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Wednesday, 26 January 2011


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Oh dear me that X100 is shaping up to be something gorgeous.

The cost of being a Pro: "suck it up Kelby." It could hae been one of your cameras!

"Photography is so easy that the camera threatens to replace the eyeball. Our cameras are so advanced that looking at what you are photographing has become strictly optional."

Didn't Ansel say that in 1980?

So that was Kelby!? I remember that touchdown well, when I turned to my wife and said did you see how he took out that photographer? Rodgers didn't even turn around to ask him if he was OK. We thought that was bad manners of him, but if Kelby was wearing Bears earmuffs then it's understandable. I'm not saying I agree...but I understand.

So funny that it was Kelby...

I liked the "slow photography" article. I think it might help explain why I'm looking for a certain "something" in any camera, even a compact; why I prefer using a GF1 over my NEX and occasionally kick myself for choosing the NEX even though I know Sony will beat Panasonic to having a portrait lens by 5 years. It's why the Fuji is so interesting. Also, regarding experiencing what you're shooting, that's one of the things I like about shooting with an LCD (and have liked about shooting video on a camcorder with an LCD). I can actually watch what's going on, steal an occasional glance at the LCD, and shoot (if stills) or record without missing the experience. I can't follow OVF "purists" who insist that the electronic viewfinder is so inferior because you're looking at a representation of the image. For what, a second ? Maybe they're experiencing what's in front of them through their camera; I prefer to do that with the camera away from my eyes.

Glad about Phil Mocek, in Iran this past week they've been executing people for taking pictures.


Mike, you have to send the Scott Kelby story to Grant over at Rivendell Cycles. He loves a good "carbon fiber failure" story.

Re: slow photography; one doesn't need to go so far as to use manual film cameras to do this. Just turn off the auto focus on your DSLR.

Kelby was wearing Bears earmuffs, but had his monopod wrapped in Packers yellow. Hmm, hedgng his bets, perhaps?

That 10-6 record is kind of an aberration. Green Bay likely would have had a better record had Rodgers not been sidelined. So yeah, they were able to beat higher-ranked teams in the playoffs. Too bad the Jets didn't make it an all-sixth-seed Superbowl.

Kudos to Phil Mocek. Good sense (and a good lawyer) won out over tyranny (and what seemed to be a bumbling prosecutor.)

Move over Canon S95: Also today, dpreview posted their review of the Olympus XZ-1. "At F1.8-2.5 it's brighter at every point than either the Panasonic or Samsung, and is in a completely different league to the F2.0-4.9 offered by the Canon S95 to which it's otherwise so similar." Although it's a bit bigger than the S95 it should still fit in a roomy pant pocket and the black version looks quite good. I'm glad Olympus produced a new Zuiko 28mm-e 1.8 lens but I only wish it would have been in their old and neglected four-thirds mount...oh well, better luck next Wednesday.

IANAL, but isn't impersonating a federal officer a crime?

In any case, we need some copies of that verdict to go with the 'Photographer's rights' pamphlet.

Thank you very much for the Fairey Followup, Mike!

This is something "the news" ought to do more often: Follow up on old news. Too often, we just get speculation and initial impressions when something's new, and don't get to hear how a situation resolved, because it's old news by then.

I've been trying to slow my photography down for the past year or so, and have found it to be much more rewarding. I tend to fuss over the shots much more than I ever used to. And coincidentally, I've been approaching it by doing precisely what he suggests at the end of the article with my lovely Yashica 124g.

After reading a post here about airport security checkpoints and the fact that taking photos is NOT against the law, I flew into San Diego on an international flight. All security people wore silver badges except one guy who had a gold badge and seemed to be in overseeing the whole operation. I took my camera out of my bag and walked over to him...." Excuse me officer, I have a security question, no pun intended he says 'shoot'. I asked what he would do if I started taking photos of the X-ray machine and the security set-up as Mike Johnston, a Green Bay Packer fan (We're in charger country)told me it was OK. He said it was in fact legal, but he could detain me in the back room for what he called suspicious activity. I had a ride waiting so I let it go....just kidding about the MJ part.

Striking a small blow for freedom: a classic case of ego and rent-a-cops overstepping their authority. At least they didn't try to touch his junk. The moral of the story seems to be "know your rights" and "stand up for your rights." Kudos to Phil Mocek!

I think the drive towards 'fast' photography stems from several impulses.

First is the speed of photography. If we speak of a shutter speed or a flash duration, we are talking small units of time. That small unit of time may be perceived by some people as: it only takes a small unit of time to take a photograph. I don't think that the majority of camera owners think very much about the amount of time that it takes to get to that postcard picture or National Geographic cover. That is to say, they don't take the time to investigate or become familiar with their subject.

We are overly familiar with the famous views, and don't seek out our own views. We are exposed to a lot of pictures and we tend to wish that we got 'a shot like that.' So, we try to get that shot for ourselves regardless if we have the time, skill or equipment to do it as well, or better. It is as if we approach a new view through someone else's eyes.

We go quickly because we wish to 'consume' our destination. It's as if we have a checklist we must get through to say we have been there. I recall reading about a photography instructer who used to give his students lessons like: Go take a picture of a dog - once you've done that, you can move on, you already have your dog picture.

Finally, I think we sometimes make too much of an issue between a snapshot, a record shot or a photograph. I've got pictures that look great on the wall, and I've got pictures that don't look as good, but make me smile. Both kinds are important to me - the misses as well as the hits.

And I won't tell you how long it took me.

