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Thursday, 29 July 2021

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You find the camera you like as a CarryAround and have it with you most of the time/all of the time. Then you will be ready with something you know works and is comfortable and familiar.

Some years ago Jay Maisel was to give a lecture to a group of Photographers. Story is he walked on the stage, asked "who has their camera with them"? Apparently no one did. He walked off and left.

Doesn't take much to have and carry a camera you find comfortable and not too intrusive. Maybe not an 8x10 Deardorff - but a smaller one you like that produces image quality that fits your style.

"The harder you work, the luckier you get."

Attribute to Gary Player

Being comfortable using the camera is much more important than the camera you're using.

Yesterday the sun was hitting our dahlia bed in just the right way, some sort of stonehenge-like alignment thanks to the neighbors, the house, and the end of July's angle of the sun. I've been using my phone exclusively since I returned from a camera-trigger-happy trip, and so my "real camera" has been hidden away. I decided to find it and get a proper picture of some dahlias in summer light.

But then I had to do a little work, find a battery and card, etc. and by the time all this happened that sun ray had moved on to illuminate nothing special. Shoot! But then in 5 minutes time that same slice of sun illuminated the neighbor's porch in a way I'd never seen before. So I went back to work, and then my trusted telephoto for some reason stopped working. (It's a little long in the tooth and has been tossed around quite a bit.) Well, Shoot! again.

Had I just used my phone, it would have just been a flower bed pic and a porch pic. Not much. Had my real camera get-up been more on demand it would have been about the light, the hint of the fade of summer, the smell of the air at 7pm in July,...

The point is, and this has been true of most camera eras, you have to be in practice with your camera, have it all dialed in and near you, be ready for what comes. I blame the phone for luring me into thinking it's my "go to" for the last several weeks. I've had weeks of unremarkable phone photos.

Maybe that's why there was a bit of push back, Mike, on your last post. I find it very hard to get amazing pics with the phone, though I do sometimes get some decent ones. So those "smartphone awards" say "Look how incredibly lucky this bloke was to grab this snap, so lucky that it didn't matter that he used his phone!! Lucky guy!" And then that kinda makes me as angry, even angrier. There's a smugness about that, somehow. Like, I see Steve Jobs smirking, glancing around the conference room at one of those Apple promo events, looking past my shoulder, and calling that other dude up onto the stage, and they've got matching turtlenecks. And then there's that tepid applause from the tech crowd.

"Why did I even come here?" I think, in a harumph.

I could go on.

And, just to add a little more: never felt this kind of ire for Polaroid, instead felt quite the opposite using those cameras. And I definitely never had anything but gee whiz admiration for Edward Land and what he made for us.

But don’t the Butters and party snaps fall into the very category you were advocating for smartphone cams? Maybe the current iPhones would do a satisfactory job? And both succeed as memories.

I think the problem is there is no really pocketable almost ‘ever-ready’ (like the phone cam) larger sensor camera that you could have with you in the same way as the phone and even if there was you would then be carrying two cameras. The Ricoh GR plus an optical viewfinder is about right for size and weight but it’s fairly slow to activate.

That's why so many of my best photos were taken during the first few years of my learning how to use a "system" camera and really enjoying it. I had it with me everywhere. I have great kid shots, great dinner with friends shots, great shots of relatives, all from those years. I think it's partly about the camera, but maybe more about the general enthusiasm you have for photography. When I lose enthusiasm, I find I spend more time "testing" new equipment and settings, less time just shooting.

However, I am preparing my third box of old gear to sell to KEH and have a Fuji X100V on order. I'm sure that little camera will solve all my problems and I will have the perfect blend of enthusiasm and equipment. : )

I can relate to this. Sometimes the wrong camera is the only one you own. Before I was an iPhone owner I had a dslr and a flip phone, so it was a situation of use my "real" camera or nothing at all. The dslr was a Pentax k-5. Lovely camera, except it seemed a good 25% of my shots weren't in focus, but the pictures weren't so out of focus that they instantly revealed themselves to be useless when casually inspected on the camera's screen. So, I'd go out shooting, do a quick chimp, and think "all's good". Upon reviewing them on a computer, many of them would be focused slightly to the foreground or background of the subject. Granted, some of this was probably user error, but I've never had the same issue with other cameras I've owned. It completely killed my confidence in the camera, and thus, photography with it. The ergonomics and build quality of the camera were so fine that I tried for over a year to ignore my dissatisfaction, but that nagging insecurity over focus issues finally forced my hand. I now have an Olympus mirrorless with contrast detect focus that either nails the focus dead on, or misses it so completely that it's obvious. I'm no longer left wondering what the computer screen is going to reveal.

