images you've shown here in some time. Lovely tonal distributions. Lake Keuka, Eastern Bluff, Ice and Water has particularly lovely tonal composition, with large shapes of different brightness and texture working harmoniously together. I could definitely see that one on my wall. Mount Savior Monastery lands, New York is also very appealing, but for the hanging clump of leaves. Looks much better, to my eye, without them.
I can't remember the transition into my second decade from the first, nor the next, really, in any way that feels real. Since then, though, in spite various losses at various times, divorce, deaths, etc., I have felt at the end of each decade that it was better than the one before, and expected the one beginning to be better yet. Having just started the second year of my eighth decade, I have yet to find reason to doubt that it will be the best yet. Might expectation help create experience? Perhaps so. Remember the power of "true gratitude" to support "deep heartfelt happiness", learn to gracefully let present become past, fully inhabit the present, allow your definition of "best" to evolve naturally and you will have more great decades.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2015 on No Foolin' (OT) at The Online Photographer
I would not call myself a portraitist. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. My friend and fellow Olympus shooter, Mike Gordon: Mike also used the Olympus 45/1.8 to catch me: As I'd heard, that lens is excellent for portraits.
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2015 on Portraits at The Online Photographer
There's a blast from the past. Back around, say 1965, I was Commodore of the University of California Yacht Club, a far less august position than it sounds, and quite involved in photography. I worked, with inadequate equipment, on taking close-up shots of people sailing small boats, some B&W, some color. A few came out rather well. One, a shot of a friend sailing his Olympic class Finn dinghy, ended up on the cover of the local Finn magazine. I think it was this shot. I'm glad I'm limited to 470 pixels wide for this one, as it's a quick scan of a not so great 5x7 print. A very low rent publication and poor reproduction. I believe I was paid $5, which was a lot more then than now, but still nothing much. A bittersweet shot for those who knew Arnie, as the name of his boat, RUTH LESS, with the two halves separated by the rudder, was not actually about his competitive style, but about the loss of his wife to his life consuming involvement with sailing.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2015 on Ever Get a Cover? at The Online Photographer