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Old 10-12-2011   #41
sanmich
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I think that's a very good idea.
Maybe a subforum?
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Old 10-12-2011   #42
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Decide what you want to photograph -- don't 'drift' and 'just do a bit of everything'. By all means do multiple things, but at least have some idea of what they are.

Decide how you want to photograph things -- Study the work of photographers you admire, and try to work out how they took the pictures they did. Some have even published books with the stories behind individual pictures. Read them.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-12-2011   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
1. Don't Dream, Practice

Stop pitying yourself for the lack of time, beautiful subjects, wonderful sceneries, 'happenings'. Anything in the world can become your subject including those readily accessible to you. A subject looks mundane only when the photographer didn't want to spend the time or the effort to make it look otherwise.

2. Aim higher

If you decided that you want to use your cat as a subject, don't be satisfied with just taking snapshots of your cat. Do your homework, look for cat photos that engages you. Don't copy, synthesize, create your own version.

Obviously, substitute 'cat' with anything you like to use as a subject.

3. Don't bore you viewers

Before you post multiple pages of your 'work', stop and think, what are you trying to convey?
This simple question is what distinguishes posts like those of Chris Crawford's and some threads about using one of the most expensive camera in the world by showing *lots* of shots that cannot be distinguished from those shot using a P&S.

Again, not because the poster is not a good photographer, just need a little friendly nudge to kick him/her into higher gear.
This makes the assumption that you can psych yourself into photographing subjects you find boring. Maybe you can -- but why would you bother? Caring about the subject is normally an integral part of taking good pictures.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-12-2011   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
1. Don't Dream, Practice

Stop pitying yourself for the lack of time, beautiful subjects, wonderful sceneries, 'happenings'. Anything in the world can become your subject including those readily accessible to you. A subject looks mundane only when the photographer didn't want to spend the time or the effort to make it look otherwise.

2. Aim higher

If you decided that you want to use your cat as a subject, don't be satisfied with just taking snapshots of your cat. Do your homework, look for cat photos that engages you. Don't copy, synthesize, create your own version.

Obviously, substitute 'cat' with anything you like to use as a subject.

3. Don't bore you viewers

Before you post multiple pages of your 'work', stop and think, what are you trying to convey?
This simple question is what distinguishes posts like those of Chris Crawford's and some threads about using one of the most expensive camera in the world by showing *lots* of shots that cannot be distinguished from those shot using a P&S.

Again, not because the poster is not a good photographer, just need a little friendly nudge to kick him/her into higher gear.
What you said. But step 0 should be

0. what are you trying to convey?
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Old 10-12-2011   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
It's a good idea Joe, but anything that's posted along these lines simply gets subsumed by all the new posts landing on top.

A couple of years back I posted an extended and illustrated essay on Art History, Composition and Colour Theory, it was well received at the time, mostly, but was gone from the home-page in a few hours and the forum-page in a few days ... it's hardly worth putting the effort in to write it that being the case.
Do you still have the essay ? Would love to read it !

Cheers
Steven
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Old 10-12-2011   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
This makes the assumption that you can psych yourself into photographing subjects you find boring. Maybe you can -- but why would you bother? Caring about the subject is normally an integral part of taking good pictures.

Cheers,

R.
Interesting assumption, Roger.
Although I suggested nothing of that sort.

I think we can grow to care about certain subjects that are accessible to us, that we ignored in the past because we haven't looked hard enough.

Which is far better than making excuses because one does not have access to the immediately photogenic subjects or scenes.
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Old 10-12-2011   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
What you said. But step 0 should be

0. what are you trying to convey?
Roland, in my experience, I may not realize what I want to convey in the beginning. But I always know what I have on my hands (sometimes nothing ) when I am editing or post-processing.
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Old 10-12-2011   #48
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Do you still have the essay ? Would love to read it !

Cheers
Steven
I would love to see the essay too.
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Old 10-12-2011   #49
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Originally Posted by zauhar View Post
Can I kick this off with a real elementary example?