Incidentally, the camera is not as pleasant to hold and touch as the Pentax, but the Olympus is so honest in its output that I've come to love it anyway.

First time commenting here:

It's impossible of course not to sense your deep disappointment in having the the "wrong" camera at the time and I felt compelled to reach out to you.

I may be preaching to the choir here and/or stating the obvious (apologies if so), but if the color isn't what you remembered or expected, then use an image editor program to "make it so". IMHO, nothing wrong about "correcting" the camera results to make them more meaningful and enjoyable even if only for you, the image creator.


Perhaps not exactly your vision, but the image link as an example (just 2 minutes worth of editing effort) should be a bit closer to it:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V5mGhM4QuE_yf-hwh-PkW3oTh08mEP5d/view?usp=sharing

Don't know what your original file size was but I used Gigapixel to scale it up 4X.

Have enjoyed your blog for many years.

[Thanks John, and welcome to the "Commentariat"! --Mike]

A recent rumor suggests a new 20mm 1.4 lens may be on the way from OMDS. There's your OL. Now you just need to decide which m43 OC to put it on.

Ansel Adams: "For fully half of the photography done in the world, a Kodak or Ansco box camera would be adequate."

Of course differences in tools such as cameras make a difference in the type of work that can be produced. There are numerous examples of this in other fields. In astronomy, for instance, the development of the telescope yielded discoveries (Jupiter's moons by Galileo as an early example) that were impossible without it. Edgerton's work with electronic flash enabled photos that could not have been made without it. But there's a reason to say that the camera "doesn't matter." It's an overreaction to the ignorant notion that the camera does all the work of making an excellent photograph, and that any idiot with enough money could get the same results, given the same equipment.

You could pack a car trunk with every possible format and selectively pick one for the scene that you encounter, assuming that it is not fleeting.

Or, you could pick any camera and tell yourself that it is all you need, and then ignore anything that your camera does not excel at.

In the real world, everyone uses the "wrong" camera sometimes.

First off, each of the images you posted above is lovely, Mike. Especially "Butters at the Window" and the Ricoh GXR "test" shot. Could they hold-up to printing small-to-medium size? Sure. Are you printing them? Probably not, right? So I guess you used the "right" cameras.

You certainly know that nobody (outside of shutterbugs) gives a shit what camera you used to make a photo. You also know that optimization of photography requires premeditation and planning. Jeff Wall spends 6-figures to meticulously reconstruct some utterly banal scene in a studio just so he can use the "right" camera and have perfect conditions for a photo. (He'll also more than recoup his money through sales.) Ditto Greg Crewdson, and others.

As I write this I am planning to make a small series of "optimal" images at a street location that I have photographed several times over the past 4 years. I have the "right" gear and and have planned the visit for lighting and traffic conditions. But will it land an image that's more charming (more "ideal") than the initial image I shot casually with a little Fuji X-T30 and the kit 18-55 lens? Maybe, maybe not.

"If only" kills the experience. Learn to use that iPhone like a pro. Practice, study, practice with it. That's what I do because I know that despite having a ridiculously enormous wealth of camera equipment at my disposal the iPhone will probably be the "best" camera I have available for many images, especially as I get older. Get real. Enjoy the images more than the cameras.

I'm still waiting for the Nancy Rexroth of digital photography.

For example, I grew up thinking the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach took place in some sort of severe weather event on account of Robert Capa's photographs. There are other photographs that show that it took place in excellent weather and some are even in color but Capa's literally melting mess are the photos that are the definitive rendition for many. Digital artifacts don't seem to work that way.

On a similar note, where is the Jimi Hendrix of digital photography? Jimi took the technical flaws of his tools and made them the centerpiece of his art.

I have low expectations for any photo I create with my iPhone, but it serves well as a visual note taking tool. When I gather up gear for photography (outside the studio), it involves a heavy backpack, expensive gear, and a tripod. Similar to you, Mike, I see photography as part of my printmaking process even though it does not happen all of the time. Tiny sensors do not fit my photography workflow, and maybe someday that will change, but until then my Fuji X100T serves as my candid camera, while larger sensors and films do the serious stuff. Look into a Fuji x100 series for hanging around the house, in the car, etc. - you might like it.

