Before I discuss this crazy idea, I would like to mention some of the reasons behind it. I have a few constraints, either real or perceived. Winter is coming and the outdoor opportunities are more limited. Considering this along with a problem with my right hand that gets very cold, fingers turn white, and the skin shrivels up and it is harder to hold and use heavier cameras & lenses, I keep looking for opportunities to keep photographing. Next, I have more opportunities for indoor photography for Homewood publications, etc. in the winter, but most of the images are not suitable for my blog. Since I have been making pictures here for six years, some of the photographical interests can get repetitive. In addition to all of the above, my back has been bothering me more and it gets harder to make pictures. And then I remember all of the dozens of different cameras and lenses I have used over the years in order to expand my opportunities. In response to all of the above, I’m considering shifting most of my photography to one camera, one lens, the Fujifilm X100F, and changing my approach. But this change also has problems.
One of my major problems would be covering events, etc. without the use of a zoom lens. The first picture below was made with the X100F from the rear of the audience in the Omni Room when Sweetlife Music was playing. The second image is a crop from the first that has been resized. Could I conceivably get by with crops and upsizing? Maybe, depending on how much cropping was done and the final use of the image.
The following pictures were made with the X100F while I walked around the building as well as outside. The need for cropping in those cases was minimal and an effective 35mm lens was fine.
And then there is another problem. When I use the X100F I find that I like to make ACROS monotone images like these above, but the residents tend to prefer color. I could compromise and use color for the in house uses and limit the use of occasional B&W images to my blog.
I still have not yet decided to commit to this approach of adapting all of my photography to what I can do with the X100F with just its 35mm (e) lens; but I’m giving it a lot more attention. Before I could make such changes, I would need to try it out on the staff and residents some more to see what their reaction is since it might tend to be more disruptive when I got closer, and such a change would mean getting closer.
Reading and looking at other photography web sites I have realized two things. I am no longer interested in reading about new cameras, lenses, etc., i.e. gear; and second, I don’t get much out of looking at pretty pictures of places I’ll never have an opportunity to photograph. The question is, what do I enjoy in photography web sites?
I like pictures that make me think and wonder. I prefer seeing and reading about experiences that relate to me now. I like to see how others have photographed the common everyday things around them in their life. I like to read how others have managed to stay creative and expressive without going wildly off the deep end. I like stories. One pretty picture doesn’t do much for me. I like to learn about the life of others and how they live it.
The question now is, what should I do next? What should I write and/or photograph, or not, while remembering that I like to make pictures? I need a style and subject that enable me to take pictures each and every day without traveling. I need something to challenge me to study, learn, and practice throughout the day without spending more money.
I do have plenty of events and activities to photograph here for Homewood for the rest of the year, but that isn’t going to help me much with my blog.
I’m sitting and staring out my window wondering what I’ll photograph and write for my blog this winter. When I acquired my X100F camera I thought about just photographing and blogging about my experiences on a day by day basis. The more I think about this it just seems harder and harder. It isn’t hard to take the pictures, it is just that my current lifestyle is quite laid back, some might say boring or very repetitive.
I’m not concerned by cross currents in the winds aloft; but I am very concerned about the ones within our society …. especially the ones based on knowledge vs. those based on short term profits, and the impact on us.
As an example, consider the economics of weather impacts, for now I’ll just mention hurricanes. The economic impacts of hurricanes are enormous, but the politicians don’t want to recognize the facts since they are funded by corporations with short term interests. When large hurricanes come ashore, they increasingly plow through denser population developments. This is because our populations tend to congregate in more urban developments along the edges of the oceans. At the same time our urban densities are increasing, so are hurricanes with larger areas of widespread major rainfall; therefore, floods cause a lot more damage now.
How do we respond? Our major network news outlets, also funded by the corporations, give the storms major coverage when they hit, but little to no coverage afterwards. Thousands of homeowners and small businesses are destroyed and many people are out of work for a long time until the economy recovers, but does it? The TV networks don’t spend any time covering the aftermath.
What usually happens is that the government is burdened with larger and larger costs to provide relief and loans. It seems to me that a lot of this goes to rebuilding in the same areas, just so that they can be destroyed and rebuilt again after the next time …. often multiple times. Yes, some of the rebuilt buildings are stronger and better able to withstand damage the next time, but don’t forget the next storms will more likely also be even stronger.
For those who are thinking that is why we have insurance, that insurance will cover it … it doesn’t. In the best of cases insurance only covers a portion of the overall cost. Also, don’t forget that more hurricane damage is caused by flooding. And even the U.S. Government flood insurance program is not adequately funded. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the insurance in the U.S., owed $24.6 billion as of March 2017 to the Department of the Treasury for money borrowed. That was before this year’s major hurricanes hit.
