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Jim Bullard
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I totally agree with your annoyance over fame trumping hard-earned excellence. And photography is a field that is particularly vulnerable to that, especially since the advent of digital. With everyone snapping madly away (over 2 billion/day by some estimates) anyone is bound to get a few decent images. Those who organize exhibits want/need an audience and in a sea of photographs it is whatever is on the crests of the waves that gets attention, i.e. those who are already known, even if their fame is for something else, so it is understandable (but regrettable IMO) that the already famous dominate. It irritates the hell out of me too. OTOH I don't entirely agree that Dylan wasn't a deserving recipient. I suspect that the breadth of his impact was as much a consideration as his actual words. I'm sure that there are authors whose writing may be more polished but, for whatever reason, didn't have the reach of Dylan's songs (which are poems set to music, the quality of his singing not withstanding). And I don't think it is an apt comparison to all the musicians, actors, etc. who are famous in their primary field tapping into that fame to get exhibits of their photography, painting or whatever. Dylan is essentially a writer. Writing is his field. We live in a "star" society. Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were few photographers, few painters, sculptors, writers, etc. because life was demanding and few had the time and resources to pursue creativity. Perhaps the downside to the post-industrial revolution technology and relative prosperity is that while it democratizes creativity, the resulting flood of "Art" necessitates a system for determining what gets attention. I don't like the "fame" system but I'm not sure what the alternative would be. How would one otherwise sort through over 2 billion images a day?
I used to use only Epson papers with my Epson printers but then I bought some Artic White from Red River for printing note cards. I appreciated that it was pre-scored for folding and they have envelopes to fit. As it turns out I like the paper so much I'm switching to it for my larger prints as well (I like mat surface papers). I recently bought some of their "metallic" paper which is interesting but not suitable for most of my images. I also got a 5 sheet sampler of their Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag that I haven't tried yet. By all means, try the Red River papers. No, I don't own stock or get kick backs. I just like their paper.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2016 on The Best Printing Papers at The Online Photographer
You might want to check out the reports on Red River Paper's site. <> There are reports covering the ink costs per print size for both Epson and Canon printers. Their papers are pretty nice too. I started using them to print note cards (they sell much better than matted prints) but I have largely shifted to them for other prints as well.
Toggle Commented Sep 30, 2016 on 'Horrific' Ink Prices? at The Online Photographer
I recently considered buying a Panasonic GX-8. I also looked at the Canon EOS M3. I own an original M and like it in spite of some flaws. I was really hoping that Canon would come out with the M4 that has been rumored for over a year but then they came out with a 28mm macro lens for the M series around the same time the rumor sites reported that the M4 was another year away so I bought the macro and the M3. I'm not sorry, in fact, I think I'm in love. The M3 has largely sidelined my 7D (the original) which is now going on 7 years old. I can use a much light tripod so my whole kit has dropped several pounds with no loss of image quality, in fact, it is better. Then, just a few weeks later Canon jumped right over the M4 and came out with an M5. Again, I'm not sorry. I like the articulated add-on EVF on the M3. The M5's EVF is fixed and the flip screen goes down 180° which is weird, because of the fixed EVF no doubt, but why didn't they use a fully articulated screen like the 80D? So, the announcement of a new lens did serve to keep my Canon loyalty although I wish I had a direct input channel to Canon to tell them what I'd like to see in the future.
It's probably a bit inconvenient for your style of photography but have you seen this "poor man's digital MF"? [This is just me, and nothing against that product, but I've personally never been interested in PITA solutions like that...from the Visoflex on down to today. Hair-shirt simple is about as far toward a PITA as I'll go...for instance I used a camera for six or eight months that didn't have an exposure meter, guessing exposures by eye. But that's all. Otherwise I just find a camera that does what I want and use it as it was intended. Radical simplicity appeals to me; radical complexity doesn't. Some guys are the opposite, and I get that. (JG's Frankencamera is a good example--he did that half because he needed its capabilities and half because the project appealed to him, as he admitted.) Lots of professionals are problem-solvers first and foremost, and they like nothing better than a challenge to figure out. I have admiration for those guys, but I also know I'm not one of them. --Mike]
Go for it Mike. You can hire a programmer to do the software part. The business end is a bit more difficult to resolve. We recently had a photographer shoot the people at our wedding anniversary. Our daughter arranged and paid for it so I left it up to her and the photographer. I did note several things that I would have done differently if I were the photographer. He left the shot list entirely up to our daughter. I'd have had a few suggestions myself. Although he paid attention to backgrounds (he was overly focused on that IMO) to the point that he missed seeing things like hair that should have been combed and awkward poses. A few shots had poor composition or were tilted. Overall they were technically okay but having his assistant carry a comb, hair brush and hand mirror would have been a good idea. I think the biggest problem is that most photography training is just photography and not the nitty gritty aspects of dealing with clients.
