BY TAG

photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Anti-adventure photography

thought for the day

in Photography , Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Following the world of photo blogs, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by the constant flux of fantastic images from fabulous places, taken by ultra-cool world traveller photographers wielding priceless gear. Locked into a day to day existence which largely means being sat at a desk all day doing largely pointless things, this can get depressing fast. I’m sure I’m not the only one bemused by the seemingly endless stream of exotic “workshops” being offered at prices that seem to start at unaffordable and head swiftly upwards.  Yes, I’d love to travel the world and take photos (well, I think I would, mostly), but I have neither the money nor the time, or perhaps the drive. But every now and again I can, a little, so when opportunities arise, hopefully I can make the most of them.

drm_2014_08_04_P8040147

And the best way to make better photos is to make photos often. Not just on vacation. Not just on the odd weekend or day out, but everyday. “But there’s nothing to photograph here”, is a frequent complaint, and certainly one I’ve made. And it’s wrong. There’s always something to photograph. If you can’t find it, you’re not looking.

drm_2014_07_18_P7180053

My daily routine involves working in an office in a superficially nondescript suburban dormitory village, which had most of the life sucked out of it decades ago. Oh, but thousands of years ago it was a strategic Neolithic settlement. And hundreds of years ago, a refuge from bandit country. Nowadays most of that past is concreted over, though. Oh, and when I get to go out, it’s usually midday, with a harsh, burning sun directly overhead. Hardly an auspicious location for an aspiring landscape photographer. Not much joy for a street portraitist either: the streets are largely deserted of pedestrians.

drm_2014_07_14_P7140040

So, basically it’s challenging in lots of ways. And yet most days around lunchtime I venture out with a camera, generally sticking with the same body/lens combination for weeks on end. Operating the camera becomes a more and more automatic, tactile process. And sometimes I get photos that, despite the odds, I quite enjoy. They’ll never get many faves on Flickr, and they’d get ignored on 500px. Some scenes I’ve shot many times over, noticing how slight changes in light and time of day can make a big difference.

drm_2014_08_04_P8040153

Most of these walkabout shots get deleted. But they all help me to hone my compositional skills, and to coax some kind of coherent image from the jumble of the soulless concrete boxes so beloved by many Swiss, from the vestiges of the older village, or the in-between times. Sometimes they quite surprise me. And getting more and more instinctive about composition, especially in uninspiring circumstances, will only help when I have the opportunity to photograph something I care about. And then again, despite myself, through roaming the streets of this unremarkable, dull, unloved, half-deserted village I can’t help but develop a strange attachment to it.

drm_2014_08_04_P8040148

All these were taken using the 17mm f/1.8 lens on the Olympus E-P5.

 

Dog Days

sleeping in the midday sun

in Photography in Ticino , Thursday, August 22, 2013

The heat persists. Officially, around 30C, since mid-July. Feels like … hot, lethargic, slow. The slight north wind just takes the edge of it. Nobody around, midday. The streets of Abilene, um, no, Giubiasco are deserted. Well, even more deserted than usual. Agosto sono tutti in vacanze. Al mare. Al sud. Al caldo. E tutto chiuso. Sleeping in the midday sun, sleeping in the midday sun. Dark, deep shadows, retina-searing light. And the heat radiates. In a week or so things will stir, the sleepy, sleepy town will awake a little, I’ll have to look both ways before crossing the street.  Until then… dog days.

Drm 2013 08 22 EP33700
Drm 2013 08 21 EP33677
Drm 2013 08 22 EP33726
Drm 2013 08 21 EP33678
Drm 2013 08 22 EP33723
Drm 2013 08 22 EP33694
Drm 2013 08 22 EP33712
Drm 2013 08 22 EP33692
Drm 2013 08 22 EP33698

Olympus E-P3, Panasonic Lumix 17mm f2.8

 

Alternative Reality (nt)

just a bunch of snapshots

in Photography , Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Summer… heat… drift… just see what’s around the next bend. Just a little more, then head back to reality.

