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David Dyer-Bennet
Minneapolis
Programmer, SF fan, photographer
Recent Activity
Limit as H approaches 0? It's not really represented in straight text except in English as above, but it's drawn as: It needs the little "lim" to clearly mean that.
I was never a wideangle guy. Except...I got a 24mm/2 (Nikon) in 1983 (for a trip to Australia and New Zealand), as an extension of the 28-90 Vivitar Series 1 I was using at the time. And then I got a 20mm (Nikon) (for a trip to England). And then I got a 17mm (Tokina I think?) (for a different trip to England). And then I got a 12-24mm (Sigma) (no excuse). So...maybe I got over it? Don't have any of those any more, they were all for Nikon. I never used the 17mm much. Was very pleased to find the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 for Micro Four Thirds (15mm angle-of-view equivalent for full frame). It's manual focus, but the DOF is so monstrous that's not much trouble. It's plenty fast for something that wide. And it's fairly cheap (I think it was $500 when I got it). Wide lenses are a problem for M43. It's one annoyance is some visible barrel distortion (at least when a building line that's parallel to the edge of the frame is also close to the edge of the frame). At f/4 about '10' on the Adobe Camera Raw correction fixes it. (Unlike some, I take no issue with lenses that use the optical capabilities to correct things that can't be fixed later, and to keep the price down, and depend on digital tricks to fix the things digital can fix perfectly. I'd be happier if it managed to encode that info into the files so ACR did it automatically when I turned on corrections, though.)
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2020 on Which Superwideangle? at The Online Photographer
I've written one recently. Though, mine is specific to the project, and not trying to pin myself to the specimen board in general. But then I've always thought of artist's statements as specific to the project. Being an artist is a constant process of development and discovery, isn't it? So any fixed statement you make you will move beyond quite quickly.
Have been working on two personal photography projects (very unusual for me to do defined projects; I remember I did one senior year of highschool, and I've been working on a one-day-a-year one since about 1987...). One of which is very relevant here. Borrowing the idea (and name) from local photographer Stuart Klipper I've been photographing "solar intrusions" during lockdown—interesting patterns made when beams of sunlight coming through the windows fall on parts of objects inside. Closest to abstracts I've ever done, too.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2020 on Access at The Online Photographer
For event photography, getting hired for the job gives you the access :-) Not as strongly, but somewhat the same for photojournalism (Jim Marshall had the only press pass for the last Beatles concert, wasn't it?). If you're chosen as a Whitehouse photographer that gives some of the access. But for the high-demand spaces, who they hire or credential will be a very small portion of the who apply or want the position; those choices will be mediated by who they know, but also by who has a good history of producing results. (To some degree, photojournalism is just event photography of events too many people want to photograph!)
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2020 on Access at The Online Photographer
It's laugh-out-loud funny; viewfinder flexibility used to be a definite hallmark of the top-level professional cameras, like the Nikon F. You could use it with a simple prism, or a metered prism, or a waist-level finder; and you could put a right-angle magnifying adapter on the prism eyepieces, too. Then, suddenly, just a few decades ago...viewfinder flexibility was suddenly an amateur feature, found in the consumer cameras but not the professional cameras. Which I found hugely annoying; being able to get the high and low angles without lying on the ground (or floating in the air!) was wonderful, and I could do it more easily with my toy camera than my good camera. As far back as my Miranda, I used the poor-mans waist-level viewfinder (remove the prism and just look down onto the screen, no shades around it) quite a lot to get a variety of angles more easily. As to why videographers need fancy viewfinders—you try running along smoothly with your head 18 inches off the ground and facing the flat screen on the back of the camera, keeping everything nicely framed! Did you ever look at what the optical viewfinders of professional motion picture cameras could do? They were some of the most amazing bits of optical wizardry I've ever seen. Just short of being a gooseneck that conveyed an image out the end! Of course later it was "video assist", putting a video camera on the end of that viewfinder, so it could be duplicated and remoted further away and such.
Interesting. I've never found a charger that was fast enough to count on in the middle of sessions; hence I've always owned enough batteries to get through without charging any during the shoot. Then I can charge them overnight, which means the speed of charging isn't too important. I do often end up with multiple chargers; when I buy third-party batteries they often come with a charger, and that's useful.
