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Monday, 01 August 2011


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Well Mike, I followed one of the links above, and one thing led to another as things often do, and I ended up learning that you'd published a book of your essays. And even better, that it's available on the iBookstore. So I bought a copy and dived in. I've just started it, but I'm looking forward to many a contemplative read. Now, my question! Why don't you promote your book on this site? A small ad below your paying ads would seem totally in order. Plus I can't be your only reader that didn't know about the book.

You're the best thing on the Internet, even when you're not 'here'.

I was delighted to find a link to B&H so that my new lens purchase makes some small contribution to this site. It didn't hurt that the lens is a roughly 35mm equivelant prime. Seems apt.

Enjoy your time away.

Metaphysical doubt makes my ass weary.

OMG! Mike, are you by any chance editing a book of your best photography columns? If so, please put me down for a copy. No--two copies. At least! (If you were just reminiscing and I've merely agitated yet another back-burner project, then...well...I feel OK about that, too.)

The fishing column is an old fave of mine, too, but I'd missed "Give That Cat the Boot", which is a real gem. Thanks for pointing it out.

As for "The Glow", another old fave, it ain't anachronistic, it's retro; or maybe just esoteric--like an article on how to properly set up a turntable (i wouldn't be surprised if you've written one of those, too).

Glad you're enjoying the look back. I am, too.

"The Glow" is one of my favorite articles. I read it quite a while back and could not figure out where. It also points to one of the reasons I like the Minolta G lenses, especially compared to their modern A-mount CZ brethren.

The Minolta 35/1.4 G, 85/1.4 G and 200/2.8 G show a certain "smoothness" — maybe a lack of micro-contrast — that the Carl Zeiss 24/2, 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 do not exhibit. Its not that the CZ lenses are bad. I just find that the long-sought-after holy grail known as sharpness is a bit underrated.

Thanks for the links to the older bits.

Four days, Mike?

Well, I'm glad you're as hooked on publishing this blog and interacting with us as I am checking this website three times a day. Even after you wrote that you'd be away...

There's definitely not enough good sites regarding photography with your sensibilities and wit.

Tenaya Lake is not in my very top tier of Adam's images, although I still much admire it.

As your series of Ten Great Photographs shows so well, an endless range of subject matter, style and technique have been used to produce great photographs. Adams seems to me to be without peer in his specific combination. To have only his work available to view would be terribly limiting. To be without his work would diminish my enjoyment of the photographic legacy considerably.

My experience of Yosemite Valley, most recently last May, is that one may stay in the densely populated part, and experience something very different from what Adam's did. Or one may move an amazingly short distance away and find great solitude. Perhaps you have generalized from limited experience?

We took a picnic lunch down toward the Western end, parked, walked a few yards to a beautiful spot on the bank of the Merced River. Fascinating eddies and whirlpools immediately in front of us, beautiful river and opposite bank beyond and a couple of beautiful, unnamed waterfalls above.

We didn't see another person while we were there. So, like Adam's, my photographs there have no people in them.

It does appear that few visitors even look up, other than in the designated places. When I saw this amazing sight, water falling off the shoulder of El Capitan and blowing away in feathery plumes, lit by afternoon sun, I raced to find a place to pull off and yelled "I hope you can entertain yourself" to Carol as I ran off into the woods.

One person walked by as I took still and video images. I didn't see anyone else take any notice.

Comparing Adam's to Bierstadt seems wrong to me, even in comparison to something very different. My memory was a little faded, but I've recently viewed some Bierstadts, and the degree of over the top romanticism of both subject and color seems to me far removed from Adam's images.

I did appreciate the reference to the "New Topographers", new to me as a "movement". Looking at images from the SFMOMA exhibit last year New Topographics - Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, I see I have done that too, so I have another genre in my work. <;-)>


This is my take on #6 (fully inspired by it)

It's Irish and Cape Breton musicians from Boston. It was an epic failure in a lot of ways but has come to mean something for certain people (it's been on top of a couple coffins for wakes for some of the old guys). Just wished I'd focused the camera...

