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Writer. Photographer. Wanderer.
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Timely post, Mike. I was big computer gamer as a kid but gave them up because I had no self-control. But every once in a while I fall into one. I just fell into a smartphone game as a way of connecting with my godson. I'm part of his "clan" and we play a bit together and text each other about it. But I play it way more than I'd like to admit. "Just one more game" is an oft-repeated thought. I tell myself that I should spend my time on more tangible things like running, writing, and photography but when I'm feeling existential, I wonder if more tangible activities are in fact "better." My adult niece and nephew play another game and have teammates from around the world. They have, in effect, a virtual community, which is kind of cool. Where am I going with this? I don't know, but now I gotta go and play that game. Just one more game.
The one thing that I like about SUVs is that I can use my favorite word when discussing them - avoirdupois.
This is a common problem, taking a corporate design language, applying it obsessively throughout the lineup and finding out that the design doesn't scale well. The "flame surface" BMWs of the Chris Bangle era works great on the 5 Series but the tension in the surfaces did not hold up in the larger 7 series and the style fell flat. Likewise, the grill on that Lexus is actually nice on the smaller sedans but you can't just put in a photocopier and paste it onto a hulking SUV. And the Acura beak? It didn't look good at any size, and this is coming from a Honda guy. Thankfully, the design has evolved and matured.
I glance at the tens of thousands of photos in my multiple Lightroom catalogs and I can't help but conclude that digital is significantly cheaper. As an autodidact, the low-cost of iterations has been revelatory. I've grown much faster as a photographer with digital than I did with film.
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2017 on Film vs. Digital at The Online Photographer
"It's up to us to impart the quality." Golf applause, Mike. Thanks for writing this. It's one thing to pursue technical properties in service of artistic needs but when the technical properties themselves become the goal then the photos become little more than test shots. Similarly, I stepped off the audiophile path when I realized that I was listening to the audio equipment and not the music.
1. The best camera is the rumored one. 2. Do you set your EVFs to B&W? 3. On that page of thumbmails, my eye went immediately to New Camera News!
Flickr has an under-utilized feature called Galleries where you can curate your own little show with photos from other Flickr members. I've created a couple and hope to create more.
Toggle Commented Oct 6, 2017 on Saying Something at The Online Photographer
Interestingly, I've been lifting midtones and softening harsh highlights in most of my photos lately, color and B&W. It goes against what I used to do, add contrast (the opposite S-curve) to make things pop and I find that I need to push the deep shadows down and punch of the clarity to give the image some bite. But five years from now I'll probably have other ideas about what I want in a photo and look at this era and wonder what I was thinking...
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2017 on Look at Tone as Light at The Online Photographer
I jumped into Micro Four-Thirds back in 2011 (gosh, was that really 6 years ago already?!) with a pair of GH2s that I bought for video and hoped that they'd also shoot good stills. Alas, the stills lacked dynamic range and the RAW files were just too crunchy. I didn't abandon the system altogether though and knew I'd jump back when the sensor made enough improvements. My bogey was the lovely 12 megapickle sensor of the Pentax K-x. Fast forward to 2016. I "needed" new cameras for my cross country motorcycle trip, and the GX85 ticked off all the right boxes - improved sensor, image stabilization, 4k video, small form factor. I bought two and have been happy. 95% of my recent images are made with them, including these from the weekend: But if I must be honest, a funny thing happened on the way to the present. While the GX85 files are more than good enough for my magazine publishing needs, I want a little more. A little more megapickles to work with, a little more dynamic range to massage, a little more low light performance. I'm learning patience though and will be happy with the GX85 for several more years.
Some really arresting images there. I like the high contrast style and the voyeuristic approach of many of the shots. Some feel processed to 11 but overall a really nice set. These are historic times so I've been in the streets since the weekend after Election Day, capturing the images and sounds of our time. In the big rallies, I am one of thousands of photogs. But in the smaller gatherings, noticeably in my home Congressional District, I am often the only one documenting the proceeding, fancifully thinking that 100 years from now some historian is going to value what I've done. I am also gathering photos of "The Resistance" on Flickr and we have over 2,000 photos from 100 photographers from around the country and world. Of those, I've curated what I have found to be the most interesting and compelling images: As the saying goes, may you live in interesting times...
"The old culture has been partly or mostly cleared away and nothing has taken its place. It's several magnitudes tougher now to make a splash, become known, or create work that will get widely noticed. I would argue that it was never easy to tame and tether the essentially subversive and unruly nature of the medium, but now we're back to a sort of Babel. It's all iconoclasm and chatter, not to mention inundation." The era of big splashes is all but over, replaced by a thousand little splashes that together create the tide. Your website and musings are a perfect example of this new age. From a distance it may look like Babel but we all unconsciously try to filter the noise until we find the signal that we seek. That's the challenge now, finding our needles in the haystack, but improved search and AI (there is groundbreaking research being done with neural networks learning to identify objects - faces, people, animals, cars, etc... in a photo) is making that easier and easier. But we are already seeing the effects of being stuck in bubbles of our own making. Interesting times indeed. And with that, I'm out of metaphors.