Still confused about the model number ordering being backwards, but I guess that's a Canon thing, and I've never been a Canon shooter (R5 more expensive than R6). I've had dual card slots for a while now, and so far have never used them in earnest (I do play with things). Never lost a file on a memory card in 20 years of shooting. What's right there will depend a lot on what they expect buyers of these new bodies to already have. I've been out of CF for a couple of years yet, so the dual-UHS-II sounds vastly more attractive to me. But I'm not the market since I never actually use them. (Lately I've been letting an old slow but very large card sit in the second slot for backup. But haven't resorted to images from it. Can't hurt though, unless it slows things down.)
Olympus appears to represent my two biggest mistakes in camera choosing. Going to the OM-4 in 1987 wasn't good for me (having multi-spot metering didn't help as much as I had thought), and I switched back to Nikon for the autofocus in 1994. And going to just Micro Four Thirds the other fall is turning out also to be a bad choice. I'm dithering between trying to get out fast (no idea where I'd go) and buying another body and hoping I can make it last out my active photographic days. My very first choice, a Miranda Sensorex, wasn't wonderful, but it involved fewer bodies and lenses and hence less money. Plus it was my first SLR purchase ever, gotta start somewhere.
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2020 on Olympus R.I.P.? at The Online Photographer
The obvious way to ship medium to large prints is rolled in a tube (or at least in triangle boxes, still rolled). From your writing and Ctein's (and practice, in both cases) about shipping prints, avoiding tubes pretty assiduously, I assume there are some fairly serious drawbacks? (At some point, for operations below museum scale prints just get too big to consider shipping flat, though, don't they?) I know about the print acquiring a semi-permanent curvature. I can also imagine careless rolling scuffing the surface. Are those the main problems, are they bigger than I think? Or, as usual—what am I missing?
I shot several hundred pictures in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder by our Minneapolis police, and have been working with them since. It's been leading me to think about process, and "work" on photos, both when shooting and afterwords. I see myself approaching a particular subject (the subjects in this project are plywood or OSB panels people have put up to protect windows, which have then had art / graffiti / slogans painted on them) often from multiple directions and distances, even for a completely static subject. My admiration for Ansel Adams says "previsualize"; shouldn't I just walk around the static subject (it'll wait for me!) and find the right shot? I think my answer here is "Yeah, I should, if I were Ansel Adams." My real area of photography (the one I'm any good at) is people interacting on their own—candid photography. That both requires very fast action (they won't wait for me!), and doesn't give me a lot of time to do complicated exposure jiggering, or thinking through renderings, or any of that. So when I see something interesting I get a quick shot, and then try to find improvements on it, by waiting for them to change expression or position, or by moving around to shoot from different positions, or whatever. I frequently shoot what used to be "a whole roll of film" on one small interaction, and will be happy if I get one useful shot from it. Well, when I occasionally go out and shoot static subjects, I use "working the subject" as a substitute for adequate pre-visualization of what each shot I take will end up looking like. I have had to go back to locations and re-shoot because the first set had problems I wasn't happy about. That's a really clear-cut example of not paying enough attention during the original shooting—I have habits from working fast which don't help me doing work that doesn't require "fast". And sometimes people show up and become part of these shots, and it's useful to me to be able to incorporate them; I find they often make the shot more interesting. Processing the extra shots after the fact doesn't bother me, since I'm used to muchhigher levels of over-shooting in dynamic situations, and have the tools and attitude to cope with that. I am, in fact, a typical amateur who tries to do too many things. But they're all fun! And I want the photos.
Nice edit, Moose! I was thinking the places where the near trees overlapped the far shore would be annoying (and maybe they were; but your result is good that way). (Would be harder to do to stand up to a gallery-size print!)
It didn't occur to me to ask my parents for a subscription to Life for my photo interest. It probably should have.
It took me a while to figure out what you were describing as "scratches" in the gecko print. But I was bothered by the same visual element, I just didn't label it that way. It's prominent enough that it messes up my attempt to read the center portion as a reverse silhouette. Maybe I'm not supposed to? But I didn't just catch it from you, that's the way my brain is interpreting the image also. I really love this print critique thing. I hope you keep it going a long time. This is exactly what I like about TOP.