I had a GXR with 3 of the modules, but I knew it was doomed from the start. Still, I loved it and moved on only for the sake of image stabilization. There was a glimmer of hope when Ricoh introduced the M-Mount module - a camera with an interchangeable mount! The dream! But too little, too late.

It had great raw files and great jpegs, too, because it had the option to adjust the hue of individual colors. Skies too purple for your liking? No problem, go to the blue slider and dial back the magenta. Why is this not a feature on all cameras? Even Ricoh abandoned it, I can't imagine why.

It’s certainly true for me too.

Your third and second-last paragraphs here stand as a solid and concise statement of why a particular camera or at least a particular type of camera may well be vital to an artist creating a body of work.

Not to a casual snap-shooter, perhaps. But to an artist, yes.

I carry both a cameraphone and my Fujifilm X series camera every where. On many occasions someone will comment that I don't need the Fujifilm because the cameraphone will do just fine.
I gave up explaining years ago. Even now with the advancement in cameraphones I still carry the Fujifilm camera.
I will admit the cameraphone takes great audio notes.

I took the contest results as the intersection of a couple of things: 1) the efforts of a stock photo agency, 2) an Apple marketing opportunity, and 3) a set of images showing off what an iPhone can do. My guess is that most TOP'ers' photography exists on very different axes than those. Personally, the results weren't to my taste, but then again that is true of most photography that I see, so there is really no harm in it. For my own part, I'll always click on the link and see what visual surprise is in store. Photography's current ubiquity has had many profoundly disrupting effects . . . and it isn't entirely clear to me who will be making the iconic images in this brave new world. Maybe the insane fecundity of smartphones as image making devices will mean that no one can step into the shoes of [Adams/Lange/Erwitt/Meatyard . . .fill in your own photo-hero here]. We will see.

This could also be viewed as an incentive to get lots better at post-processing. Dunno if I could make your lake picture come out right, quite possible not, but perhaps better people could. The rainbow picture I have even higher hopes for—the thing you specifically call out as failed is to me the standout feature of the version you show (the rainbows are much more than "barely" recorded!). So, maybe it doesn't match your memory in some dimension, but there is a double rainbow there.

More broadly, Elsa Dorfman was not doing work with found scenes! It's a very different kind of photography. And at the cost of those Polaroid sheets I imagine she was managing everything to an insane level to make each sheet count.

Betcha HCB had a long list of missed opportunities in his head, too; unless he found a way to force himself to forget as part of the process of moving forward.

Has taken me my whole life to realise that it is what the machine won't do that makes it an interesting machine. If you have a machine can do everything, you have a machine with which you (I) will do nothing. Very much great art has bern made by people who had a machine which would do very small number of things only: often just one thing.

I am not a photographer (I have many books of photographs which I love but I do mot make photographs seriously) so can not speak for them. I am a guitarist and I can speak at least for me. When I was younger I wanted a flexible guitar which could do many things – would have perhaps humbuckers with coil taps so it could sound a bit like a Gibson (humbuckers) and a bit like Fender (single coil). And a flexible effects setup which could do many things and have many adjustments so I could perhaps one day have Syd Barrett's echorec, and another Eddie Van Halen's 'brown sound' (OK, no, never that). And an amp with lots of knobs and lots of channels which would do all things. And I could do nothing.

Now I play a semiacoustic guitar with a single pickup, through a set of effects I hardly change, each of which does one thing very well. Most of the time I use an amp with one channel and one tone control. And now I can play. Am not a great guitarist, but good enough: could make my living if maths was not more fun.

And of course I endlessly find things I can not do because the machine I use simply will not do them. But that is not 'missing a chance', that is choosing what chances you will have,and seeking out only those. Most people can not do fifty things well: if you can do one thing well you are lucky. You will gain nothing by having machines which will help you do the things you will never be good at. Worse, by having these machines you will endlessly be distracted from the things you could be good at.

Perhaps photography is different.

