Tagged: Clouds

Back to Basics … with a Twist and a Pentax K-3

I tried to change my style of photography and switch to smaller micro 4/3 cameras to circumvent problems I was having with carrying and holding heavy camera-lens combinations.  But that only partially worked.  There were two problems with my small camera approach.  One, the low-light image quality with the smaller sensors was forcing me to consider giving up some of my photography, and second, most of the subjects of interest outdoors required long lenses and use in bad weather; so, I decided to try to go back to what worked well for me in the past with a Pentax K-3 DSLR and longer zoom lenses.

I am also really a one-camera person.  I don’t like switching back and forth since I often have to stop and think about, or look at, the controls to make a change and then often miss the shot.  I found that it is limiting to only use a small camera and I keep going back to multiple cameras.  Maybe with the K-3 and multiple lenses I can cover more types of photography and learn to make control changes by feel without stopping to look.  Of course that means that I have to use one camera long enough to learn … which hasn’t been the case with my continual trying of cameras.   This is really a bogus idea since I will still occasionally use my E-PL5 with prime lenses when I need something smaller in sufficient light.

The “twist” part refers to me learning to use the heavy K-3 differently than I used the K-5 in the past.  What I am thinking about is using the car to go places and then only carrying the camera a short distance.  I am also thinking about using a monopod or tripod and taking my walk-stool and sitting in one place for a period of time.  If I choose to walk further with the K-3, I will do it with a lighter-weight prime lens.

In the past I used a K-5 with heavier zoom lenses to take pictures of the horizon and clouds just by stepping outside and only walking a few feet.  In those cases it wouldn’t be difficult to grab and use a heavier camera like the K-3 with either the 18 – 135 mm or the 55 – 300 mm lenses, especially in bad weather for short periods of time.

I am now waiting for the K-3 and three lenses to be delivered so that I can try again.  I may be grasping the last straw but I am going to try.

I Like Clouds

I keep running out of things to photograph, but yet I try to photograph something every day.  Often times my pictures never make it to this blog.  When I go for a walk I try to take a camera, even if only my pocket Panasonic LF1, but I often don’t get anything worth showing.  That was the case a while back; therefore, I photographed some clouds later in the day.  On many days my pictures of the sky are all I have to photograph, and some days when it is a flat even gray overcast day, even they are not worth taking.  For me, looking at clouds is a lot like sitting in front of a fire and watching the logs burn.  It is hard to get tired of either.  The only difference is that I am likely to fall asleep watching a fire.  I haven’t done that yet looking at clouds.  The only problem I have with looking at clouds is that I tend to lose my balance when I turn my head and look up, so I have to be careful.

Never the Same Again

I was reading a news article about the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over the Ukraine.  The article was about how it would never be the same again in reference to Russia and that area of the world and went on to compare the recent event to the shooting of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination 100 years ago sparked World War I.

Is it ever the same?  Isn’t each and every day different?  Things are never the same and unfortunately it seems that they just get worse.  This applies to deaths by gun fire in the U.S., to politics, to the wars fostered by different religious beliefs, to migrations of people running from violence in their countries, and to global climate change.

Plan for change … it will never be the same again.

Seeing Red on Hanover Streets

I needed to drive across town so I took my Panasonic LF1 and took a few pictures when I was stopped in traffic yesterday.  They turned out better than I expected since I took all of these through the tinted, not absolutely clean windows of my car.  I didn’t have the luxury of driving a BMW X3 with the top down like the young blonde.  I took more pictures than these but I decided to show you the ones which had something red in them.

The reason I took these pictures was that I thought it was a good time, given the clouds we had, to further test my LF1.  I have been thinking about looking for something to replace or supplement it.  What I would desire is better IQ, better low light capability, and better, faster focusing.  The LF1 will not focus on the clouds so I have to focus on the distant skyline and then recompose the image.  In order to get better image quality and focusing, it would have to be a larger camera.  That is the downside.  Anything else isn’t going to fit in a shirt pocket.  I am looking at the 2/3 inch or one-inch sensor cameras hoping to find something affordable with the right ergonomics, speed of focusing, etc. that isn’t too large.

In reality, I don’t need or desire to take pictures like the above.  I probably don’t need a camera to replace the LF1.  Instead, I should just use the LF1 for emergencies and use my Olympus E-PL5 and lenses for any serious photography.  If I need better IQ than it has, I would look at a larger size sensor and one or two prime lenses.

Flight of the Vultures

Don’t forget to click on any picture and then view them all in gallery mode.

A storm was coming but the vultures didn’t seem alarmed.  They were circling in their normal fashion.  We seem to have plenty of vultures circling over Homewood.  Maybe they sense something.

