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"Cameras Are Always About Lenses for Me" "Yes", I think, I've changed the bodies I use, but kept the lenses I love. Then, I ask myself why I changed bodies, if it's all about the lenses. The answer is that the new bodies allow me to use the virtues of the lenses to greater effect. And that has, once again, proved to be true in practice. So I'm sticking to the mantra that photography is about vision, and the cameras and lenses that allow me to capture what I see.
I had simply forgotten about this project. Imagine my surprise when I got up in the morning after working last night on a photo from the Worcester Art Museum last Fall to see this post. Old and New Shot as seen. Not a multiple exposure, superposition, etc. Anyone familiar with the top floor of the WAM will understand how this juxtaposition happened.
". . . filled with pictures that are just devoid of meaning, feeling, specificity, or any interest in the subject matter whatsoever . . . there's no there there. There seems to be a meaning but there isn't." Might I suggest that meaning is not inherent in the object, but a creation of the mind of the observer?
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2020 on Test Shots at The Online Photographer
"A person who is introverted and likes solitude might gravitate to landscape, for instance. An adrenaline junkie might become a combat or adventure photographer. A person who loves problem-solving and a variety of challenges might become a studio advertising photographer, working to realize the visions of agency art directors." A person who is simply drawn to the beauty of the world and the people in it might take pictures of that beauty and share them in hopes that others might also receive the emotional, spiritual, whatever, effects, as well. For some, this may turn into a commercial venture, for others, that may not be possible, appealing and/or necessary. Many words have been spilt about Vivian Maier's failure to capitalize on her photography for fame and fortune. I've not "heard" any suggesting that she may have been aware of the possibility, and chosen not to pursue it. Emily Dickinson is cool for her approach to her poetry; we get to decide how to pursue our own vision. [Yes. As I always say, you own your own photography. --Mike]
Toggle Commented Mar 7, 2020 on Learning and Looking at The Online Photographer
"At 63, it's worthwhile for me to remember that this age was the average life expectancy for American males in 1944, which was just a few blinks ago in galactic time." That's my birth year, with my birthday coming up in a couple of weeks. So, one might assume I've beat the odds by quite a bit. But that's a common misreading of the statistic. "There is a basic distinction between life expectancy and life span,” says Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel, a leading scholar of ancient Roman demography. “The life span of humans – opposed to life expectancy, which is a statistical construct – hasn’t really changed much at all, as far as I can tell."* My age is comfortably within normal life span. No panic. * Source.
With a web connection, I settled on Google Photos, after trying several. The tiled display of small versions is visually outstanding. I upload only files that will fit on screen without scaling, and Google doesn't mess them up. Their albums let one very easily and quickly create custom portfolios with drag and drop or from photos already in the database. Uploading photos is a snap. Without web connection, I hope someone else has a great suggestion. My iPad is a mini. If I want to show my photos, I use my portable, which folds over to become a tablet. Lightroom Classic's highly customizable interface with a Collection is a decent display app for a portfolio on the computer, sans web connection.
"—it's not all Fuji all the time here—" Even though it sometimes seems to be so? [Sorry! (Rueful grin.) --Mike]
I'm not sure I get this. I commented No on the last post, for the simple reason that the premise was entirely too narrow and un-nuanced to be meaningful to me.* I don't like everything. I don't have A favorite, composer, or performer. I have many composers, individual pieces and performers that I love. I suppose one might call them joint favorites? That doesn't seem weird to me. It seems like a reasonable, human and enjoyable way to relate not just to music, but to the world. For example, I think Tom Waits is a genius, but don't really like listening to him perform his songs. But then Holly Cole, an otherwise perfectly fine jazz singer with her own combo, comes along and treats 15 of his songs to deep, sensuous, gorgeous performances. But that's just one album; I can't make that my favorite. And then, what is the favorite, song writer or performer? Where does Laurindo Almeida performing Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, with the MJQ fit? A favorite of mine. I might even have A favorite theme and variations composition, and performer, Prem Joshua's Raga Taranga. Never heard of it? I find it fabulous. But that's only one, narrow category. And I have to say I really enjoyed George Lopez' live performance of Bach's Goldberg, in an ex-swimming pool converted into an lovely intimate concert venue. He sounded fine in the deep end, and didn't mumble! Spice of Life Moose (That would be the other George Lopez.) * OK, I get the tongue in cheek aspect, but perhaps not why.
