« Random Snaps: Heeeeeere's Jimmy | Main | My Cold-Weather Camera Test »

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


List and talk about some of your favorite photographs from the past. What makes them great,etc?

1. What makes a good photo exhibit? A bad one?


2. What to avoid when you publish a photo book


3. Do you have any reason to believe that photo blogging makes for shallower writing?

Just trying to help. And want to hear what you have to say.



1. This doesn't look like a personal problem, more like a (no doubt temporary, as all moods are) peaceful state of mind. Hopefully, we-the-followers-of-TOP are able to grant you this little morsel of peace.
2. If you can't tell, why don't you show? For instance, good pictures that for reasons other than intrinsic quality you have already decided not to include in your Quiet Color book?

Take it easy,
all best,


Is writer's block related to photograper's block?

What is your name?
What is your quest?
What is your favorite color?


Hi Mike,
I'd like to see a recent picture of yours which you feel "works", and to hear what makes it work for you.


Wow; I just noticed that "reactive" and "creative" are anagrams of each other (and very simple ones at that).

How does one learn more about composition? Mostly I see rules of thumb for how to avoid some of the most horrible results, rather than anything giving a path to learning. Does it all come down to finding ways to justify what "looks good"?

How real are the alleged different renderings of different lenses?

Is it now reasonably practical to adjust photos shot with different sensors, lens lines, processing elements, etc., to match well when juxtaposed in final results, or must one consider this when buying equipment?

What spec storage vaults (for example, UL Class 350, or UL Class 150, or something else) are good enough to protect modern film (not the old nearly explosive nitrate-based stock!) from a fire (with citation of authoritative sources)?

What are some good "every year" photo projects? Things that are likely to be more interesting when you have 20 years of photos of them. Possibly the family holding last year's portrait is too twee, but not many people actually keep it up long enough to get interesting results, either.

How can you get from "I like how that looks" to a picture that you like? I see lots of things where I can't isolate the part that interests me from the distractions.

How should I frame Ctein's matrix sale?

What's a cost effective way to store books and magazines? Any ideas for low-cost book shelves?

I think giclée is the word John Hagen is looking for.

Well, here are my suggestions:

- Make one day a week RerunDay. You have so many good pieces that deserve to be run again.

- Write about your books. I believe you were "complaining" recently about having too many. Too many to read.

- Enlist more guest writers. With your connection and reputation I don't think it is hard to get people to write a piece every now and then.

What brings me back here every day, actually many times a day, is your excellent and varied writing. Many bloggers who write about photo might have some knowledge about technology but they can't write professionally like you do. I think very few have your extensive background in journalism and writing. Most of them just hope to write about their hobby and they hope to get a few sales from visitors clicking on the link to Amazon och B&H.
How about some incentives for those of us who contribute regularly? Don't know what it would be, and I certainly don't add a lot. But I do it regularly. And it is the only site that I will do this for.

Hope it can be of some help

@ John Hagen ref "fine art digital prints"

I have seen them called giclee prints (the first "e" has an accent mark on top of it). Here is a wiki link:


I will concede that giclee only sounds marginally better than "artsy fartsy" ;~)

Cheers! Jay

I'd echo Ben's response - I think it's about time you tooted your own trumpet a little bit. I'd love to see some of your favourite photos of your own - I don't really mind what era, or even whether you write extensively on each one or just write a story about where you took the shot. Come on, let's see some of your smash hits :)

Of course, that's easy for me to write, ignoring the fact that I don't have to do it for my own shots...

Just means you've got a lot in the prefrontals. Time will deal with them, pretty much one by one. Not to worry, take The Lulu for a longish walk, ignore cold and snow. You'll be single-tracked again in no time at all. Been there. Best, TR

I had already sent you my question earlier ( I knew you were going to ask) Based on their dining choices which President would you like to eat with?

or, How do you interpret the "subject category" given in photo contests? And I'm not referring to TOP!

Why don't you take a couple of week's off - we'll still be here when you come back.

This is actually timely from my perspective, I've been meaning to reach out with a question for a little while as I consider you and this site as one of my primary photographic resources.