Note that I took these pictures with my 17 mm focal length prime lens.  I have used this prime lens for the majority of my photography lately.  I am trying to adjust my photography to fit my preferences to photograph with prime lenses.  As soon as my new 14 mm lens arrives, I hope to primarily just use primes … 14, 17, 25, & 45 mm with my micro 4/3 camera.  That gives me an effective 28 to 90 mm range.

Photographic Entropy

In thermodynamics, the entropy of a closed system is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process.  A closed system without external input evolves toward a state of maximum entropy.  In cosmology, it is a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature … commonly referred to as “heat death”.  Entropy is also used to sometimes refer to a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.

It has occurred to me that it might also be a good term to apply to the state of photography.  We now are living in a world where more pictures are being taken than ever before, but with phone cameras rather than classic cameras.  We are living in a world where almost everybody takes pictures continuously of anything in front of them, but they aren’t printed or saved to be viewed over and over.  They are instantly sent to other digital devices to be seen and then forgotten.

In my personal situation I have taken many pictures of almost everything I have seen in front of me these last few years.  I have taken pictures of the same things at different seasons, in different lighting conditions, and with multiple focal length lenses up close and far away from any angle I can.  What is left?  I have existed in a closed world and my photography is approaching a maximum state of entropy.  If I don’t get an external stimulant and/or leave my closed world, my photography will continue to decline and reach a state of no value akin to heat death; i.e. maximum entropy.  Is this a precursor of where photography in general is headed, or just mine?

Big Changes Coming

While I am always looking for different subjects to photograph, I still keep my eyes looking upward whenever a storm is approaching.  I find that the rolling, boiling clouds have a lot of embedded “character” and that they remind me to worry about the future.  And I’m not thinking about climate change, at least not solely.  I am worrying about how society will adjust to future changes.  In the past we have adapted to change, but will we be able to adapt to a series of major shocks to our economy if they occur more rapidly and at the same time?

I am thinking about the rate of change, the future, and how we will adjust.  Just like storm clouds, other things can happen quickly.   We have “sort-of” gotten use to technology changing.  It took years to adjust to changes in transportation technology as we went from the horse and buggy days, to canals, to railroads, to automobiles & trucks, and to airplanes.  Each time the technology advanced it caused many people to lose their livelihoods.  As long as it was slow enough and society had time to adjust, the fact that many people lost their jobs was acceptable to society at large.  One of the major reasons for this was that the Government picked up the slack with social security and medical care for the older ones and with job training, public education, etc. for the younger ones.  As long as real growth was occurring in the economy we could afford taxes for providing aid to help bridge across the impacts of technological changes upon the generations as we adapted.  But I doubt that to be true in the future.

One problem is that the global economies have expanded through the creation of debt … not through substantial growth.  One of these days the people around the globe will “wake-up” and realize that we can’t afford to support both people and debt repayments at the same time.  The Japanese have chosen to attempt to slowly make the adjustment by devaluing the yen.  That may be a slow enough process to allow for the people to adjust, but maybe not.  I expect that other countries, and probably also Japan, will default on their debts.  This will shock the economies on a global basis.

One associated problem is that governments and people in general, plan based on future rates of change being similar to past and/or being linear.  That enables them to believe that they can handle the changes.  What if that isn’t true?  First off, technology does not tend to change linearly.  It changes exponentially.  This decreases the time that businesses survive and continue; thus people have to continuously look for new jobs and re-educate themselves, and that is a growing cost.  It also requires a lot of capital to build new manufacturing facilities, etc.  Where is the capital going to come from?  What are we going to do with all the past manufacturing centers like Detroit and others?  Continuing to abandon the old and build new cannot continue indefinitely.

Another problem is the continuing cost to find and extract natural resources since we have already “picked the low hanging fruit.”  Utility and natural resource costs will be climbing.  And don’t forget that the costs for food, education, and other factors are also increasing.  The costs of many food products have climbed faster than incomes in the U.S. and in other countries around the globe; and we haven’t gotten to the ultimate costs associated with drought in California which did produce half of the U.S.’s production of vegetables, fruit, and nuts.

While all the above are happening, the climate is changing.  It will be costly to adapt to the changes and it will be costly to rebuild every time a major storm damages our infrastructure.  We still haven’t paid for, and recovered from the damage of Sandy.    My worry is that the next major climate event may be the trigger to cause people to realize that there is no way that the future will look like the past.  There will be no way for us to afford all of our needs and desires.  What will we give up?  Think about how it could impact you, not whether it will, because change will happen.  Some will adapt, but not all.