26 December, 2011

Eumundi Markets

We visited the Eumundi markets in the Sunshine Coast hinterland (about 20 km's west of Noosa) in the beginning of December. We were already at Twin Waters, so it wasn't too much further on from Brisbane. It was very wet to begin with; then cleared as the day went on; and finally it got wet again as we were leaving in the afternoon. The rain kept the usual crowds away — good for us, bad for the sellers.

I'm not usually a big fan of markets as most of them seem identical to me. This one is one of the better efforts, despite the rain.


I particularly liked the the idea of the"exploding bottle" ginger beer recipe (see the upper-left advice), and also the modest claim of "the Best Ginger Beer in the World," but not enough to try it.

06 December, 2011

Early at the beach 3

It wasn't too long before other photographers arrived. They didn't seem too interested, however, in the fisherman. Unfortunately, the sunrise was not as dramatic as it might have been.


Early at the beach 2

This wasn't my first picture for the day, but for most of the earlier shots it was just a bit too dark. The weather was good and the morning warm, so I didn't have to suffer for my "art." At this point it was only the fisherman and I on the beach.


Early at the beach

I was on the beach for the sunrise at about 4:45am, and stayed while the light was soft. I have a few pictures of this fisherman who beat me onto the beach — and was still there when I left. I'm not a fisherman myself, but I don't mind watching fishing and I don't mind eating fish.


Back to the beach

We went down to the beach at "Burleigh North" on Queensland's "Gold Coast."  I took the opportunity to get up early, when the light wasn't too harsh. (It can be very harsh during a Queensland Summer.) This photo was only at about 120mm (35 mm equivalent).


20 November, 2011

Kids II

I've been avoiding taking pictures of kids because of the current climate. But these guys were just there. I didn't see any parents and they won't be recognisable (except to their parents, of course). So I took the shot. Am I really a bad person?

Sunshine

Even with some open shade, the midday sun at the South Bank Parklands (next to the Brisbane River) makes for difficult shooting. 

Aside from the issues of dynamic range, there's the related problems of sunglasses. It's good that people are protecting their eyes, but they're hiding those eyes from my camera. 

It's little use to ask someone to remove their sunglasses,  because even if they agree, then they'll be dazzled by the light — and will squint. Again, hiding those eyes that are so good to catch in street portraits.

This all comes to mind because I spent a couple of hours at South Bank near midday.


19 November, 2011

Compare

Here's a comparison of the X14-42mm (at 35mm, on the right) and the 14-140 (at 32mm, at left). Both were shot n RAW, hand-held, f5.6, 1/1250, ISO160, and with stabilisation. This is a shot of tree across the street. This is a 2 to 1 crop from Lightroom. The crop is from the near-centre of the frame. No sharpening for the crops, but the full frame below has Lightroom's output to JPEG sharpening.



This is the full frame:

:

I know the 14-140mm to be very sharp at 35mm, so this is pretty good for the 14-42.

01 October, 2011

Diverse

Some neighbourhoods are a bit homogenised — vanilla. West End is the other kind of place. 
It's diverse and young. (I'm neither, but I like it.) There are several other West End portraits on Flickr

More West End

In West End this morning there was a Vintage Market. The man here agreed to let me take his picture, as long as I would include his dog. That was an easy deal.


He works in West End as a window washer. I was able to catch him between jobs. He's also a big fan of the diversity of the local area.

01 September, 2011

West End

Boundary Road, West End
I like the West End area of Brisbane. I worked in that area for a decade and enjoyed its diversity. The office has since moved, but about a week ago I was back there with my camera. I met this guy on Boundary Road. 

After I took his picture, I told him where he'd be able to find the picture if I uploaded it. He told me that he had neither a computer nor a mobile phone. He was surprised when I didn't ask how he got along without these essentials. 

Like him, I'm old enough to have spent years without these things. But unlike him, I'm addicted to them now.

11 August, 2011

Why Not Creative Commons?

Those who let us take their pictures are incredibly generous. I don’t believe that photographers should repay that generosity by allowing those images to be used to promote a cause or in ways that might make anyone the object of ridicule.

If all of my photos were of buildings, pets or landscapes, I’d have no problems. But, often enough, I photograph people. Not paid models. Regular people.

Creative Commons is sensitive to the issues of commercialisation, but appears to be agnostic about causes, politics, religions and ridicule — I’m not.

I'm familiar with my rights as a photographer. I’m familiar with the rights of others regarding “fair use.” I’m familiar with the laws regarding photography in public places. And, I’ve read the views of some who see CC licensing as a useful tool in the promotion of their work and their art.

