Practising with the new Fujifilm-X Pro2

Earlier last year (2016) I purchased the new Fujifilm X-Pro2 and have been learning to love it. I still own the X-Pro1 and am reluctant to part with that camera. It was after all my formative camera - the one learned on and made mistakes on

The Pro-2 does not have the idiosyncrasies that the Pro-1 had. It is on the whole by far and away easier to use,  it focuses fast and the photographs from it are lovely it is just the photographer that needs some work.

I really like using the dual optical viewfinder/electronic rangefinder

Some photographs taken on a damp drizzly day (is that anything new in New Plymouth!) at a local park straight off the camera.. The first photo was taken on an earlier and sunny day but the latter three were on the damp overcast day. 

I mere hint of food and the wildlife is out in force

I mere hint of food and the wildlife is out in force

Masterton in Winter

Masterton June 2016

 

About six months ago I took a trip back down to Wellington and stayed in Masterton but caught the train into town.

Once I had negotiated the train station and arrived in Masterton there was the excitement of a walk in Henley Park the next day. It was pretty wet whilst I was staying there and freezing cold. My promise to my hosts was that I would not be back until Summer when it would at least be warmer. 

Bearing in mind this was June/July and it was the Wairarapa it was amazingly cold and or wet. On the last day there I caught an early train into Wellington in a -5C frost to fly back to New Plymouth and my warm house. Was a little parkie. I understand that the locals play sport in this type of frost whilst the ground is still frozen. Hardy or foolhardy you choose.

This is a bit of a nothing blog so I promise to do a better job next time.

New Month New Project

This month I have been looking at and studying the American photographer Polly Chandler. She is a fine art photographer based in Austin Texas who works on a large format 4.5 Toyo 45CX film camera with which she manages to capture haunting photographs that have a dream quality about them. Her subjects (if people) have a peaceful solitude about them. She sees her photographs as a very personal journal and they are semi-autobiographical.

If you are interested you can see more of Polly's work here: http://pollychandler.com

A new year and a new website

Feedback on my earlier website was that people found the way the photographs were displayed all in a uninterrupted line very confusing and they weren't sure where the frames ended and or began. So taking all that on board I decided to re-design the website in order that each individual photograph was separate and easy to see. All that being said I do hope that people now like this website design as I don't really want to change it yet again and lose all credibility.

Also with the new year I have a different focus for my photographs. I have found that I enjoy abstract photography - art photography!  I enjoy the challenge of seeing common everyday things in a new light and from a different perspective.

Currently I am focusing on Rodchenko an early 20th Century Russian artist, graphic designer and photographer. He was a contemporary of Mayakovsky the larger than life poet of the early revolution. Whose poem A Cloud in Trousers outraged the critics as it went to lengths to debunk the idealistic notions of romantic poetry and poets.

Rodchenko used his work to popularise the Revolution and to shock the viewer and shake up their preconceived ideas of what photography was about. He is quoted as saying"

"One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again."

Some of Rodchenko's work is at:

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Rodchenko&client=opera&hs=Xu7&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=RBQ3VcKnB-XLmwXvwoGYAw&ved=0CIcBEIke&biw=2560&bih=1501

GAS or Gear Acquistion Syndrome

Just lately I have seen and read a number of articles on Gear Junkies so thought I would include an edited portion of a two part article written by Oliver Duong. I have included links to both parts of this rather long but interesting and very personal article

from an article by Oliver Duong of Inspired Eye

"On the road to recovery from gear, I almost relapsed. Right after pretty much severing myself from Gear, something happened. I started buying more and more photography books and software. Heck I found myself searching for what software I needed to buy but didn’t need. I was shifting the addiction from gear to books and software, and if I didn’t cut it there I would have been in trouble again. That’s when I realized there was also a money pattern on top of the pattern of looking at cameras: I conditioned my brain to buy buy buy if I had the money. That 4×5 camera I was talking about? The G.A.S attack came right after I did some branding work and poster work for a Hedge Fund. It was a pattern inside another pattern. Careful to be conscious of your triggers!

I am now a gear minimalist focused on photography and a big fan of Limitation creativity (you are more creative with less). But here is the truth; I used to be a huge gear junkie, basically having GAS as soon as I got a new camera. I had this problem since the very beginning but now I am cured. In one sense I am trying to help those who know they have GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrome) to stop having it and trying to prevent others from suffering GAS.

I might sound preachy and maybe harsh but please know that I am preaching and being hard on myself first because I wasted a lot of money and time because of my gear addiction. I hope this helps you in some way and I wish someone was there to tell me these things.

