Monday, 18 January 2010
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Friday, 15 January 2010
Reading the TOP camera of the year put me to thinking, as I occasionally do, as to what I'd be looking for in cameras. There will never be just one suitable, as far as I'm concerned, but I'm always on the look out for the ideal device - right tool for the job and all that.
So what am I looking for? Well, I break my camera needs down into 4 areas:
All about quality images - tripod mounted, moderate wide (I'm not a real wide angle fan) to moderate telephoto lenses.
I have a dilemma for my landscape photography. I really like the flexibility of movements my large format camera gives me, enabling a type of photography not really available with digital (even putting an MF back on a field camera isn't quite the same and T-S lenses don't have the same control due to the small format). And yet the latest crop of 35mm DLSRs are offering super resolution (I really like the whole Sony offering). I'm sort of torn between ditching the LF and not.
When in doubt, stay put.
Street (out and about in town)
Small, discrete, wide-ish normal lens. Responsive a plus. I'm sorely tempted by the M9 or the Olympus EP-1. My little Lx3 has never really quite cut it. My preferred camera is my Zeiss Ikon but film is a bit of a hassle, especially now I've moved.
Similar criteria to a street camera, except I like a moderate telephoto lens. But my overriding criterion is battery life. I'm sure I've ranted about this before. I need something that'll go 2-3 weeks on a couple of batteries and only the mid-level DLSRs seem to do that. I'm currently getting 900+ shots from the Canons and none of the smaller alternatives get close to 500 it seems.
I'd really like a micro 4/3 system or travelling but they've a way to go to be suitable for my needs.
Noting but the all-singing, all-dancing SLR system with the long lenses. I'm really happy with Canon gear and will probably stay put, maybe with an extra body later this year (let's see what the new models have to offer). Stronger low light capability would be nice, however.
I was going to wrap up this post talking about how digital cameras aren't addressing the full range of photography application, or maybe not fulfilling their full potential or some such. But then I thought some and that's not it.
With my film cameras I'm happy with simple devices. A mechanical means of trapping measured portions of light onto some film. No fancy features on any of them. And yet I never wanted more. And then along comes digital. Programmed marvels of computing technology trapping those light portions in all manner of fancy ways. That opens up a realm of possibilities in use and function and interface. No longer mechanical but malleable electronic wizardry. Therein lies the problem. All that possibility opened up fosters a desire for just so. Not quite perfection exactly (there's really no such thing) but everything one could want. Once the range of offerings has been tasted, it makes one realise all that could be achieved. Sufficiency is no longer enough.
That is maybe my problem with assessing digital cameras - I know what I want, see it all offered but spread across many products. And I then want the best bits of each condensed into a single device. Thence the dissatisfaction: reality not meeting promise.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
I've been catching up on my blog reading and came across the Landscapist talking of hyper-reality - the over sharpened world of digital photography.
That gave me an idea for a something of an exercise in the opposite direction. At the weekend I went out to take photos that aren't sharp, in fact decidedly out of focus. I set up the camera to approximate the angle of view and focus point that I have with my glasses off. Something of an experiment in presenting the unassisted view. Just what could I see without the remarkable technology that are spectacles? As a side benefit, it helps me understand exactly how much detail I really do normally see and perhaps take for granted.
I'll be posting a few of the results over the next few days both here and on my photo of the day.
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Let us start with the condition of an amateur photographer like me and probably you, too) who's in this for the love, not primarily to make money.
So how does this photographer assign value to his work? It must be worth something, and that may not necessarily be monetary. And if the aim is not primarily to make money, should it matter that anyone would wish to pay for it. And how does it measure up to others in the same position?
If you've asked those same sorts of questions, here are some thoughts I've been having on the subject (and you may also detect a hint of the economics reading I've been doing recently).
Let's start with the money bit. Any pictures I might produce or print have a very limited cost associated with them - the direct costs of reproduction. There is no cost associated with the making of my work. Remember the starting premise - don't do photography for the money, so I'd be doing my work regardless, for the pleasure it gives me. Therefore I cannot assign a value to my time: there is no opportunity cost of doing an activity I'd would do anyway. If I get to feeling that I need to assign monetary value to the time I spend doingg photography, that means that there would be something else I could or would be doing - suddenly I'm not doing it purely for the love.
But there are other qualities of value. the pleasure the product gives me. Memories it invokes for places I've been or emotions I've felt. The pleasure of seeing others enjoy my work - receiving praise thereby.
And I think one of the highest terms of value I might assign (although you may differ) would be that others (photographers especially) might want to own my work, either through a swap or other means. That's not that I want to actively market or make money, which defies the principle of my starting assumption.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
A slightly belated Happy New Year to all. I'm just back after my Christmas break, lucky to have escaped the latest wave of wintery weather sweeping the UK, which might well have seen me snow bound if I'd left any later. Balmy 27degC on landing in Manila. I'm now feeling drunk with jet lag.
I've had a pretty relaxing time overall. Quiet time a home with he family, avoiding external excursions due to the poor weather (not having much in the way of winter clothing - it's still in a shipping container - didn't help) and generally relaxing. I only checked my email once in 2 weeks (the only time I went near a computer) and managed to read 6 books in 12 days.
Therin lies the heart of the post title - I didn't once get out my camera the whole time. Didn't even feel the need to do some of my usual playing around with close-ups of the Christmas decorations. Strange for a photoblog, maybe, but it felt somewhat liberating not to be driven by a desire/need to take photos.