Lynn (lynnb) left a comment about one of my gallery photos - he said it was overexposed:



I exposed for the shadows, and the sun was really strong that day - I was not sure how to best handle it. Exposure was (I think) f4 @ 1/250 (Tri-X)

Would could I do to improve that? Stop the lens down more? Change development strategy? (I developed in Rodinal according to the chart.)

UPDATE: I've had additional criticism that I was too far away. Who says that the RFF forum is all sweetness and light!? ("Good capture!") That remark stings - I am well aware that I do not get close enough, and using the 21mm lens at the march only made that worse.


Randy
Randy,

In high contrast light like that, you can reduce contrast by shortening the developing time. The developing times manufacturers recommend are for normal brightness ranges, basically what you get in light that is soft, like in overcast conditions. When the sun casts dark shadows, the range of brightness in the scene is too much for the film to handle when developed to normal contrast.

Try reducing the developing time 30% from normal. You will need to increase exposure one stop when you do this because the film's effective speed drops about a stop from such shortening of the developing time. So, determine correct shadow exposure, increase it a stop, then shoot and drop the developing time 30%.






These are two examples of this. Film was 120 size Tmax 100, developed in Rodinal for 30% less than normal with one stop more exposure than normal.
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Old 10-12-2011   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
Interesting assumption, Roger.
Although I suggested nothing of that sort.

I think we can grow to care about certain subjects that are accessible to us, that we ignored in the past because we haven't looked hard enough.

Which is far better than making excuses because one does not have access to the immediately photogenic subjects or scenes.
Dear Will,

Once again, I have simply misunderstood you, and once again, I apologize. It may be down to the fact that today was the monthly Old Folks' Dinner, a (very) liquid lunch at the club d'amitié.

I am sure that you are right that one can grow to care about some of the things that one had never noticed, but I am equally sure that there are other subjects where it would never happen, at least for me. I don't drink coffee and I don't keep cats, for example...

In this context there are, I strongly suspect, two different kinds of photographers. Some find endless fascination in revisiting substantially the same thing. Others need the stimulus of novelty. I live in a very beautiful part of the world, surrounded with history, beautiful buildings, rivers. From my study, I can (just) see a thousand-year-old castle. I can borrow the keys to it whenever I want. But.... after nine years here, I've photographed all this enough. It no longer interests me on a daily or even monthly basis.

Less than an hour's drive away is another centuries-old fortress, much more photogenic, and owned by a friend. Well, an acquaintance: a friend-of-a-friend, whom I know well enough to be on first name terms. There are quite a few pictures of it in the Zeiss 18mm review at http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...8%20zeiss.html. But I don't go there more than once a year. Been there; done that.

This may be viewed as a character flaw, but I don't really believe much in those: anything that doesn't hurt anyone else, doesn't qualify as a character flaw in my book. I don't complain that I have too few things to photograph: I just don't bother to photograph the things that don't interest me (or no longer interest me). I can however sympathize very easily with those who do not find visual stimulation in their surroundings.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-12-2011   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Randy,

In high contrast light like that, you can reduce contrast by shortening the developing time. The developing times manufacturers recommend are for normal brightness ranges, basically what you get in light that is soft, like in overcast conditions. When the sun casts dark shadows, the range of brightness in the scene is too much for the film to handle when developed to normal contrast.

Try reducing the developing time 30% from normal. You will need to increase exposure one stop when you do this because the film's effective speed drops about a stop from such shortening of the developing time. So, determine correct shadow exposure, increase it a stop, then shoot and drop the developing time 30%.


These are two examples of this. Film was 120 size Tmax 100, developed in Rodinal for 30% less than normal with one stop more exposure than normal.
Chris, thanks very much, and for the nice examples - that is one thing I have not experimented with and want to try. I will do so soon.

One thing I HAVE tried is stand developing, but I am not sure it would work so well in this situation?

Randy
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Old 10-12-2011   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zauhar View Post
Can I kick this off with a real elementary example?

