civilized ku # 5308 ~ teetering on the brink

(embiggenable) • iPhone

I am in the throes of a full-fledged picture making dilemma. The accompanying angst has nothing to do with what I picture or my vision (aesthetically, aka: the manner in which I "see" what I picture). Rather, it is all about how (the mechanics) I picture things.

To be specific, re: the "how" thing, I have become addicted-not really the right word-to making pictures with the iPhone. Or, perhaps re-phrased, I have become accustomed to making pictures with the iPhone. Case in point, over the past couple months, all of my picture making has been accomplished with the iPhone.

That picture making with the iPhone qualifies as the "accustomed to" part of the equation. The "addicted to" part is attributable to the ease of making a picture with the iPhone, immediately processing it on the iPhone* (or iPad), and then seeing the finished picture, all within a matter of minutes.

And, have no doubt about it, for 95% of my picture making the image quality-technically speaking-of so made pictures is very, very good. I can produce exhibition quality prints-22x22inch image centered on 24x24inch paper-which, by any measure, are beautiful prints.

So, you might ask, given all that, where's the angst? Well, after considerable thoughtful consideration, I believe I have the answer ....

.... as I sit here typing away, I am surrounded by an incredible array of professional picture making gear - 35mm Nikon system (2 bodies, 6 lenses), 120 Bronica ETR system (2 bodies, 4 film backs, 3 lenses), 3 4x5 view cameras (1 field, 2 studio, 4 lenses, 20 film holders) and 1 8x10 view camera (3 lenses, 10 film holders) + 1 light meter, 1 flash meter and assorted Polaroid backs for 120-8x10 formats (not to mention my µ4/3 system - 4 bodies, 5 lenses). Even though I have used none of this gear-µ4/3 system excepted-for almost 20 years, and herein lies the crux of the matter, I still carry the memory of the effort it used to take-using, in my 30-year professional life, the aforementioned gear-to make a good picture.

Given that vivid memory, I believe I am experiencing more than a bit of guilt / confusion-inasmuch as I am "shirking" what should be done to make a good picture-regarding the ease (and accompanying freedom) that comes with the use of the iPhone as my primary picture making device. FYi, I am unable to call the iPhone a camera and that, undoubtedly, is also part of the angst.

All of that written, I think I am at the point of letting go of all of that baggage and just going with the flow. Although, I am equally certain that I will always have my µ4/3 gear with me whenever I leave the house.

*using an app with near Photoshop-like capabilities, at least inasmuch as I use PS.

assorted civilized ku ~ a color moment

color moment #1 ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

color moment #2 ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

color moment #3 ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

color moment #4 ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

color moment #4 ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

color moment #5 ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Recently, on TOP, Mike Johnston presented a 3-part (voluntary) challenge for his followers. In short: 1.identify 25 separate bodies of one's work, 2.from those, select those that one would consider to be one's top 5 bodies of work, and, 3.the payoff - after identifying one's top 5 bodies of work, heed the advice of experts and concentrate all of one's picture making on those 5 catagories.

I did not undertake the challenge for the simple reason that-as anyone can view on the WORK section of this site-I had already identified 39* separate bodies of work. It should be noted that only 7** of those bodies of work were undertaken with the intention of being separate bodies of work. Many of the rest were identified over time by a somewhat unique process.

That process was instigated a number of years ago by an outside source. Specifically, a photo gallery which issues (10-12x a year) submission requests (yielding 2,000-3,000 submisions) for juried theme-based gallery and online exhibitions (FYI, I have about a 65% acceptance rate). Those requests have induced me to repeatedly rumage through my photo library-8,000+ µ4/3 / 7,000+ iPhone pictures-of "finished" pictures in order to identify pictures appropriate for specific theme-based submission.

Inevitably, I begin the process by thinking that I might have a handful of picture possiblities for any given theme only to be genuinely surprised to discover that I have, typically, 50-60 picture possibilities. That is, iMo, enough pictures to establish a separate body of work classification.

Not all searches yield up a legitimate body of work. The pictures in today's entry are a case in point. The exhibition call theme was for pictures which illustrate A Color Moment....

A successful color photograph finds color as an essential element. Without color, the impact of the image would be significantly reduced. When used well, color coalesces with the other elements of the image to create an atmosphere, an emotional response, a sense of place. Effective use of color can take your breath away, zing your eyes, grab your heart, and celebrate light.

....My search for such pictures produced some strong contenders but not enough to justify a separate body of work.

