When Life's Blues Hit, Bust-a-Prime!

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by miserere_mei, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Last week I took only one digital picture, and that was only because my wife asked me to. This week was looking to end up the same. It's not that I'm busier than usual, it's just that I'm having some personal issues and photography has not been appealing to me lately. That's not good, because photography is one of the things in my Life that makes me happy.

    In order to thwart this photoless week syndrome, I decided to take desperate measures. Whenever I've felt like my photography was stagnating, or that I was getting a bit bored, I've taken to implementing what I call Bust-a-Prime™. As you might guess, it involves putting a prime lens on your camera; that's the easy part. The hard part is forcing yourself to go on a walk around familiar places and taking photographs. Note that I said familiar places; it just doesn't work the same if you're exploring new spots, which is a different game anyway. One more thing, for Bust-a-Prime, I prefer using extreme primes. Try a 24mm on a film camera, or a 135mm on APS-C; anything that will take you out of your comfort zone.

    Which was my prime of choice? The Sigma 400mm f/5.6 mirror lens. It's been sitting in one of my office drawers for months, unused, and after reading Peter's posts about his recently acquired 1000mm f/10 mirror lens, it just all seemed to come together. So I slapped it on the K10D and left work on Friday a couple of hours or so before sunset. Here's what I found...

    Partners in Crime

    Just in Case

    No Parking (I had to think hard about this title)

    Tall & Proud

    My favourite abandoned car

    Out of Bounds

    These next ones are a series dedicated to Dave.

    I chanced upon this little nightingale chick hiding in a tree, enjoying the last rays of the sinking Sun.


    I think she liked being photographed, because she flew to a nearby cable so I could have a better look at her.


    Then her mum came and asked if she was hungry. "Of course I am mum, I'm a chick, I'm always hungry!"


    So mummy nightingale flew off to find some dinner, while baby nightingale stayed.


    She waited for several minutes, but mummy didn't come. She cried out "mummy, I'm hungry!", but still mummy didn't come.


    After several more minutes, her hunger and impatience had built up, and she shouted as loud as she could, while stomping her foot, "MUMMYYYYYYY, I'M HUNGRYYYYYYY!"


    Finally, mummy nightingale returned, and brought a nice, big, juicy berry for dinner!


    Now baby nightingale was happy, and would be quiet, her mummy thought, for at least 10 minutes :)

  2. Great Shots I love the one with the chick stamping her foot.
  3. Very cool, Mis! I know the feeling--and the strategy, btw. You get donut-shaped flare, too?
  4. Oh Mis! I just love this thread! I hope your success brought you out of your funk...it certainly made me happy...I'm still smiling...especially when thinking about the chick stomping her foot...what a great shot! You are oh-so-talented!

  5. Bust-a-Prime™ Is a great idea. It really forces you to take a hard look at the image and what you can get with 1 or 2 lenses (that aren't zooms) Good idea! Hopefully this has given some temporary relief from the 'blues'.

    To begin with that lens is very nice, sharp and great colours. Second it's certainly not your average street shooting lens, probably the last one I would have picked up. I really liked the Partners in Crime, My favourite abandoned car and Out of Bounds. I'm really surprised the car is unused but there are signs of rust in one spot.

    The Pièce de résistance is the bird series. What a great series of captures. Great because the shots are spot on in all respects and because you took the time to wait the events out and see what would happen. we've all seen lots of great bird shots but these are some of the best captures in a long while. Mostly because they are not static and tell a story. It doesn't hurt that your narative is very funny as well.

    I had to share these with my family and evryone thought it was (pardon the pun) as hoot!

    Great stuff. You should print and hang these somehow and maybe submit them to a wildlife magazine. I'm serious.
  6. Mis., that is one great set. All in a day's work for a not-so-average photographer. The bird sequence is just wonderful. I hope it helped you
    and I must admit I am glad to hear that even seasoned photographers like yourself get into those funks. I do have one question that
    perhaps you or someone could answer for me. I have seen these "mirror' lens advertised but i have no idea what they are. Could someone
    explain it to me. As always, thanks!
  7. Oh, yeah! The donut flare on the razor wire kicks! I'm buying one for Maria for her birthday!!!
  8. Wow, thanks guys! I really appreciate your enthusiastic reception of these photos. I spent about an hour walking
    home from work (the trip usually takes 20 mins) looking at the familiar path I've trodden for the past 18 months
    in search of new opportunities. 400mm is certainly an extreme prime, but I needed extreme measures, and by the
    time I got home I did feel a lot better. I also got quite excited editing the photos and seeing how many I'd
    actually got in focus. I'd say my success rate was about 80% (eat that, Garry!). The bird sequence lasted about 8
    mins, so although I was patient to wait it out, I was also lucky to be there at dinner time :) Mind you, it
    feels like an eternity when you're waiting for 2 mins with the camera to your eye hoping that mummy bird comes
    back. I'm sure it would feel a lot longer with Javier's Sigma 400mm f/4.5 LOL!