I've been an "avid amateur" for a few years, and would like to pursue photography further, at a deeper, more immersed level. Improve my knowledge both artistically and technically. I am considering going back to school (for an MFA), but am also wondering if there are still options like apprenticeships to consider.

I'm also considering doing this a self-study, but that doesn't seem like it would give me the level of immersion/interaction with other photographers that may be necessary. What would you suggest for this type of endeavor?

Any input on this would be much appreciated!

[Great question, but I think it's going to have to await a time when I have more energy. --Mike]

1. various editing, i.e. culling, methods for photos

2. motivation to start a portfolio

3. who can predict the first 80 degree day in Wisconsin?

Mike, In all honesty thank you for the chiding on term I attempted to use as a light hearted comment. I certainly am taking it to heart. I hadn't thought about the way you joke about art in general would have an effect on how you are perceived. Though now that I type it, it seems like a silly admission.

What are other terms your would like to see banished from discourse on photography?

Responding to the question about what to call the prints: I often see them called giclée or digital giclée prints. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gicl%C3%A9e for more info about the neologism and its use.

Regarding John Hagen's question seeking an "artistic" term for inkjet prints, there's always the exotic-process sounding "giclée print."

Human psychology as it relates to "successful" compositions. As in are we pre-wired to gravitate to certain arrangements.

Why do we think that rich people are smart? Why does our culture venerate them?

It might be a question of blood flow.

I've got a question for you, the one we all want the diffinitive answer for. Which camera should I buy? ;-)


Given their archival keeping qualities is it unreasonable to reclassify C type prints as "performance art"?
Sorry I've got nothing.

To John Hagen, You can always go the pretentious route and call them giclees.

I believe the `Interesting sounding' name for inktjet prints is Giclée print.

As for my question: How can I get better at darkroom printing? Something like your `Print-a-day' program, but which accounts for the fact that in the darkroom you sometimes need a few (or a lot) of prints to do what you can do on the screen with digital (exposure, contrast, dodge/burn)

We must be in the doldrums. I can't think of anything to ask you.

1: Is Stock photography ever considered fine art?

2: What's an Occasional table the rest of the time?

Time for the next audio installment maybe.Sometimes you just have to let your mind go somewhere else.

RE above "How should I frame Ctein's matrix sale?" I have the same question.

I'm thinking of some kind of "book" format. When a guest asks "but what IS dye transfer?" I can present the book as an illustration. Maybe with a few printed pages of Ctein's own explanation of the process.

Perhaps a shadow box frame, with the proof print and the matrix sheets pageable?

Since you ask, I do have a general topic prompted by your link to that excellent documentary film about George Tice. As some critics have said, his work reminds viewers (including me) very much of a contemporary Walker Evans or Eugene Atget, and he should be better known. Do you have any of his books, and which do you think might be most worth acquiring? Not much seems to have been written about him. Any further insight you can offer into this brilliant but enigmatic photographer might be welcome, especially given the increasing public profile recently surrounding his 75th birthday gallery and museum events (and of course "Seeing Beyond the Moment").

For long time the following comment of yours has been resonating in my head: "Photography to me is about life, the world, and truth.". I was sure there was a longer version of it somewhere (in addition to this post http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/04/random-excellence-michael-poster.html), but somehow I cannot find it. It's worth exploring (imho) if you haven't done it yet :)

Two questions that have been on my mind since your piece on the Tao Te Ching:

1. What is the sound of one hand clapping?


2. Where does the Ti-D-Bowl man go when you flush the toilet?

What are you going to throw away?

Why did I just buy an OM-D EM-1? I think it's your fault :)

Why did I pay $100 more than I had to? Sales tax, the cost of supporting my local camera store...

Those are my rhetorical lead-ins... What is/was your favorite camera store, ever in the history of ever, and why?