Lynn (lynnb) left a comment about one of my gallery photos - he said it was overexposed:



I exposed for the shadows, and the sun was really strong that day - I was not sure how to best handle it. Exposure was (I think) f4 @ 1/250 (Tri-X)

Would could I do to improve that? Stop the lens down more? Change development strategy? (I developed in Rodinal according to the chart.)

UPDATE: I've had additional criticism that I was too far away. Who says that the RFF forum is all sweetness and light!? ("Good capture!") That remark stings - I am well aware that I do not get close enough, and using the 21mm lens at the march only made that worse.


Randy
Hi Randy,

I would have exposed and developed this image exactly as you did...

Why less exposure/development if your subject is fine?

It would be a dull image in case of shorter development: you'd have less pronounced direct sun on the buildings, but at a much worse price: lower contrast on your real subject...

A photograph or a print doesn't require all parts of it inside a normal tonal range always: some parts can be, sometimes, a lot more important than others... Why show better buildings under direct sun (read, with more detail) when what matters and what you're showing is happening on the shades exclusively?

I'd even prefer the image with a bit more contrast on the subject... That's where dynamism is required...

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 10-12-2011   #53
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In the photograph of the protest, the photographer is photographing from the sidelines. There is not enough engagement with the subject to make the photograph memorable.
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Old 10-12-2011   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdmcclintock View Post
In the photograph of the protest, the photographer is photographing from the sidelines. There is not enough engagement with the subject to make the photograph memorable.
That's the biggest issue - getting "close". Two elements to that:

1) Psychology. You have to be willing to "confront" the subject. In this case it would also mean mingling with cops acting as "escorts" who were on all sides of people in the march.

2) Skill. The crowd was moving surprisingly fast, and to get a shot from the best angle (in front) means backing up quickly.

So getting memorable photos is difficult. I am currently struggling with both of these issues.

Randy
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Old 10-12-2011   #55
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Here is an example of an image that was effectively ignored. I was driving through South Texas and was heartbroken at the condition of the rangeland in this particular area. I stopped and took this image. I only had a 50mm focal length and couldn't get everything in the frame I wanted, so I took two frames and later stitched them together in CS4.

I suspect I may have been better off depicting the dry conditions with several seperate images in a series. They could have shown more detail. #1 I didn't think of that at the time. #2 I didn't have access to the private property. ( I was shooting over a fence) #3 I was traveling on business, and couldn't devote time for more invloved reportage. That's my story - what do you say?

About 8 years ago, my morning commute to work was on a freeway that was almost always crowded, with frequent bumper-to-bumper slowdowns. One night a snowstorm had come through. As I was driving to work the next morning, there was 1 other car on my side of the freeway. I thought, "This will make a great picture - no cars on the road!" So, I took a picture through the windshield.

The picture was of a road covered with snow and one car off in the distance. Totally pointless and boring.

I saw the lack of a traffic jam and no cars as something amazing.

The camera did not record that at all.

When I saw your picture of the barren land in Texas, I was reminded of that picture I took. Perhaps you know how this rangeland really should look - but having never seen the land, I don't have a clue, and what I see is just apparently a barren field with a windmill. There's no recorded context of what ought to be there instead.

I saw some 'before' and 'after' pictures of a tropical island that had been stripped clean of trees by a hurricane. The before shot had lots of large trees on a hill. The after shot showed a barren hill. That was impressive, and the context was right there for comparison.

So, that is my critique of your rangeland photo. Hope that it helps.
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Old 10-12-2011   #56
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In the photograph of the protest, the photographer is photographing from the sidelines. There is not enough engagement with the subject to make the photograph memorable.
Your opinion... But it can be questionable... If true, no memorable photographs would exist done with 50mm lenses... (And above...)

Photographs are memorable not because of engagement with the subject, but because of content, no matter where the photographer shoots from.

Again, you can "be there" with a 28 or 25 and get boring photographs.