    Dave, stop thinking about the flare, and think about the light weight. I shot your bird series handheld at
    1/200s ISO250, and this was just before sunset. Imagine what you could do with a certain woodpecker, a tripod and
    bright morning light... ;-)

    Alisa, thank you! Not so talented, my dear; I still can't take portraits like you do!

    Peter, thanks man! I have so many photos of that car, you wouldn't believe (I've posted a few on PoW threads).
    It's parked in a driveway, but it hasn't moved in the 18 months I've been walking by it every weekday; I guess
    it's not abandoned, just retired :) As for this not being a street lens, I'm not so sure; you can take pictures
    of people at 100m and they will still be recognisable. And because it's a smallish lens, if people see you (from
    100m away) they will think you're just taking a wide angle shot. If only the lens were black! One day I'll take
    it into the city and see what I can do with it. Oh, and what wildlife magazines do you subscribe to? There must
    be thousands of pictures of nightingales feeding, no...?
  9. http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/ I serious think you should watermark them and send the set off. You never know if they will enjoy the series. Sure it's a common bird but the sequence is so cool.
  10. Robert, Start here: http://www.photozone.de/mirror-lenses
    Then when you are done. Start a new thread to ask questions. Mis, I and others will be happy to take Monday off from work to shoot tons of new examples of how they work and post them to your thread. :)
  11. Robert, I am nowhere near a "seasoned photographer", at the most I'm slightly salt'n'peppered, but thank you for the comment. As for mirror lenses, here is a good article by the mythical Herbert Keppler:


    Matt, I'm not crazy about the donuts, but I must agree that the rainbow coloured circular reflections on the barbed wire are very cool. A mirror lens for Maria's birthday? Oh boy, you sure are a smooth dude... :p But now that I think about it, she'll probably love it! Try to find the Sigma 600mm f/8, they go for around $150 on eBay.
  12. "Mis, I and others will be happy to take Monday off from work to shoot tons of new examples of how they work and post them to your thread. :)"

    Yeah, just wait until Garry hears about this!
  13. Mis, I know how you feel...''really''...Sometimes all the joy I have is photography...Do not let anyone or anything steal that joy from you...

    Personally, my fav is the razor wire...Thats is one great shot and those circles are great..
  14. MIRROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Wild laughter echoes from the open 10th floor window of an apartment building in downtown Taichung!
  15. Mis - a few points need to be made here:

    Bust a Prime sounds TOTALLY wicked! I'm going to invest in this practice myself when the time next comes!

    Secondly, how do you feel now?

    Thirdly, AWESOME series of shots!

    Fourthly, how do you feel now?

    Damn, I just wann go Bust A Prime right now!!!!!!
  16. And Mis - your focus is killer sharp!

    Yeah! Let's start a mirror thread - been needing to get that bad boy out for a while! Let's see how he does on the

    Heads up everybody, Mirror thread warning, in a few days time. Everybody go Bust a Mirror Prime over the next day
    or two - pics will be called for!

    Oh yeah, Mis - how you feeling now? You expert master of mirrors you!
  17. PS: you've convinced me about the mirror lens--I'm gonna get me one.

    Oh and I can almost hear momma mocking bird mumbling, "Isn''t it about time fatso here got his own damn berries?"
  18. Garry hows the sake over there tonight :) Mix a little Valium in the nightcap!
  19. Garry, I have two more that I'll post on the PoW thread, after that...I'll have to take more I suppose. Can't let you show me up on the forecast mirror thread, huh? It did make me feel better; concentrating on the photography means my mind can't wander around elsewhere. Thanks for asking, Garry. As for the focus, why be modest? I rule, plain and simple :) I have a split prism screen, but it's impossible to use hand-held because of the shaking, so I focused on the ground glass and didn't find it that hard (better than last time I used it). If using the lens on a tripod (and maybe a monopod), you can probably use the spit prism for more accurate focusing.