RE: Being a "professional". While the term at one time (think pre-1900) might have been limited to formally trained and licensed practicioners, that is not longer how it is defined This is the dictionary definition. pro·fes·sion·al prəˈfeSH(ə)n(ə)l adjective adjective professional of, relating to, or connected with a profession. white-collar nonmanual (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful. expert accomplished skillful masterly masterful fine polished skilled proficient competent able experienced practiced trained seasoned businesslike deft ace crack top-notch worthy of or appropriate to a professional person. paid salaried denoting a person who persistently makes a feature of a particular activity or attribute. noun noun professional plural noun professionals a person engaged or qualified in a profession. a person engaged in a specified activity, especially a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. professional player paid player salaried player pro a person competent or skilled in a particular activity. I was formally trained but no one ever asked me to get a license.
I am saddened to hear that Brooks Institute is closing. When I was young that was my dream school. I never made it there, all the way across the country. Instead, I learned through NYI's correspondence course and the Army's Signal Center and School at Ft. Monmouth where I also taught briefly. I still regret not making it to Brooks, a matter of money and distance. Back then photography was taught as a set of skills with a solid understanding of the process, how photography worked and why. Any content on the 'art' of photography was rather formulaic (rule of thirds, etc.). The art part tended to come with experience. I think one reason that a case can be made for excellent images by casual photographers today is a combination of camera automation plus the explosion of images being produced since the advent of digital photography. If one shoots enough, he/she is bound to get a good photo occasionally simply as a matter of luck. I am rather dismayed when I read "pros" tell about how they went out and shot 2-3 thousand images in a day and how long it took them to cull for "the good ones". When we were shooting film we couldn't afford a strategy that depended more good fortune than on skill and creativity.
Touit? They got around to it?
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2016 on It It at The Online Photographer
I'd want two systems, one of which would be lighter weight for hiking with. For that I'd go with a Panasonic GX8 and an all-in-one zoom lens probably the Tamron 14-150mm. I'd replace my Canon 7d (original model) with an 80D. To go with that I'd want a macro lens and a couple of zoom lenses. I'm not hung up on primes. Modern zoom lenses are more than adequate unless you are a pixel peeper, more interested in what the camera/lens combo can render than in what the photographer saw and wanted to share with you.
Toggle Commented Aug 9, 2016 on Start Over, Begin Again at The Online Photographer
Jay is (IMO) the Yoda of photography, a Jedi Master.
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2016 on 190 Bowery Update at The Online Photographer
They might have been turkey vultures waiting for you and Butters to keel over from heat exhaustion. ;-)
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2016 on Wild Life at The Online Photographer
I'm with you on the square sensor but I'd want more than 9MP. I'd be looking for 4-5K pixels each way sot that cropped images would still be decent sized. An interesting small camera that has a APS-C sensor is teh Canon EOS M. Yeah, I know. The reviews all hated it and I confess that there are some things about it that I don't like but the sensor is the same sixe (physically and in pixels) as my Canon 7D (the original) but IMO the EOS M produces better images. The M series lenses are excellent. The only kludge is the controls. Not the most user friendly, at least for this user. I would like to buy either a Panasonic GX8 or a Canon M3. I like the look of the GX8's built in EVF but teh files I'm getting from my original EOS make me wonder if I shouldn't stick with teh APS-C sensor.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2016 on The Ideal Sensor at The Online Photographer
I like your in-house style for the term. The one I see most often is "MFT" ubt being the age I am it brings to mine the old ads with LSMFT (Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco). That brings up another problem. Our penchant for acronyms means that now even the accepted accronyms have multiple meanings and depend on the context for the correct meaning.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2016 on Micro 4/3 at The Online Photographer
The "brain compensation" is the reason that you can get laser surgery to have one eye for distance and the other for close up (reading) and it works. I thought it would give you a headache but a friend who had it done tells me it works fine. As for how do you know your pupil distance, take a small (metric) ruler and hold it so that it is just below your pupils when you look in the mirror. Put the 0 end under one pupil and read the measurement under the other pupil. Alternatively use a strip of thin cardboard and make a mark under each pupil as you look in the mirror and measure the space.
I have a friend who is obsessed with getting everything "tack sharp". I don't get it. It isn't natural (realistic). We don't see that way. Hold your arm out straight and spread your fingers out. Now stare at your thumbnail and, without shifting your focus from your thumbnail, ask yourself "is my little finger sharp?". The answer is "No!". We see only a 3° circle sharply. Everything else is peripheral vision and is fuzzy. The farther out from the 3° circle it is, the fuzzier it is. So why do we think we see everything sharply? It is because our eyes are constantly moving from one area of interest to another and our brain remembers. That is an advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage for photographers is that unless we consciously look at each of the less interesting bits in front of us we miss seeing things we'd rather not have in our photo and then we have to Photoshop them out. Personally, as a guy who learned on large format, I kind of like fuzzy backgrounds for a lot of subjects. It just seems like a more natural way to see the world. Total sharpness is too mechanical, less human.
1) It is true that dogs aren't people. On the whole, they are better than people. I've only found one human as loyal as a dog. I'm sure there are some but they are less common than they are among dogs. 2) Thunderstorms are a problem for dogs too. I used to sit in the middle of the floor with our two dogs during bad thunderstorms with one arm around each of them to calm them and recently it has been discovered that (at least for a lot of dogs) that a compression vest will calm them. You might try that for Butters. A brand called Thundershirts is available on Amazon. I'm sure there are others. Good luck with helping Butters get through the 4th.