It’s not for me to dictate to others (it's bad enough that I preach), so I will put this in personal terms: It doesn't appear to me that any of the CC Licenses afford me the control that’s consistent with what I regard as my responsibility.

Creative Commons provides great solutions for many kinds of works, just not mine.

04 August, 2011

Henri Cartier-Bresson is coming to Brisbane

An exhibition of HCB's work will be at the Queensland Art Gallery here in Brisbane from 27 August to 27 November 2011. I'm a big fan, so I'm looking forward.

11 June, 2011

Two degrees of separation

Wilmette Theatre
An admirer of her photographs, I've mentioned Vivian Maier here a couple of times.

I was surprised then, when my brother called me to say that he had read my blog; and more surprised when he told me that he knew Vivian when she was living in Wilmette Illinois in the early ‘80s.

My brother was then the manager of the Wilmette movie theatre. The theater was downtown in the aptly name Central Ave, and Vivian could be seen there from time to time – always with her camera.

Having been a good friend of the previous manager, Vivian would occasionally stop at the theatre to chat.

Small world.

28 May, 2011

Hurrying home

I was catching a Virgin flight from Rockhampton. They don't allow photography on the tarmac, but I was able to catch this one.

It doesn't carry any meaning, but it was nice light at dusk. If they hadn't moved me along it might have been something good.

09 May, 2011

5/02 Gone and forgotten would be better

from allphotosfree.com
   11  Blood for blood is the last resort,
   but all the Sons of Abraham understand that final imperative.

   175  The dead will rest easy —
   they always do.

   77  The living won’t rest easy —
   we never can.

   93  Can justice serve vengeance,
   or vengeance justice? Let’s hope so.


   5/02 — Gone, when gone and forgotten would be better;
   but we do what we can.

08 May, 2011

Flash?

Too much?
I'm interested in street photography, so I don’t think of myself as a studio guy — a setup guy. Certainly a flash isn’t helpful for capturing the “decisive moment,” that Henri Cartier-Bresson was chasing. HCB never used a flash. But for him that seemed to be because a flash was obtrusive. HCB remarked, “...a good fisherman does not stir up the water before he starts to fish.”

But, not every moment is an HCB moment. Often enough, I’m taking pictures of the family, or friends, or pictures at work. And, that’s when I could use a decent flash.

I find that the built-in flashes on my cameras are both underpowered and hopelessly harsh. Since a flash would get me the shots that I want to get, it seems a no-brainer that I should get one. But I’m resisting.

Would my money be better spent on something else? Would a flash put me on a slippery slope toward the artificial? Would getting a flash mean getting a diffuser? An off-camera bracket?

And, if I considered buying one, which flash should I get? The major camera companies all have their own flashes. (The Panasonic flashes, however, seem to me to be very expensive.) Vivitar? Metz?


We'll see.

26 April, 2011

Startled

 

In the presence of a clear night sky,
every man is a scientist.

But returned to our tent, we’re comforted
both by the light of our poor candle
and the conceit that it’s all for us created.

25 April, 2011

Photographing kids

I was at the beach last week.

It was late afternoon and we were walking at the water’s edge. The tide was headed out, so there were broad-flats of silver, reflective water. Alone, in the middle of one mirror-like flat was a little girl busy with her plastic pail and shovel. I did a 360 to see if I could locate a parent for permission; but there was none apparent.

I don’t take pictures of other people’s kids (where the kids are recognisable) without permission. In the photo I had in mind, however, the child wouldn’t have been identifiable; but my zoom was easily long enough to have captured it.

I didn’t take the picture.

I can’t help feeling that this paranoia about photographing kids, that seems to grip us all, is akin to the security procedures at the airports. Overkill.

23 April, 2011

MyFonts

I have no connection with the typeface vendor, MyFonts — except that I’m a customer and I’m impressed.

A couple of days ago I received an email from them to say that I could download a free update of a font that I had purchased a few months ago. The old version isn’t going to crash my machine, but the new version has, “Contextual Alternates for beginning and ending lowercase letters; and Stylistic Alternates for A, F, and T. [Also,] kerning has been refined in a few letter combinations [and the] Uppercase "K" has been redrawn slightly.”

I wish that we could expect that kind of service from all the various vendors on the Internet.

The new Vivian Maier website

Vivian Maier's 1953 New York
I'm very impressed by the new Vivian Maier website. If you enjoy street photography, her work is not to be missed. (As a brief recap for those unfamiliar with her work: Vivian Maier was an American photographer whose work was only discovered after her death in 2009.)

