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The Problem with Modern Photographers -- And Your Problem Probably Too (I'm Guessing)
Old 12-19-2018   #1
NickTrop
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The Problem with Modern Photographers -- And Your Problem Probably Too (I'm Guessing)

Quick!

Name two famous photographers everyone -- even your granny, knows! The Beatles and The Stones of photography! That would be:

1. Ansel Adams
2. Henri Cartier-Bresson

(Who said Salgado? No, no, no. He's more like Radiohead.)

What's the difference between them? Welp, there are many. But a big one is Adams would laboriously pick his location, then labourously set up his shots, patiently wait for just the right time of day when the lighting was just so, then labourously process the negative, then exhaustively laboriously work that print dodging and burning and timing and scrapping and starting over -- days, weeks, months until his print was PERFECT in his mind.

HBC
Ran around France clicking away trying to capture the "decisive moment". Went through rolls and rolls and rolls of 35mm film every day. Did he laborously work each and every frame he shot like ole Ansel? LOLz. Of course not! What's the matter with you? Are you some kinda bloke? He outsourced those bits, silly. Boring grunt work. No time for that! He had decisive moments to capture!

HBC could not have worked prints like Adams. He couldn't have. Those "infinite monkeys" would complete the works of Shakespeare before HBC would finish making all those prints. Similarly, could Adams have worked like HBC? Well, sure he could have. And you would have never heard of Ansel Adams. AA (not Arn Anderson -- he's a retired pro 'rassler) would have starved to death at a young age trying to sell his crappy prints.

So. What we have today are lots of folks running around snapping away with their digital cameras coming home with 1,000 pictures of their niece's 7th birthday party on a high capacity flash mem card...

Of course, these photos are all shot RAW. Perish the thought of actually using that sophisticated jpeg engine in their camera... What are you, an amateur? (Well, yeah... I guess I am. Though I did make $18.84 on Shutterstock last year...)

... then, once home, going into Lightroom and meticulously working each photo and every RAW file ala "Ansel Adams" inspecting each of those 36 million pixels at 1000% magnification (Look at how sharp those blurred out corners are! That $1000 "Art" lens was worth every stinkin' penny!) until that beautiful "descisive moment" candid you took of Aunt Maisey as she was eating a cream puff during dessert is just perfecto! It took six hours on Sunday sliding sliders back and forth and forth and back in Lightroom agonizing over every precious pixel -- but finally, FINALLY, you NAILED it! You truly captured Aunt Maisey's "essence"! Aunt Maisey will love it when I show it to her next week at poor ole Uncle Zeke's (RIP) post-funeral luncheon! Might help cheer her up, now that she'll be alone.

One photo down! 946 t' go! I'll get back round to doin' the rest of those. (Someday. Sure ya' will...)

And s' here's the problem. You (YES YOU!) are shooting like HBC. But you're processing like AA. Eh? And you can't. You just CAN NOT do it that way! Take it from me! I know! Either shoot HBC style, and process HBC style, which is straight out of the camera jpeg, outsourcing to that jpeg engine in your camera. (Computers. They really are job killers. Aren't they?) Learn to love it.

OR?

Shoot AA style, in RAW, a managable number of "frames" and obsess over every pixel of that RAW "digital negative" (eye roll) in "Lightroom" (ditto) to perfection.

But never the 'twain shall meet. Don't go shooting HBC style and try to process AA style. Please? Promise? And don't go to some beautiful location put your camera on a tripod and everything. And then go and shoot a SOTC jpeg. Okay? There oughtta be a law. Really.

To summarize

So -- for the love of god and country man, shoot HBC-style (SOTC jpeg) of your niece's 7th birthday party, willya? There's a time and a place for obsessing over RAW files. Like you're on holiday where there's a beee-youuu-t'-phil sunset. Or you're in Scotland and there's a lovely old castle (and it's haunted ya know. At least that's what the tour guide said...) that would make for a picturesque picture. (Me, I wouldn't waste time on the haunted castle but would be at the Laphroaig distillery for a tasting -- until they flicked the lights and said Yankee go home...) And that's the occasion for AA RAW style shooting and post processing.

Oh -- one last thing. If you're bothering to shoot and process AA style? Make a nice sized print of it please? Spring for a decent frame? Hang it somewhere in your flat? Okay? Do it for me.

