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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Hello world

and happy new year!

in General Rants , Thursday, December 30, 2010

Anybody who actually subscribes to this blog (hi there!) would probably wonder why I update it so infrequently, and think that I’m really lazy or something.  Well, I guess I’m sometimes lazy, but really, I’m just so fragmented.  I’ve got at least 3 unfinished articles at the moment, and they’re quite lengthy, and possibly not terribly interesting.  And it wouldn’t take a lot to finish them, but then I hardly want to publish them all at once because that would be too much.

And then there’s photography. Looking at the galleries here, I suppose you’d get the impression I’m basically a “nature photographer”, which is an accurate enough description - sometimes. If you look at my Flickr stream, depending on where my mood is at, you might get a slightly different idea, although I do try to present a certain degree of coherence. Certainly sets like Film Noir are not typical nature photographer ... or are they ?

And then if you could look at the vast reams of unpublished stuff on my computer, you might begin to wonder of I’m actually seeing a doctor for this schizophrenia thing…

I quite often discover new photographers on Flickr who speak to me in whatever way. Unlike, I suspect, quite a lot of “nature photographers”, I’ve got pretty wide tastes when it comes to other’s work.  So, for example, I really like “Sleek Miss D’s” work, especially the Ghosts set.  I suppose I might at times approach similar territory.  At the same time I really admire how she’s managed to convey the disquiet which comes from being compelled to take on a corporate identity just to survive (well that’s how it comes across to me) - but I don’t think that’s a place I’d go to, photographically. I’ve also discovered “Wintercove” in the last few days, and her visions from Alaska are just painfully beautiful, and possibly a but closer to my comfort zone in the photographic starchart.  And then there’s “Raul Loves Photography” who’s main interest, as far as the evidence on Flickr is concerned, is a million miles away from mine - and yet I find his explorations of portraiture captivating.

I’m not a great contributor to the community on Flickr, although I do try. I try to avoid commenting just for the sake of it, and making trite comments, although it’s often hard to find the right soundbite ... and I know people appreciate encouragement.

So, with this completely spontaneous and unrehearsed blog post, from down here by the Lago di Lugano, buon anno!

 

Sprocket Rocket

Junk. No, really.

in Product reviews , Thursday, December 02, 2010

Back in the mists of time when cameras like the Holga first appeared, they were pretty much born out of necessity. Within the cultural and economic constraints they existed in, they were the best that could be done, and certainly better than nothing.

Being elevated to a cultural chic platform certainly changed all that. Suddenly that unfocussed, badly vignetted, flare ridden and imprecisely framed look was the next Big Thing in Cool. And it turn into an industry. The Lomo look became a major trend, and made a virtue of what was, to all intents, just bad photography.  Some interesting and possibly even good art came out of it, but these days it’s really just got out of control.  The painful limitations that the devices impose can only be held up as virtues for so long.

Nevertheless, when I saw the announcement of the Sprocket Rocket panoramic camera from Lomography, I was interested. I even briefly thought of buying one ... until I saw the price. It is quite frankly ridiculous.

The Sprocket Rocket’s main claim to frame is that the image area includes the film rebate, or “sprockets”. Yeah, well, whatever. A cute effect that wears off after about 1 photo, and can anyway be pretty easily faked in Photoshop. Oh, and it’s panoramic, with a “super wide angle lens” - apparently something like 30mm, f/13, although the website doesn’t tell, and plastic, of course - and a couple of knobs which let you wind the film forwards - and backwards - to make absolutely damn sure that you get overlaps and other magnificently arty imperfections.

And speaking of imperfections, well here the Sprocket Rocket really shines.  It appears to be just about impossible to take anything approaching a “good” photo with this POS, and the “badness” of what it does produce is just, well, bad. Not interesting, not arty, just gouge-your-eyes-out ugly. Massive vignetting, weird colour, no focus, and of course, sprockets.

home_01.jpg

Yours, for ONLY $89.00.  Oh. And you’ll need a “scanning mask”. That’ll be another $30 or so.

Really, you can do so much better than this with any number of easily obtained vintage cameras. You can get the distressed look if you want, but you get to choose. Creativity means nothing if you’ve got no part in the process.

Lomography: it’s cool-speak for “laughing all the way to the bank”.

 

Web site refresh

Please clear your cache

in General Rants , Wednesday, December 01, 2010

As my regular visitors (if I have any) will be able to see, I’ve done a bit of redecoration around here.  The current design is well over a year old, and I’ve decided it needed to focus a bit more on photography. At the same time I’ve cleaned up some stuff, and fixed some bugs - although doubtless I’ve missed some, and introduced some more.

Before

sng_before.jpg

After

sng_after.jpg

I had already snuck in a few changes, like making the navigation look a bit more like navigation, and adding one of those trendy lightbox doo-hicky things to the photo galleries.

I’ve also added global search, but thoughtfully hidden it at the bottom of the footer as a sort of post-modern pun (or bad design, not sure which).

Oh, and some of those little social network thingies hanging off the right edge. That’ll give me cool points.

The most obvious change is showing a random photograph upfront, linked to its gallery. After all, this is supposed to be a photography site. Sort of. So I’ve also booted the “other blog” from the home page. The latest “other stuff” is now summarised, remarkably, on the other stuff page. And finally added some permanent links to what I fondly imagine to be more interesting stuff, under the photo.

So that’s about it. There are a few other changes and little fixes I want to make over the coming days, and then when it’s all settled down I need to make the leap to version 2 of Expression Engine. Hopefully nobody will notice.  If indeed there is anybody to notice.

Then maybe I’ll get on to actually adding some content.