    Javier, thanks Hermano. I do like that wire too; never thought razor wire could be so photogenic :)

    Dave, I look forward to many donut woodpeckers :-D And hey, you did say you liked manual focusing...
  20. Reading Dave's last post I just realised that I've been calling these birds nightingales when, in fact, they are mocking birds. I know this because I spent 20 mins last night going over online catalogues of New England Birds to find out what they were (if it's not a sparrow, swallow, seagul or pigeon, I'm lost). And then I go and call them nightingales. A clear case of brainfartism.

    Let's see if anyone hears me [clears throat]:


    Thanks for pointing it out, Dave.
  21. Peter, no valium! It's all Stolichnaya - niiiiiiice vodka that one!
  22. Actually, I kind of liked "nightingale"--maybe not ornithologically correct but aesthetically apt.
  23. Mis, what a fun thread. I love the abandoned car and out of bounds. "Bust a Prime" is similar to why I enjoy getting new lenses so much, an excuse to wander around and force myself to take some pictures. I don't need a mirror lens for it, though... I am ALWAYS out of my comfort zone. :) One of the things I took away from the LBA challenge was to do the same thing with lenses I already own but haven't used as much. It's been fun.

    I think your bird series has the making of a children's book... I'll definitely show my kids when they wake up from naps! Thanks for posting, Nick
  24. Peter and Mis., thanks for the links to the articles on mirror lenses. They sound interesting. My main purpose for being
    interested would be for my sports photography. Since the pics get converted into b&w for our yearbook, they might be a
    worthwhile options. Thanks again.
  25. "I think your bird series has the making of a children's book"...OMG I canNOT believe you said that...I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing! Serioulsly, I loved what you wrote, Mis, but a children's book editor would love to get their hands on that series and do what they do...you should send that series in! I can totally see it in an early-reader book! Trust me...I'm a teacher and read books like this to kids all the time...

  26. Nice, Mis. Just don't bust a mirror prime, or it's seven years of bad luck for sure.
  27. Ha ha ha, that's true, Andrew, I'll have to be extra careful.

    Alisa, aren't there enough children's books about baby birds in the World already? :)
  28. Interesting lens... The car and barbed wire shots are real eye-catchers, but my favourite is the pastel-toned flower
    shot over on the
    PoW thread. And nope, I never thought I'd find myself writing those words... :) But OK, not all flower shots are
    created equal, and you really can't argue with a shot where the photorealism of the foreground somehow merges into
    some kind of groovy (photo)graphic art.

    Just out of interest Mis, do you mind sharing a few thoughts with us regarding how you feel your photography has
    developed, and/or where you think you'd like it to go in future...? Any particular subjects, themes or visual styles you
    feel you'd like to explore...? A completely new challenge, perhaps, or maybe a further development of certain things
    you've found interesting in the past...? Any examples would be welcome of course.
  29. Not with pictures as special as yours!
  30. Sheesh Paul, you don't half ask a lot, do you!? That's more than a few thoughts...

    I might comply later in the evening when I get home.

    And not being a flower person myself, I understand your reluctance to like Faded Life. I'm surprised I even took that shot in the first place, but right now I like it a lot.
  31. Haha, it was just a curious request... You have such a variety of subject matter in your pics - which I appreciate - and I just wondered (out loud, as I often do...) if that was a conscious decision or if it just kinda turns out that way when you go shooting...
  32. Love all the shots especially the little chick with food from Mommy. 400mm f/5.6 mirror lens, now I have something to pay attention to. Thank you for sharing the great pictures. Life strikes us with blues and there are times we stay away from pictures for all kinds of reasons, but when we get back to it, it is all fun and somehow it can help us heal from the blues. It is normal and it works out similarly for me. Having a break is actually good to gather new insights, new thoughts, courage with more daring attempts, and confidence and fascination with the unknown.

    Life's blues can only make us stronger and more interesting in our next endeavor. When next blue one hits me, I will take your photos into my defense and hide out for newer insights, stories, emotions and wait for the renewed energy to come.
  33. Thanks Hin. I thought you would like the little chick :) And have I planted an LBA seed in your mind? Don't let me! I got this lens when I got frustrated with not being able to find the Tamron 1.4x TC and I wanted something longer than 300mm. I think it was 1 or 2 days after I got the mirror lens that I managed to buy the TC; Murphy;s Law!