When reading this article please understand that I LOVE gear but I am aiming at GAS, the syndrome that makes you hoard gear that you don’t really need and get stuff for the sake of getting it.

Replacing GAS actions with Photography action

When G.A.S. hits it is usually convincing talk to yourself and then taking action. How cool the camera is, how happy I would be, how my photographs will improve, then I would immediately take action like search for the camera online, and then bring my finances in alignment and then hit buy. Your brain does not discriminate habits, it cannot make the difference between good and bad habits. Only I could take the bad habits and transform them into good habits, the key is I HAVE to replace the habit because habits can only be overwritten, not deleted. Such a desire that will come as automatically as I see something pleasing to the eye (Read: Sexy camera in half leather case). But I also had to counter the action steps to counter the G.A.S actions steps I took.

Replacing the routine

Like I stated in the previous article, the key to reforming habits is to keep the triggers and the rewards, but change the routine. Alcoholic Anonymous folks have a buddy system, when the trigger is pulled, simply call your buddy or mentor asap, changing the routine from alcohol to people. In my case, I knew my triggers, simply seeing a hot camera. My rewards were the feelings of fulfilment: I own a camera, therefore I am a photographer. Owning that large format camera made me feel in the same lineage as Ansel Adams. Owning that 35mm camera made me feel like I was just like Bresson or Kertez or something. Fulfilment was the key; I wanted to be a fulfilled photographer. I simply had to do something that gave me that fulfilment that did not involve buying more and more.

...

That fulfilment was shift  my focus from the ideal (gear) to the object (photography) and to then concentrate on being the best photographer I could be with the gear I already have."

The full article appears to have been removed from the website.

Another article you may be interested in is entitled “20 Ways to Grow as Photographer without new gear”. This article begins with the words; “A photographer can stick with the same gear their entire life and still impove on what they do.” The article then goes on to list the ways, with photographs to illustrate.

Read this article at: http://www.thephoblographer.com/2014/11/30/20-ways-grow-photographer-without-new-gear/#.VHvy6RGfno4

Antonin Kratochvil

A well known photojournalist will be in New Zealand early in November to give a master class. It is part of the semi-permanent two days of lectures and master classes in Wellington. Semi-permanent is  a creative platform spreading art and design inspiration. It consists of a conference and side events which include exhibitions, competitions, workshops and parties. It is a  celebration of all things design. Graphic Design, Film, Art, Illustration, Web Design, Photography, Visual Effects, Animation, Graffiti, Motion Graphics, Stop Motion; all these things and more.You will find more information on the Wellington event at the link below:

https://semipermanent.com/event/wellington-2014

Antonin spoke recently to Peta Pixel which was taped and loaded onto that website. It maybe of interest to anyone considering going to the event and/ doing the masterclass with Antonin.

http://petapixel.com/2013/03/19/antonin-kratochvil-discusses-his-love-of-simple-intimate-photography/

 

Source: 

The First of Many!

Wellington

Wellington is the city where I have lived continuously for quite a number of years now, with one brief change when I went to Melbourne to fulfil a year’s IT contract.

Wellington is a city almost completely surrounded by water, the south coast, the inner harbour, the Kapiti coast and Makara. All these places are where people go to fish, swim, surf or just sit with friends and family on the sand or benches on the footpath. On a hot summer weekend these places are crowded with people. On cold winter weekend they are less crowded but still people are walking, cycling and fishing.

Being a harbour there are always ships or boats in the harbour either entering or leaving. When I am looking at ships or boats on the harbour I am reminded of the poem by John Masefield that I learnt as a child.

It began:

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky".

It then went on to talk about tall ships and stars to steer by. Not the best poetry in the world but when you are young and romantic there is a beautiful longing about the words.

On a more prosaic note and less full of romantic longing Wellington harbour is a little bereft of tall ships, but there a lots of yachts, 'pleasure craft' and an old tug boat anchored there.

A still calm night and a walk around the boat harbour with my camera becomes a surprisingly enjoyable photographic opportunity that presents “the lonely seas and the sky” with the lovely sweep of the glass wall of the Fryberg swimming pool as a back drop.

Yet on the very next day it can turn dramatically and be a wild windy wintry day by the sea that can be exhilarating not the least because it seems to clear the mind.

Others see it differently. Albert Camus is quoted as saying “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer”. This has many layers of meaning but for my purposes I believe he saw and felt summer even in the coldest depths of winter. The eternal optimist!

Winter has throughout history been a time of sleeping but in Wellington is a time of strong cold biting winds from the south and never ending rain. It is hard during all this to feel the ‘invincible summer’ within when “all the gutsy winds are raging” (Hesiod).

http://www.wellingtonnz.com/discover