Hi Mike,

Yes, I think maybe it's true: your muse needs nourishment. I write that with all the respect I have as a long, long time reader (and "patreon"). I wouldn't necessarily say you need an OC/OL/OY but that's my selfishness. I enjoy reading what you think of new gear. But I know that feeling when you're not in the creative place you need to be. Sometimes it just needs some simple adjustments: on your outings, always have the same camera (the one you like) with you, even if sometimes it stays hung on your shoulder the whole time. Then again, now I'm getting prescriptive; telling you what I would do is not the point. You have more experience than me. I'm sure you know how to find a way back to a creative state. The main thing is, I'm sure most of us want you to keep shooting and keep writing so I hope you can nourish your muse to stay in that state.

Perhaps one of the stipulations for the OC/OL/OY should be that you take that OC with you everywhere you go. For a year. Within reason. Seems like it might be a good habit to get into and possibly life-changing in a good way.

Is there an art form as inherently gear-centric as photography?

Not writing or painting, certainly.

If you actually decide to do the OC OL OY let me suggest that the OL be a 24-70. 8-)

Quote - “Meanwhile, I want to have had my good camera with me, but somehow not enough to...have my good camera with me. At some level it's my lack of dedication and commitment that's to blame.”

Find something you are passionate to shoot - hit the pool halls around you or photograph friends at your pool room! If you have a passion for the subject, the energy will follow. We have a couple of projects that have us fired up.

Acquired a Nikon D700 within days of its release, and used it pretty much every day for years. When the D850 came out, I acquired one. Fairly recently acquired a Z6ii. After using the D850 and the Z6ii instead of the D700 for some time, I have gone back to shooting with the D700, mostly because of its controls. The D850 is similar to the D700, and the Z6ii a whole other animal. When I need the resolution/pixels I use the D850. The Z6ii has been converted to an IR camera and I love it for that. Recently acquired a second D700, just in case (but more likely/realistically when) something happens to my original D700. The camera does majorly matter to me, for it has a huge influence on my imagery.

I keep a “good” camera handy at home. And I emphasize handy, as in 3-6 feet from where you work, or live inside. Out in the open, not in a drawer, not in a cabinet. Bare on a nearby surface. Battery at 75% or more, SD card with plenty of space. Settings set to your normal preference. Your one favorite lens mounted, and second favorite next to it. Grab it in literally seconds. And it pays off for me, more than you might believe. Keep the phone inside your pocket.

My wife and I both have a favorite picture of one of our daughters. It was a snapshot with a disposable camera. It was developed at Walmart because that was the service that was available that could throw it on a cd at the time. Every time we see it, we laugh; it is one of those photos that evokes a laugh from anyone who knows our daughter’s personality at the time.
It’s not a perfect photo, everything is out of focus, the colors are awful, and I want it to look like I know that it could be so badly. Therefore, I have tried to recreate that photo with every camera I had and could rent. I was never able to do it.
It always comes down to what you have, when you have it. Still always looking for that perfect every time, carry around camera that I will never replace.

Entertaining comments. I'll add a couple.

#1 Having the right camera at the right time is certainly desirable. During the 14 years we lived on a farm in SoCal with tons of flora and fauna to photograph, I kept two cameras ready to go: Oly E-P3s with add-on electronic viewfinders, one with Oly 12-60 macro/zoom and one with Panasonic 100-300 tele/zoom. When I saw an interesting bird, insect, butterfly (we were a Monarch breeding area), etc, I could grab a camera that would do the best job. Result - thousands of good photos every year to choose from for our annual photo calendar we created for Christmas presents to friends and associates.

I also had equipment for studio work - mostly closeups and often video for training materials I created. The Oly w/12-60 was the workhorse.

Now we live in the city and most of my photos are of odd/exotic cars, funny vanity license plates, and workers installing fiber optics (I use in my work) as I walk around the city. The iPhone works marvelously for this.

Recently I've been using the iPhone for the training materials too. A Phone mount on a giant Manfrotto tripod works like a charm.

I've never tried large prints from the iPhone, but I've had 30X40" prints made off the 12MP Olys that are hard to fault. The secret was a really good printer!

#2 Elsa Dorfman was a wonderful portrait photographer with the large Polaroids, but I am absolutely crazy about the work of Marie Cosindas who Dr. Land worked with for many years. She died in 2017 at 93. If you are not familiar with her work, you are missing something. What she could do with still lives and portraits was magic. (https://aperture.org/editorial/remembering-marie-cosindas/)

The difference between Cosindas and Dorfman's work perhaps shows how the photographer is more important than the camera in the look of the photo.

Get yourself a used 27mm Fujichron for the X-T1 and have at OC/OL/OY! Small, light, take anywhere package- then get the down sized X-T5 w/IBIS.

