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Monday, 11 August 2008


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Welcome back, Ol' Boy :-)

Thank goodness you're back Mike.
I have been suffering greatly without my daily T.O.P. fix. In fact I had become so despondent that I chained and padlocked all my photographic equipment to my body, and was preparing to throw myself into the lake. Fortunately your safe return has ended my desperate state.
Would you know if there are any locksmiths among the T.O.P. readers? I was so certain of my demise that I threw away the key.
Also. Perhaps we could start a T.O.P. Withdrawal self help group, as I'm sure you will want to take more vacations.

Hi Mike, welcome back!

I'm curious about "JUST BURGERS & More" and why you didn't photograph the sign. Did you not have your camera ready, or did you just not feel like photographing it?

The reason I ask is that I sometimes find myself not photographing something because the DSLR is locked in the trunk, or the right lens isn't mounted on it, or I didn't feel like lugging the DSLR along with me into the restaurant/store/park/friend's house, etc. I only use DSLRs and for the most part I agree with your thoughts in "How to Choose a Digital Point and Shoot".

However, I have lately found myself regretting some of those missed photo opportunities because I was too snobbish to use a cell phone camera or a point-and-shoot camera.

Do you ever secretly long to slip a p&s digital into your pocket, and to be a tourist rather than a photographer (I find it impossible to be both simultaneously)? Or to be a snap-shooter instead of a perfectionist?

I sometimes find myself secretly envious of the point-and-shooters who have tiny shiny cameras with them, it seems, 24/7 and for whom no spontaneous photo opportunity goes unsnapped.

Thank god you're back. You wouldn't believe the crap I had to read while you were away.

It's THE most momentous announcement of the year IMHO. We're talking about MFT, right? :)

Heh!! The funniest road sign (well, actually graffiti) I've ever seen stated simply: "Glenn Eats Butt Hairs" painted in big, white letters on a highway overpass somewhere in Maryland.

Of course I also often find myself in the situations you're describing, but in this case it was simply that I saw it from the car. You know how it is when you're driving--you're trying to stay on schedule and not prolong the trip unnecessarily, and you need to keep your speed up to maintain a decent average. I don't typically stop the car to take pictures. Even if I saw Elvis getting out of a flying saucer, I'd probably think, "Some idiot in an Elvis suit getting out of a fake flying saucer," and on I'd go--it would have to be left to somebody else to get that shot.

Besides, as Zander said, in the case of the Just Burgers sign the story by itself is good enough; you don't really need a picture to go along with it.

Mike J.

I know the feeling when you see something special and you think "uh this is something to fix in a photograph" and you don't...

It's a special feeling, too. It's difficult to explain, maybe it's a mood...

Nice you're back. I am also back after holidays in Austria with tent, family and 1200 *.pef RAW Files.

"Only" 18 gigs? Interesting how perspectives change. In the old days, how many rolls of film would be light shooting?:-)

I think heavy shooting is 6-10 rolls a day or more. Of course that's light for a location photographer, very heavy for some art photographers. The most I ever shot in Michigan was 80 rolls of 36-exposure, but I can't remember how long I was there for--at least three weeks, I would guess.

These days my shooting is not haphazard. I just see a shot I want and then go after it. So I might shoot 20 exposures but I'm not shooting twenty different things to see which one works, I'm trying the same thing 20 times to get it the way I want it. Now, I look at a lot of shots I don't even take, because I know they won't be anything and I don't want to mess with it.

BTW I'm not saying this is right or wrong, better or worse, just that it's what I tend to do now.

Mike J.

Welcome back Mike.

What I really want to know is ... how was it? Life away from the computer, I mean. Were there withdrawal symptoms? Or did you find a camp site with broadband?

I honestly don't think I've spent more than a day or two away from the computer in the last 7-8 years, and I've lost the capacity to imagine what it would be like.


"What I really want to know is ... how was it? Life away from the computer, I mean."

A very poor experiment for that. I was with my extended family, in a wonderful place, away from my home and familiar patterns...I mean, it was fine; not difficult. At the same time it was not at all like being home and staying away from the computer!

Mike J.

Glad you're back and sound rejuvenated, Mike.

Did you catch any fish while filling those 18 gigs?

So relieved that you have returned as promised and obviously benefitted from the break. I was lucky that my holiday almost coincided with yours so I only missed TOP for about 3 days.
My "shooting lightly" was 2 slide films and 2 120 colour neg (6x6 = 12 exp. each)so your 18GB seems outrageous!
Must go now to read more about the 4/3 announcement, my first (sad) thought is that it spells another nail in the coffin for the viewfinder as we knew it.

Cheers, Robin


I am just noting how digital has changed our notions of what light shooting is. I am very aware of this because I still shoot 4x5, where heavy shooting might be 20 sheets in a day. When I am shooting digital, I follow the advice Jay Maisel gave years ago in an interview - once you think you have the image, it is time to really start shooting.

One difference I notice is that it is very hard to really see what you are doing with an APS viewfinder. Even moving back to full frame, it is still difficult to compose and see everything in the frame the way you can in 4x5. (Did seem easier when I was 20 - maybe viewfinders where better then.) With 4x5 you look hard for a shooting position before you set up, you will fiddle with the composition and movements and camera position for a long time before shooting. With digital, I go through some of the same gyrations, but shooting all the time.

So two questions and maybe a third.

Did you take teenage son with you?

Did you do some assigned reading, or did
you leave the package at home on the
cluttered desk?

and as somebody as mentioned,
catch any fish, or did you catch and then
drop them back into the water?

Oh, and a supplementary comment Mr. Speaker,
you were missed!

Alas, Bryce, no supplementary reading this trip. I read "Mayflower," though, about my famous ancestors....

Mike J.


So you say you stitched together several pics for that shot? I've never been able to get satisfactory results.

I read all the time about people who make it sound casually easy, but when I've tried it the seams always look really bad.

I don't know if it's my low-end lenses, poor software, bad technique, or what.

Any advice in this regard would be appreciated.

I've noticed something (zounds!). With the PITA G9 or the PITA XT, I shoot _less_ than I did with film, and that's without chimping.

Why are these PITAs? Well, they don't act like real cameras, whatever they are.

Anyway...it appears that many who use digital cameras blow off a bazillion frames while I shoot less. Why is this? I used to take along 40 rolls on an mundane vacation. Is it the agony of Photoshop?

I like your non-pan pic; it works.


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