    If I had already had the TC, I wouldn;t have bought the mirror lens because I would already have 420mm with autofocus. But, the mirror lens is fun and challenging to use, and when I find one at an affordable price, I will buy the Sigma 600mm f/8 CAT, its longer sister.

    As for the blues, it's not so much not wanting to photograph, but rather not wanting to do anything. That's what worries me.
  34. OK Paul, so here's somewhat of a reply to your question(s) thought out loud.

    Mike Johnston (I'm a big fan of his photography writing) presented his blog readers with a question earlier this
    year: Where do you live?


    He maintains that the true mark of an amateur photographer is one who has photographs of all different types in
    his portfolio, and some of them might even be OK, or good, but there is no thread that binds them, no common
    style or idea. He says portfolios like this are all over Flickr. I guess he must've been looking at mine before
    he wrote the article :) By his definition, I'm the quintessential crappy amateur that will never become truly
    good, because I will never specialise.

    I disagree.

    Not all of us follow linear logic, and not all of us can accommodate it either. Modern western society is very
    much based on linearity; in highschool you're expected to choose subjects that will help you on your career path
    in college; when you get there you have to major in a field of your choice which will make you attractive to
    future employers. You're expected to know where you want to work when you enter college, otherwise you'll end up
    getting a Leisure Studies degree and begging on the corner next to the Starbucks. That's what they tell us.

    I've never been exclusive, I've always wanted to embrace many things. Photography was one of the arts I wanted to
    practice in my teenage years that I couldn't afford to. I played guitar (bought my own guitars and amps), rode
    mountain bike (bought my own bikes and equipment), studied martial arts (paid for my classes), and a few other
    "hobbies". There was no money, there was no time (I was also expected to get a degree while doing all this).

    People would ask me what type of music I played, and whether I picked with my fingers or with a pick. I never
    understood. I loved the guitar, be it in heavy metal, flamenco, classical or pop. I used a pick when I needed to,
    and my fingers when they were required. It was never a case of either/or.

    Everything I'm passionate about in my life has been that way; people will try to pigeon hole you and lead you
    down a certain, strict path, but I want to run amok and see them all.

    Photography for me is like this. When, after many years of lusting, I finally got a DSLR (which my wife paid for
    with money from a teaching stint that she hated) almost a year ago, I finally felt I could say to people "I'm an
    amateur photographer". And when I do, people inevitably ask "what type of
    photography do you do?", and I tend to reply "the type where I take a picture of stuff". I come across as an
    arsehole, but I'm simply tired of pigeon holes. My new favourite answer has a more poetic twist, I say that I
    photograph light (so people think I'm a poet or something). And it's true. I like to photograph anything that I
    find attractive in any way, and you can see
    that in my Flickr page. Add to that the portraits I take (which I don't like posting), and I've practically done it
    all. I even did some architectural shots for a friend who works in the field and asked me to. Sure, why not? I
    love straight lines and shadows.

    So Mr Johnston thinks one needs to specialise in order to become good. And you ask me "where you think you'd like
    it to go in future...?" Based on Mr Johnston's theory, I will continue to sink into further mediocrity, because I
    love photography. Not landscape, nor macro, nor portraits, nor colour, nor B&W, nor street, nor flowers, nor
    cats; no,
    just...Photography. I want to see it all, I want to do it all.

    And because I approach everything I do in this way, I am finding it difficult to accommodate the Linear Life(TM)
    expectations that have been placed upon me.

    That is the source of my blues, Paul. And that's a sort of answer to your question(s).
  35. Short version: I've always been drawn to abstracts, especially in the city. I don't think I've posted any, but at some point I'll have to bring them all together in one place, as their number grows steadily with time.
  36. Mis, cheers for taking the time to share your thoughts there... Some of your thoughts very much echo my own,
    actually, although my views tend to change with the weather... And it was a good reminder that some (all...?) of
    us have chosen not to post certain types of pics, for whatever reason...

    I'm currently at work but I'll think about what you've said there and respond later. Interesting stuff...
  37. AMEN!!
  38. Paul, I look forward to your thoughts. From your pics, it seems to me that you have a clear idea of what you want out of your photos, not so much subject matter, as a feeling or vibe. I'd say they all have a common soul, definitely a Wilkins signature. Despite what may have been misinterpreted from my post, I am in no way against this, and when you can take different subject matter and make it all look yours, as you do, then you're "there".

    Pardon me, but I'll have to resort to another music analogy: Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ray Charles... They could play just one note, and you'd know it was them without needing any more clues. Everyone plays the same notes, but they were able to make them theirs, and that's what made them great.