Toggle Commented Jun 29, 2016 on Remember the Dogs (OT) at The Online Photographer
Fox Talbot used waxed paper negatives so I think naming it for Jim Galli is a bit late. I'm sure he's having fun with it (I did several decades ago) and he is probably a nice guy but he's late in the game for naming rights.
I've had a Miata lust for years but it isn't like yours. I also had a sailboat lust for many years like Arlo in the comics but in reality neither suits me. I don't like boating on big open water and a Miata doesn't really suit my lifestyle. I guess the attraction is an image thing. I live near and spend a fair amount of time in the Adirondacks so a soft top Jeep would actually be more my speed and no, I don't own one. I looked at one (yellow with a V6) before buying my very first car but decided it wasn't practical and unless I have a truck too it wouldn't be practical now either. OTOH of all the vehicles I've ever driven, the one I most enjoyed driving was a van. One of the old ones where the driver's seat is over the front wheel. Crazy huh? "If I was a rich man..." I'd have a garage with about a dozen vehicles to choose from depending on my mood.
"I tried to get the ball and the plane both in the shot, but by the time I'd worked out the framing—just a few seconds—the plane had left the picture." Here is a bit of advice I used to give when teaching photography many, many years ago: "A picture is worth a thousand words but all thousand words need to be about the same thing". I use my smartphone for note taking all the time and have occasionally used it as a 'real' camera but it doesn't offer the kind of control I require for most photography. But then, I learned on sheet film cameras with manual controls over every aspect of the process, so perhaps I'm just a control freak. I don't like equipment making decisions for me. As always, to each his/her own.
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2016 on iPhone Apocalypse at The Online Photographer
An aside to your comment that you can always tell paintings that were made from photographs: Some artists are capable of "photographically accurate" draftsmanship. Check out the drawings and watercolors of John Ruskin. He generally drew from life (3D) but on at least one occasion he hired a Daguerreotypist to accompany him in his travels and some of his work may derive from those 2D images in whole or part. This your challenge... Go to and see if you can tell with certainty which of his works may have had 2D origins. I would also point you to David Hockney's book "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters" in which he proposes that many of the old masters used a camera obscura to do the drawing that underlaid their paintings. He shows that drawing suddenly became more accurate with the invention of the camera obscura. Does that count as working from "flat"? I also know artists who insist on working from 3D but that is just a preference, like whether or not to use Photoshop or for that matter whether to print your own or just shoot JPGs and send them out to be printed.
This kind of discussion isn't unique to photography. It happens around all sorts of topics that inspire passion. It is particularly prevalent in politics and religion but I'll pass on those in favor of a mail list I used to belong to. It was a mail list for people who were enthralled with the Appalachian Trail, in particular, those who had or wanted to "thru-hike" it (as in all 2000+ miles in one season). There was a fair amount of discussion over what specifically constituted a "thru-hike. In fact there is no "official" rule (by the AT Trail Conference that oversees the trail) except that one hike the entire marked trail and doing it one one season isn't required since they only recognize "2000 milers", those who have hiked the whole trail regardless of how long it took to do it (some have taken decades). In spite of the lack of specific rules by a governing authority, some purists try to set themselves up as that authority. At the end of my association with that list several such individuals hounded one young woman member of the list into an online confession and apology that her hike of the AT the prior summer was in fact not a "thru-hike" because she had by-passed a couple of short stretches for personal safety reasons, allowed by ATC 2000 miler rules but not the purist's. No matter what we do in life there will be others who have expectations of our work that we do not entirely meet all the time. Is it legit to by-pass a stretch of trail that requires you to risk injury? Is it legit to eliminate things from your photo that detract from what you are trying to convey? I think it depends on the expectations of those passing judgment but often they are informal groups imposing their ideas via social pressure. It is not based on edicts from a governing body whose role is to define the rules. FWIW I dropped out that mail list group in disgust over their treatment of the young lady who had come there for support and encouragement but ended up being shamed. Another faction of the list had the attitude HYOH, "hike your own hike", on the philosophy that ultimately hikes for one's own reasons and satisfaction and what others thought didn't matter. Perhaps we need a PYOP movement.
BTDT on teaching. Classroom time is the "performance" part of teaching. It is a lot like other performance arts in that the preparation time has to exceed the performance time or you will suck as a teacher. Initially, it has to exceed the classroom time by a lot. Eventually, you get it down to a set of repeatable presentations that you modify according to changes in technology, the needs of your students, etc., but there is still prep time. People who think teachers are overpaid should try it some time.
Every camera IS more than I need because no one makes a camera that has only the features I need. OTOH It is hard to find one that has all the features I'd like, even with all the features I don't care about thrown in.
I've always regarded his work as highly competent commercial photography but I can't say I have ever seen one of his photos that grabbed my attention and spoke to me on a deeper level. But then I didn't care much for "The Family of Man" exhibit either. I guess he and I are/were just out of synch.