Toggle Commented Apr 4, 2017 on Getting Glorious at The Online Photographer
Fun fact: Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected area in the lower 48. [Thanks John—I added this to the post, along with a hat tip to you. --Mike]
SSD yes! And clean those fans and vents, especially if you have pets and carpeting and have the computer tucked into a cubby or on the floor beneath the desk. You can pull an entire dust bunny from them if you've never cleaned them and your PC will run much cooler, which will make it faster.
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2017 on The Computer Has Landed at The Online Photographer
I'm not a clotheshorse like my father was but I cringe whenever I see a photographer out in public dressed sloppily, especially if they are stretching or bending themselves for a unique angle and as a result pieces of flesh that were not meant for public consumption are momentarily exposed to the light of day. So I try to dress discretely but neatly, with a comfortable set of shoes, my shirt (or undershirt, at least) tucked in, and sometimes a cap with a short brim that won't get in the way when I bring the camera up to my eye. In urban or urban-light settings, the camera bag should be discrete and not yell, "I'm a photographer!" And never never never do I use my belt to hang a lens bag or some fancy camera quick release thingamajig that turns my camera into a Sig-Sauer and me into Jason Bourne, photographer. Leave those accouterments to the khaki vest wearing, Tilley hat adorning photo poseur or, as I like to say, "phoseur." Oh...wait...(reads other comments)...nevermind.
Pentax K-01
I use Evernote for note-taking and saving things of interest for future use in stories. The organization system (notebooks and tags) is very easy to use and the search system makes it very easy to find something I filed years ago but need now. Browser plug-ins make it easy to save web pages. One Evernote feature that I haven't found elsewhere is OCR of all images. I can take a photo of a document with the Evernote phone app (or a screengrab of a web page) and automagically the text of that photo/document is searchable. The company has had some financial struggles recently but I am comforted by the fact that I can export everything to another system (i.e., Microsoft OneNote) should the company ever perish. Highly recommended. P.S. - RE: laziness. Remember, "you are who you pretend to be."* You're doing a good job of pretending to be a prolific blogger and self-employed entrepreneur. * The Internet attributes this to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. but I can't quite recall another source that may predate him.
Toggle Commented Jan 17, 2017 on Book Report at The Online Photographer
I was in the exact same predicament last year, Mike, and ended up abandoning Mac for Intel's version of the Mini, the oddly named Skull Canyon. Quad-core I7 cpu, up to 32GB RAM, support for ultra-fast SSD (NvME, faster than SATA), Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and, lo and behold an SD card reader on the front. Add Win 10, simmer for 20 minutes and Bob is your uncle. I do have to roll up my sleeves a little more frequently to deal with drivers and stuff, but otherwise the machine hums. For anyone spending most of their days in Adobe's Creative Suite and a web browser, the OS hardly matters anymore and the transition is quite easy.
Oh, and I highly recommend Pramoedya Ananta Toer's "This Earth of Mankind," the first of his Buru Quartet. Toer's personal story is incredible in and of itself-he was a political prisoner in Indonesia and "wrote" some of his books while imprisoned. But since he did not have a pen or paper (they were afraid of his words), he worked on the stories by telling them to fellow inmates. And the Buru Quartet is something to behold. Happy reading.
2016 may go down as both the worst year of my life and the best year of my life. Actually, I'd like to think that the best is yet to come. That's up to me, though, and I intend to make it so. Here's to 2017, Mike! Bring it on.
If we can geek out on words a bit, here's a great list of words that are their own opposites- It's quantum grammar!
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2016 on Reflections on Size at The Online Photographer
I am currently stuck with a Honda S2000 but it's not my fault; nobody's made a 2 seat convertible that I want to replace it with. The new Miata is nice, but it would be a sideways move. A Boxster would be nice and in many ways a step up, but additional performance on the track does not always mean more fun on the street. And I eschew conspicuous status symbols. Oh well, I guess I'll have to suffer another winter with snow tires, drifting at will through intersections and chasing redlines and apexes in the spring... You should throw some snows on your current ride and spend the winter hunting down an old Miata for the Spring.
At this price it's certainly not going to win over users from competing systems but it is going to give current M43 users a camera to aspire/upgrade to.
Looking forward to it, Mike! Don't agonize over wordcount, just let those ideas flow from you mind to your keyboard.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2016 on The Book, the Book at The Online Photographer
I once lost an SD card reader at the beginning of a motorcycle assignment, likely left behind in a Vegas hotel room. I would have been unable to backup and post photos online for the remainder of the trip were it not for the generosity of another traveler who just happened to have a reader he let me borrow every evening. Since then, I've made it a point to always purchase a laptop with an SD card reader built-in; makes it a lot harder to lose. The new Macbook Pro is a non-starter for me, for that reason alone, and for the first time in over a dozen years I don't have a Mac as either a desktop or laptop machine.
Well this is a novel use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk! I daresay it's not a representative sample though - if you look at the amount that is being paid for the tasks requested you'll see that the pay scale is very very (let me add another one...) very low and thus likely attracting people from a very thin socioeconomic sliver of society. Take a look - It will be interesting to see this theory tested by other researchers to ascertain it's real value. If it pans out, it will be even more interesting to point the machine at the works of Cartier-Bresson, Kertesz, Eisenstaedt, Lange, and others.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2016 on Markers of Depression at The Online Photographer