Drm dp2m 20130704 0999 ID

Drm dp2m 20130705 1038 ID

Drm dp2m 20130705 1044 ID

Drm dp2m 20130708 1051 ID
Drm dp2m 20130708 1057 ID
Drm dp2m 20130704 1014 ID

Val Morobbia, Ticino. Just some snapshots from lazy lunchtimes. All taken with my Sigma DP2M, which was all boxed up and ready to sell on eBay, but then I though, what the hell.

 

28mm

revisiting Ricoh

in Film , Sunday, April 21, 2013

I’ve been a long-time fan of the Ricoh GR series of cameras. This dates back to the late 90s, when I went into a shop in Central London looking for a replacement for my Minox GT, and was convinced by the salesman to try the then-new GR1 instead. Well, I was convinced, and duly took it on a tour of Venezuela, where it was scandalously mistreated (including being dropped in a river) and yet worked just fine. It also opened my eyes to the difference that a high quality lens could make, and was a major contribution to me taken photography a bit more seriously. A few years later it was joined by a GR1v and the two of them went to India with me. Eventually I gave away the GR1. I still have the GR1s, but it is fairly infirm. Ricoh introduced a digital take on the GR - logically enough, the GR Digital, or GRD, around 2004. I passed on this, but bought the follow-up GRD 2. Unfortunately, despite their very high build quality, in my experience Ricoh GRs, both film and digital, have never been all that reliable, and the GRD 2 carried on the tradition with the lens extension mechanism getting very unreliable when it was just out of warranty. Eventually I gave up on it, and bought the latest version, the GRD 4, which had a better sensor, faster lens, superb screen and sensor stabilisation.  It worked, until, largely due to brain fade on my part, it got stolen in Buenos Aires back in January. I doubt it found much interest from the fences. I was in a mind to replace it, but I couldn’t find one at a good price in this part of the world, and then the tempting Nikon Coolpix A came along.

But before I could succumb to temptation, I came across an Olympus XA for sale in a local market.

This, it turns out, was a stroke of luck in more than one way, because as well as reconnecting me with the joys of the XA series, it also saved me from spending a lot of money on a Nikon which I can now save for the imminent new Ricoh GR. While there had been some wishful thinking on various fora that a GRD 5 might turn up sometime, maybe towards the end of the year, the sudden appearance of a model that looks like it trumps the Coolpix A in every department, apparently for a lower price, is quite a surprise.

I also questioned if I really like shooting with a 28mm field of view, or if in fact I just like the fact that the GRs are wonderfully engineered and fit in my pocket.  After all, conventional internet wisdom decides that 28mm is for “street”, whatever the hell that is, or “landscape”. Well, I don’t really do street, and the only people who think that landscape exclusively means wide angle either don’t do landscape or make very boring photos. So, just to reassure myself, I had a go at resuscitating the GRD 2, and this has been partially successful. And I found a cheap secondhand Lumix 14mm (28mm equivalent) to put on the front of my Olympus PEN, for good measure. And I decided that yes, I do like 28mm, which really should not have come as a surprise.

So, in anticipation of a new Ricoh GR, here are some recent shots, all taken during lunchtime walks in the last week or so, with an old, battered and recalcitrant GRD 2. Hey, it still seems to work.

Drm 2013 03 27 0012798
Drm 2013 03 28 R0012812
Drm 2013 04 09 R0012815
Drm 2013 04 09 R0012817
Drm 2013 04 09 R0012818
Drm 2013 04 10 R0012823
Drm 2013 04 10 R0012826
Drm 2013 04 14 R0012829
Drm 2013 04 14 R0012830
Drm 2013 04 14 R0012840
Drm 2013 04 16 R0012845
Drm 2013 04 17 R0012848
Drm 2013 04 17 R0012853
Drm 2013 04 17 R0012861

 

 

 

Fadeout

decay in motion

in Photography , Saturday, March 23, 2013

Just a couple of photos from a lunchtime stroll around Bellinzona, capital city of the Republic and Canton of Ticino this week. With just a touch of post-processing using the remarkably powerful Filterstorm Pro for iPad.

 

Page 2 of 4 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >