Sunday, May 30, 2010

Points of View

Locked elbows and knees are the bane of photography - how many pictures of tops and backs of heads do we see?

As I get older, and cameras get heavier (or so it seems) I am also tempted to get lazy and not try to get a different viewpoint.

Was once at an event, struggling to get a decent shot of the speaker, a shot without the microphone smack dab in the middle of his face, when I noticed the other photographer sitting in the center of the auditorium, shooting with a gazillion dollars worth of Canon equipment (lenses the size of fire hydrants) and shooting head on mike over the face blandness.

In any event, most of the time I shoot these kinds of things, I hear "Great shots, could we have two of the handshake, and the group shot?"

I guess it boils down to shooting for one's own satisfaction, and not settling for "good enough".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to Shoot Too Many Pictures

That one's easy. In my case, I have a habit (from the old days of film) of shooting three frames of everything. Did this as insurance - anyone who has had film returned with scratches can identify with this. It was also cheaper than getting dupes made.

Now we have huge memory cards, hard drives, external drives, and the days of only being able to transmit 256 color Gifs or 65kb JPEGs are over.

So now I'm clogging up hard drives, dvds, and the interwebs with files, as is everyone else.

This has taken down the elitist aspect of photography a notch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Last Shot of the Day...

Back on line - uploading images all over the lot (selling absolutely nothing, but uploading away).
Got a new video card and set up two monitors. Still getting used to it. Have the feeling they should be both streaming blue text against a black background while the zombies snarl at my door.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

Been updating my site - adding pictures - all was going fine and WHAM! All I get for a gallery is a blank page...

Anyhoo - I'm off line for a little while while I add new doo-dads to my computer in an effort to soup it up enough to handle some of the newer memory hogging software I've added. It really doesn't seem that there is a computer that can't be slowed to a crawl.

Mind has come grinding to a semi-halt since I've been wrangling huge raw files from the Canon 5D - 120 megs at 16 bits. I remember when Photoshop was somewhere around 40 megabytes. A respectable image file starts at 60 megs now.

So it's about playing catch-up since the boffins that come up with all the new software are working on the latest, fastest, hottest and bestest equipment, us poor plebeians are in a race to replace.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flickering away

Set up a Flickr account:

That's Flickr, MySpace, LinkedIn, Face Book, Fine Arts America, ETSY, my own websites: for fine art and for the rest. All those new arenas to be ignored in.

And now to go off topic - way off topic - I got talked into watching Avatar. MY GOD! It had to be one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen. Unobtanium? Why not Cantgetanyatallium, or Impossibletodigoutofthegroundium? Never mind that it's the same plot as Pocahontas - I'm still trying to get my mind around sending someone out into an alien jungle without telling them what kinds of animals are there, and giving him a weapon that's useless.

And wandering off all curious to get chased by Hammerhead triceratops with flowers for faces?
Being adopted by things which look suspiciously like the jellyfish from Sponge Bob?

The military/corporate baddies spend bajillions on transplanting minds doesn't spend a dime on figuring out the mysterious "flux". I guess they were saving it for flux capacitors. Floating mountains with no explanation....

It also had the look of one of those computer games that won't quite run right in spite of everything.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Photography Died Again

It happened again. Someone else has proclaimed the death of photography. It turns out that photography hasn't so much died as become far less profitable than it's ever been. Battles for rights, payments, royalties continue, with the artist usually on the losing side. This is really about how we, as a culture and a society, pay artists.

Painters really get the short end of it - sell the painting and that is it - no more money for that image, no matter how much it increases in value.

As a society we will spend obscene amounts of money redundant weaponry - we have an arts budget (NEA) that is less than the amount set aside for our military bands.

As long as artist (photographers, musicians, painters, writers, poets, etc.) are forced to scramble and scrape in this environment we are set-ups for being exploited.

Yes, we need better subsidies, more grants, more access, less expensive tools, more arenas to exhibit, perform, and publish. There is also no substitute for a live audience (I don't know about anyone else, but uploading images into the interwebz often feels, to me, like whistling into a void).

What would 1/10 of 1% of the defense budget pay for...

Updating my site(s) - newly redecorated my main site and am constantly uploading to Fine Art America site in the dim and growing dimmer hope that someone will buy a print...
Added Google stuff (ad words, ad sense, ad nauseum, ad lib) next pay pal links and if all else fails I know where I can get a good organ/monkey setup and start a new career as a busker.

Site is currently parked at and is supposed to switch over to .com any moment now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Excuses Excuses

And now for some more (possibly unwarranted) ranting:

I have heard statements like "I go through a whole box of paper before I get a print I'm satisfied with", "if you get one good shot on a roll of 36 exposures you're doing well", "if I get one good shot on an 8 megabyte card I'm doing well".

In my not at all humble opinion, if you can't see what you're shooting before your push the shutter button, stop, put down the camera and stare at the subject until you know what you are doing. Great pictures are not stumbled upon or lucked into anywhere as frequently as you think.

I've been at this for thirty-five years so I have a damn good sense of what I will get when I shoot, read the Ansel Adam's books religiously, and went and looked at the work of Adams, the various Westons, Cartier-Bresson, et al., and most importantly absorbed the work of the great painters, as well as having spent countless hours printing in a wet darkroom under intense pressure to make reproduction quality prints from negatives that were underexposed and over-developed, and worked for editors whose standards were quite high, so I have absolutely no patience for the above statements.

The paper and film manufacturers probably loved the one-shot-in-36 and one-print-in-a-hundred-sheets part of the photographic community, but really, if we want to be considered artists, let's show some sort of skill that transcends luck as well as saves materials. Ink cartridge and paper manufacturers also do real well in the print yourself silly world.

Gary Winograd was an example of this sort of mind set. He shot endlessly, often without raising the camera to his eye, and when he died left a ton of unedited work behind (somewhere in the area of a thousand rolls of film). He rode the critical waves, disliked when alive, lionized just before and after he died, but also held up as some sort of example to the aspiring "street photographer".

Maybe it's a valid way of working, but it's wasteful and sloppy.

He also belonged to the "contempt for the subject" school of photography epitomized by Diane Arbus.

OK - I am a grouch.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Maybe this post should be called "Singing for Our Suppers"...

Am revamping my web sites to better reflect my current self. Pared away anything non-image related, and am uploading a whole new slew of stuff. Site should be finished and up in about a week.

The rough form can be seen at:

If anyone is reading this (which I tend to doubt since there aren't any cute cats) wander on over.