23 October, 2015

Cars and Malls - enemies of photography

Zeiss Batis 85mm - Seller at the Southbank Markets [Click image to enlarge.]

Much of my daily travel is by car. And while I often see photo opportunities while I'm driving, those opportunities quickly fade as I zip past. (I've seen some people photographing from their cars while driving. I wouldn't do that if I could.) And then, my destination is often a mall or other venue that prohibits photography.

This is not a tale of woe. In terms of the world, I'm privileged to be able to afford a car and privileged to be able to afford to buy things at a mall when I get there. (I don't, however, shop at Big Box Mart.)

My point (you probably thought I'd never get there) is that these constraints do take some of the spontaneity out of photography. It means that I have to decide to find a place where I can take and use my camera. That makes outdoor markets attractive: Sellers, buyers, browsers, colour and movement. The only problem with markets — I hate to say — is lack of parking.

19 October, 2015

Mobile version of the blog hijacked by ads

For reasons that are presently unclear, some recent connections to this blog from mobile devices were hijacked by intervening ads.

No one was more surprised by this than me, as I have not authorised any ads on this site.

This seem to have been an unintended result of one of Google's templates for mobile devices. (There's nothing in Google's documentation about this.)

The idea was that if a mobile device was detected, the blog posts would be presented in a format that was easier to read on a mobile device.

Until there's a solution, I have switched off the alternative template. Accessing the blog from a mobile device simply returns the regular site.

My apologies for any inconvenience.

Bill Danby

16 October, 2015

Loxia 21mm? (It's not you, it's me)

Sony G 70-200mm - More Mt Coot-tha [Click image to enlarge.]

With the recent spate of new, super-wide angle lenses (the Zeiss Loxia 21mm, Batis 25mm, Zeiss Otus 28mm, Zeiss Milvus 21mm, and the Sigma 21mm), I've been thinking.

When I've had wide zooms, I've found myself working at the widest focal lengths; avoiding that 21-28mm zone. 

I have to admit it: I'm not on top of the super-wide focal lengths. I do okay with the ultra wides. But, that's easy — the distortion there isn't a bug; it's a feature. And, the 35mm, at the moderate end, is easy enough to use. It's just a wider "normal" lens.

All this raises interesting questions. Should I push myself into doing something I clearly don't do well, in order to do it better? Or, should I capitalise on what isn't too bad, in order to do that even better?

Given that I can't afford a Loxia 21mm at the moment (yes, it would be the Loxia), these are moot questions — "moot questions," in either meaning of that phrase.

11 October, 2015

Photographer's Rights

Sony G 70-200mm - Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane [Click image to enlarge.]

Photographer's rights in Australia are essentially the same as those in the United States. I'm free to take any photo I want in a public place or from a public place. But this post is not legal advice. The law is the context, but not the subject of this discussion.

Public places: I've never had a person in authority question my right to photograph in a public place. (Once, when I had a 70-200mm out, however, I was asked if something was happening.)

Would I stand my ground if challenged? Probably.

Less public places: When I'm in a less public place, such as a gallery or museum, if it's not already posted, I ask. Usually the prohibitions set by galleries and museums are to protect the art — while I'm more interested in photographing the viewers of the art. Oh, well.

Other people's art: In public markets I occasionally see vendor's signs prohibiting the taking of photos of their wares. The rationale seems to be that the mere photographing of their product or design, even incidentally, is a breach of their copyright. Nonsense. I have no desire to photograph someone else's art; but if it happens to be in my shot, then it's in my shot.

Inside a shop: Their shop, their rules. (But it's not copyright.) The largest shopping mall near to where I live is "posted," so there's no "street" photography there. It's a pretty sterile environment in any case.

Deleting images: I've never had a person demand that I delete a photo from my camera. That, however, isn't too surprising because if I'm waved off or if it's clear to me the subject sees my photography as an intrusion, then I don't persist.

If I were asked to delete a photo, there would have to be a compelling reason for me to do so. If it was reasonable to believe that a photo of mine would ridicule or embarrass the person, or intrude on their grief, for example, I'd probably delete it to put their concerns to rest — and I would make it clear that was my reason. (Such a shot would have to have been inadvertent, as I don't take those kinds of pictures.) In most other cases I would simply tell the person that I won't use it.

Previewing: Even when I'm doing street portraits where I've asked permission for the shot, I'm rarely asked for a look at the LCD preview. I think there are a few reasons for this. When I approach someone I emphasise that I'll only take a minute. When I've taken my shots I thank them and offer to tell them where they can find my site, signalling that I'm keeping my promise not to intrude unduly on their time. And, there's one other reason: I rarely chimp my own work. If following a shot I were to begin appraising the display on the back of the camera, it would obviously invite the interest of the subject.

As to chimping more generally, I think it was Jay Maisel who mentioned that when you're chimping you're not seeing the next picture.

04 October, 2015

Mt Coot-tha: Sunrise / Moonrise

Following the "Blood Moon," I found I had a few images of Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha. So, I compiled them into a slideshow (of only about a minute and a half) — my first YouTube effort.

03 October, 2015

Blood Moon Watchers

The Blood Moon watchers were much more interesting than the Blood Moon. On that evening, the lookout on Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane was a popular place to be.

All taken with the Sony G 70-200mm

[Click any image to enlarge]