Okay, I've got lots!
1. Did anyone ever make an autofocus lens with a Tessar design, and if so, did it have that hard-to-describe nifty character outside the plane of focus?
2. Can you tell me whats going on with how the lens is drawing in this photo? It's hosted by Shorpy: http://www.shorpy.com/node/14165
What I see is that the foreground, in-focus area has great local contrast (acutance?), and the background, while not softened to a complete blur, has very little, causing the motorcycle cop to "pop" forward. How is the lens doing this, and more importantly, how can I do this?
3. I'd like to email you a portrait I did and get your feedback on why it works (or doesn't work). Is this okay?
4. What would be something we could do as your commentariat that would make you really happy? Or moderately happy?
5. What's your opinion of Aubrey Bodine? Did you ever hear of, or meet Jack Engeman? (1901-1983, lived in Baltimore/Annapolis area.)
6. What was your favorite place to go photograph when you lived in D.C.? Is there a neat thing, or place, or situation, that people don't know about?
7. If I put a diopter lens on the front of a 50mm prime, will the additional SA improve the bokeh, or is that a dead end?


Some of my photography is what some call I think 'found abstracts'. Much of it is quite 'concrete' (lazy description). And some of it is anabashedly 'abstract' - i.e. you can't tell what the photograph is 'of'. I have just started to read Edge of Vision by Lyle Rexer. It is quite intellectual and detailed in the texts, but with good reasons for it on every page I've read so far, and has a very wide selection of 'abstract' photographs. One of his notions is that photography is wider than how we see things, and is, rather, how with see 'with' (the equipment, etc.)... and this leads right away into the no lesser value, necessarily, of the non- or less representational photographs.

The reasons for all the quotes here is just what that books speaks to as well: that word 'abstract' is not that useful... the terrain is much richer than 'abstract' vs 'representational'. Of course it is.

With apologies for the long preamble, I have been reading TOP with much interest and appreciation for several years now and recall few ventures here into that huge part of the photography universe. Perhaps it is simply not your cup of tea, nor that of the majority of the other writers here. If so, no problems.

But if there is more to it, then, Mike, please "talk about that for a bit" as would say the mother on The Kumars at 42 (British comedy show).

Hi Mike,
I follow your blog every day because you post things when you have something to say (and the things you say are interesting!)...and when you have nothing to say...you don't post (excellent!). The internet is full of websites and blogs that post regardless of the value of what they have to say.
Best, Stefan

Coming late to the comments as usual, but I'm surprised nobody here uses "carbon ink print". It's what I use for mine--pretentious, like "glicee", but also accurate, like "inkjet". Just the way I like it, and I don't have to say "archival" and risk someone knocking on my door one hundred years from now because the print they bought faded.

Very interesting. This would make a good weekly topic/post.

Okay, I have two questions. First, where do you recommend looking on the internet for photos? Shall I just wander through flickr or is there a better path? Second, I feel confident about composition and exposure in the camera, but I draw a blank on what I need to do during post-processing. How do I know if I need more contrast? Less? Sharpening? I assume there is some software/process agnostic description. Would something like "the print" be relevant for this?

Eric Brody: I objected to "Archival Pigment Print" but I have to admit that I routinely use that term for my own work. I guess I'm more nervous about "inkjet" than I admit.

Write about Bernd and Hilla Becher. I still can't make up my mind about how to think about them and their endeavors. Were they photographers? Conceptual artists? Anthropologists? Do we need to attach a label to them? Do you (from a purely personal and subjective perspective) like their work?

1. Your current thinking on digital B&W, capture, 'processing' and printing.
2. The real or imagined differences in look/drawing/tonality etc between different lenses and capture formats.
3. Tribalism & brands/formats, why do some people feel threatened by others choices? what's the underlying psychology ? Where do DoF, sharpness and bokeh memes arise and why are they so powerful.
4. Quiet colour - what conclusions can you draw from what you received? Were there patterns in content, style or interpretation of quiet. Did it work, will you do something similar again,(echoing previous comment, how about sharing some images).
5. What a fantastic position to be in - you can ask your 'customers' for inspiration.....
6. How's the office move plan going?

Keep up the good work....

Your lack of an idea is going to cost me money I don't have... ;) Before today I'd not known of Bernd and Hilla Becher but I now know that I deeply need to learn more. That type of industrial landscape is something I've practiced for a long time, though usually it's with barns or steam operated machines. But the basic style is right up my alley with the water tower you chose to present just making me ache with the wish that I'd captured that.

