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Sunday, 23 January 2022


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Maybe I’m going simple but it looks to me like you had a pretty good photo excursion. It also looks like you already got a very good image of the morning ice on those trees. What more do you want?

Photography can be an excellent therapy for ailing minds, particularly in the winter. The ice, the snow, the light and shadows enable the eye’s imagination to run wild, and push out all other jobs in the mind’s queue. When I’m photographing I feel no pain, have no problems. I’m completely immersed in the scene I’m working. It’s the best medicine I’ve ever found, albeit short-acting.

"I might as well be assigned to take a picture of a jumping spider in mid-air." This reminded me of the work of my late cousin, Dee Breger. Dee was an electron microscopist, and in the latter part of her career learned how to extend her work to the highly artistic. She brought an artist's eye to the lighting and composition of her subjects.

Although her web site has not been maintained, it was captured by the Internet Archive. One capture is at:


These images are extraordinary and well worth looking at.

[Wonderful, interesting work. Seeing it makes me existentially angsty, though--is that work going to be lost now? I hope it's been preserved somehow. --Mike]

It absolutely is a picture

Your photos make me want to visit my friends in PA and take pictures of their small towns and barns in the snow. Stay warm up there, and thanks for the views.

For a guy who isn't a landscape photographer, you certainly could fool a lot of people with those shots. About the bird - you've demonstrated something every bird photographer knows. A human in a car is not threatening. A car, despite all the glass and the fact that you're clearly visible inside, makes an excellent blind.

You might consider a post (although one or more is probably already in your archives) on what makes a photographer (aside from professionals deriving income from the activity). Does one need to regularly make photographs? Does the tool matter (or no tool at all)? Does the quality of the photographs matter? Once you’re a photographer, are you always one, regardless of output? And so on. In the age of cell phone photography, maybe the definition has evolved. Or not.

Photographed a capercaillie today. This bird is a local celebrity, as it is a bit out of season to play now. I first went on a ski trip without my camera as I did not think the bird was there anymore (it was not there last weekend when I had a camera with me), but when it appeared I had to go home and get a camera to take pictures. An extra 10-12 km ski trip. Worth it. :-)

The ice crystals blowing off in the wind are fantastic! And...they need the contrast, or something, of the top of the car, but that's not close to the right object to provide it. So yeah, I think I see what you mean. But capturing what must be the rare ice crystals themselves is still something!

Both photos in this post are keepers in my book (the second, in particular). However, your statement, "I don't photograph very often and don't work very hard at it when I do" makes me wonder about the value proposition of the work I recently purchased from your print sale... ;) I suppose it is a bit long after the sale for this emptor to caveat (?), and I'm still looking forward to receiving my prints. (Feel free to put that snow-blown trees shot in a future run!)

The photograph of the barn is very nice and it's evocative. It rather reminds me of the mid-2oth Century barn series that Minor White did in upstate New York, "Rural Cathedrals".

I'd say that's one of the better photos you've ever taken. This coming from someone who is usually not impressed by what you consider a great photo :)

With respect to Dee Breger's work (see my comment above), Mike asked

"[Wonderful, interesting work. Seeing it makes me existentially angsty, though--is that work going to be lost now? I hope it's been preserved somehow. --Mike]"

It's as sad fact the modern life, isn't it? The Internet Archive is often the only record.

In Dee's case, one book is out of print but used copies can be found:


There's another one:


And there's this page, which is not archival but will be interesting to photographers, about how and why she colors some of her images:


I am attempting a "one photograph a day" 365 project, no phone pictures. January is not even over and it is proving even more difficult than I expected, and I thought I was pretty realistic about it. But I'm also learning a lot, and hopefully developing good habits.

“This isn't a picture”
Nor is it a pipe.
Has sort of a Swedish Expressionist / Thomas Hart Benton thing going, but with more optimism.
The “I saw this, it looked amazing, and it sort of looked like this given the limits of the medium” is what photography is all about in my opinion.

Think you were ice fishing with that last shot, that is actually a great picture; contrast, graphics, light, sense of moment. I think it's very cool.

I just heard a nice piece of advice. Think and feel benevolence as you fall asleep - and you will carry that with you into your sleep.

When we lived on the farm, I kept two cameras ready, one with a long telephoto zoom, the other with a short zoom with macro capability. I shot thousands of photos of the birds and other creatures with the tele, lots of insects and plants with the macro. (I used to tell people we farmed black widow spiders - ever see a spider catch and kill a mouse?).
I have a suggestion for the springtime. Build a small pond with a section that acts as a birdbath - we built ours as part of a flagstone patio and used a large stone with a hollow side that filled with water. Add a birdhouse or two and several feeders. You will never be without something to observe and photograph.

So, a simple question re storing gear in your car. You'd mentioned keeping your 55-200 in the car and I'd like to know if there are any concerns with expansion/contraction, perhaps even condensation issues given the change in temperature over a period of days. Mayhap your car is stored in a garage and so somewhat protected. It can get daily cold where I live - nothing like you but even so once the sun comes up there is almost a 20 degree swing and the car can become almost greenhouse like. Are temperature swings of concern?


[I worry more about heat than cold, although if it gets really cold, like 10 below zero F or colder, you need to be careful about bringing a cold camera into a heated house; put it in a plastic bag or two so it can warm more slowly. Otherwise you could get internal condensation.

So far I have not experienced the cold affecting the battery in the X-H1 adversely.

I do garage my car in cold weather as well as hot. But sometimes not in temperate weather. --Mike]

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