Maybe the 40-150/2.8 Olympus. Because it offers a range I've never had before and have always wanted. But, except at roller derby, I shoot more with the 20/1.7 Panasonic and the Olympus 45/1.8. I find I don't use the Panasonic/Leica 25/1.4 as much as you might expect; too close to the 20/1.7 and much bigger to carry around. The Voigtlander Nokton 17.5/0.95 is big and heavy and still too close to the 20/1.7. (It's so weird having reached a tech stage where faster lenses aren't be be-all and end-all for my photography!)
For me: #1 YES! I definitely miss pictures of old places I worked, the early computers I worked with, and places I lived, especially short-term, 6 months to a year in a few places, or a few months in the summer. I'd also like more pictures of myself from those periods (but with friends; not sure I could really have done this on my own too well, but I had photographer friends). A good bit of that was simply the expense of film at the time, for me. #2 Yes! That's always good. Mine is pretty clean from when I started organizing it at all seriously (about 8th grade) through 1986, then goes pretty bad, and then when it became all digital it got good again (around 2002). #3 No! I'm glad I went digital as soon as I did. Digital is just so much better for the kind of photo work I do. #4 Yes. Or, well, I think I already did. #5 Maybe. I didn't spend that much time. I'd change my first "good camera" purchase (Miranda Sensorex) to either Pentax or Nikon, and skip the first Olympus excursion (1987-1994, OM-4T; went back to Nikon when it became obvious autofocus mattered to me). Spent a lot of time looking at medium-format gear, and maybe should have owned more serious stuff there (at times I had a Yashicamat 124G, a Fuji GS645, and a Norita Graflex; the Yashica was the only one that did me much good). #6 No! I would have printed larger. One of the clearest things having more money, and digital printing, have shown me is that I and most other people like photos considerably larger than they were reasonably able to get them in the film era, and I would attempt to work with that. I do not particularly wish I had started TOP :-). But if you had done so earlier, I would have hoped to find it (or just finding it closer to when you started it) .
Viewfinders have always been this dark, cramped thing I have to cope with to guess how my pictures might look. This was true with fixed-lens cameras, rangefinders, TLRs, SLRs, view cameras...basically everywhere. Some were worse than others (or better than others; same thing!). But the big issue was that they restricted my ability to to see what was going on outside the frame—and hence what was about to intrude, or what wonderful opportunity existed, or something. (Well—unless I framed very loosely and planned to crop; which, with 35mm as my main arena and low light my natural home, I tried to avoid overdoing.) (And of course the rangefinders often did give me a small amount of view beyond the edge of the frame; the Leica M3 did for example.) Mostly didn't matter with view cameras, I didn't try to shoot action with them! Similarly, mattered less, mostly, with the TLRs, same reason. Using a back screen to compose (which I did on my first digital P&S some, and on my modern mirrorless some) lets me keep more situational awareness, using my peripheral vision. That's useful when things are changing rapidly. They aren't, as you say, much good in direct sunlight, but such a tiny percentage of my photos are taken in sunlight! It's hardly an issue, and there are multiple ways to shade it enough to be useful (and my experience with dark tunnels let me infer a lot from hard-to-see LCDs). (And TLR and view camera viewscreens aren't that good in direct sunlight either! View cameras are famous for the dark-cloths we put over our heads and the camera to be able to see the image at all. That works great with an LCD back also, if your subject is sufficiently static.) LCDs (either on the back, or through the viewfinder of a mirrorless body) tell me additional information about what the photo will look like, that a direct view of reality doesn't. I'm not actually capturing reality! I can only capture my camera's interpretation of it, and knowing what that is is useful. Seeing the actual reality can be down-right distracting, I can get side-tracked chasing something my camera won't capture if I'm not careful. Of course in the pre-digital era one tried to learn enough to predict accurately what you would get! It's just easier now, the camera comes closer to really telling you. (Being able to select B&W viewfinder mode is something I do so rarely; I wonder why? It fits my theory of what's useful.)
