Tagged: photography

Lighter Weight Photography Solutions

On my morning walk I only took a 50mm lens for my camera, but I still managed to get these images.  I managed to prepare these views by using a lot of cropping and resizing … but it worked.  The fly was small and the ducks were really too far away, but I wanted to see what I could achieve.

I wasn’t using a longer zoom lens since I was trying to “go light” and take pictures with one hand.  My back and legs were giving me trouble and I was walking with a cane in my left hand while I used a sling strap to carry the camera.  I turned the camera on and set the aperture at f/2.8 with auto ISO when I left the house; therefore, all I had to do to take a picture was raise the camera up to my eye and push the shutter button.  The Canon 70D with the 50mm lens is light enough that I can manage it with one hand.  It really isn’t light in weight but is manageable with the good handgrip.

Using my biggest and best camera with prime lenses is a way to reduce the weight to a minimum.  I use my 24mm pancake lens as well as the 50mm lens to be able to get quality images and reduce the weight; but, I have something else I plan to try.  I have ordered a Nikon 1 J5 camera to see what I can do with it.  The camera and lenses for it are very small and light in weight, but it only has a one-inch sensor.  I want to see if the smaller size and lighter weight off-set the loss in image quality (IQ).  I am assuming that it will have lower IQ, but the only way to evaluate the trade-off is try if for a period of time and see what I can do with its raw images.

Bazaar

I took lots of pictures at Homewood’s Bazaar last Saturday.  I will give those pictures to the staff here for use in in-house publications, etc.  Above are two of my favorites which I feel comfortable in posting.  I am not fond of what I call “snap-shots” or pictures that others are likely to have taken.  I prefer the challenge of making something different out of my photography of events here.  This includes making images that don’t impose on the privacy of those who live here unless they don’t mind.  Those who live here should know the people in these pictures.  Do you recognize them?

Morning Thoughts

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It is raining this morning, but it is much-needed and appreciated by the plants.  At the moment I’m not doing much except thinking about what, and how, things have changed.

I started my photography to record my memories of travels to other countries.  I then got interested in travel photography and wrote about my views relative to techniques, cameras, and lenses.  But, I haven’t traveled outside the U.S. in the last three years.

I then got interested in the concept of finding what I could photograph close to home, really close by just walking about with various cameras and lenses.  But, I have now done so much of that that it has become repetitive and I have lost interest.

I tried heading out with specific photographic interests in mind as I looked for specific types of shots.  Mostly those efforts were related to trying out different cameras and lenses under different circumstances or trying different styles of processing the images.  Since I haven’t been acquiring new cameras lately, that kind of photography has mostly stopped.

In search of additional things, and ways to photograph, I have photographed more events and happenings here within Homewood; but that hasn’t been too productive since I can’t use the majority of those images in my blog due to privacy concerns.

My main concern now is what’s next.  I have gotten busier with volunteer efforts here within Homewood and with doctor visits, general chores around the house, etc. so one option is to just let my photography taper off.  Since I don’t find this option appealing, I will still look for other ideas.  I am hoping to concentrate on finding just a few photographic styles even if it means publishing fewer images and blog articles.  My problem now is to determine what, where, and when to photograph.  It might turn out to be odd things, times, and places.  Or it might be a return to details of everyday scenes.  Or it might continue to be a hodgepodge of images.  But, too many might’s often lead to nothing.

Aging Photographers … Lighten Up

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There are several techniques that aging photographers can adopt so that they can keep on photographing after they no longer wish to carry or hold their heavy DSLR camera.   They can switch to lighter, smaller prime lenses and change what they photograph; i.e. stop photographing wildlife with big heavy long zoom lenses.  Or, they can switch to smaller lighter cameras with smaller sensors.  Even Saul Leiter moved “down” to micro 4/3 cameras and he hadn’t been shooting with a heavy DSLR camera or long heavy zoom lenses.  I have mentioned these techniques before as I adopted them.  This article is about a third scheme … using a lighter, smaller entry-level DSLR with a prime lens in order to cut weight.

One characteristic that I have noticed with my arthritic hands is that a lighter camera-lens combination is a big help but having a lighter camera-lens combination with a good hand-grip and buttons that aren’t too small or too close together is even better.  In addition, I thought that an appropriate hand grip would compensate for a little more camera weight.  For that reason I ordered a Nikon D3300 camera with a 35 mm prime lens to try.  My hope was that the hand grip would compensate for the heavier camera with an APS size sensor and lenses and mirror.  My motive for trying this approach was that I wanted to get a little better image quality in low light than I can get with my micro 4/3 sensor camera.  I also hoped that the 24 MP sensor would enable me to do more crop-zooming with the 35 mm f/1.8 DX lens.