The Powhida Pyramid is a very cool encapsulation of the art market. Study it with care . . . and then stop caring about selling your work . . . and if you do sell your work, stop bragging about it!

If, after that, you still want a Chelsea dealer to look at your work -- for at least 10 seconds -- there's always "Shut Up Already . . . I'll Look At Your Art." Also a Powhida project. Seems to me an insightful performance art/comment on art dealers and artists.

Scott Kelby- I think on the play Aaron Rodgers did not run for the endzone when no one was open but that it was a called naked bootleg. Of course I know this because I didn't have to sit freezing and try and get photos of the game but I watched it from the comfort of my living room. The play was a good call too but Rodgers went to far into the backfield which is why he had to rush for the corner and thus take out the monopod.

Another note about Rodgers- 5 years ago, Ben Roethlisberger made a TD saving tackle with one arm. That year the Steelers won 3 road playoff games and then the Super Bowl. A bit of foreshadowing, perhaps? I mean a Super Bowl win for the Packers, not Rodgers getting an underage college girl drunk then taking advantage of her.

An Illinois car salesman was sacked for wearing the wrong tie? As a Brit, I know that Green Bay is in Wisconsin, and Chicago is Illinois (the rough amalgam here in the UK could be a Liverpool football supporter in Manchester), but even so, I'm amazed that your labo(u)r laws are so draconian. If this is true (and forgive me if it is an in-joke I don't get), then it's a pretty sad indictment of the land of liberty and freedom.

It actually is rather interesting. The way Wisconsin laws are structured, at least, businesses have almost unlimited power to fire employees, for any reason or for no reason. I'm sure the car dealer that fired the guy would put a different spin on the tale--apparently they had just done a Bears-related promotion, and they claim the guy was fired for insubordination, i.e., not following orders. He was a new guy, too, and it's quite possible he just wasn't working out on the job in the broader context. It's also arguable that the tie was an example of insensitivity to the customers--many of whom would have been Bears fans smarting from the previous day's loss. I'm sure fans of British soccer teams can imagine a parallel--it's called "rubbing it in" here--maybe there too?

American freedoms definitely stop at the corporate threshold, however. In fact I think there are some parallels that could be drawn between the corporate structure and medieval feudalism. For instance, we have a TV program here that documents the all-powerful feudal Dukes or regional Kings descending from their castles, donning disguises, and mixing with their vassals--it's called "Undercover Boss." It's the plotline of Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper" sans the subsequent identity confusion. The denouement every week is that the Duke/King (company owner/CEO) discovers the humanity of his previously ignored or underappreciated vassls (rank-and-file employees), showers deserved if unearned rewards on the ones he happened to encounter on his adventure, and tearfully promises to treat them all in the future as if they were human. As I say, interesting.


Ah, Dennis I read the reactions on the post regarding Slow Photography. It seems to be devided between "The need for speed" as expressed by Sarah Connor, who thinks you can't take great pictures in Afrika unless you shoot the crap out of the savannah. She should go to Nick Brandt's site and be taught otherwise. Or she should go to any of the websites of the Düsseldorf boys and girls (lets not forget Candida, Tata, Petra and Simone) who lug 5x7 (Gursky), 8x10 (Höfer) and that kind of stuff to all sorts of places from the Peruvian jungle (Struth) to the Amsterdam Arena to shoot the European Soccer Championship (Gursky). Now that is what I call Slow Photography. And Panasonic has a great portrait lens. It's a Nikon 50mm 1.4 on a Novoflex Adapter. Manual focus but hey if your subject is able to hold still for a while you can even try going for the 1.4 and enjoy the bokeh that lens has to offer (the adapter was 170 euro and the lens 90 second hand).

Greetings, Ed

Mike says " I think we are going to be increasingly dependent on such expressions of civil disobedience to underscore the fact that the act of photographing in public is legal in free countries."

Problem is we are not as free as we once were. Big brother keeps on getting bigger and more bossy all the time.

Ed, Brandt's pictures are amazing. I've become increasingly intrigued with the idea of tilt/shift and don't find software solutions satisfying (not for image quality, but for the process). I've been looking at adapters which look increasingly viable on a short registration distance camera like the NEX (which isn't otherwise an ideal "slow" camera). You can slow down with any camera, but the article is exactly right: slow photography is satisfying with certain cameras; unsatisfying with others. Not that my idea of slow resembles view cameras in any way whatsoever; it's just a more deliberate take on too-fast photography !

@MJFerron: Not only Big Brother. Take a look at a city like Düsseldorf in Google Street View.....no it is not partly wrapped up by the insane nephew of Christo, these opaque patches are the result of people objecting to their houses, windows and gardens being shown on Google Streetview. I don't think you have to be blindfolded when you actually walk past these houses in real life and I'm a great fan of privacy, but in earnest don't you wonder what these people have to hide so obviously :-).

Greetings, Ed

Weird thing, that "slow photo" thing... I was thinking only recently how much I've enjoyed "forcing" myself to only shoot with a fixed-length, manual-focus-only lens.

I'm crap at getting the shot "right" the first time, so I used to shoot slight variations of the same subject several times - up to ten... - trying small variations on the framing and focal length.

On my last few photo outings, I was surprised by how much I found myself enjoying a slower and more, well, involved, shooting pace.

I still find it harder than I'd like to get used to the fixed-length bit, because I'm lazy and like to zoom more than I like to move, but on the whole it has noticeably increased the pleasure I get from going about on photo walks.

Of course I have my AF and zoom lenses in the bag, just in case, but that fixed, manual lens may turn out to be the best buy I've ever made.

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