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Saturday, 02 July 2011

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Hmzzz, I'm not to fond of the LVF1 either. Somehow Pana forgot to do a lens correction on that sucker, at least it distorts the images and that reduces it to gimmick for me (my dad own's one by the way). Outside I have grown used to shooting partially blind using my eyes without my glasses when I want to focus manually (and then I use hyperfocal mostly). For the rest I trust the autofocus, which does a great job for me. And in harsch light, I have learned to judge a frame by looking over the camera not on the display. A few visable details are used to check my aim (some in the left and some in the right corner), the rest is experience and using the Dutch proveb "Leren roeien met de riemen die je hebt", or "learning to row with the oars you've got".

On the GX100 pressing Adj gives access to four often-changed settings, and you decide what those four are going to be. Press to open the mini-menu, left and right to select an option, press-then-left-and-right to adjust the setting (if my memory serves).

By the way Mike, not to offend you, but my mark of a good photographer is that he or she can make chickensalad out of chickenmenure as any farmer does by applying the manure to a field, raising corn and feeding the corn to the chicken. Personally I'm more stumped when I have a place of beauty in front of my lens. Then it gets really hard to contribute as a photographer. So start with loving Waukesha a bit more. Buy a bike (and a bicyclehelmet we don't want to loose a great journalist) and put your little GF1 or GRX in a little side pouch and start taking pictures with 16 km/h. You will be suprised at the new looks Waukesha will have to offer.

Greetings, Ed

oh, mike. what are you doing taking pictures in the sun? the light is no good anyway. wait until it's overcast and that dim LCD will stop bothering you. that's what i keep telling myself, anyway.

Those are some nice tones for BW digital, a great thing really, and something so elusive for many digital BW conversions. The part about trusting the camera... can one put into words how good that feels? Like an old friend, I suppose, and paramount to 'creating' rather than just 'documenting' the world around you. A camera should, on its best day, occupy the sublime world between the material and ephemeral.

I live in Paris, a place that on another day you might have listed among Prague and the Orkneys. It's a photographer's dream, but it has no used car parks with monster trucks crushing high prices. Even if it did, the car parks wouldn't have lanes as wide as boulevards. There simply isn't enough space for that kind of luxury.

Oot and Aboot? Are you sure you're not planning on moving to Newfoundland?

Mike,
the Adj dial on the back acts like a dial and a rocker at the same time. it lets you access four direct settings that YOu choose so you don't have to go into the menu. This is in addition to the FN1 and Fn2 that lets you access direct seetings of your choosing
on mine on the adj, I have the ISO, WB, Image (bW,color, etc), AF or MF. I have assigned the FN1 to swith between snap and AF

Of course you can also access main settings by pressing the DIRECT button on the top left side which functions like the olympus super panel. I like it less because once you have change a setting , you need to press direct to exit that mode again.
I think this is one of the few mistakes in the user interface . it should exit that direct panel by a simple press of the shutter

Orkneys - a bunch of islands off the north coast of Scotland.

Mike, you should know that it's virtually impossible to take a bad photo inside or around the Milwaukee Art Museum. Go and try if you haven't... maybe you'll exceed my expectations.

"Waukesha is the land of car dealers. We have 4,000 used and new car lots."

Spoken like a true used car salesman*.

"No we don't. I'm exaggerating."

Then again, maybe not.

*At least a stereotypical one.

"There's nothing to take pictures of where I live"

I feel the same way about Central Texas. Long drives are needed to find anything close to scenic.

...Since I still don't have any idea what the "ADJ." toggle on the back of the camera does, though, I do need to crack the book...

With the GXR I like to set the camera to manual (spot) exposure, the same as I do with the Ricoh GRD3. Then, when you press rocker switch (item no. 12-23 in the manual). The exposure scale at the lower left of the LCD is "centered" for the recommended exposure and you can use the ADJ lever for increasing or decreasing the shutter speed. WIth practice, you can judge the exposure, to see whether it is the way you want it, by looking at the image that first appears on the LCD — it can change later. And, yes, I prefer the LCD to the VF-2, by a long shot, and find I can use it in the bright of Thailand without a problem.

For focusing I use AF and then assign one of the Fn buttons to switch between AF/MF, and switch to MF to fix the focus before shooting — it's fast and can also be used for zone focusing.

The are a 26 GXR/A12 pictures in my Around Chiang Mat series, but the first five are shot with the GRD3 and the last six with the GRD2.