"Similar tragedies happen every day across this country and the world, but we hear about them, and feel them, when they happen to larger-than-life, high-profile people. Those deaths stand for all the others that happen in silence and that pass by without public notice." I wonder how universally true that is. I'm not generally much moved by the deaths of high profile people, unless I felt some sort of connection to them before, and I'd like not to believe I'm a freak. The same day you posted this, Rosa came to clean our house. She told me how she had almost been in Mexico, but hadn't noticed that her passport had expired. She was to go to the funeral of a nephew. On the same day, I heard about Mr. Bryant, which didn't move me, and Rosa's nephew, which did. Rosa has been working for me for about 35 years. She's lived through my late wife's illness and death and I through her son's illness and death. We aren't really friends, but we are close. Her loss was mine, too. Oddly enough, his death was private here, but very public in Mexico. He was a well known actor, who died in an accident while shooting a movie scene, along with another actor, who grabbed the nephew, trying to save himself, inadvertently pulling him into a joint death. It was screaming headline, full front page news, there. With strident calls for greater care of the safety of actors in the Mexican Movie and TV business. What's public, what's private. Which should move us more? I don't know for sure; just askin'.
Toggle Commented Jan 28, 2020 on Public Deaths at The Online Photographer
Staying away from swamps and journalism: "Their reasons for doing what they did were sound, but the overall effect was a negative one: they limited their own publicity and effectively "walled off" their work from the online audience." Are you writing about about money, or about fame? Success seems to be measured by "better known", and the losers are "previously famous". And yet, one of these losers would ". . . drop off his portfolio at museums and work toward gallery shows and try to get his pictures published in art books" And the other, ". . . explained that his photographs were his livelihood . . ." May I assume that they made their livings from photography? Do we know if those who '"grew followers" and began to become better known.', make a living at it? I'm not saying you are wrong about any of what you say, but I am suggesting that you may have confabulated two related, but separate subjects. I have no dog in this altercation. I am sure that I am a good enough photographer to make money at it. I have no doubt that professional photography is a business, and quite unlike my amateur status, where I shoot what I want and present it as I like. I also suspect that fame is a seriously mixed blessing I can live without. "Fame and Fortune" have always struck me as poor bedfellows. You take Fame, I'll take Fortune.
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2020 on Open Mike: Good News at The Online Photographer
Might I suggest that all this theory and rules of thumb stuff is just that - stuff? It's useful to actually take pictures and look carefully at the results, to learn how your lenses produce images, on your sensor/film. Back when I was a rookie, I read all this stuff about how horrible things would get at small apertures (on 35 mm film). And how it got worse at close distances Then I shot a series of photos of tiny daisies (fleabane) with tripod mounted Olympus 135/4.5 macro lens across the whole range from f4.5 to f45. Guess what? Diffraction softening wasn't noticeable, on film, with 4000 dpi scans, until f32. Even then it was outweighed, for my purposes, by increased DoF making more of the subject in focus. F45 was, finally, worse. Many years later, a couple of members of the OM list wrote about the horrors of diffraction softening at f8 or smaller apertures on 4/3 size sensors. Pragmatist that I am, I shot tests. They were simply wrong, with the sensors of the time, at least. F11 was fine, if not quite ideal, and the extra DoF useful for some subjects. Now that the sensors have more megapickles, 20 vs. 12 then, f8 is my general limit. The generalizations also may not apply at extremes. Optimium aperture at the long end of my PLeica 100-400 is F7.1, only about 1/3 stop from wide open. There's a small, but noticeable, improvement in that tiny step down, almost none then to f8, and slowly downhill from there.
