Something New

20140124-164037.jpg Slow to move to a smart phone, I am also slow to decide about moving to mobile photography as well. What I love about my LX3 is the size; it fits in my pocket so I can always have a camera with me. This is even more true with a phone, and now that I have a phone with a decent camera my “kit” is very compact.

20140124-164134.jpgMobile publishing is also intriguing to me. The idea of it is very nice, of course there are some limitations, photo editing software is not as robust as a computer, no keyboard, the WordPress app is not as easy for me to use.

There is a much smaller screen, but I think that in time I will be able to look at the phone and know what the photo will look like on a larger screen. The WordPress backend is very easy to use from a “it just works” perspective, I never code anything; the app will take some getting used to.

20140124-164212.jpgAs far as the camera itself goes, the main concern I have moving to such a small platform is low light performance. 800 is as high as I can go with the LX3 and even then the quality is marginal, going smaller will not help anything. I am also not sure about moving away from RAW. I have have always shot RAW, but I know a lot of people do not, it just makes me nervous.

Really though most of what I shoot are grab shots and will never be published other than electronically. From that view sensor size does not matter. It is also very convenient to capture, process and publish all in one spot. Now it’s a matter of putting some time in to try to work out the problems.

Lights and Lines

In an effort to simplify, one thing that I do not spend a lot of time in is post processing. Of course, I would like to learn to use Lightroom to it’s full capability, but for now, I have enough going on learning to take decent photos. I could spend hours on one photo in post processing (and I have) but since I really have no idea what I am doing, I am never sure that I couldn’t have gotten equivalent results by using the LR presets.

One day I was looking through a book of photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson and I learned that he never processed his own photos. While this is old news to many people, I couldn’t believe that some like HCB could trust half of his creative process to someone else! Then I thought, if he can give up control, why can’t I? So I did, and I haven’t looked back.

After I import my photos, I select all and convert them all to the same B&W preset that comes standard with Lightroom. Then in the grid view I am looking at what I think of as the digital version of a proof sheet, and I can go from there. Sometimes I will experiment with some of the other B&W presets, but for the most part I have one that I like and I stick with that. I will adjust the tone curve a little, maybe some noise reduction if I am shooting at 800, but I try to keep it really simple.

I feel that by placing this additional limitation on myself that I have really freed myself up to be more creative, in addition of course to the amount of time I free up by not parking myself in front of the computer. By shooting with one preset in mind it is like shooting with film, you can’t change mid roll, everything will come out in the end with the same treatment. I also get to know this “film” better the more I shoot this way so I can anticipate the results while I am shooting.

Waiting II

It has been a very busy few weeks for me, not leaving a lot of time for photography, or at least not as much as I would like. This week in particular I have felt like I am in a creative vacuum. This is my eighth week on the “lines” theme, and I am starting to feel it. Of course that was the whole point, to shoot something so much that I am forced to see it in a different way.

So it comes down to making time. It isn’t anything new or earth shattering, and I have written about it here several times already, but it is a lesson I keep learning time and again. Make time, even if it is only for a few photos. Make time to look at what is around you, and you see differently.

Inspiration is a Process

We all want to become better at this craft. So why is it that so many of us only take photos when we “feel inspired”? If you follow A Lesser Photographer then you may have already read this.

Inspiration doesn’t “strike.” Inspiration is scheduled.

I would add that inspiration is a process. Think about the times you are “struck” with inspiration. Is it really that something comes to you out of the blue? Maybe that happens sometimes, but more often than not isn’t it that you are already thinking in a creative mindset? You see/read/hear something that sticks in your mind and the creative juice is already flowing by the time that inspiration “strikes”. So why can’t that be intentional?

When I decide that I am only going to take photos when I “feel like it”, I don’t do much. The details of life, what it takes to get through a day, are not conducive to creativity (and neither is trolling dpreview to see what has been announced at Photokina).

So when I don’t “feel like it”, I have to make a concentrated effort to begin the process of becoming inspired. Looking at it like this, there is really no difference between inspiration and creative block.

Building Blocks

I often struggle to find confidence with photography. I am afraid that if I shoot something  similar to what someone else has shot that I have failed because I did not create something that has not been created before.

Or I feel like ‘I don’t have an eye for anything’ right now. I was encouraged the week with something I read by Zach Arias on his blog Ask Me Anything About Photography. It is all about focusing on the fundamentals; I took what he said and ran with it.

Photographing lines seems really basic but it is something that I need to do right now.