    In this respect, I think you're way closer than I am to "being there".
  39. Mis, your analogy to music is an interesting one... I've thought about it many, many times in an effort to
    understand certain aspects of photography better...

    In the past, I often used to think of the camera as being like a guitar. I mean, you can think of the guitar as a
    tool to make music, and the camera as a tool to makes photographs, yes...? And Lightroom is then like an audio
    editing/processing program. And PN is a place where we can all offer our wonderful guitar music to the world...
    :) Oh, how
    brave we all are to offer our test recordings, practice sessions and original compositions to the public, as we
    slowly learn to play our instrument... :) And gear chat is just guitar chat... :) So hey, maybe we're all just
    jamming here, but if it sounds good don't knock it... :)

    It's a interesting enough anology to think about... But hey, let's crank this anology up a bit and take it one
    step further... :)

    Think about a strange world where our eyes were replaced with very special directional ears, and we could somehow
    "hear" certain collections of atoms in a similar way to how we "see" them... And that we could focus selectively,
    and control the amount of sound hitting the sensor with an audio iris (the "retina" being a microphone in this
    case, detecting sound waves, not light)...

    Now imagine that all "visible" matter reflected, absorbed or emitted sound of various different wavelengths, and
    our sonic "eyes" would receive these waves... In this world, our very special brains would allow us to interpret
    these received waves, and add "colour", distance information, "brightness" (audio volume) and so on, and thus
    offer us a stereoscopic mental image of the scene before us. Cool... :)

    Our TVs would be replaced by some form of two-dimensional sound display. Our video cameras would be replaced by
    directional sound recording equipment, recording two dimensional sound "movies" for later playback on our
    widescreen audio TVs... :) Our still cameras would be replaced by...? Well, it's pretty hard to imagine such a
    "sound camera", isn't it...? :) We're just not used to the concept of still sound images...

    If I wanted to play "music" in such a world, perhaps I'd have to play a light-emitting guitar for my
    light-sensitive "ears"... :) And if I wanted to paint with sound, I'd paint some nice sound-emitting matter onto
    a sonically "clean" canvas... :)

    Why bother thinking about this, you may ask...? Well, think of the role of the "audio photographer"
    (audiographer....?) in that strange world... Is he a musician, making his own controlled sounds by controlling
    matter with his hands or mouth or whatever... ? Or is he a recording engineer, with his fancy digital "sound
    camera"...? :) Our "audiography" would be our little static sound images of the sonic scenes we'd get to hear
    around us. Processed recordings... And hey, your sound images would be cool Mis, and well-recorded and
    well-processed too.

    My own stuff? Well, it is what it is, and goes where it goes, I guess. Most of my pics are primarily intended to
    be viewed by a particular person, with the intention of simply showing her things that my camera has recorded,
    and that I've subsequently processed. The intention is not always to please, as such... My philosophy is merely
    to give her something to look at and some space for her to
    think... She does the thinking, and I think about her thoughts, both before and after I press the shutter.

    Sometimes I try to make the space for some of her thoughts a visual one, within the image. Sometimes I hope it
    exists between and around the images too. What she thinks about the pics is far more interesting to me than the
    images themselves. If some reasonably good photos (to her mind, mine, or
    anyone else's...) come out of this process, it's just a little bonus really. Her thoughts are more interesting
    and important to me than the photos themselves, so I just keep snapping stuff to show her.

  40. Hmm, how did I manage to "anology" twice in one sentence...? :) Must be time for bed... Later.
  41. Mis, Paul, thanks for those fascinating posts. Are virtuosos born knowing how to do [art of choice] perfectly? I think not, rather they work at it more than the rest of us. Perhaps because they have to, given what is known about the demons of many if not all the great artists. If they relentlessly visit a certain idiom (say Degas and his dancers) I suspect it is not a ploy or a plan, but a necessity in some way. I feel a deep yearning to create art, to create beauty, but it takes many forms. One day photography, one day guitar, sometimes scribbling in a journal. I am an amateur. Reading these posts reminds me that I will almost certainly never be a famous photographer, just as I long ago realized that I would not be a famous musician. I don't HAVE to be. I take pictures on my days off, I sometimes play guitar in the evenings (when I am not trying to whip said pictures into shape) and I try my best to enjoy both. If my wife likes a song, if my in-laws ah over a picture... well, to me that is success. I am trying to cheer you, Mis, and I have no idea if this is the right way of going about it. But when I look through your pictures, I think "if I had taken that, just looking at it would make me happy". And in fact, most of them DID make me happy. I was lucky enough to have my wife convince me a few years ago to explore a "non-linear" path in life, and I would say, keep wandering. And keep posting, so we can all join you! Thanks for the true pictures and words, Nick
  42. Oooh, I'm glad I revisited this thread! I loved your riff, Paul (and especially appreciate that there was no
    math involved ;~) It's interesting that you photograph for a viewership of one. I know the impulse.

