Why Not Minimalist Gear?


If you do an internet search on the terms “Minimalist Photography” you will find that most, if not all, of the articles are about image composition, including processing to achieve simplistic or minimalist compositions.

My question is why not consider minimalist photography from the perspective of using basic, or minimal gear without fancy processing; i.e., not from a compositional perspective but from a basic making or processing perspective.

I made the above image with the TG-5 camera using an in-camera natural color jpeg that was converted to B&W using LR without me doing any tweaking or adjustment of sliders, etc.  An even simpler approach would be making in-camera B&W images but I am still in the process of trying to narrow down an approach to some of my personal photography and experimenting and B&W vs. color is still an issue, as well as size, weight, camera vs. smartphone, etc.  There are various degrees to approaching this form of photography from film to digital to in or out of camera processing, etc., but I am looking at it from a simple easy to carry gear perspective.  Also, in the back of my mind is the question …. use the Fuji X100F camera and Acros B&W images, or the smaller easier to carry TG-5 camera?

No matter how I approach minimalist photography I have to always consider what to photograph.  I can never separate the gear from the subject, so I am currently thinking about it as independently as possible until I go back to subject and intent perspectives.  I am leaving the hardest issue to the end this time around.

Changes all Around

There are several parts to this story.  I have been taking a bunch of photographs recently to use as I try to develop a simple process for some of my photography.  I wanted to develop a minimalist B&W style of imagery that I could make with just my Olympus TG-5 small waterproof camera as I address some of the issues I find to be troubling due to changes occurring around me.  I was pretty close to having a simple preset for B&W images, but I found that the things I want to photograph are complex and that B&W doesn’t always work well for many of those things and tends to hide a lot.  I still like B&W for some images, but I also find that color works better for some.

While I was working on a B&W preset for LR, I decided to make some before images for some upcoming repairs to our local environment using the TG-5 camera while I was out walking.  Since I was using in-camera color jpegs for the base of my B&W style I still had color images to use if warranted.  While I was looking at the above images in my B&W preset, I flipped them to color to see how they looked while retaining all of the other settings.

Those who are enthralled with color might like them even if they don’t look the same as they most likely think they should look.  They don’t look right to some eyes since they are not normal looking, but I did find that by using this high contrast approach that it emphasized the details and was therefore useful as an analysis and visual tool to portray the impacts of the climate crisis.  In addition, I like the rich impact for getting the message across.

If you are wondering, we didn’t always have this problem with this particular walking path.  When I moved here it was one of my favorite paths as I walked by the pond looking for unusual wildlife.  The current problem has been getting worse as the climate crisis unwinds and we get more rain year after year.  I am curious to see if they modify the local impacts so that we can again use the path safely.  Unfortunately, I think that the continuing climate changes along with local band-aid approaches to culvert, bridge, and flooded path repairs will be a continual source of things to photograph.  Things in and near floodplains are ripe for being impacted adversely by the climate crisis, but at the same time they create striking images of the impacts.

This saga of changes in my search for a theme and an intent will continue to evolve but I’ll stop for now and give others a chance to comment and let it soak in.  After I wrote the above, I got a notice about a new e-book, The Visual Voice: Find Your Voice, Express Your Vision, Make Stronger Photographs by David duChemin so I ordered it since it looks like it relates to what I am working on.

Getting Wetter

I made these pictures a few days ago from down in the floodplain.  Not only has it been wetter this last twelve months, but the whole lower 48 states have been wetter.

The fact that it has been wetter than normal isn’t significant.  The climate and weather are always changing.  What is significant is the increasing amounts of rain due to manmade climate changes.  The storms are dropping more water and the creeks and rivers are flooding more and more in increasing heights.  Remember our flood at Homewood at Plum Creek last July?  Expect it to happen again, but more frequently and at higher levels.

The local damages done to our bridges and culverts were minor compared to the overall impact across the country.  It is now looking like the United States corn crop is going to be greatly diminished this summer due to the floods in the Midwest.  We will feel that impact in our food prices.  I also wonder how many more will be looking to move and build on higher ground, or how many more will lose their jobs because of it, or how many more migrants will be on the move all around the world.

There is no doubt that the climate will be changing faster with increased temperatures and greater changes in the amount of water in the atmosphere which results in larger downpours.  The cause is already here and is increasing, as will the impacts.  Take a look at this article about the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.


Morning Shower

I didn’t have any pictures to work on or display today and I thought that I would take a day off, but then it showered again this morning.  It was a brief shower so after it stopped, I stepped out to the front of our Villa and grabbed these three images.  I mainly make these pictures to achieve one thing … give me something to practice working on so that I can keep going with my photography.