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photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Stumped

Like! Like! LIKE!!!

in Photography , Wednesday, January 05, 2022

I post photos quite regularly on Flickr, and have been doing so, with the odd gap or two, since 2006. There is an element of curation in this, but frankly the underlying reason is to have some community involvement, and of course to be showered with praise. 

For whatever reason my popularity on Flickr is pretty poor: 471 followers from 15 years of activity is not very impressive (although it’s by far the best “social media statistic” I can claim). This might be explained by my photos not being very good or very interesting. It could also have something to do with my poor engagement - I’m only following 163 other members - although I do try to find time at least once a week to explore other people’s photos and leave comments.

I usually get a few “likes” per photo, sometimes even the odd comment. But some photos disappear without trace, often ones I expected to draw some attention (while a few outliers that are, by my standards, wildly popular, really puzzle me).

So anyway. Last week I slipped out for a quick photo-ramble to a nearby wood. The area I went to is at the bottom of a quite shallow valley. On the way down I noticed a quite striking tree stump covered in iridescent moss, and decided to stop by on the way back up. There certainly seemed to be some photographic potential there.

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I also noticed the small tree in the background with pale, dead leaves, I thought I might be able to make something of that.  So I had a few attempts.

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Actually it wasn’t so easy to line things up in a satisfactory way, but anyway, I felt I had something. I only had a few minutes to spare, needing to get home for an appointment, so maybe I was too rushed.  Eventually, looking at the photos on my computer screen, it seemed to me that one I took facing in the other direction was more successful.

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So I posted that to Flickr. And up until now, it has got the sum total of 0 likes. 40 people have looked at it, and not one was even impressed enough to click the little star. Give me praise! I want praise!!!

Perhaps it needs processing more. Perhaps it really isn’t in the slightest bit interesting, or perhaps I wasn’t able to unlock the potential… ok, I can live with that, but then why is a boring photo I took of a ship so (relatively) crazy popular?  I don’t get it. De gustibus non disputandum est.

 

Very late to the party

but it seems I didn’t miss much

in Photography , Friday, September 10, 2021

So I finally made it to one of today’s most over-exposed photographic locations, the Lofoten Islands. Very, very late to the party, but then again, most of the party seems to happen in the depths of winter, rather than late August / early September - which, in Lofoten, also apparently counts as winter.

It wasn’t a dedicated photo trip, more a combination of tourism and hiking with a camera thrown in. So I didn’t bring the big guns, just the Olympus E-M1 Mark III, the super-flexible 12-100 f/4 lens and the 7-14 wide angle zoom.  I did also bring the 17mm f/1.2 and the 14-150II, but used neither of these. The vast majority of the shots I took were with the 12-100.

The weather was miserable. Either frequent violent squalls with brief interludes, or unrelenting rain. These combined to create really unpleasant muddy hiking conditions, so the amount of hiking we did was less than planned.

The locals were also miserable. Oh, I get the whole stoic, grim, independent Nordic thing (although it sits uncomfortably with the huge SUVs, huger flat screen TVs, and hot dog convenience food culture which seems to dominate). You get a similar vibe in Iceland, but Norwegians, in particular in Lofoten, have taken it to a whole new level. They’ve also taken schadenfreude from the Germans, turbocharged it and made it entirely their own. The general attitude of disdain and extreme passive aggressiveness towards foreign tourists is not only unpleasant, but really rather sad and pathetic. Basically they want the money from the tourists with the inconvenience of actually having to do something to earn it. Of course, there are exceptions. But the more friendly people inevitably turn out to be foreigners, or from Oslo (which appears to amount to the same thing to the local trolls).

The landscape is impressive, but on a people level, I cannot think of a more unpleasant place I’ve been to.

The photography didn’t work out too well either. Apart from the weather, which really was not inspiring, I never got into much of a groove and ended up with only random snapshots.

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Grim up north

Certainly there is photography to be done in Lofoten, and actually I’m sure there must be some very good stuff I’ve never seen. But so much is dominated by the leaden clichés of winter shots taken from a bridge near Reine, featuring snowy peaks, stormy skies, and the inevitable red “rorbuer” fisherman’s huts, which are of course almost always nothing of the sort in 2021.  Rather they are expensive tourist accommodation, part of a rapidly encroaching Disneyland version of Lofoten which has switched fishing for cod to fishing for tourists, and can’t wait to get started again.