I wonder how many of the people never recover from their financial loss. I know it has a major long-term impact on the overall economy since the funds used for relief and recovery are funds that are not available for other uses. In today’s economy with our growing debts, there is sure to be a long term decrease in available financial resources for major infrastructure maintenance, defense, and other services. What is going to happen after one too many major climate/weather related impacts exceed our ability to financially recover?
In the meanwhile, storms will get larger, taxes will go up, debts will get larger, natural resources will get more expensive, food will cost more, medical costs will go up, corporation’s profits will go up, and those of us with incomes that don’t keep up with the increased costs will just get poorer and poorer. Who will help us? Nobody.
I couldn’t see the bird with the naked eye. I took a picture with an effective focal length of 200mm and then crop-zoomed and upsized it to make this image.
I wonder how many other things are similar in life; i.e. we just don’t see them since we don’t use knowledge and technology to look for them. Some would rather stick their head in the sand rather than see what is happening to our economy, resources, climate, etc.
The deniers with their head in the sand don’t understand it, but it is time for us to change. The climate is changing and our resources are limited. We cannot continue with an economical system based on unlimited growth as long as we live on earth, especially if our economic model is not based on accounting for all of the true costs. We cannot keep pushing the cost burden onto future generations forever as we continue to use up resources. Our way of life keeps pushing a larger debt off to the future and it is a debt based on more than finances. It will be measured in pain, lack of comfort, migrations, and doing without adequate shelter, food, water, etc.
When it comes to photography, I am bipolar in several dimensions. One dimension is focal length. I prefer effective focal lengths in the range of 28mm to 50mm with prime lenses. One reason for this is I don’t need to zoom. With my better cameras, zooming requires a second hand which usually is holding a cane. With small cameras, it takes a while for their power zoom lens to move when I use only my right-hand finger on the sliding switch. But, due to my location, lack of travel, etc., most of my compositions require a long focal length shot at the maximum range, so I keep switching back and forth. I go out with a long zoom lens, and then come back wishing I had been only carrying a lightweight, small prime lens.
Another aspect, but related to the above, is that from an engineering perspective I prefer cameras with good image qualities in a range-finder format or design with a physically short prime lens mounted on them. They work best when I’m photographing around people in low light with the subjects moving around since they are faster, thus enabling me to use a higher shutter speed. They also don’t get in the way in tight quarters and they are less likely to cause people to react negatively. The shorter, lighter lenses also tend to give me fewer problems with my hands.
The above aspects of being bipolar have caused me to go back and forth trying different cameras and lenses as I try to find one set that covers all my needs. I haven’t found that system yet so my next reaction is to give up long heavy zoom lenses and long shots and concentrate on compositions that work with wider prime lenses. So far, even though I have made the change to wider prime lenses multiple times and sold my zoom lenses, it hasn’t worked since I don’t live where I can find enough suitable compositions to sustain my photography at the rate I prefer.
Currently, I am using three cameras as I try to decide whether to again attempt a shift in my photography. I have been using my best, but heavier, X-Pro2 camera with prime and zoom lenses, my X-E2s with multiple lenses, and my HX80 pocket camera. I’m leaning towards primarily using a Fuji camera with a prime lens and/or the 18-55mm zoom lens. I am even considering, if such a system works, to get the Fuji X100F when it starts shipping, but it would have to replace some of my current gear. Since the weight is a major factor I have checked the differences. The X-Pro2 with the 23mm lens weighs 685g; the X100F with its 23mm lens weighs 469g; the X-E2s with the pancake 27mm lens weighs 435g; and the X-Pro2 with the 27mm lens weighs 570g. From the perspective of form-factor, I prefer the 27mm pancake lens but it isn’t as nice a lens as the 23mm lens.
There is another bipolar factor that I’m wrestling with and that is my blogging. I have been considering not writing as much and just mainly posting pictures. I assume a few read what I write, but several of my viewers have told me they don’t read what I write. They are only interested in seeing my pictures. One aspect of this decision is that I like to write when I have something to say.
Another bipolar aspect to my photography is type of pictures. I like to make pictures every day, but don’t go anywhere new and thus don’t see anything new to photograph. This drives my personal photography in the direction of more abstract images or images of small details which usually require long focal lengths to make. This complicates my camera-lens decision. My photography for Homewood events, etc. often require low-light, faster shutter speeds, and 80mm or less effective focal lengths with zoom capability and cropping.
The easiest solution to the bipolar aspects of my photography and blogging is to just continue and not make any changes, but I would prefer to not be a multidimensional bipolar photographer. I would rather simplify and concentrate on one type of photography. When frustrated, I often just photograph the sky even though it no longer interests me. I used the X-E2s with the 27mm pancake lens to make the above image this morning.