I don't care about OoF dog's noses, I do dislike OoF people's noses. Soft ears are OK, though. \;~)> But, about perspective; in the link you provide to 300 mm fashion shots, notice that he is careful to keep all of her body close to the focal plane. Even on the sofa, her legs are pulled up close against the cushions. Ages ago, Modern Photography did a wonderful series about perspective. Shooting a model longing on a beach, leaning back a bit, with her legs out straight to the camera, they changed subject distance to maintain the same size on film. With a wide lens, she has long, skinny legs, with a long lens, short, fat legs. Same things with noses, their apparent size, relative to the rest of the face, varies with distance to the face. I am, in fact, a fan of using long lenses for portraits with nice subject/background separation, without too shallow (to my taste) DoF in the subject. But paying attention to perspective effects is useful.
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2020 on Big Bokeh on a Budget at The Online Photographer
"Greg adds: "Manufacturer's f-stop designations for photographic mirror/reflex are the worst." The difference between f-stop and t-stop?" I believe Mark is right. As I am sometimes quite geeky, and had several mirror lenses at one time, from 350/5.6 to 1000/11, and including the Sigma 600/8, I measured the actual front lens and the mirror mount in the middle, and did the math. All came out quite close to the stated F-stop, which is simply a physical ratio. Transmission is another matter, of course.
I just don't get lists like this. Is there some governing body that requires magazine writers and bloggers to do such lists? Everyone has such different needs and desires. I can personally trim your list instantly: No IBIS? ====> trash bin. Fixed prime lens? ====> trash bin. "Best for the Least" or "An expensive pair" First: does it do what I want? Then, and only then: what does it cost? If I received a gift of any of these cameras/lenses, I would immediately sell it. None of them would improve my ability to do what I want, photographically. The one possible exception might be the iPhone. But I already made my choice a few weeks ago, opting for the Xs. The extra WA lens on the 11 Pro doesn't do anything for me, and the Max is too big. I can make an app recommendation for the iPhone. Halide makes a better job of optimizing IQ than any of the several other phone photo apps I've tried. "What impressed or tempted you most during the last year?" I put my money where my mouth is, buying three Panny GX9s. It was the right choice for me. Perfect? No, but mostly niggles. We were on the road, US, Asia, Europe, for 92 days. I often had three cameras on my body. I can't think of better cameras for our 1/4 of 2019 on the road.
Toggle Commented Jan 1, 2020 on Best Cameras of 2019 at The Online Photographer
I wouldn't be looking to the 'Bay, but to my closet. It would be an Olympus OM, as that's what I liked and used from the early '70s to digital. For Purity of Essence, OM-1 For Auto Exposure, OM-2n For more sophisticated exposure control, OM-4(T(i)) Best of the lot, for several reasons. The Nikon FG was also a very nice, compact, AE camera, should one happen to have a nice MF Nikkor lens at hand.
Huh? Who?
"How is it that a deliberately retro digital looks more 2020 and up-to-date than a black-blob polycarbonate DSLR?" It doesn't. All a matter of taste, and ours differ. Yes, all the Fuji models with fake prism humps look a great deal like the old Fuji 35 mm cameras. They were ugly then (yes, I've owned one, probably still do, somewhere), and they are ugly now. As to the sea of CaNikon plastic looking blobs, they are all neither good nor bad looking, just what largely competent, 21st century DSLRs look like. Pretty much form following function. A little flash of red on a blob; how can anyone care, one way or the other? I thought rangefinders awful, as a matter of use. Now I have mirrorless cameras styled after film rangefinders, and think they look decent. But that's not why I have them.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2019 on New Look for Nikons at The Online Photographer
Black Friday deal caught me; I upgraded my cell phone. Not for the camera, though. A bigger, brighter screen called to me. There is this lens, though . . .