Pah!, basically.

Over the coming weeks or months I may try to salvage some kind of photo set, but right now I’m heading off to Puglia for some heat therapy.

 

 

Photogallery: Provence

...mais oú est Brigitte Bardot? **

in Photography , Thursday, July 15, 2021

My ongoing lack of any significant new photography is having the side effect that I’m able to spend some time revisiting and evaluating my ridiculously large archive.  The latest result from this is a new gallery of photos from Provence (and adjacent regions) taken at various times between 2010 and 2019.

I’ve more or less restricted the selection to towns and villages. With one exception (below) they are devoid of people - this is the result of careful framing and patience, as the reality was quit different.  I’m not sure why I don’t like people… but I do like the photo below, and I remember being very careful with the framing and timing.

Everything is in colour. I know “street photography” is supposed to be in black and white, but I see the world in colour. I’m much more a follower of Harry Gruyaert or Franco Fontana, rather than HCB et al.

** elle est dans le mouton!

 

The best camera is ...

... the one you don’t have with you

in Photography , Monday, July 12, 2021

My process of self deconstruction as a photographer continues. I’ve just returned from a two week vacation, on which I did not take a camera. Admittedly it was basically 2 weeks on beaches in the south of France, but still, that did include several days in the Camargue and a 5 days in St Tropez, both places I’ve roamed with a camera in the past. This time, I just didn’t feel like it.

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The Camargue, some years ago

Taking a camera seemed more like pain than pleasure. Having the camera (and associated paraphanalia) or indeed cameras, plural, would mean that I would constantly be looking for opportunities to use them, rather than just relax and let the world go by. I would not avoid stupidly taking a camera to the restaurant, “just in case”, and then having it hanging awkwardly off my shoulder all night.

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Also the Camargue, also some years ago

Of course it was hard letting go. Several times before leaving, I nearly lost my resolve. Indeed I even indulged in some tradition pre-vacation GAS, buying a new shoulder bag. It’s just over there, on the couch, with the sales tags still attached. Maybe it will come in handy one day. 

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Still the Camargue, not this year

But, I told myself, I’ve already got all the photos of St Tropez I’ll ever need. Les Saintes Marie De La Mer is actually not all that photogenic (really, it isn’t), and I’ve also got stacks of photos of the Camargue I haven’t even looked at properly. Any photos I would take would anyway be for an audience of precisely 1, so why bother.

For the first few hours, on the drive to France, I was practically in a state of panic, but pretty soon I got over it. I didn’t miss having a camera, in fact it was a genuinely liberating experience. Actually just before leaving I bought a new iPhone mini, but I didn’t even take that. I decided to wait until I returned to migrate from my old, battered and stumbling iPhone SE.

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Saint Tropez, some years ago

Fresh from this experience I’m just starting to feel a little more positive about photography, although I still haven’t discovered any purpose to it.

Leave your camera at home - you’ll see the world through new eyes.

 

 

Svalbard Revisited

arctic dreams

in Photography , Monday, May 17, 2021

I visited Svalbard with a small group of friends back in 2010. I took along with me a camera for which I have few fond memories, the Olympus E-3. Even though this travelled all around the world with me, North to South, I never really developed much of a relationship with it. It may actually have been defective, certainly the sensor cleaning was very ineffective. It’s predecessor (Olympus E-1) was far nicer to use, and its successor (E-5) far better even if physically near identical. But anyway, the best camera is the one you have with you, so it is what it is.

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The photos are a mere 10 Megapixels, but that’s good enough for screen and small prints. Actually I have a Super-A3 print hanging above my desk, and it certainly doesn’t lack resolution. Re-visting and reprocessing everything in Capture One allows me to get closer to the look I prefer than in Lightroom, thanks to the stronger separation Capture One allows between contrast and saturation (Photoshop allows the same control, but I’m too lazy to go there these days).

I’ve completely refreshed my Svalbard gallery with a new set of 18 photos drawn from 570 re-edits. On any given day I’d probably come up with a different set, it just depends on my mood.

Speaking of which, the photo below pretty much conveys my current state of mind.

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There’s a strong chance that this will be my last real post on this blog. I don’t have much left to say, and even if I did, it would be 20 years too late. I’ve also reached a point where what remains of my dwindling interest in my own photography lies in exploring and excavating my archive. At the moment I have really no interest in taking any more photos.

 
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