You're welcome.
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Old 12-19-2018   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
And s' here's the problem. You (YES YOU!) are shooting like HBC. But you're processing like AA.
I can't speak for the others but I'm quite sure I do neither.
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Old 12-19-2018   #3
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Thanks for the entertaining essay, Nick. I'm afraid that, "Ow, ya got me!" I've often described myself as the photojournalist of landscapes. My tripod and monopod have provided the framework for many a spider's web.

As a carryover, I suppose, from my earlier film days I don't shoot a lot of frames, preferring to get the shot right the first time and I never chimp (well, almost never). I have always believed (but can't prove) that the old photographers had to some degree be involved with the process of photography, Adams a lot, HCB minimally. This made them better photographers. Can't prove that, either.

Yeah, most photographers who shoot raw (why do people capitalize?) probably mess up more images than they save. But, if it contributes to their enjoyment that's fine with me. Unlike earlier digital days, jpegs will stand a lot of post processing without doing noticeable damage.

Oh, by the way, Shutterstock, although only a shadow of its former self when it had only a few million images, still compensated me way more than $18.84, enough to keep modestly retired me in Leicas and Nikons.
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Old 12-19-2018   #4
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Well I got that backwards. I shoot weddings on 810 and the landscapes with my phone.
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Old 12-19-2018   #5
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I'd love to add some rambling burps, but I have to admit one cannot top NickTrop...
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Old 12-19-2018   #6
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Life is rarely either/or. There is a middle ground. Make the number of images you want. I suggest fewer rather than more, but that is up to you. Obviously, if you shoot street, you are likely to have more than if you shoot landscape. This is the important part: Edit your images down to a few that are your best and are worthy of printing. In the olden days, we did this with a grease pencil and a contact sheet, just like HCB. Discard the rest. There is no sense cluttering up your hard drive with rejects. If you are using Flickr as your backup, you have room for improvement in this area. Process the selected images until you are happy with them. Some will take longer than others. Print. And remember: you will be judged by your least successful image.
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Old 12-19-2018   #7
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First of all, OP needs to study Inner Silence and how some of the portraits were taken.

Second, lets just cut this ... about HCB.

2a. He was not printing, because he has best printers working for him. And he knew what and how he wants it to be printed.

2b. HCB was not snapping as OP might assume. HCB was constantly training his senses and vision. He was drawing in sketchbook. And he has education in art (painting, perspective) and was surrealist by his circle and humanist by his views. It means the VISION and SENSE.

2c. It is known what HCB would select the scene and wait for the trigger.

2d. AA is nothing but home cat, comparing to HCB. It is HCB who followed Chinese Red Army for months. At the war. And HCB knew what is war. It is HCB who took Gandhi last picture in one hour before Gandhi was gone. It was AA who was casually traveling in USA. HCB was first photographer to bring real life pictures from countries AA never been.

Sorry, can't stand lack of knowledge.

BTW, HCB went to the AA land and his landscapes of America are way more alive and interesting comparing to AA rocks and trees. IMHO.
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Old 12-19-2018   #8
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Being colorblind means I cannot labor over post process. I typically adjust levels and call it good.
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Old 12-19-2018   #9
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I do both, actually many more styles. I shot Large Format film, but also wetplate collodion. You MUST carefully plan wetplate shots, there are no options to "snapshot" with them. When I want to shoot action, I use an action camera, either digital or film 35mm. When I want to make a beautiful contact print, I shoot 8x10 film.
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Old 12-19-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Life is rarely either/or. There is a middle ground. Make the number of images you want. I suggest fewer rather than more, but that is up to you. Obviously, if you are shooting street, you are likely to have more than if you shoot landscape. This is the important part: Edit your images down to a few that are your best and are worthy of printing. In the olden days, we did this with a grease pencil and a contact sheet, just like HCB. Discard the rest. There is no sense cluttering up your hard drive with rejects. If you have 57,000 images on Flickr, you have room for improvement in this area. Process the selected images until you are happy with them. Some will take longer than others. Print. And remember, you will be judged by your least successful image.
This is the wise route.^^^^

But it's not as humorous as Nick's original post.
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Old 12-19-2018   #11
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I can pretty much get the Sunday lunch group shot in 1 exposure, but to really capture the many moods of the rusty nail in the shadows of the fence post takes half a roll at least.
Gee, isn't photography supposed to be fun?
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Old 12-19-2018   #12
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Thanks, Nick.
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Old 12-19-2018   #13
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I have read much about both AA and HCB.
Ansel was NOT meticulous, nor laborious!
Once a friend was invited on a shoot, an early shoot.
Off they went at what we now call "terminal velocity", into the hills..
Suddenly they veered into a truck stop, for "the best steak and eggs" !
Read about "Moonrise" done in 2 exposures..