So, given that, can I get you to discuss that style or these two photographers in some more depth? Recommendations of "best" of books are welcome - I have to stretch what pennies I have as far as possible while I save for a new Olympus 25/1.8 lens (my grail at the moment...).

Regarding naming of digitally printed images, I went to a Group Exhibition at Somerset House in London last year and to my amusement there was no convention on the naming of digital prints some were called Archival Ink Print, some Gllicee, some Inkjet Print, some Pigment Ink Print, some Archival Pigment Ink Print and a few were Digital C-type but that is a different process so their is no straight answer I prefer Archival Ink Print but then somedays I think I prefer Archival Pigment Ink Print you choose what suites you. But it is to me more contentious the term fine art photography which brings the problem as it says to me that the idea is lacking in substance and you are relying on quality of craft to carry though to a viewer of your image. Just a thought.

There was a review in the Financial Times (UK) last Saturday of a new exhibition at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, of Henri Cartier-Bresson work. The exhibition started on 12 February and runs to 9 June. Might be of interest to anyone visiting Paris: http://www.centrepompidou.fr/cpv/ressource.action?param.id=FR_R-8c3927ca103e21f93722c4695e4783e&param.idSource=FR_E-8528b4338f3fde2beee8388769730d1


What is your take on the idea that IBIS in the Olympus cameras negates some of the IQ difference between APS-C sensors and M3/4 sensors by allowing the M3/4 shooter to shoot hand-held at lower ISO?

I think at one point you were threatening to write about how to edit a portfolio. I'd love to hear about that, since after trying to put one together for my website I heard back "it's incoherent". Clearly I'm missing something :).

Why is the photography of the late Bill Brandt largely ignored on your side of the pond?

From the wiki, about the origins of the term Giclee:

The word giclée was appropriated[3] by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the IRIS printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer they had adapted for fine-art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of "inkjet" or "computer generated". It is based on the French word gicleur, which means "nozzle" (the verb form gicler means "to squirt, spurt, or spray").[4] One unintended consequence of Duganne's choice of name was its problematic use in the French language since it is also modern French slang for male ejaculation.

What was your first camera and lens. When? What did you do with it?
What was your first serious camera and lens. When? What did you do with it? Do you still have it? Would you like to get it again, second hand, whatever? If not, why not?
What are your three favourite lenses of all time? Why?
What would be your dream lens, if money was no object? Why?
Talk more about lenses. You do that very well.

"The number of possible pictures is infinite"

I don't think that the number of possible pictures that can be taken with a specific digital camera is in fact theoretically infinite, a possibility whose contemplation I find depressing, from the viewpoint of the potential scope of one's artistry.

In greater detail, the relevant number of sensor pixels, to each of which inheres a known finite number of informational states, leads to a combinatorially vast, but finite, number of possible photographs which can be produced by the camera. Of course simple computation shows that this number of photographs is currently unlikely to be explored by a human photographer during a lifetime of activity, but the underlying realization is nonetheless philosophically troubling. I am of course
ignoring various analog possibilities for jpeg and raw conversion and focusing only on the possibilities associated with the camera, but I note in passing that if the converters are all deterministic and finite in number, then the current extant possibilities are again finite, and at the fringes of the converting art, tend toward negligible variation.

A naive response to this problem could motivate a return to film, but the number of silver halide crystals, whose arrangement within the emulsion is again of negligible importance at the fringes of their deployment, ineluctably presents similar philosophical issues.

As a bracing anecdote to your current writer's block, I note that by contrast, if the length of posts is not required to be bounded, then the potential number of your possible written posts is in fact infinite, and in fact is of the cardinality aleph_0, in the customary mathematical language that deals with levels of infinity. Thus, philosophically speaking, you are situated in a world of infinite possibility and promise.