"There are online printing services, but the couple of times I’ve tried them, I’ve been disappointed with the results. Your take may vary of course." I can understand the joy of craft, the sheer pleasure of handling prints and materials. I also very much enjoy the process of choosing and ordering the images; finding opposing page photos that complement each other. As another data point, I have printed several photo books using online printing services, and the results have been excellent. People who go through these books almost universally comment on the quality of paper, printing and binding.ac A snapshot of most of the books I've made. These were all made using My Publisher, which has been bought by Shutterfly. I did reprint one short one using Shutterfly. It was subtly less fine, but only upon close inspection. As I've been impressed with the prints I've had made by Printique (nee Adoramapix), I'll use them for my next book.
Out of GAS Yes, indeedy, the offers pour in: My inbox overfloweth. And indeed, many of the Black Friday Specials are nothing but the last special prices, occasionally less a % or two. My problem is that nothing in that sea of specials, or indeed, in the current offerings of photo gear, is necessary, even useful, to my work. I've got the itch, I can feel it, I wander about the web, looking at all the new stuff. I almost bought a new lens on a real sale, but was realist enough to know that it would just sit in a drawer after a few test shots. I can't even buy software! DxO has an upgrade to their PhotoLab software. I don't use it all that much, but it does the occasional thing PS doesn't. (And, I wanna buy something.) But, it requires Win 8 or 10. I'm still on 7, both because I dislike the 10 interface and because of my need for the XP virtual machine in 7 for old application development software. Out of Gas?
Toggle Commented Nov 22, 2019 on Everything's On Sale at The Online Photographer
The solution is obvious, a "pre-need" donation of your archive. You won't get the Met, but all you need is a small museum or college program that can attract an intern to do the work. \;~)>
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2019 on Orgadisnization at The Online Photographer
"(it's a mirror image)" But need not be. Since the advent of glass plate photography, it's been possible to reverse images. Just sayin' \;~)>
"Obviously the GX8 sold poorly, because it's not going to get a Mark II revision (if it were going to, it already would have)." When "serious", which accounts for the vast majority of my photos, I shoot with two cameras around my neck. For about a year, and 2,500+ GX7 shots, that pair were an E-M5 and GX7. Although ergonomically quite different, they were photographically close to indistinguishable, including the IBIS. The E-M5 II had new capabilities that put an end to the earlier pair. But I was still intimately familiar with the GX7 when the GX8 came out. I couldn't believe they'd taken that lovely little body and bulked it up so much - for no reason(s) apparent to me. Even without the new Oly, there's no way I was going to buy that monster. "In terms of function it sorely needed a Mark II revision, though. The shutter left some questions about shutter shock, and the IBIS was not very well implemented." The follow on models, GX85 and GX9, simply went back to the GX7 size and form factor, while addressing all of the shortcomings you list, fixing or improving all, plus adding other useful (to me) features. Tastes and needs vary; ergonomics are mysterious. I now am shooting GX9s, in spite of the egregious, flip-up EVF that tries to drive me mad. As with the GX7 and 8, Panny makes other, larger µ4/3 bodies. the G9 has some features desirable to me, but not worth the size and weight. I suspect the GX8 died of obesity. The diopter adjustment on the GX7 was a horizontal slider on the bottom of the flip-up module. On the GX9, it's a dial on the side. Somehow, the EVF on the GX9s flips up partially or fully from bags, straps and clothing much more easily then the GX7. When up just a little, it throws the whole alignment of eye, subject and camera body off; I don't see what I expect from relationship between hand head and hand position and subject location. When it flips up all the way, whatever flipped it up apparently brushes against the diopter dial, and changes it. The feature that you loved on the GX8 is now my nemesis.
". . . the big, beautiful diopter control is awesome." Only if it is not easily changed in handling. If it's push or pull and turn, OK, maybe awesome. As I'm the only one who uses my cameras, and my eyesight changes little and very slowly, what I want is good range, reasonable ease of setting - and - most of all, that the setting doesn't change with handling and use of the body. This is not true of all of them.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2019 on New: Leica SL2 at The Online Photographer