HCB actually was not good at portraying his fellow French citizens...
The book on France simply awful..
He waited patiently for the shot.
Japan trip was only 1.5 rolls a day...

I shoot mainly on "toy" digital cameras these days, JPEG only, some PP.
I love my film cameras and film, shooting very carefully.
My Rollei TLR rolls can last a year..
I love 35mm format, the compactness and rapid usage.
I will though shoot a series if needed!
You cannot repeat TIME and Event.

If careful with exposure, film development, watch your screen on digital,
very little work reqd. Even when i did darkroom, it was simplicity..
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Old 12-19-2018   #14
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Quote:
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Nicely said, Ko.Fe. Couldn't agree more. And with 35mm vs 4x5 and 8x10. It's all about expression.

John
The only credit I could give AA is unsurpassed quality of prints. And here I understand Nick"s Jumping Over top Tops message. Even if shot is boring, quality of the print is attraction on its own.

About the Moment. Americans have their own nazism moments in history.
AA was assigned to get portraits in the concentration camp and he failed.
It was nothing but giftless snaps. Dorothea Lange did it right.
This is why even American militants get the picture of crime against humanity they were committing.
One of HCB rules was - no short hops on the tops. He has to stay on same location for months. To study it. To feel it. To know it. It is more complicated than drive in and walk and wait for the light in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 12-19-2018   #15
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It never occurred to me I couldn't just take and process photos in whatever way I see fit.
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Old 12-19-2018   #16
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Being colorblind means I cannot labor over post process. I typically adjust levels and call it good.
You too? I laughingly say I'm the only color blind person who's also left-handed,with kids who are third generation full-blooded Italians living in America.

I'm color blind bad. There are those glasses they sell now for CB people like us. Before you buy them you take a color blindness test online on their site to determine the type and severity of your color blindness. I took the test and the result was "Sorry can't help you. Don't buy our glasses." True story.
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Old 12-19-2018   #17
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Originally Posted by Bike Tourist View Post
I'm afraid that, "Ow, ya got me!"
Yay! Someone who's intellectually honest!
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Old 12-19-2018   #18
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It never occurred to me I couldn't just take and process photos in whatever way I see fit.
Not saying you can't. Just suggesting you shouldn't do it in a particular way.
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Old 12-19-2018   #19
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Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
You too? I laughingly say I'm the only color blind person who's also left-handed,with kids who are third generation full-blooded Italians living in America.

I'm color blind bad. There are those glasses they sell now for CB people like us. Before you buy them you take a color blindness test online on their site to determine the type and severity of your color blindness. I took the test and the result was "Sorry can't help you. Don't buy our glasses." True story.
Interesting, I thought I was color-blind bad, but I apparently passed their test:

MODERATE

DEUTAN

(pronounced “dōō’tăn”)

However, I honestly don't really have any interest in corrective color-vision glasses. I really do not see the value in them; I see colors just fine; I just don't know what they are called.

If your defects are anything like mine, you also have some benefits - better night vision, you rely on texture and movement and light and shadow more than color to identify things. This can be useful in both my previous careers in military and in law enforcement. We all see in B&W at night when light levels are too low to 'see' color. Some of us are more comfortable in that world.

There are limits to my capabilities as a photographer due to the color-vision thing and I accept that. I tend to use my digital cameras for color and depend on them to be accurate - adjusting levels, perhaps some horizon adjustment or cropping as needed. That's about it. Sometimes I even do levels in a batch job if I have been out machine-gunning at a parade or something.

For film, I stick with B&W and there I am much more at home, and since it's film, I take my time and compose each shot carefully. Much less likely to spray and pray.