If you have not already, you should see "Blue Jasmine". It has several nominations, but I cannot speak highly enough of Cate Blanchett's performance in the title role. If she doesn't win the Best Actress Award, there should be an inquiry. Sally Hawkins was nominated as Best Supporting Actress. And Woody Allen was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. This next movie, I thought was nominated for Best Foreign Film, but I see it was not. Hmmm. It's "Blue is the Warmest Color". Warning: it contains the most explicit sex scenes you are likely to see in a mainstream movie, but it's about love, our searches and needs for it, and the pain of losing it. Though not nominated, I recommend it. Watch it On Demand, or via NetFlix or something after the Oscars. Happy viewing.


I'll skip the Oscars in the Major categories - plenty is written about those films and actors - but it's worth your time to seek out 'The Square', about the Egyptian Revolution.


Does silver gelatin photographic paper have higher resolution or smaller grain [or whatever term is applied to the capacity to show fine detail] than film [say Tmax 100]?

What I'm wondering about is: does the wet-printed paper reveal all or most of the micro-detail recorded on the film? Here I'm assuming using an apochromatic enlarging lens.

My assumption is that there must be some minimum enlarging ratio to transfer the most information from film to paper. Is this true?


I always liked Central Camera, too. It just oozed of old school knowledge. Funnily enough, I actually purchased from Helix (both Chicago and Urbana,) not Central.

The other great store was Stan C. Reade in London, Ontario. They treated me really well, including when I gave them some Leica and Rollei gear on consignment. The owner and staff I dealt with are long gone, so I don't know what the place is like now. But the memories still serve me well.

It's just the winter doldrums. I was cheerful about it until the day before yesterday when the unremitting cold and 2" more snow on top of the existing icy mess finally threw me into a serious lack of will and energy for making new photos or tackling any editing chores on the backlog. Blah !!

Question: Should I store the millions of photography books - which I have purchased after reading about them here - on their sides or upright ? They seem to always go a-tilt when stored upright, but I've heard that flat storage isn't goof for some reason.

1) Are there any backissues of darkroom magazines with good info that you can't get in a book?

2) What out-of-print books would you like to be reprinted?

3) If you could teach a course on photography, what would the syllabus and reading list look like?

4) How do you edit a photobook? Or make sense of the editing of an existing photobook?

@Dave in NM:

Bart Simpson answered your first question years ago:


Mike replies: Lots of interest theoretically, but I need to make an effort to see some of the movies. Which ones do you think I should see?

American Hustle
Blue jasmine

Hi Mike, I wonder, do you have a point of view on film emulation presets such as VSCO?

Personally I tend to like them used lightly, when necessary, and not over-egged. That said, I worry whether a) all my (and everyone else's) images will end up looking the same as a result b) whether it's just lazy photography, and c) whether it's completely contrived. Or is it just another handy tool to add an extra something to one's photos?

Please - for the love of all that is holy to anyone - can we find a way to make the word "giclée" when referring to anything print related die?

It's a word usage created to try to hide the actual name of a wonderful bit of technological innovation from (what I imagine are) print luddites who refused to get off their artsy-fartsy high horses and understand something new.

At least as far as I see it from my low horse. :)

Why has manual focus become something of an afterthought on a lot of cameras?

May I suggest a mild overindulgence in either caffeinated or alcoholic beverages or both to stimulate your creativity?

The silent is so necessary as is the sound of a voice, or like a point in a phrase. Time will give you the words.

What should I do with this old 5D?

That's not a rhetorical question. I have a very recent EM-1 and a host of 4/3 and m4/3 lenses. And I think the EM-1 is just dandy and it's turning out to be a fine replacement for my old E-1, but.... a friend who lives in a far-off country where he can not get cameras repaired sent me his non-functioning 5D and said, if you can get it fixed, you can use it. So, now, after a long tale of repairs that incrementally put the cost into the range of a good used copy (can you say "boiling frog"?) and the additional expense of a battery, charger, and (I wasn't going to buy one right away) a used "nifty fifty", I have a 5D that should be used by somebody.

I shot a few frames. It's obviously a good camera. What I'm really tempted to do is get a lens mount adaptor because I have a couple of good OM lenses but... should I bother? What would I do with a 5D that I can't (or wouldn't or shouldn't) do with an EM-1?