John Maloof, who discovered Vivian Maier’s work (in her possessions recovered from a storage locker), is working to assure Vivian’s place amongst the greatest street photography artists. Both a book and a documentary are coming, but right now there’s a new website that follows on from the earlier blog that highlighted her work.

The new website offers VM’s work in more accessible galleries, that also provides much greater resolution.

Have a look — be impressed and inspired.

13 April, 2011

Whitman, Walt, clerk

Walt Whitman

Michael E. Ruane of the Washington Post reports that Walt Whitman, perhaps the greatest American poet, was shown in Washington’s city directory of the time (1863-1873) as just, “Whitman, Walt, clerk.”


This latest attention to Walt Whitman arises because of the discovery (by Kenneth Price of the University of Nebraska) in the National Archive of around 3000 of the papers with which Whitman worked as a Federal employee.

These papers are a window in the the matters that Whitman was involved with at the time that he wrote some of his most enduring poems.

If you’re a fan of Walt (as I am) you’ll find this interesting stuff. If that level of detail doesn’t seem attractive, then you might still want to know more about the man and his work. The first place to go is the Walt Whitman Archive. They can probably tell you as much as you might want to know, and also provide all of his works. And, if you have an electronic book, the works of Walt Whitman are available (for free) in a variety of formats at Project Gutenberg.

Below is a three-minute video from the National Archives about the newly found papers.

31 March, 2011

Gravity

   Aim for the stars—
   you owe it to yourself.

   Aim for the stars—
   you cannot fail.

   Aim for the stars
   (but not straight up).

Printer 04

In a forum post on the Luminous Landscape, it was pointed out that a new Epson 3880 comes with a full set of 80ml ink cartridges. On the other hand, the R2880 only comes with a set of 11ml cartridges. The cost benefit of this alone closes the price gap between the machines quite considerably.

Another point for the 3880.

A Photographer's Life 2

The Queen as seen by AL
Last Sunday I went to see the Annie Leibovitz show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. While I have seen those photos in her book, it was worthwhile to see the prints in exhibition sizes and settings.

I was impressed by the approach, that although the show is made up of both her personal photos and her professional work — she only has one life. So, it's a photographer's life.

I urge you to see the exhibition if you can.

20 February, 2011

Just


Time’s short,
just stick to the path.

Inhibited — that’s bad,
stick to the path.

Uninhibited — that’s worse,
stick to the path.

God help you if the path isn’t leading where you want to go.

They call it the beaten path —
but if you want to see a beating, try leaving it.

Just — stick to the path.

A Photographer’s Life

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney is hosting, “Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990 – 2005.” As I’m going to be in Sydney next month, so I’ll have a look.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to end on the day I arrive in Sydney, but now it’s been extended into April. The extension should take some of the pressure off. I was worried that it would be a packed house on the day.

Printer 03

Like any prospective buyer of an expensive item, I’ve been doing some homework. In researching the relative merits of the Epson R2880 and the 3880 I’ve learned a few more things:
  • The warranty on the Epson 3880 is considerably better than that of the R2880. (Here in Australia the 3880 is an on-site, while the R2880 is a return to base. Understandable given the larger size of the 3880.)
  • The 3880 ink cartridges are much larger - 80ml. (Epson seems to go out of its way not to mention the cartridge size for the R2880 - 11ml.)
  • As a professional printer, the 3880 is better served by paper manufacturer’s color profiles.
And just recently, in talking about using the Panasonic GH2 (14mp) in Mexico, Michael Reichmann on his Luminous Landscape site reported that,
“I have an Epson 3880 printer here, and have been making 13X19" prints, with a number of them now framed and hanging on my walls in San Miguel, as well as several given and sold to friends and acquaintances here. No one has yet said – Gee, I wish you'd shot these with a larger format camera.”
So far so good for the 3880.

23 January, 2011

Printer 02

I've been through the Fine Art Printing videos from Luminous Landscape — twice. 

It seems clear that 12 mega-pixels is enough (at 180 dpi) to print at A2 sizes (for reasonable viewing distances). What is also clear is that not all pixels are created equal.

Kyneton - country Victoria
A2 will probably not be right for printing most hand-held work unless the light is good and the focus right on. So, what does this mean? It means that it was a good thing that I got a tripod for Christmas from my daughter.

I was in country Victoria a couple of week ago and had hoped to give the tripod a workout. Unfortunately, it rained hard — very hard — for many of the days there.

I strongly recommend the Luminous Landscape videos. They address many fundamentally important issues. 

And, as Jeff Schewe (one of the presenters) has a long association with Epson, the videos were particularly relevant to my situation.