Have to admit, I've seen so much snake-oil selling about cables that I'm solidly in the "I know it doesn't make a difference" camp. Why should I waste my time and give expert influencers a chance to to trick me? Especially when the high-end golden-ears have all learned they must not, ever engage in any kind of blind trial. This proves to me they know it's snake oil, they know they can't tell the difference.
This one I find the story somewhat more interesting than the print. But the story is interesting and the print supports it rather than fighting it, to my eye. (I hardly ever like low-contrast prints including about all platinum/palladium prints I've seen; can't remember exceptions, but I do think I have seen some that I liked.) And I can imagine this being a lot of fun to think of and do, if I were already working in that sort of process. It's interesting to see your reaction before you read the artist's notes, and then after. I'm glad you chose to present it that way (I mean, I have to trust you on the order you say you did things, but I'm perfectly happy to do so). Thanks to Frank Gorga for submitting this print to the public gaze!
I'm pretty sure my 65-year-old ears are much cheaper ears than my 30-year-old ears were. But back when, speakers were the main key thing (mid 70s, when I bought my first stereo), and they most certainly were not all the same. Probably because they were the least accurate thing in the system. There's a bit of an analogy to digital photography work here actually. Getting to a fully color-managed workflow has made things vastly easier. Audio hasn't done that yet; but we're closer than we were in the mid 70s! (Fewer bad speakers from anybody trying to be decent, fewer bad anything.)
The pure GoPro approach I didn't like, but it still might work to provide the POV insert shots. And some or all of them are 4K -- and is there really any need for more than 720p? For most YouTube uploads? Which means you have huge room for both stabilization and cropping in how you use the footage. Your phone, and some of your cameras, all shoot magnificent video, so it's easy to set yourself up with a complicated editing challenge. The basic trick is, you put a camera somewhere because you can, rather then because you need to. There are a surprising number of useful instructional videos on YouTube that are a single take with the presenter in front of a fixed camera. Many of them look horrid. They're still useful. If you're going to do post-production, the question is what software suite. Useful answers are several to many hundreds of dollars, or $50/month (Adobe). Plus a learning curve worse than Photoshop (there's so much more there). For print crit, I'd have a camera pointed at my face and a camera pointed at the print, and I'd cut them together later, just quickly. Print close enough that I could gesture with my hands and have that show on the print camera. (Or you could do it live in OBS studio which is free software, but that means you're thinking about two conflicting creative things at once; for me that's not a recipe for good outcomes.)
Toggle Commented May 15, 2020 on Mike + Video = ? at The Online Photographer
The big brand-name is "GoPro". Head or helmet mounts are common (they're small and light enough, it's easy). And they have competition. It's an application that repays active stabilization in the camera, perhaps not surprisingly. But no, nothing particularly hard about it. Video in general tends to repay work and planning, and can of course consume up through an infinite amount of resources (Hollywood block-buster movies). As you know from YouTube, the standards aren't that high. 87 other people probably already answered, but no sign of it here, so I'll answer too.
I'm very amused at the argument with the last student—especially that she instantly recognized the "foot" requirement as absurd and was willing to say so. You would have been kind of stuck if she'd turned in 24 boring very similar pictures each with a foot in them, though! It's interesting that she took on the assignment seriously enough (eventually) to manage at least one good picture in it. I've never tried teaching art. I don't think I have the background to manage anything like judging artistic merit (I can have at least somewhat useful opinions about technical problems in photography). And of course "artistic merit" is somewhere between nonsense and a matter of opinion anyway—and yet some artists consistently produce much better work than others.
Toggle Commented May 5, 2020 on The Terms of Success at The Online Photographer
You don't say anything about size. But...gotta be the same size we're making for ourselves, right? Because prints at different sizes don't get made identically (by good printers). Do you have a religious position against rolling in tubes?
Toggle Commented May 5, 2020 on Print Critique at The Online Photographer
The question becomes, what can you do with prints? Printing for sales, or doing custom printing for clients, is great, because at the end of the job the print leaves your house! But if you're printing your own work for yourself...you run out of wall space. And your parents run out of wall space. And you run out of friends. I was getting low on wall space 30 years ago, and my parents are now dead. Drop-front storage boxes are the solution to this problem, of course!