You've recently had a major and probably life-changing illness. This may well be the first chink in your armour of life. And now you've had a brain phart.

Welcome to the world of daily journalism.

Perhaps tell us of the status of LuLu, of Zander, your experience with your own pool table and perhaps too how the doldrums of winter this year have arrived, and overstayed their welcome.

All viable reasons for not writing on a dauly basis. At some time your being shall realise
all out there is imagination and it is photographers who shall reinforce the world as real to us who remain.

Speaking of Speed Graphics, I recently acquired on to actually use when I attend meetings of a society devoted to preserving art deco. The camera works great outdoors but the flash is intermittent. So 1) who is the expert to talk to about them and 2) is there a source of flash to solenoid cables which I suspect is my problem?
Trivia - did you know the Star Wars "light saber" was the battery holder of the Speed Graphic flash?

Given the level of drug abuse in sports nowadays, and given that eight percent of the finalists in the World Press Photo of the year were disqualified for various levels of Photoshop 'doctoring', is there any room for truth and integrity in life or in art any more, or is winning the only thing that matters?
Or, to put it more succinctly, Who can you trust?

That is a lovely shot of the patrolman. I think the bike is an Indian, but what's the procedure when you link to another site, with a photo from that site? Is it acceptable use or do you have to ask first?

What is the best focal length? (In 35mm equivalent blah blah).

I usually manage with 35 and 50, but I'm worried that it might be 28!

(I'm fairly sure 24 is too wide.)

If we imagine that size and weight of a camera could be adjusted independently of each other and of quality and price, then what size would you consider ideal for a professional camera and what weight? And what size for a street camera? And what weight?

Who are your favourite contemporary photographers (perhaps one for B&W and one for colour)?

In terms of post-processing skills, whose approach intrigues you the most?

John Hagen, I'm with Joe and Eric, please don't use giclee. Apart from anything else, its original meaning in French is spurt, and so, I'm told, it's French slang for ejaculation.

What's wrong with gear porn?

And you know we crave your lens reviews as much as you dread posting them.

This has been quite an enjoyable feature. It is more of a conversation with your readers which sometimes allows you to learn more than with a more focused piece.

Would you consider doing this "Ask Mike" on a semi-regular basis? Once a month or two would probably be perfect.

Tell us more about some photographers of the past.
Tell us about an ancient lens. I used to love my 85mm F1.8 - H Nikkor. It always seemed to get everything about right. But I was itching to give the digital thing a go - so I sold it. Done the digital thing - guess what I recently bought?

"It's not the lighting and it's not the picture, it's how the two work together."

That could be the most intelligent comment (about photography) ever written on this blog.

And the first image in the series of examples is superb.

I really appreciated Andre's question (the golden hour) and your response. I was especially impressed with your quick and concise opinion which for me was really a very good and well illustrated teaching moment.

What are the most insidious misconceptions or false hangups that get in the way of people actually just sitting down and taking good pictures?

Do you have any plans a to travel outside the US?

Don't feel compelled to write for us every day, Mike. We are so lucky to have the Online Photographer, which is the best, most interesting most intellectually stimulating blog on the whole of the web.

Is there any reason in principle why what we know as a full frame sensor could not yield the same rich tonality of a 6x9 scanned negative or film print?

I know the 'physics' of brute size is always quoted here, but given that the composition of the sensor surface can be developed/improved qua Foveon or some other as yet undiscovered sensor structure (and, of course, mp increases) is it not possible in theory to develop FF sensors in that direction? Would it not be a very intelligent direction to take?

Our cell phones have apps that report the current location of the phone, that send emails with photographs of anyone failing to properly unlock the device, and other security features.

Why don't top-end cameras costing 5 times, 10 times, 50 times the price of the cell phone provide features to make it easy to return lost gear and locate stolen stuff?

* A camera should store the owner's name, web site, telephone number, and make this easy to view, to simplify returning a lost camera.

* The owner information should be stored on the CF / SD card when it is formatted. This is a feature that would be popular on compact cameras as well, I think. If your camera is dropped in the water on holiday, the loss of the camera is a minor setback, but the loss of existing pictures might be tragic.