    And, Mis, I'm totally with you in your eclecticism--but you've probably figured that out by now (as would anyone
    after a visit to my portfolio.) Perhaps when I grow up, I'll dedicate myself to photographing toenails or
    paperclips but I won't be ready to do that until I've photographed everything else.
  43. Paul, yeah, I got your analogy, and I look forward to reincarnating into one of those creatures. Art must be very interesting on that planet! As is the fact that you create photos for your loved one (I'm assuming it's her); however, don't fool yourself, after all, you participate in this forum and share your photos with us. You might not care what we have to say about them, but I know you want us to look at them, so I would say that your photos are maybe 75% for your loved one, 25% for the rest of the World ;-)

    And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
  44. Nick, thanks for your post, man. I think we're quite alike. I also have an urge to create, music, images, words... I'm restless if I'm not creating, or thinking about creating. Unfortunately, this has always got in the way of my Real Life(TM). Sometimes I wonder how I made it this far when my heart was so far away from the task at hand. I'd love to hear your version of a non-linear life. Feel free to e-mail me through p-net if you don't wish to share it with the World. I'm currently thinking hard about bending this damn Life line and any ideas or success stories are welcome. I, like you, have an understanding wife, which makes all this current crap worth fighting through.

    Where was that photo taken?
  45. Dave, leave the toenails to Paul. When you grow up, you'll be photographing woodpeckers on Mars with your portable and compact 2000mm f/1. No need to tell you that I don't find anything wrong with eclecticism, right?

    By the way, I never noticed your portrait on your profile page until today. Clara did a good job! :)
  46. It is a nice photo, isn't it, Mis? Abe's reaction was "Good--now we have your obit pic" ;~)

    I think of photography as a way of exploring the world and sharing our findings (or in Paul's case, posing questions?) I understand the value of specialization but there's an accompanying risk of myopia.
  47. Abe is SUCH a sweet son. I'm glad he'll be getting the smaller part of the inheritance.

    "Specialists myopia", there's a new term I'm going to start throwing around. Quite right, Dave!
  48. Yeah, can you believe that, Mis? He gets that sort of humor from his old man, I think--bad influence.
  49. "I would say that your photos are maybe 75% for your loved one, 25% for the rest of the World ;-) "

    Well, I did say "primarily"... :) The ratio varies a bit from time to time, I guess.
  50. Interesting thoughts, chaps...

    As photographers, it can sometimes be interesting to ask ourselves (and each other) why we're interested in taking pictures at all. And why we take the type of photos we do... And who we're interested in showing them to. (And why...)

    The answers to those questions can change as the years go by, of course, and often from one minute to the next. Or maybe we find that there are no real answers, but we keep clicking anyway...? Well, why not...? :)
  51. Mis, that's on Huron Avenue, headed away from Harvard square toward Fresh Pond. A technically poor picture,
    but one that reminds me of happy times - my wife and I lived a block from there for a few years before we had
    kids, and when our youngest was born.

    Non-linearity, I may have exaggerated; but despite years of school and residency training, my wife helped me see
    that I didn't have to be a doctor any more if I didn't like doing it. After several practice arrangements and settings, I
    realized she was on to something. So I quit, interviewed for some teaching jobs, spent some time with my kids,
    and ended up in a part-time research gig that allows me a little breathing space for my life. And time to take
    pictures! With just enough money to buy cheap second hand lenses I don't really need but like messing around
    with. Bust a prime, indeed.

    I am glad to see photography is helping you feel better.
  52. What, you got a better pic to use for your obit? Didn't think so. Heck, she'll get credit for the photo, but don't I get some for the idea?
  53. Miserere, thank you. The birds and your captions - just lovely, and the thread that follows is fascinating.
  54. "Most of my pics are primarily intended to be viewed by a particular person, with the intention of simply showing her things that my camera has recorded, and that I've subsequently processed. The intention is not always to please, as such... My philosophy is merely to give her something to look at and some space for her to think... She does the thinking, and I think about her thoughts, both before and after I press the shutter.

