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Sunday, 18 September 2016


The last image is a keeper!

About not working on your book today, you should give yourself a break. When you live in a place like yours, that's what the winter months are for.

What would be criminal would be to let a glorious fall season pass you by, no matter for what reason!

I have some of those same debates - do I want a big system and a little (or compact) ? Or do I want a do-it-all system. I have no real need for a big system, except that it's more satisfying (the files, not lugging it) and it's a hobby meant to enjoy. My idea of big isn't medium format, though, it's FF.

Anyway as to landscape, I've lived all my life in northwest CT, not so far from you, and have shot landscape - "scenic" I call it, because the "intimate landscape" shots (as I've seen them called in magazine articles) are often close up shots of small slices of a landscape and don't resemble what most people think of as landscape. We have hills and we have trees and when we do find an open view, we have telephone poles and utility access roads. There are few grand vistas and no big skies, so I've shot landscape with anything from 21mm to 400mm, and the wider shots are typically of close subjects. I wondered if that was just personal preference until I went west a couple of times and saw the kinds of landscapes that landscape photographers shoot.

My other thought is that landscape photographs rely heavily on the edges of the frame - not so much whether they're tack sharp, but on what you include and what you exclude. So I like to frame landscapes with a zoom. I can happily spend a day walking around with a single prime, but not for landscape photography. I'm sure I'd end up cropping frequently if I shot with primes. Though I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the quality of midrange zooms I'm seeing for new mirrorless systems, and could contemplate a handful of primes and settle for some cropping.

I was told years ago by my art professor to use your "time will tell test" by putting anything that I had made that I thought had potential somewhere where it would be seen regularly but inadvertently - above the TV for instance - and if you still thought it worthwhile after three weeks it might well be, in fact, a keeper.
We have a pinboard panel behind the breakfast table for just that purpose which results in many binnings and just a few keepings.

p.s. I very much like your last image and suspect that it might well be a keeper by such a test.

Mike, I think FF is the future if you plan to print big. That said, I could never make long lenses work on landscape very well. My walk around is 24mm.

You now have access to a new beautiful landscape, and as you have pointed out, Access determines what you CAN photograph. This new access certainly seems to appeal to you so go for it. You may decide that landscape is still not your interest, or you may become the Ansel of the Finger Lakes but you probably shouldn't make a decision for a while.
Landscapes reveal themselves in their own time and in their own way, and , in my experience at least, it takes a while. You go back again and again and it is always different. --The old saying about "You can never step in the same river twice"
The landscape seems to be calling you though, you speak often of the local beauty, and how good it makes you feel, and you are making pictures.
Don't judge yourself too much, just do the work that feels good to do.
As for "Almost, but no cigar" isn't that 99% of Photography ?
If you honestly think that your efforts are producing 90% + images this early, --pat yourself on the back.
Make a print and live with it, as you say time will tell.
But the Process can be enriching----even if no pictures result, both on an immediate basis -being out and seeing is sometimes enough---and on a longer term basis, each time you visit a place or location in joyful expectation, you learn more about it.
I have come to believe, that those trips are in a way, paying it forward because you demonstrated the respect for the subject that will ultimately get the subject to reveal itself.
Or maybe it's as simple as show up enough times and one of them will be the Right time.
I live in 2 places, Bucks Co PA with Farms rolling hills and the Delaware river, and Montauk NY at the very tip of long Island surrounded on 3 sides by Ocean. I take very different pictures in those places, I see differently, and am drawn to different lenses.
Part of that is because our Business is in Bucks co so we do what is required for professional work, but even personal work is different.
One thing I have definitely learned is that returning again and again pays dividends. Just be there, and be ready and when it is right, it feels more like pictures find me than vice versa.
Don't judge too much just be there, and be happy.
I think it's great !

I haven't really thought about this much, but I have had the opposite experience here in Paris. Shooting a 50 here is really hard -- it's too tight as everyone just is so close to each other. A 35 works better.

But outside of Paris, where there's more space, that 50 works better. I keep kicking myself for all my lost shots, but I guess you win some and you lose some.


[No, I agree with you Pak. When I was in photo school in Washington D.C., I found 50mm was too tight for the city, and switched (had to save long and hard for it!) to a 35mm. --Mike]

Dear Mike

Another timely post as I have been mulling over similar thoughts in recent days (almost certainly brought to mind by the launch of the Hasselblad). Two thoughts have greatly enhanced the appeal of MF to me (and brought on this case of GAS).

Firstly, a couple of comments made by Ming Thein and Thom Hogan (if I have interpreted them correctly) that in their view not everything in a landscape photograph should be in critical focus. Thus perhaps a little less d.o.f. may be a benefit in my landscape photography.

Secondly, I have been shooting more with a telephoto recently and liking the compression that this brings. With longer focal lengths on MF this would bring more compression for an equivalent field of view and, for example, draw the mountain from the background into a more prominent feature of the photo. I think I would like this.

Last year I changed from m4/3 to Sony FF and haven't really noted the above differences but then I haven't really been looking. I intend to explore this more over the next few weeks.

I realise that my thoughts are hardly revolutionary; people have been shooting landscapes with MF (and larger) for years. My questions to others would be, are the differences (due especially to longer focal lengths) noticeable in a print and are they desirable? The greater compression is the one that really appeals to me.

Of course, most of this is just a pipe dream as – unless I win the lottery – the Hasselblad is beyond reach!

I find that it goes well beyond just the time it takes to "see" with the camera, it also goes to the time it takes to become comfortable with what the camera has rendered. I have photographs that, upon initial view, I dismissed having no real value; but, following several months of going back and looking again....and again, they kind of grow on me. I suppose, even though I cannot technically analyze the thing, it might be one of the most desirable traits one could hope for in a photograph.....or photographic equipment, for that matter.

Its a good thing you kept the A900. I find that my A850 produces a striking percentage of photographs that keep growing on me.

Also known as CBNBs.
Close, but no banana.
At a minimum, it means one has not worked the scene enough. Lazy!
At its worse, it means one does not manage to give up on an image even if it is not good enough, and one likely knows it at the time of shooting already but shoots no matter. Undisciplined!
But then again, look at Magnum's Contact Prints book and relax. Even the grand masters have plenty of CBNBs...

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