About improvement: I found interesting a good photographer once said he didn't use to look through camera too much: almost never... Just for an instant: while shooting... I find looking at reality without camera, means a lot more than I used to think...

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 10-12-2011   #57
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My opinion concerns the photograph in question. In general, memorable photographs engage the subject, and this engagement is revealed by the content.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Your opinion... But it can be questionable... If true, no memorable photographs would exist done with 50mm lenses... (And above...)

Photographs are memorable not because of engagement with the subject, but because of content, no matter where the photographer shoots from.

Again, you can "be there" with a 28 or 25 and get boring photographs.

About improvement: I found interesting a good photographer once said he didn't use to look through camera too much: almost never... Just for an instant: while shooting... I find looking at reality without camera, means a lot more than I used to think...

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 10-12-2011   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
1. Don't Dream, Practice

Stop pitying yourself for the lack of time, beautiful subjects, wonderful sceneries, 'happenings'. Anything in the world can become your subject including those readily accessible to you. A subject looks mundane only when the photographer didn't want to spend the time or the effort to make it look otherwise.

2. Aim higher

If you decided that you want to use your cat as a subject, don't be satisfied with just taking snapshots of your cat. Do your homework, look for cat photos that engages you. Don't copy, synthesize, create your own version.

Obviously, substitute 'cat' with anything you like to use as a subject.

3. Don't bore you viewers

Before you post multiple pages of your 'work', stop and think, what are you trying to convey?
This simple question is what distinguishes posts like those of Chris Crawford's and some threads about using one of the most expensive camera in the world by showing *lots* of shots that cannot be distinguished from those shot using a P&S.

Again, not because the poster is not a good photographer, just need a little friendly nudge to kick him/her into higher gear.
All good points, number 3 is close to me. I really like shots that are snapshots, BUT the photographer goes to a "higher gear" to make them excellent technically. Even if they are mundane; the technical excellence brings to a different level.

It reminds me of how Chaucer in the 'Canterbury Tales' used high English to describe something of low value. And he would mix high and low English is bawdy stories like 'the Miller's Tale' Maybe for the present (1968-2011) it would be combining 'ying and yang.' This isn't a good example but I took this snapshot 25 years ago, and for fun I went back and tried with cropping, etc. to bring it to another level. It didn't work but you get the idea:



Well, I tried,
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Old 10-13-2011   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nextreme View Post
Do you still have the essay ? Would love to read it !

Cheers
Steven
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhopkins2001 View Post
I would love to see the essay too.
Jay

Just checked, and it is still HERE
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Old 10-13-2011   #60
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Just checked, and it is still HERE
I liked this one a lot, Stewart and asked Joe to make it sticky.

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Old 10-13-2011   #61
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Originally Posted by sreed2006 View Post
About 8 years ago, my morning commute to work was on a freeway that was almost always crowded, with frequent bumper-to-bumper slowdowns. One night a snowstorm had come through. As I was driving to work the next morning, there was 1 other car on my side of the freeway. I thought, "This will make a great picture - no cars on the road!" So, I took a picture through the windshield.

The picture was of a road covered with snow and one car off in the distance. Totally pointless and boring.

I saw the lack of a traffic jam and no cars as something amazing.

The camera did not record that at all.

When I saw your picture of the barren land in Texas, I was reminded of that picture I took. Perhaps you know how this rangeland really should look - but having never seen the land, I don't have a clue, and what I see is just apparently a barren field with a windmill. There's no recorded context of what ought to be there instead.

I saw some 'before' and 'after' pictures of a tropical island that had been stripped clean of trees by a hurricane. The before shot had lots of large trees on a hill. The after shot showed a barren hill. That was impressive, and the context was right there for comparison.