—Mitch/Paris

"I live in Paris, a place that on another day you might have listed among Prague and the Orkneys. It's a photographer's dream, but it has no used car parks with monster trucks crushing high prices. Even if it did, the car parks wouldn't have lanes as wide as boulevards. There simply isn't enough space for that kind of luxury."

Samuel,
Yes, I sometimes remind my neighbors of that luxury. We have many local parks, one of which is 2/3rds as big as New York's Central Park. Just the section reserved for dogs is 17 acres. And we have a YMCA that is absolutely vast--it has an indoor track, three swimming pools, three weight rooms, on and on. I have mentioned to people complaining about the price (I think it's $49 a month) that if there even exists a health club in New York City as nice as our Y, it would cost $20,000 a year, if not $50,000, and they just look at me with blank stares like I'm mentally ill. Oh well.

Mike

"Orkneys - a bunch of islands off the north coast of Scotland."

Now I'll bet that's picturesque. But the natives probably tell each other it's boring and nothing ever happens there. And so it goes.

Mike

I think your photos are trying to something, Mike. Given the lack of things to shoot, a crane for sale, the example of that car-sculpture-advertisement, and the reported abundance of car-sculpture materials accesible by crane in your area, the solution to the problem of lack of subject matter seems obvious.

If you'd rather not go that route, I'm still a fan of Wisconsin sky.

btw, nice to see Lulu is looking very well.

Mike, Orkney's not for you. It's for birders and landscapers.

@Aizan...

Let Bernd and Hilla Becher lead the way. I read in an interview that Hilla went to Cuba after Bernd died. On a real holiday, with clear blue skies. Bernd wouldn't have seen the point she confessed, blue skies = no pictures please. And frankly I think he's right, no double contours, no blackend out shadows, no burned out highlight. AND I CAN SEE MY DISPLAY. HURRAY! Yes, Mike on an overcast day und Wisonsin grey with a 100 asa Delta in my GX680, that's my idea of fun.

Greets, Ed

Greetings, Ed

"There's nothing to take pictures of where I live. I need to move to Prague, or Ireland, or the Orkneys. Anywhere but here."

I'm guessing this comment was firmly tongue-in-cheek, but I cringe every time I hear someone say something like this. As a Nebraskan, I hear it all the time.

There are great photographs to be had everywhere. Just gotta look for them.

I like the photos a lot. I've often thought that car dealerships would make an interesting essay, and those tableaus of big trucks crushing cars are really quite offensive.

The crane brings to mind a word I leaned yesterday: "spalling." To break rock or concrete into smaller pieces.

"Oot and Aboot" was a reference to July 1st Mike? Canada Day!

""Oot and Aboot" was a reference to July 1st Mike? Canada Day!"

There ya go, eh?

Mike

I guess that's a BIG Yeper(sp?)

My favorite Wisconsin saying.

In a previous life I had to sit next to a client that would eat his raw carrots for lunch while talking on the phone to his wife. This happened every day. I have no real idea what the other end of the conversation was but for the most part all he said was "yeper...(sounds of raw carrots being eaten)....yeper....yeper....that's a big yeper...."

Got to love Wisconsin, go Canada!

:) Robert

"There are great photographs to be had everywhere. Just gotta look for them."

There's one subtlety that I'd want to add to that claim, which is that I believe there has to be some form of what you might call "sympatico" between a given photographer and the subject matter she or he responds to. Imagine if Elliott Erwitt wasn't allowed to photograph people, or if Ansel Adams were forced to photograph nothing but. With most great photographers, the work starts from a fascination or interest in their chosen subject, not just the idea of harvesting pictures from any situation.

I could name examples of photographers who clicked with a certain subject matter but weren't really able to transfer that success to other subjects....

Mike

I know how boring the Milwaukee / Waukesha area can seem, Mike. But you clearly know where to point the GXR's business end to convey the essence of the area to the rest of the world. Yes, someone who has spent most of his/her life in Paris or Tokyo will find your samples of boring nothingness anything but.

The GXR looks good, although it's hard to tell much from b&w renderings. Do they look a bit on the warm side to you? It's rather pleasing but not a neutral look on my screens.

Re: Manitowocs... I get post-traumatic stress disorder every time I see that logo. I spent a full summer during college (arch. school) compiling day-by-day, hour-by-hour logs of four such monsters in support of a civil case against a general contractor on a very large project. Culling the grimy log books paid me nicely but I never want to do something like that again.