    Sometimes I try to make the space for some of her thoughts a visual one, within the image. Sometimes I hope it exists between and around the images too. What she thinks about the pics is far more interesting to me than the images themselves. If some reasonably good photos (to her mind, mine, or anyone else's...) come out of this process, it's just a little bonus really. Her thoughts are more interesting and important to me than the photos themselves, so I just keep snapping stuff to show her."

    I hope you let your wife read these words...they are truly some of the most romantic words I've ever heard. You know, it's funny, I've been married to the same wonderful man for 24 years and being married for that long with 3 children and all their needs in the works, sometimes the conversation is a little dry, until he says something like this (which he does) and melts my heart all over again. If my husband had written something like this, I would like to read it, so I hope you let her do so. What a wonderful sentiment.

    Sorry, I just had to say so, even though my comment has little to do with photography. And I truly hope that you find whatever it is you're searching for. It makes me sad to think that someone with such heart is feeling out of sorts...

  55. I love this thread and I always love to see the posting from Mis. Mis is full of humor, sometime emotional, sometime with blues, sometime with sheer joy of beauty and energy, sometime sarcastic like the moronic bidders in ebay, but one thing I am sure, he is always artsy in a unique way in his pictures. I can only set up and admire.

    I am not a musician, far from a guitar player who can play a complete song, but I do admire those who can


    And I see a great connection between music and photos, perhaps all visual arts. Every time I tune in to a song or melody, the thought of a picture comes to mind, sometime a sad one, but very often the joy with admiration of our surroundings, our memories, people we love and strangers we meet.
  56. Peter, you're most welcome; glad you liked them.

    Alisa, please, this thread stopped being about just photography many posts ago; you're quite all right posting
    non-photography comments. And I agree with them too :)
  57. Alisa, thanks for your comments on my words up there, although I'm neither married or feeling out of sorts... :) Perhaps you've confused my words with those of Mis somewhere along the line...?
  58. LOL, Paul!
  59. Reading this thread again, it seems I got so carried away with the whole guitar/photography analogy thing up
    there that I really didn't respond properly to some of the points Mis raised in his lengthy post...

    Firstly, I have to say I (partly...) disagree with Mike Johnston, too. I think specialization can be a good thing
    if I think about activities such as drawing and painting - where it often takes much practice and skill/style
    development to achieve good results - but the beauty of photography is that the camera does all the real work for
    you... :) All you have to do is fiddle with a few buttons and out pops a picture... So I see no reason why any
    photographer should limit themselves to certain themes/subjects, unless that's their professional line of work or
    personal photographic choice, of course. So from that point of view, I think Mis should carry on with his
    eclectic style without that being considered as sinking into mediocrity in any way.

    There's perhaps a problem, though, and it's one of recognition... People like pigeon holes... I think it's just
    easier to become well-known as a fashion/portrait/landscape/sports/war photographer or whatever, than as someone
    who does almost everything... And there can often be an element of self-marketing here, perhaps, so it all
    depends if you want to become well-known or not... Well, personally I don't care about all that stuff. I just
    want to take photos of the things I see for my own personal reasons, so I'm happy to take a picture of anything
    from a turd to a tornado. Sadly, the latter are somewhat uncommon here in Finland... :)

    And perhaps there's another problem... Individual, eye-grabbing images - no matter how good they are - don't
    always work well when viewed as a set, in much the same way as a mix tape of individually great tracks doesn't
    always work as well as a "proper" album. It depends on the track selection though...

    Another thing I've found from my own experience is that I when I first started taking a lot of pics a couple of
    years ago, I tended to take pictures of things that caught my eye or imagination for some reason. So I ended up
    with lots of pics which were visually interesting to me at the time, but which didn't hold my interest for very
    long, for some reason... I think this may be partly what Mike Johnstone is referring to, when he says that
    portfolios like this are all over Flickr.
  60. Paul - love the fact that you are telling me photography doesn't need practice - "All you have to do is fiddle with a few buttons and out pops a picture"

    Now I know why I spent the bucks on the K20D! ;-)

    But on a more serious note, I think that your perspective really speaks out and is evident in the "snapshots" you often post. They truly do have a unique sense to them, and they are stirring. Hopefully all this snapping is not going to be practice that will ruin this vision!