On the one hand, I feel obligated to note that I encounter this post during my evening “photo blog read,” immediately following the announcement I found on DPReview of the Leitz Phone 1. Japan-only, as is its non-Veblen cousin from Sharp. Seems a suitable answer to the problem, given the sensor appears to be the same as is found in some version of the usually-quite “right cameras” in Sony’s RX series.

On the other, for three Summers in a row our family has culminated our visit with my parents by giving them 5x7 photos of our two kids for a dual 5x7 frame we gave them two Summers ago. This year it was not photos from one of my Fuji’s, but from my wife’s iPhone 11. They look great at 5x7. Which is no great feat, I guess. Still:

“The best camera is the one you have with you”

or

“f/8 and be there”

seem instructive right about now. The pic of my newly-3 daughter in particular is a treasure to have.

This is why I carry my Fuji X100F with me everywhere I go, and everytime I go out the door. Even if it's just to the grocery store.

But surely you can see how a smartphone camera can be the right tool for some bodies of work and the wrong tool for others.

Yep, I've yet to see anyone use a smartphone to snag an "over-the-shoulder" panning shot of a motorcycle road racer going past you at over 120 mph.

Just sayin'....

https://photos.imageevent.com/puma_cat/fujixt2testimage/JD-Beech-BandW-Unmatted.jpg

Oh, and why did you not have the ‘right’ camera for the Butters photo? You are at home, the dog’s asleep* and you are surrounded by cameras.

Your OC/OL/OY probably should be an iPhone ;-) .

* Yes I know maybe he’ll move as soon as you do!

"They work hard and long, and keep at it, and surmount all sorts of difficulties. They're dogged and determined. Meanwhile, I want to have had my good camera with me, but somehow not enough to...have my good camera with me. At some level it's my lack of dedication and commitment that's to blame. "

It seems to me you have taken something simple, "Always have a capable camera with me", and turned it into an insurmountable problem, by taking:

" Successful photographers are very dedicated."

"They work hard and long, and keep at it, and surmount all sorts of difficulties."

"dogged and determined."

And conflating them with something simple, and impossible:

"I want to have had my good camera with me"

If we change that from past to future; "I want to have my good camera with me all the time", it becomes possible.

It seems, on the face of it, easier than other projects, mostly non-photographic, and requiring more dedication, etc., that you have successfully undertaken. Certainly less Quixotic than learning a new keyboard - while retaining the old one.

Is it possible that this conflation of "Success" and always having a camera available has led to an unconscious decision not to always have a camera at hand. [Thank God] I have an excuse for not being successful that's not a failure of skill/talent/dedication, grit/etc. I just can't seem to have the right camera available at the right time.

I've been reading this blog for a long time. You consistently define "Success" in terms of public recognition, beyond your blog, and financial reward.

Having a camera always at hand won't cause that. It would let you get more photos that please you.

As before, it seems to me that a 1" sensor high end P&S, such at the Panny ZS200 or latest Sony RX100 would fulfill that role very well.

It’s really not too hard to make a “Photo 101” (6”x9” on 8”x10” paper) BW print from a phone shot that looks like Tri-X.

I do it so they match the older family photos.

For this reason, the camera/lens I'm now taking everywhere with me is the Olymus OMD Em1 Mark III and 12-100mm f4 IS lens. It has excellent image quality and is the most versatile camera/lens I've ever used. I also have a Sony A7RIV and Canon R5 and many lenses for both; and they have better image quality that the Olympous. But the Olympus and 12-100mm is the one that's most versatile and best for me to always have at hand with just one lens.

I think that because this photo of Butters was taken with a smartphone is what makes it special in my eyes. If this photo was taken with your Fuji the background in the window would have been a blur and not in sharp focus like it is here.
Some people would consider that a flaw because it takes the focus away from Butters because your eye goes directly to that window. However, I think it makes the photo...it implies that Butters is dreaming of when he was a carefree pup and running around in the yard. Do dogs dream like that, like we do? I don't know, but I suspect that they do.

Your post clarified the idea held by many that post-processing is evil and has no place in the aesthetics of “real” photography. Your turquoise lake becomes what-you- want in post as does using Topaz Gigapixel or its ilk to gain more data to meet your print specs. The manipulative techniques of post cannot be good, say the minions. I suggest that post-production, whether wet or dry, has always been with us. One look at the negative of Moonrise and Adams manipulation of it on the enlarger bed shows the ultimate result of artistic excellence. As much as his Zone System strived for getting it right in camera, there’s a reason why Adams became the darkroom impresario. So, sure take the shot with the camera that’s with you but know that a whole other realization of the image awaits you in post.