Mike:

I'll second your comment on the tilting feature of the EVF. When I first got the viewfinder for my GX100, I thought 'gimmick' - then I found myself using it for a surprisingly high percentage of my shots with that camera.

Steve

Hrm, I know you've avoided the student mush here as well as the soot and chalk (to quote a blog writer I know) but there's something about the tonality of these few that just doesn't appeal to me. eh... They're just too gray.

No, But serious :p

Maybe it's my monitor, maybe it's the small size, maybe I didn't put enough sugar in my coffee, maybe it's the clouds in the sky on the day you went out.

I also must say the truck on the car, altho' banal to you would be an amazing picture to other cultures that do not enjoy our American excesses. Just like I'm sure every Parisian is sick of Eiffel Tower pics :p


Cheers

Henry David Thoreau- It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

That said, one would rather be at any of the places you mentioned- right now (provided you didn't already live there).

No sympatico- Lee Friedlander and nudes, Cindy Sherman and other human beings?

On the contrary, I think your pictures are not bad at all and have enough merit to warrant a bit more tinkering in PS. Especially #2.

You are not missing anything re the EVF for the GF1. It is, to be frank, not very good. Since you like the 20mm prime so much, get a 40mm Voigtlander optical finder and slip it in the hot shoe like I did for mine. Works great, plus it makes the camera look really cool.

Hello and don't forget, the decisive moment is inside yourself, not outside, in Wisconsin or wherever. Ricohs Zen and the Pentaxians Karma. All together now. Take care and capture pictures all the time.

titus

"There are great photographs to be had everywhere. Just gotta look for them."
Josef, believe me, there are places where there's nothing whatsoever to take pictures of. I've been hearing that advice for decades now, and after 20 years trying to give credit to it and find something with any substantial differentiality to take a pic of (I know: "It's you who have to make it different, blah blah...") every time I need to satisfy my urge to take pics, I have to drive for almost 30 miles and wait until sunset. Since I have no children, my wife is not into nude posing so far and I don't like macro... you must accept that Mike was right, there are some barren lands for photography.
Addendum: I already have 3k plus pics of my cat.
Addendum 2: Why do I live here then? Good question.
Best regards.

I was sitting here, gazing at this image, when Carol came in to ask me about something. I'd been scratching my head (figuratively), so I asked her what she thought about the image. "It's just wrong in some way." She answered.

I asked if she thought the tonalities were off. She doesn't speak photography lingo*, and simply answered "I don't know, it's just weird."

The images of Zander and Lulu looked a little flat, which isn't necessarily a bad thing right out of the camera. But they didn't look "off". These with the 28mm eq. module and different lighting look to me to have muddy, poorly differentiated and distributed middle tones.

Tastes differ, of course, and I didn't see the subject and light. But if they are typical, I don't think I would be happy with B&W from that module. They take more post effort than they should to look right.

This may or may not be to your taste, but I hope it helps to illustrate what I mean.

Moose

* She's a pretty good photographer. "Oh, Moosie look, pretty." or "Oh look at that!", pointing. She often notices things I would miss.

"There's one subtlety that I'd want to add to that claim, which is that I believe there has to be some form of what you might call "sympatico" between a given photographer and the subject matter she or he responds to."

I definitely agree with that statement.

It's hard to imagine Atget without Paris or Christenberry without Alabama. I know I find myself drawn to artists that have a strong sense of place in their work.

Is there a "Subj" button? My camera has one, which means "subjunctive." It converts the photo you actually took into a better one that you did not. Once engaged, it has several levels. For example, at level 3, you can set it for a location you've never seen, such as the Orkneys. It converts, say, a Waukesha scene into an equivalent Orkneys scene. On level 4, it makes you and your family a lot better looking. I set my camera to default to level 4.

One thing you could do about the size of the photos (you seem to frequently mention it) is to double the width of the theme. typepad must have a 1000 or 1500 pixel wide image option. It is a photography blog after all.

Now you are shooting with the B&W option on the camera did you say? Did you explain why you are doing that rather than post? I might have missed it.

The rear lever is the best part about this camera! How many mirrorless cameras have a rear control wheel? I think it's NONE...except for the GXR.

I had mine set for ISO and shot mostly in Av, so the front wheel controls the aperture and the rear lever controls ISO. The fact that you can press the lever like a button and access a few more options makes it even better (the Panny G2 also does this).

Even a Digital Rebel only has ONE control dial...just sayin'... ;-)

Manitowoc-crawler-porn for Rob...