    I am atually rethinking a lot of the categorization stuff that was going on my head. Thanks.
  61. Thanks for the re-visit Paul. I agree with the points you make, especially regarding people liking to pigeon-hole everything. Here's a story about that for you.

    Everyone knows Stephen King (I'm assuming), and his particular brand or horror literature. But he also has a liking for Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and has dabbled in these genres too. Many people don't realise that Mr King is what I call a pathological writer; he doesn't write because he likes it, he does it because he needs it. Isaac Asimov was also like that, and he even wrote an amusing short story about it (I forget the title). Many prolific writers have suffered from this "curse". But back to Stephen King; at some point in his career during the 80s he was writing at a prodigal rate and his publisher told him he couldn't possibly release every book because he would saturate his own market and because writers shouldn't publish more than one book a year. They finally decided to publish these extra books using the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and they were reasonably successful, but not as much as the Stephen King books.

    If I were a professional photographer, I would have five or six different pseudonyms, one for each of the photography styles I worked in.

    As for "the beauty of photography is that the camera does all the real work for you", I wouldn't want to scream that at the annual meeting of the PPA (Professional Photographers of America), but I do agree that photography is all about capturing light. What that light is bouncing off of shouldn't really matter to the extent that you can be competent in one genre and useless in another if you're dedicated enough to learn the techniques appropriate for each of them.

    Lastly, I agree with you that it is important to learn how to distinguish an image that is eye-catching from one that is heart-catching (for lack of better terms). The former will appeal universally, while the latter is only important for those who know the context. Some of the photos you take of your girlfriend will have special appeal to you both because of something that was said or done when you took it, or because it was a special occasion. When we look at them they'll mean nothing. However, I think you do a good job of selecting images that *will* speak to wider audience, even if we (they) don't know the circumstances surrounding them. Again, I believe this is also independent of genre.

    As a side note, I need to add some wedding photos to my mediocre Flickr portfolio. I feel there's something missing and that might be what it is.

    I also need to practice saying "Flickr" and "portfolio" together without chuckling.
  62. Yep, all a camera does is record light... That's it. Sure, you can control what it records, and how - at least to
    some degree - and add some of your own light if you like, but ultimately it's simply a recording device. Learn to
    control it and you can record many different things... :)

    Some may argue that canvas can also be considered an image recording medium, at least when paint is applied by an
    artist. This is true... But the difference is that the camera can very easily make a picture that will at least
    look detailed, recognisable, "correctly"-proportioned and "right" to our eyes... With a modern auto-everything
    camera, it can be as simple as pressing the shutter release button... That's it. And a child can do that... In
    fact, a blind monkey could do it, and could very easily (by total accident...) take a considerably more
    interesting pic than you or I have done recently.... :)

    Technically it's utterly trivial to take a photo with a modern P&S camera... And I've taught a friend of mine how
    to use my K100D in manual mode in order to get a pretty decent exposure (and how to control depth of field and
    subject motion blur...) in my garden/kitchen in about fifteen minutes... It really is that simple, at a basic
    level. And that's usually enough.

    Some aspects of photography may well require some practice, technique, experience and creative vision, of course.
    But let's face it, the vast majority of photos out there required very little effort on the photographer's part
    to record. Being in the right place to take the pic may have taken some effort, as may getting a subject to
    respond as you wish, but the actual recording aspect is generally extremely easy. Why? Because the camera does
    the actual image recording for you, doesn't it...? :) Recording that image with a brush and a set of paints ain't
    quite so easy... :)

    The interesting question, of course, is how to make our light recordings visually interesting (in whatever way)
    to ourselves, as photographers, or perhaps to someone else... There are clearly many, many ways to do that, many
    of which are really not all that difficult... Think porn... :) So you just have to decide for yourself how you
    choose to use your little light-recording device, and how (and in what context...) you present your images.

    I happen to like your way of doing things, Mis, and I hope you do too.
  63. Garry, cheers for the encouraging words there... I'm really not sure how long I'll be taking pics - I may go back to my drawings or try my hand at painting or something instead - but for the moment photography is still an interesting learning curve, for me... Not so much technically, but just in terms of deciding where best to point the camera, and when best to click... That's the difficult part of photography, I think.
  64. Paul, I recently had a discussion with a friend who said exactly the same things you just said...to explain to me why Photography wasn't Art. I had a great time winding him up about it, cos he took it a bit more seriously than me :)

    Do you think it's Art, Paul?
  65. "Do you think it's Art, Paul?"

    Depends who's looking at it... :)

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