Well, I tried this third approach and rejected it.  I didn’t find that the larger sensor was much better and I didn’t like the focus capability of the D3300.  It focused fast enough in good light but it needed to use the focus assist light in low light and I didn’t like shining a small spot light on my subjects.  The real killer was that the 35 mm lens back-focused about an inch.  Having this problem along with the camera-lens combination being larger with few external controls was too much to warrant me keeping it.  I returned it.

Another more subtle problem was that I didn’t find the cheap quality of the camera to be pleasing.  I need to like my cameras.  They have to feel and look like they have been well-engineered and constructed.  I think I have learned a few lessons.  One, I am done with the DSLR cameras and their large lenses.  I have sold mine with a few attempts to try others one more time, but this was the last time.  Two, going cheaper is not the solution.

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.

Demise of Photography … Symptom of Larger Changes

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Camera sales are dropping significantly.  One reason for this drop is that cell phone cameras have replaced the point & shoot (P&S) cameras, and this is correct for as far as it goes.  You can see this drop in charts like Thom shows in his web site.  He is primarily addressing the problems and his solutions for Nikon, but it applies to most manufacturers, but varies in degree.  And while cell phone cameras might be replacing some DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, etc., I don’t think that is the primary cause for their drop in sales nor do I think Thom’s solutions will solve the problem.

I think there is another cause for the drop in sales, at least in the United States, that I haven’t seen mentioned.  That is the demise of the middle-class and the change in their hobbies.  As the rich get richer and the number who are poor get larger, the size of the middle-class gets smaller.  On top of the shrinking numbers of middle-class, their hobbies are changing.  The younger generation no longer sews, knits, cooks, cuts their own lawns, gardens, or pursues photography, etc.   They just play games on their cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc. or cruise the internet.  They are no longer as creative or self-sufficient as many folks were in the past.

Another place where you can see the effect of this change in the middle-class is in restaurants.   Not only do they no longer have the time or interest to cook for themselves, they don’t even wish to take the time to sit down in a restaurant and order from a fixed menu.  They go to a cheaper fast food drive-through and take it with them, or order it for delivery, so they can continue with texting and playing on their cell phones.  That is why restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden are struggling in many parts of the country.

Another place you can see this effect is in commercial stores.   Rather than drive to a store to purchase items, they just order them over the internet and have them delivered.

The middle-class and the growing poorer folks no longer have the time or money or interest for photography or lots of things.  They are working multiple jobs just to survive.  They cannot afford hobbies like photography; therefore, they are not buying cameras and lenses.  The drop in camera sales is just one symptom of far larger changes within our economy and culture.

Future of (my) Photography

In the beginning, my blog was mostly about travel photography.  Then it was anything I could find to photograph close at home as I “practiced”.  Now I don’t know what to do next.

I use to be interested in documentary photography.  This actually started long ago when I would look at war pictures in old Life magazines.  Now I am appalled at what I see in documentary conflict photography.

I took to studying travel photography while traveling with groups when I had to be quick to capture all that I saw.  It was/is similar to documentary photography.

I started blogging so that I could share my travel pictures with those I traveled with and family, but few were interested.  I then started writing about what I learned as I tried different equipment and learned more.  That has pretty much ground to a halt since I’m not buying and trying much anymore.   Over time I kept obtaining better cameras and lenses.  A lot of my blog articles then became about various technical aspects of the gear.  Now I have reached a point where I can’t blame my deficiencies on gear, it is all on me.  In fact, the qualities of my cameras exceed my needs, especially if I don’t go somewhere to take pictures.

I have looked at a lot of different genres of photography hoping to see something that I could pursue.    I have looked for something that I could write about and take pictures and post about frequently … something that would keep me busy and interested.  I haven’t found it yet.

Maybe I will start a new photography genre … boredom.  They could be images of anything common around the house or wherever I go … along the street or maybe in the stores.  It might be the evolution of my practice photography.  I’ll just call it something different.  Maybe rather than “boredom” photography I’ll call it contemplative photography.  Oh, that already exists.  Hmmm, I wonder what the contemplative photographers would think.

This genre also seems to fit most of the “phone photography” images of others … lots and lots of images of whatever exists in front of them.  It is slowly dawning on me that this is what I have done … photographed whatever I saw.  It is just that my images changed over the years depending on what I did or where I went.  Should I call it boredom or contemplative photography?  Probably the term “life photography” fits better.

I know that I’m rambling but it is because I don’t know where I’m going, but maybe that is alright.  Well it might be alright for me but I’m not sure about you.  You may get quite bored at times depending upon what I photograph.  But then, you have an option.  You can move on even if I can’t seem to do it.  The more I think about it, my photography is just about life, my life.  It is just me capturing whatever I see, moment by moment, or day by day.  If it becomes bland or boring, it will be because I am getting more narrow in terms of what I see, where I go, etc., or that I am repeating images.  What you see is what you’ll get.