But I am no AA or HCB. If I wanted to be anything, it would be one of the Czech photographers like Saudek or Sudek or the American photographer Meatyard.
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Old 12-19-2018   #20
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Nick,

Shooting like a large format photographer (maximizing IQ at time of image capture and minimizing post processing for printing large for fine detail and broad tonality) with a digital camera for speed and convenience is what I do.

The problem for me is not having enough studio space and the expense of printing big.

Pretty much the technology is so great that few exploit the medium fully. Pretty much one can transcend formats and make prints that have the detail, resolution and broad tonality of medium format and at times when perfection happens even large format when shooting a small format digital camera.

How many people really are making the most of even a 24 MP camera? How many are trying to maximize print size to exploit the available technology? I'm sorry, but I must say a 13x19 print is rather small and not much of a challenge when shooting digital?

How many photographers don't print? Pretty much my RAW files only get a tweaking, and I use filters to render the contrast I want at time of image capture.

It is as if I am like a large format shooter who is trying to create a perfect negative that I can contact print, except I'm shooting a Leica Monochrom. Point is that I don't do much post processing or pushing ISO because I don't like how digital artifacts get amped up with mucho post processing.

Cal
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Old 12-19-2018   #21
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Bill and Nick,

I often squint to help visualize contrast. In a way I am trying to replicate being color blind.

Like you, I'm primarily a B&W shooter, only because I went to art school and that is what I cut my teeth on. For clarity I will state that I'm not color blind.

Might you think being color blind as being an advantage for a B&W shooter?

Cal
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Old 12-19-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Might you think being color blind as being an advantage for a B&W shooter?
Errm, you think being impaired is that funny? ... if the authorities discover that you're colour blind, they immediately revoke your pilot's licence, your sailing boat licence, probably even your driving licence!
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Old 12-19-2018   #23
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Interesting, but not actual. Bresson obviously set up a lot of his shots. He wasn't one million monkeys hammering away at one million typewriters, he was one man taking photographs, most of them on city streets where he could not control events. So he controlled many of them. It's really obvious. But in the end he got the shots. Same with Adams. No matter how he did it, he got the shots, and anyone who has seen the prints from his negatives vs book reproductions understands that he achieved some great stuff.

We live in an age where we are inundated with imagery. It's mega-information, yet our senses are the same as when these two photographers were working (and there were many, many others just as good). We've pretty much seen it all. So seeing new work is almost impossible because there is none of it around. The sense of wonder is gone. I may love the Mona Lisa, but hang it on my wall and show it to me over and over on the TV, the computer, etc, and I will get sick and tired of it in short order.

Painters have been talking about this for decades.......the death of art. There's been over exposure to the ninth degree. Doesn't mean good stuff isn't still being made, it means we have lost that sense of wonder and uniqueness. Never mind the sunset, let me take a photo of it on my cell phone to put on my monitor at home!

Besides, there are no problems, as Ken Mcleod said. There are only obstacles in the landscape which need to be negotiated
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Old 12-19-2018   #24
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Might you think being color blind as being an advantage for a B&W shooter?
Speaking only for myself, I cannot really say. The problem is that I've never had the experience of not being color-blind, so I have nothing to compare it with.

I will say that although I do not see in pure B&W, I do tend to distrust colors, since my eyes lie to me. So I mentally (and subconsciously) give precedence to things that others might not, such as the things I mentioned like light and shadow, texture, and movement.

I certainly feel at home with B&W, and perhaps that is some kind of advantage. Hard to say though. I am also of an age where I grew up with B&W television - we didn't have a color TV until I was nearly a teenager, and the early color sets were really awful anyway. So B&W was also not unusual for me see every day, even without doing photography.
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Old 12-19-2018   #25
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Errm, you think being impaired is that funny? ... if the authorities discover that you're colour blind, they immediately revoke your pilot's licence, your sailing boat licence, probably even your driving licence!
I am allowed to drive, but like many color blind people, I have learned that (in the USA) red is always on top and bigger than the other traffic lights. There are a few states where the lights are sideways and red is the same size as the yellow and green, and in those cases, red is always on the left. At least, I hope it is.

I have never sailed a boat, but yes, it is true that if I were to try to get a pilot's license, I would be restricted to daylight flying only. The lights on the runways would be a mystery to me.
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Old 12-19-2018   #26
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2a. He was not printing, because he has best printers working for him. And he knew what and how he wants it to be printed.