That's funny Mike. Although seeing as this is a G-rated blog, shouldn't it be 'pr0n'? On a more serious, more photocentric note, I really must try some B&W work with these things, it makes them look grittier, like they work for a living. Thank you for the inspiration.

2 more things...

Manitowoc's head office is (funnily enough) in Manitowoc, just up the road from you. Hmm.

And from Canadian band The Arrogant Worms, a small song about Newfoundlanders. Just in case you decide to move. (possibly NSFW, mild language)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8j8WL-qw5E

"Now you are shooting with the B&W option on the camera did you say? Did you explain why you are doing that rather than post? I might have missed it."

Hi Lazy,
Yeah, you missed it, but I only mentioned it in passing--I said that I've been shooting in B&W mode, then reviewing and editing from the B&W JPEG, but using the color RAW to convert the final versions of the shots I like.

Mike

@ Enrique:

There's always something to photograph, even in the middle of the desert. As proof, I offer you this:

You may miss that the ADJ button can be turned OFF in menus which means it then does nothing, probably the state yours is in. This is true for the GRD1 so I am almost sure it will be true for GXR given Ricoh's conservatism.

"I could name examples of photographers who clicked with a certain subject matter but weren't really able to transfer that success to other subjects...."

Now THAT I'd like to hear your take on . . . . . Someone suggested Friedlander and nudes -- any other (mis)pairings come to mind?

Jamin & Moose,
Hrm, I know you've avoided the student mush here as well as the soot and chalk (to quote a blog writer I know) but there's something about the tonality of these few that just doesn't appeal to me. eh... They're just too gray.

I think we should remember we're looking at web illustrations, not the real thing. I've seen a lot of web illustrations of Mike's stuff, and the B&W always seems to have a lot of stuff going on* in III and IV, below middle grey, and I don't think that translates to jpegs very well. The human eye picks up highlight contrasts a lot better on the other side of middle grey, so jpegs and cheap lcd monitors are optimized for reproducing that. This is why I'm anxious to see if I can afford Mike's print offer - I can tell he's got something special going on, but I just can't see it directly.

I think I take the opposite approach from Mike, I tend to goose things to be pretty dramatic - hard light and deep shadows, or opening up shadows under trees on bright sunny days so everything glows. I'd like to see what I'm missing from someone who knows how to make a real print.

I think this is also the reason Mike emphasized the importance of printing in his "What I would get if I was starting..."post. If the primary way you see your images is on a screen, it will shape what you make your images into. Making prints gives you other curves and other saturations to work with.


Will

*microcontrast?

Mike, I agree with jpoh. I have a 40mm Voigtlander optical finder on my GF1 and it's a pleasure to use.

'Oot and Aboot' AND the Orkneys

Something must have been working subliminally and or subconsciously unless I am way off with how I imagine your accent.

Mike,

you obviously have a very clear idea of what a black and white photograph should look like. You even once wrote that many photographers today do not know that anymore. I would very much appreciate if you would write an educational article on that.

Carsten

This is obviously a thinly-veiled attempt to sell a crane and promote a car dealership.

Josef said "There are great photographs to be had everywhere. Just gotta look for them."

The problem is that too many people do not look beyond their own back yard for those great photographs, thus so many people cannot find anything beyond flowers, bugs and squirrels to photograph. Yawn.

"'Oot and Aboot' AND the Orkneys Something must have been working subliminally and or subconsciously unless I am way off with how I imagine your accent."

David,
Naw, that was my attempt at Canadian...it was Canada Day (July 1) when I wrote that, although it wasn't posted until after midnight (so, July 2).

Mike

"This is obviously a thinly-veiled attempt to sell a crane and promote a car dealership."

Russ,
Can you blame me? It's not easy to move a Manitowoc crawler in this economy. And I have my heart set on a new tower crane.

Mike

"There's nothing to take pictures of where I live"
That actually sounds really good to me right now.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ih544gas/

"That actually sounds really good to me right now."

Oh, dear...yeah...maybe I should count my blessings....

Mike

@Mike

At least you could take the GXR and make a great shot of that beautiful watertower on Hunterroad and Country Road U. Bernd and Hilla Becher would have liked it.

Greetings, Ed

Fotography is all about being inspired not about inspiring.

RE: The Steamshovel - "Mike Mulligan had a steam shovel, a beautiful red steam shovel. Her name was Mary Anne. Mike Mulligan was very proud of Mary Anne. He always said that she could dig as much in a day as a hundred men could dig in a week, but he had never been quite sure that this was true ..."

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