So, that is my critique of your rangeland photo. Hope that it helps.
Yes, that is helpful. It is easy to "miss the forest for all the trees" as the saying goes. I think this thread has value as we share these sorts of experiences and opinions. In a previous post, and as you have alluded, this image is a record of a place but it contains no information to help the viewer see and feel what I was experiencing. That is a very helpful realization for me. Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-13-2011   #62
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My opinion concerns the photograph in question. In general, memorable photographs engage the subject, and this engagement is revealed by the content.
So, only photos of people are memorable?
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Old 10-13-2011   #63
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1: avoid the picturesque, always.
2: never try to emulate someone else
3: be selective in what you show others
4: develop a style YOU like and ignore others criticisms
5: never, ever, equate sharp with good.
6: forget your gear.
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Old 10-13-2011   #64
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I liked this one a lot, Stewart and asked Joe to make it sticky.

Roland.
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Old 10-13-2011   #65
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Here is an example of an image that was effectively ignored. I was driving through South Texas and was heartbroken at the condition of the rangeland in this particular area. I stopped and took this image. I only had a 50mm focal length and couldn't get everything in the frame I wanted, so I took two frames and later stitched them together in CS4.

I suspect I may have been better off depicting the dry conditions with several seperate images in a series. They could have shown more detail. #1 I didn't think of that at the time. #2 I didn't have access to the private property. ( I was shooting over a fence) #3 I was traveling on business, and couldn't devote time for more invloved reportage. That's my story - what do you say?

My two cents: I personally feel this would be better in colour. If you're trying to capture the barren, dried-out wasteland look, colour would probably convey that more than black and white (from this particular angle). As it is, the bottom half of the image looks somewhat empty.
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Old 10-13-2011   #66
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sci, on your photo, the main issue i see is the almost midpoint of the main horizontal line. perhaps if you'd sat down and given the foreground more than half the frame, with focus on the nearest rocks, we could have gotten a rockier, more desolate view. a change in perspective can do wonders. it is difficult for me to go from standing to sitting on the ground. my knees creak and bang like like shutters in a hurricane, but a change in perspective sometimes is just right ...
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Old 10-13-2011   #67
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Originally Posted by Teuthida View Post
1: avoid the picturesque, always.
2: never try to emulate someone else
3: be selective in what you show others
4: develop a style YOU like and ignore others criticisms
5: never, ever, equate sharp with good.
6: forget your gear.
Great axioms, on number one; I went to a Yosemite exhibit at the Oakland Museum it had all visual disciplines. Ansel, the guy that did the swimming pool photos, and many famous paintings were there, but the one I remember was a photo of Yosemite with one of the typical (overdone) icons in the background but it was taken with the entire parking lots (which was over full) in the foreground.
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Old 10-13-2011   #68
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Will,

Once again, I have simply misunderstood you, and once again, I apologize. It may be down to the fact that today was the monthly Old Folks' Dinner, a (very) liquid lunch at the club d'amitié.

I am sure that you are right that one can grow to care about some of the things that one had never noticed, but I am equally sure that there are other subjects where it would never happen, at least for me. I don't drink coffee and I don't keep cats, for example...

In this context there are, I strongly suspect, two different kinds of photographers. Some find endless fascination in revisiting substantially the same thing. Others need the stimulus of novelty. I live in a very beautiful part of the world, surrounded with history, beautiful buildings, rivers. From my study, I can (just) see a thousand-year-old castle. I can borrow the keys to it whenever I want. But.... after nine years here, I've photographed all this enough. It no longer interests me on a daily or even monthly basis.

Less than an hour's drive away is another centuries-old fortress, much more photogenic, and owned by a friend. Well, an acquaintance: a friend-of-a-friend, whom I know well enough to be on first name terms. There are quite a few pictures of it in the Zeiss 18mm review at http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...8%20zeiss.html. But I don't go there more than once a year. Been there; done that.

This may be viewed as a character flaw, but I don't really believe much in those: anything that doesn't hurt anyone else, doesn't qualify as a character flaw in my book. I don't complain that I have too few things to photograph: I just don't bother to photograph the things that don't interest me (or no longer interest me). I can however sympathize very easily with those who do not find visual stimulation in their surroundings.