2b. HCB was not snapping as OP might assume.
Sorry, can't stand lack of knowledge.

BTW, HCB went to the AA land and his landscapes of America are way more alive and interesting comparing to AA rocks and trees. IMHO.
2a. -- So, as I said, he outsourced his printing. No?

2b. See qoute/link below. I tried to find a source that cited how many shots HBC took on any give day and could not. That's the best I can do. It's a second-hand source but just to bolster my claim "in general". Is not claiming or assuming HBC took more pictures than AA on any given day not something that can be categorized as "goes without saying"? Also, to say that HBC "took a lot of photos" or "more photos than Ansel Adams" is in no way diminishing to HBC.

"National Geographic’s recent 50 Greatest Pictures issue recently and was totally enthralled by reading about the behind-the-scenes on some of their most iconic images. One line jumped out at me massively:

“A photographer shoots 20,000 to 60,000 images on assignment. Of those, perhaps a dozen will see the published light of day”"

https://digital-photography-school.c...-photographer/
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Old 12-19-2018   #27
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Errm, you think being impaired is that funny? ... if the authorities discover that you're colour blind, they immediately revoke your pilot's licence, your sailing boat licence, probably even your driving licence!
S,

I'm not making fun or light of an impairment.

I have bowed legs (malnutrician when a toddler), but bowed legs makes me hyper agile, which is a great advantage if you are a boxer to flank your opponent.

Also many people struggle with handicaps, imperfections, limitations and restrictions...

I know in WWII color-blind people were sought out because their vision was an actual advantage for doing recone.

Cal
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Old 12-19-2018   #28
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"National Geographic’s recent 50 Greatest Pictures issue recently and was totally enthralled by reading about the behind-the-scenes on some of their most iconic images. One line jumped out at me massively:

“A photographer shoots 20,000 to 60,000 images on assignment. Of those, perhaps a dozen will see the published light of day.”
That's an astounding statistic. Monkeys and typewriters come to mind.
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Old 12-19-2018   #29
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I suspect that the overhwhelming majority of people in here are NOT making a living through photography. That being said, who cares how they shoot or process? Shooting and processing have their own therapeutic qualities to them, and because it is for fun and not $ or deadlines, I would say that both are worthy and productive uses of time. In my downtime I can choose to draw, paint, read, watch useless TV, process, whatever. As long as I have some single malt and my activity of choice gives me enjoyment, that’s all that matters to me. That being said, if I was shooting professionally I think your points are quite valid.
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Old 12-19-2018   #30
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Monkeys and typewriters come to mind.
Having a monkey and a typewriter as my avatar, I heartily endorse this post!
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Old 12-19-2018   #31
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I don't think color blindness is a big deal. I've obviously been this way since birth. Funny story. I have a hard time between olive greens and browns. My first car was a green '69 Impala my dad handed down to me (nice of him). He bought new and it was the family car for years, since I was a wee lad. When I drove my friends to HS, they were calling it "the mean green machine". I was quite miffed by this since I didn't know I was CB then (though suspected something was off... but thought I just didn't know my colors very well). I mentioned it over dinner one day and my family stopped dead in their tracks. The car IS green! Ten years I thought is was brown.

Another one. I was going to the gym regularly years ago. I went and saw a great pair of designer sweats marked down down and down on the lablel from like $60 to $15. Picked them up, loved them, wore them to the gym all the time. Thought I was stylin'. Great designer sweats I got for a steal...

I thought they were navy blue.

After wearing them several months, as I was leaving for the gym, my wife lowered the magazine she was reading and said, "You know those sweats are flaming purple, right?"

She had a good laugh. Let me wear these things for months before telling me.
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Old 12-19-2018   #32
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I suspect that the overhwhelming majority of people in here are NOT making a living through photography. That being said, who cares how they shoot or process? Shooting and processing have their own therapeutic qualities to them, and because it is for fun and not $ or deadlines, I would say that both are worthy and productive uses of time. In my downtime I can choose to draw, paint, read, watch useless TV, process, whatever. As long as I have some single malt and my activity of choice gives me enjoyment, that’s all that matters to me.
Seconded, especially the single malt!
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Old 12-19-2018   #33
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Seconded, especially the single malt!
I've grown even pickier in my old age. Give me a peaty Islay. You may keep your fruity Speysides. (Well, not really "keep" them. I'll "settle" for them in a pinch.)
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Old 12-19-2018   #34
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I've grown even pickier in my old age. Give me a peaty Islay. You may keep your fruity Speysides. (Well, not really "keep" them. I'll "settle" for them in a pinch.)
Agreed - smoke and peat, yum!
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Old 12-19-2018   #35
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Totally, funny and clever. You might be able to sell this mini essay for more than $18.84.

