Category Archives: Article

time (a somewhat prosaic short essay)

Time is a thing of wonder, beauty even. We are traveling down its one way street, sometimes oblivious, sometimes we feel it’s passage deeply. And yet, after all these years, all this time, we still don’t take it at face value. We mope about the past and worry ourselves sick over the future, not realizing that time spent doing this is time we can use to repair mistakes we made in the past or prepare for the future. Until someone invents time travel, we can’t fix the burnt bridges of the past, and we have to cross the bridges of the future when we get to them. We have to live in the now, the split second of time we have at our disposal.

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photography is like video games

Dang, evening light is gorgeous! I didn’t have a camera, though. Darn! At least I had an excuse (I was mowing someone’s lawn). But anyway, like the title says, photography is kinda like video games, if it’s your hobby that is. Like in video games, it’s just for fun, so if it isn’t, stop for a while.

I don’t really agree with the ‘one camera, one lens’ philosophy for photographic ‘discipline’. Like I said up there ^, it’s for fun, so don’t force yourself into doing something you don’t want to do. If you want to, go ahead! But I’d rather use the right tool for the job. Creativity loves constraints, but don’t take it too far. I usually take only two lenses, the 60mm f2.8 and the kit lens, but might only take one lens. I think my opinion is: use one or two lenses at a time, but have the right lenses for what you want to do.

In conclusion, if photography is a hobby and not you job, ‘have it your way’. Do it to please yourself. If you are happy with the pictures you’re making, keep doing it that way.

Zooms vs primes, the epitome of photography gear.

The eternal gear argument, zooms vs primes. Zooms for convenience/versatility, primes for size, cost, or that last bit of quality (but certainly not all three at the same time!). It is a question of ‘how much’: how much weight are you willing to carry, how much money are you willing to spend, how much image quality are you willing to give up. It’s about finding your own compromise, somewhere in between a large format film system, and a p&s/iPhone. For me, micro 4/3’s is about perfect: small and light enough, more than good enough sensor quality, great lenses. Others may require, say, medium format digital, while others may be satisfied with only an old point and shoot. By the way, don’t think I’m too much of a gearhead, I will post a rather long photoessay after I get my workflow up and running again (my computer broke). Please post your opinions on primes vs zooms. (And if you want a look at how a photography blog should be, IMO, take a look at http://blog.mingthein.com/ .)

Commenting

First, you guys do realize that if you click on the article and scroll down to the bottom, there is a comment box. I’m saying this now because I want this blog to be less of a monologue, and more of a conversation. So the next few articles will be one or two questions, as a trial run, to see if this will work.

the appeal of macro photography, or why I bought a macro lens

I think a large part of appeal of macro photography is that the nearest subject is more than likely less than 2 feet away. There are literally billions of opportunities! That is one reason that my macro lens (an Olympus 60mm f2.8 because I use micro 4/3 and the Panasonic/Leica 45mm f2.8 is too expensive and slow to focus) is my most used lens (also because it’s one of the sharpest lenses in the m4/3 (or any) system)(sorry for bragging). Also, you could take a thousand pictures of some macro subject, or most anything in nature (trees* for example), and non of them would be the same, unless of course you did on purpose.

There are some turn-offs though. For example, macro lenses are usually pretty expensive, and you have to use either a tripod (although I think tripods help with composition, as they force you to slow down) or a flash in anything but the brightest light (and those can get expensive, too), because at very close distances the depth of field is very shallow unless you stop down to at least f8 (on full-frame, equivalent to f5.6 on aps-c, or f4 on m4/3, one of the advantages of the format if you shoot macro). Some of the expense of macro lenses can be off-set by using extension tubes or diopters with lenses you already have (diopters, being filters, are your only option beyond the macro mode on p&s cameras), but they both have their disadvantages: diopters, being filters, at least slightly degrade the image quality, and extension tubes, while they don’t have any extra optics in them, cause light loss because they increase the distance between the lens and tha camera. Macro lenses may be expensive, but they are usually one of the best lenses in their system, and are the best option for macro photography if you can stomach the price (though some entry level macro lenses can be pretty cheap, as lenses go).

In conclusion: although it can be expensive, macro photography is very fun (for me) and is probably the most interesting field of photography, as a lot of times, macro photos are of things we can’t see very detailed with our naked eyes.

*here is a link to a photoessay on trees by an extraordinary photographer: http://blog.mingthein.com/2014/04/20/photoessay-trees-revisited/

random thoughts: public speaking

I really hate talking in front of people. I usually have figured out perfectly what to say, but it always ends up sounding awkward. I guess it’s the feeling of everyone’s eyes on me. It jumbles my brain. Blogging is a completely different matter entirely. I have basically as much time as I want to compose an article, and when I’m writing it, all I’m doing is typing on a keyboard. The ‘listening’ comes afterward, so no one knows if I have to think for a minute, whereas if I was talking, pausing for more than ten seconds is horrible.

I feel less open typing on a keyboard, though it’s probably the fact that no one sees it; if someone was looking over my shoulder as I was typing it, it would be almost the same. I think it boils down to the fact that when you talk to people, you’re talking to people you don’t have that much time to gather your thoughts. When you type on a keyboard, you’re typing on a keyboard, and you can take as much time as you want.