Cheers,

R.
Roger,

Thank you for the clarification. Your post above helped me in seeing where you're coming from (and made me want to visit you and Frances someday).

And I agree with the two types of photographers you mentioned, which probably explain somewhat why some of us like Ansel Adams, and others detest him in preference to Gary Winogrand.
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Old 10-13-2011   #69
gdmcclintock
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The subject of a photograph need not be a person. I am using the word "subject" in its most general sense.

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So, only photos of people are memorable?
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Old 10-13-2011   #70
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The subject of a photograph need not be a person. I am using the word "subject" in its most general sense.
Ok, I guess the word engage made me think person. Viewers can find almost anything engaging though... and this cannot be predicted.
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Old 10-13-2011   #71
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One potential angle: talk to strangers. Engage with people you find interesting. In this way a camera can become a participant in a meaningful conversation. I rarely notice any photographer's lack of technical skills. But, I often notice their lack of engagement with their surroundings.
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Old 10-13-2011   #72
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"Now everyone seems to be trying to make art."

What does this mean?
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Old 10-13-2011   #73
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I just completed a huge edit of 40+ years of personal and non personal (photos taken for money) film and image files. While many of these images generate money - the ones of most importance to me were ones of family and friends. I guess the next most important photos are the ones I haven't taken yet.
Yes, but are they the ones of most importance to other people? And if so, which other people?

At our age, we may be able to afford self-indulgence like this. But should it be an ambition?

For an amateur, yes, of course. For anyone with ambitions to be a Great (or even Good) photographer, possibly not. Or possibly yes, if we've earned a living from the other stuff.

At what age should one give up such ambitions?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-13-2011   #74
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Yes, but are they the ones of most importance to other people? And if so, which other people?

At our age, we may be able to afford self-indulgence like this. But should it be an ambition?

For an amateur, yes, of course. For anyone with ambitions to be a Great (or even Good) photographer, possibly not. Or possibly yes, if we've earned a living from the other stuff.

At what age should one give up such ambitions?

Cheers,

R.
Roger, why would you give up any ambitions prior to being put in the ground?

All the best, Randy
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Old 10-13-2011   #75
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I don't think aesthetics can improve.

They can change over time, like "maturing" (I wish Daido hadn't though) or w.ever or change due to a change in perspective of the photographer. But improve? maybe if improving means more closely matching existing constructs.

I think if you want to improve your photos there are a few things you can do:

improve your technical skills
improve your approach / mental state
focus harder on what you want to do and trim the fat
come to a greater understanding of what your own aesthetic is (looking at other people's art or learning a new one falls under this)
experiment / take photographic risks
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Old 10-13-2011   #76
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What about the mindless approach ?
Sometimes just being out (woods, mtns, cities....) and looking and enjoying the day, just shoot, don't make it an intellectual thing, just a vision thing.
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Old 10-13-2011   #77
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I don't think aesthetics can improve.
I don't think religion can improve.

As far as pictures are concerned, most improvement takes place somewhere in-between the ears.
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Old 10-13-2011   #78
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I don't think religion can improve.

As far as pictures are concerned, most improvement takes place somewhere in-between the ears.
At the risk of offending the mods, how could it get worse? Everyone has their own beliefs, and distressingly few are prepared to contemplate the possibility that there is any truth whatsoever in anyone else's beliefs.

The only possibility for improvement lies in recognizing that religion is the consequence of universal responsibility and the good heart, not the cause.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-13-2011   #79
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i turned 60 in may and i finally have ambition ...
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Old 10-13-2011   #80
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Roger, why would you give up any ambitions prior to being put in the ground?

All the best, Randy
Dear Randy

Well, quite. But put it another way: as you get older, your priorities may change. Not to the extent of abandoning ambitions, but to the extent of changing them.

Which relates to the point that your career choices affect your ambitions. My brother's ambitions (at ten) to become an admiral were greatly restricted by his decision not to join the navy...

Cheers,

R.
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