* As wifi becomes common on expensive cameras, having it check in once a day, the first time wifi connectivity becomes available. 999 times out of a thousand, you'll just delete the email you receive, or archive it without looking at it. But if a camera is lost or stolen, having some information about where it is could be useful in getting it back. After all, Apple, Google and the NSA know where I am, multiple times a day, and I'm Canadian. Whether the email goes via Fuji or Olympus, or comes directly to me, I'd be happy to recover $1500 worth of gear ... and far more so for some MF Phase-One user who's out $50,000!

For the definite Top 10 list of 2013 movies, I highly recommend checking out Film Crit Hulk's article:

Some of them are up for Oscars, but not all of them. In any case, that's a very nice range of different types of movies, you should definitely find something to suit you.

Hi Mike,
Much food for thought in the comments so far.
Are there any images that have stuck in your mind your entire life?
I've got 3;
The Buzz Aldrin/Neil Armstrong moon portrait,
Looking down on the HE-111 flying over the London Thames bend from WW2,
and the Los Alamos atomic bomb test at the top of the tower.

best wishes phil


Why do you always drive to the store?

Surely better to walk there and back while carrying a camera.

Burton Randol -

It's a lot weirder and more constraining to think about than just the limits of the sensor. Any digital data of a finite size only has a certain number of combinations that encompass all possible data.

For instance, assume that you have a 1MB JPG (10 Mega-bytes). That's 8,000,000 bits, or individual 1's and 0's.

Since each can only be one of two values, there are 2^8,000,000 possible combinations of these bits. Theoretically, you could mathematically create a file with every possible combination and you would have created every possible picture containable in a file that size. EVERY POSSIBLE PICTURE... for instance, every frame of every possible movie, every historical event with you inserted in it, every possible landscape, every possible interpretation of any single picture, etc.

Now if you do the math, you realize that to actually create that many files, you'd need (2^8000000)/8 MB of storage... which is a staggeringly, blindingly huge number - a 1 followed by hundreds and hundreds of zeroes. It's not possible for any number of people in many many many lifetimes to actually produce that many separate files. And even if you could, how would you back them up? :)

Which is good for those of us that like to take photos!

I enjoyed your remarks about 'golden hour' landscape photography. For most of us, encouragement in seeking out the best photographic opportunities in the circumstances in which we happen to be is more useful than how to get up at 4 am in pursuit of the golden hour (only to find that it's raining).

I think the same principle applies to a lot of writing about equipment. While we are often told that it is the photographer's imagination that makes the shot, much online writing is about the ideal kit for a particular situation. Most of us, most of the time, have to make the best of what we have to hand - which may be sub-optimal, to put it mildly. Often, that's part of the fun.

I often used to rewind film and leave the leader out too. A friend showed me a great way for marking the number of exposures---count back the number of sprocket holes that you've exposed from the leader's end, and put a small fold in the edge of the film by that hole. You don't need a pen, and you can't help but notice the crimp when loading.

La Jetée was the prime inspiration for Terry Gilliams' movie 12 Monkeys (a favourite of mine).

La Jetee: "Never even heard of it, but I will put it on my list."

Careful Mike, the cinephiles, mouths agape, might cancel their subscriptions to your vertical magazine. ;)

Not too long ago, you wrote that you'd purchased a Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Art lens, and said someday you might share your thoughts on it. Since I bought one of the lenses around the same time for my Olympus EPL2, I'd naturally like to hear what you think of the lens.
I like mine quite a lot (it seems there's something 'filmlike' about the images I get, though I lack the photographic vocabulary to put my finger on just what it is I think I'm seeing). I do find the lens a rather finicky focuser; nearly drove myself mad trying to lock onto a tree branch full of lovely ripe persimmons on a breezy day last fall.

Love the tonality of the B&W motorcycle picture. You listed everything needed to copy this technique with film. Can I ask the best way to do this tonality in digital? The best equipment, and technique.

[When I figure it out I'll let you know. --Mike]

The comments to this entry are closed.