Ah, this is the holiest of grails - a camera that is small enough to be there and yet is enough to guarantee that the camera will not be the reason the shot is inadequate. I had an X100s for years and it almost did the job. But with a case and strap it wasn't quite go-everywhere-ish.

I tried an XF10, but found I could not do without an EVF. I tried an Olympus E-PL8 but still found I could not do without an EVF.

I just sold my X100s and bought an X-E3 with 27mm pancake lens. I have high hopes.

"Successful photographers are very dedicated. They work hard and long, and keep at it, and surmount all sorts of difficulties. They're dogged and determined." Your words and they make sense...but (there's ALWAYS a "but...) you're not just a photographer. Photography isn't your only passion. Writing is at least one of your other passions and you're good at it, too. So, do you want to give up being a photographer to be a (more) successful writer? Or give up writing to be a (more) successful photographer? The trade-off is that you can't be more successful at either unless you change the time & effort balance between the two passions (forget cue sports and being a dad, BTW!). Besides, are you *sure* that the Fuji would have captured the lake scene the way your eyes saw it? Hmmm....

Perhaps a good, workable solution to this “problem” is to critically asses whether the camera (phone) in hand is up to the task of satisfactorily rendering the scene the Photo Gods have bestowed in front of the photographer. If the answer is “No,” simply don’t take the photo. Walk away. Leave it. Better that than to have a photograph that haunts and vexes, that its mere existence reminds of missed opportunities, that ridicules the inadequacies of both machine and judgement with every viewing.

Failing that, there’s always the Delete button.

Went to swim practice this morning. Brought a Fuji X100V along in the car with me...just in case I saw something that needed me to photograph it. This afternoon I walked through our downtown with a Leica SL and a smallish 50mm over one shoulder. Just in case I saw something that needed me to photograph it. When I went to the emergency room once, 20 something years ago I took my Leica M4 and a 35 Summicron with me just in case.... When I finish typing this and I walk over into the house I'll grab a camera from the top of the desk I am currently sitting at and bring it into the house. You know. Just in case the light on Ben or Belinda is absolutely perfect. But tomorrow I'll take a couple real cameras with me to do a commercial job. I'll be photographing the grape harvest at a vineyard. I'll be working with an SL2 and a big, fat zoom. But, I'll have a Fuji X100v over one shoulder...just in case. In fact, I can't remember not having a real camera with me at any time in the past 20 or 30 years. But that might be the opposite side of the problem you discuss here.

[Jay Maisel would approve of you. I carried my Contax 139Q with me everywhere in art school, and later got my Leica M6 in 1990 and carried that everywhere for three years. "I put my camera on the morning and take it off at night, like my shirt" said David Vestal. Ironically, when I *quit* carrying my camera everywhere it was because I got the job of Editor-in-Chief of Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques magazine, and I just couldn't see any point to it—I slogged to work before dawn through the congested streets of West Chicago, bound for a nondescript building deep in the industrial office parks of Chicagoland, where I worked in a windowless office where it was always Groundhog Day. That's the way I felt, anyway. And left for home after dark.

After months of not taking a picture it started to feel like an affectation to keep a camera hanging from my shoulder all day. Like a uniform for somebody else's job, which I didn't have the right to wear. --Mike]

In a way, I cannot really call it a failure if, at the end, a picture can be share with others. First impressions, lasting emotions and long term impact depend not only on the technical aspects (although it can help a lot) but also from the original vision and the specific moment selected by the photographer.
By the way I have found your two presented pictures very interesting and technically well done.

"...hanging from my shoulder all day. Like a uniform for somebody else's job, which I didn't have the right to wear. --Mike"

Tell that to all the fat out of shape guys wearing sports jerseys with famous people's names on them.

If you take one picture a year with your always-with-you camera, you'd still be more worthy of carrying it than those guys.

Keuka in the Rain looks like a Gerhard Richter landscape:
https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/.a/6a00df351e888f88340282e11436e3200b-800wi

That Jay Maisel story — was it at a meeting of Group f/64? ;-)

As the great Doug Brewer has said: "A good photograph will overcome its format."

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