After killing plenty of time over at the Luminous Landscape archives, I've arrived at my favorite post, from nine years ago almost to the day: "Photokina 2002 and the 'Olydak.' "

Some select quotations:

"At some time in the future, we will reach the point where a 'practical optimum' will have been achieved, and most people will no longer be willing to pay for, or deal with, more. Is that point 6 mp? Probably not. Will it be a 6-mp Foveon-type sensor? Possibly. Will it be a 12-mp 24x36mm sensor? That's possible too. Or, it may be more than that. But of course it's equally possible that a 12-mp 24x36mm sensor will already represent overkill for most users. Also, quite probably, the optimum point will turn out to be different for professionals and consumers. The point is simply that practical optimums will eventually 'settle out,' though nobody yet knows where."

Amazingly perceptive for nine years ago... And then there's:

"The big question is, will the future be a) digital SLRs that look just like 35mm SLRs and use the same lenses, or b) smaller, lighter cameras purpose-built around smaller, less expensive sensors with more d.o.f., better macro capability, and smaller, cheaper, faster lenses?

Personally I hope it will be "b," but again, of course, no one knows."

which actually follows text that essentially predicts MicroFourThirds based on rumors of the upcoming, but still unknown, FourThirds system.

You're a brilliant man, sir. Hope you enjoyed/are enjoying vacation, such as it is.

I nice little retrospective Mike. That group photo of the jazz greats is mind blowing. Perhaps it's a much classier ancestor to the 1980's Band Aid 'feed the world' Christmas specials!

As for The Glow - I just thought it was spherical aberration gone wild, and not something particularly mystical.

Oh, I just found your DMD post through your link as well. It's a shame your article hasn't got a date on it, as I'd like to calculate how long it took for the X100 to be released from the date you released your wishlist. Almost all of your DMD criteria are ticked off!

Hi Mike,

Fascinated to see in your amusing 50mm essay that you disliked the 50mm f1.5 voigt. Can I ask why? I recently bought one second hand (they're discontinued now, as I'm sure you know) and, bar a touch barrel distortion, am enjoying it quite a bit.

Keep up the excellent work.

You... you addict. :)

Anyway, a couple of things...

you may snap a casual, offhand shot without having any real hopes for it — and it may turn out to be the best thing you shot that day.

Yes. Double yes. Triple yes, even. Some of the best photos I made were shot from the hip, without deep thinking or even without any thinking at all. I saw the opportunity, took the shot and it paid off. (I like the gunslinger reference. :))

As to A.A., I just realised how much is my view of landscapes influenced by him. Particularly the clouds. And I realised that I unconsciously did the last photo on the index page of my site to look kinda like that. Besides, it was a from-the-hip photo, too. I was sitting on a bollard, idly waiting for a friend to have a drink with him, turned around after some girls :), saw the scene, lifted the camera and that was that. Three minutes later, the cloud was not there anymore.

@robert e ... talking about a book from Mike with his best columns, perhaps I can recommend this:


I remember looking at a preview of it and perhaps wanting to buy it at a later stage... maybe now is the time for us whilst he's away fishing!



The Empirical Photographer, of course! Thank you for the reminder. There were some delivery problems last I checked, but that was a long time ago. Maybe it is time to buy a copy. Though I have to say, ten years later, maybe it's time for a sequel?

@robert Yes, I had delivery issues too when I lived back in Australia (I lost a parcel in the post and have heard of some dodgy activities how a friend "lost" his amplifier -- but found it on a pallet in their warehouse after following in some of their staff to do some investigation)... but not so now I've moved country.

Also, it looks like their shipping options have changed:


Long story short: I've ordered my copy!

For one second I thought you are talking about a web site ...

Wow Mike, you're an interesting thinker. I only know you from the online photographer posts, after following it for a couple of years. I have just read some of the other material you have produced, good stuff. Love that LL Editing article.

I'm out $40 for a Pentax Spotmatic with a 55mm 1.8, plus $12 for postage. I blame you...

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