I didn't go to the tasting at Laphroaig distillery, did at Pitlockery, and I created this masterpiece shooting jpeg:

Untitled by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 12-19-2018   #36
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...I mentioned it over dinner one day and my family stopped dead in their tracks. The car IS green! Ten years I thought is was brown.
I found out when my parents sent me to Catholic school when I was about six or seven. Unlike public schools where we brought our own crayons to school and they had paper labels on them, this class had thick communal unlabeled crayons which we all shared. I colored my skies purple and my grass brown and the nuns thought I was a discipline problem until it was discovered I was color-blind by the school nurse. (FYI, I *was* a discipline problem also)
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Another one. I was going to the gym regularly years ago. I went and saw a great pair of designer sweats marked down down and down on the lablel from like $60 to $15. Picked them up, loved them, wore them to the gym all the time. Thought I was stylin'. Great designer sweats I got for a steal...

I thought they were navy blue.

After wearing them several months, as I was leaving for the gym, my wife lowered the magazine she was reading and said, "You know those sweats are flaming purple, right?"

She had a good laugh. Let me wear these things for months before telling me.
When I was in the Marine Corps, I happened to be walking through the mall one day and saw a table full of marked-down jeans at The Gap in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA. That was in the 80s when colored jeans were fashionable. I didn't want colored jeans though, just blue ones. I found a stack of them at $6 each and bought 4 pair of them. They were indeed purple and not blue, as I was laughingly informed back at the barracks.
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Old 12-19-2018   #37
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I've grown even pickier in my old age. Give me a peaty Islay. You may keep your fruity Speysides. (Well, not really "keep" them. I'll "settle" for them in a pinch.)
Mmmmmm. Lagavulin. I remember the first time I cracked an Islay and the entire room smelled like a smokey campsite. What a joy. Lol. I did enjoy your essay BTW, was just pointing out that us casual photogs do things for the joy of doing them.
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Old 12-19-2018   #38
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I've grown even pickier in my old age. Give me a peaty Islay. You may keep your fruity Speysides. (Well, not really "keep" them. I'll "settle" for them in a pinch.)
The one alcohol I miss are Islay malts, my late uncle haulage firm used to deliver most of the grain to the distilleries, as a result we got loads of free whisky
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Old 12-19-2018   #39
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Strange you should mention Ansel and Henri as I've been watching and reading about them whilst I've been off, I would have said David Bailey but only from my Dad taking the mick while I've been shooting around him, I'm not acctually mega familiar with his work.

I can't say I'm that much like either, never had an art education bar the basics you get up to the point you pick your GCSE subjects, I wanted to be a Mechanic back then so art was out.
Toyed with learning it on one of those open courses along with learning another language but as yet I've not as I never really want to make my photography a job (who knows they might make millions off me when I'm in the ground).

I can go machine gun mode but rarely do, due to a few issues I have since being a kid I don't like people so it's rare you'll see them in my photos but I'm also not one of those die hards who hike (alright now I couldn't if I wanted to) miles to get that perfect landscape shot and I live in an Industrial town with country close by (not quite the Slumtown that Lewis Hamilton would have you think Stevenage was).

I try to compose my shots well rather than edit them, I think most I did was fixing neg scan issues more than the acctual photo, most recent big print was a 'Selfie' style photo of my late Daushund cross and I didn't alter it at all although the printer cropped it a little during its framing.

As with Colourblindness I remember being told about a Car enthusiast who painted his Cobra kit car bit lurid yellow as it was one of the only colours he could see, still apparently sold well too.
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Old 12-19-2018   #40
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Totally, funny and clever. You might be able to sell this mini essay for more than $18.84.

I didn't go to the tasting at Laphroaig distillery, did at Pitlockery, and I created this masterpiece shooting jpeg:

Untitled by John Carter, on Flickr
Nice shot! And thank you. (Not everyone gets my sense of humor around these parts...)
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