Although, one the bodies of work on my WORK section which is scheduled for deletion, The Color of Light, just might be reincarnated-some pictures deleted, some added-as a new body of work entitled, A Color Moment. However, on that body of work page I will retain the quote by Arthur Meyerson who, by coincidence, is also the juror for the A Color Moment exhibition.

fYi, Color Moment #1 was submitted as a bit of an outlier inasmuch as it is not saturated with color but, as stated in the call for entries, it most definitely conforms to the idea that, "Without color, the impact of the image would be significantly reduced".

*a couple of those bodies of work are schedule to disappear and few new ones are scheduled to replace them.
*1.Rist Camp/35 Days, 2.Art Reflects, 3.Single Women, 4.Life Without the APA, 5.Decay, 6.Picture Windows, 7.What Is a Photograph

landscape # 7-11 ~ come what may

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

FYI, considering my last 2 entries, re: my thoughts on landscape picture making, I thought it wise to post a few pictures which most might consider to be "traditional" landscape pictures.

To be clear, I do not avoid making "traditional" style landscape pictures when an opportunity to do so presents itself. However, such pictures are surreptitiously created, never planned or sought out. For that matter, very few of my pictures are deliberately sought out inasmuch as, whenever I am out and about (and even when I'm not), I always have a picture making device at hand and I tend to picture whatever pricks my eye and/or sensibilities. A picture making condition that I refer to as discursive promiscuity.

landscape # 6-9 ~ a sense of place

all pictures ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

In order to understand my current landscape and Adirondack picturing M.O., allow me to mention a few items.

item 1: The Adirondack PARK / region. The Adirondack PARK is defined geographically by the Blue Line. A line drawn - yes, drawn with blue ink - on a NY State map circa 1892. Within the boundaries of that line is an area that is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined. Also within that area there are 102 towns and villages with a year round population of 130,000 residents.

item 2: how item 1 has influenced, in particular, my Adirondack picture making. CAVEAT all of my picture making is primarily influenced by the manner in which I see (literally) the world. I refer to that as my eye and sensibilities (ME&S) (not learned but intuitive). My intuitive (preternatural?) ME&S determines my picture making vision but my brain, influenced by item 1, determines my picture making intent.

My Adirondack picture making intent is to make pictures which convey a sense of place. While most Adirondack picture makers concentrate, to the exclusion of all else, their picturing on the Adirondack natural world, that world is but a part of what makes the Adirondack PARK an interesting place - one might even say an important place in today's world.

Why important? Simply because the Adirondack PARK is a place where, by intent and design, humankind and the natural world co-exist in a harmonious relationship. The intent in the PARK's creation (1892) was to protect the natural environment within the Blue Line. The design of that intent was the so-called FOREVER WILD Amendment added to the NYS Constitution which decreed that all of the public lands* within the Blue Line would be protected as forever wild ... at the time, a very progressive visionary experiment which has proven to be very successful.

All of the above so stated, my Adirondack picturing intent is not to depict the Adirondack PARK as a romanticized virgin landscape free from humankind's existence. Rather it is to depict the Adirondack PARK as it is .... a place where humnankind co-exists with, protects and preserves the natural world in a relationship which benificial to both.

*approximately 50% of the land within the Blue Line is public land although the state does acquire vast tracts private land from time to time and adds it to the public land holdings.

pouporri • civilized ku / ku ~ flogging a dead horse?

Adirondack Guideboat ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

Adirondack Lodge ~ The Hedges / Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

Sunset from Castle Rock ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

Sunrise from Castle Rock ~ Blue Mt. Lake, NY -(embiggenable) • 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera

From time to time I come across something, most often something written, which gets me ruminating on a subject, in this case the medium of photography and its apparatus.

Most recently, while searching for something different, I came across a online piece addressing how to make better landscape / nature pictures. In that piece, the author addressed what he considered to be the shortcomings of the "traditional" landscape / nature picture. In a nutshell, a "successful" traditional landscape picture depends upon the primacy of its referent(s) in order to be considered a beautiful picture. In other words, pictures in which dramatic referents are pictured in dramatic light / atmospherics with saturated color a plus.

Here in the Adirondack PARK (it's actually a forest preserve), there are a handful of picture makers dedicated to making "traditional" landscape/nature pictures. In addition to them, there is a continuing flood of legions of "serious" picture makers coming into the region with the same picture making intent. iMo, they are all engaged in making pictures which, to my eye and sensibilities, are all somewhat minor variations on the the same "standard" landscape/nature picture.

Re: my history, re: landscape/nature picture making - my "serious" Adirondack picture making began circa 1980. All of that picture making was accomplished using and 8x10 Arca Swiss view camera with TYPE L (3200K/long exposure) color negative film*. Since my intent was to create very high quality (technically) prints, the use of an 8x10 view camera was a no-brainer, as was the choice of color negative film.

Aesthetically, my intent was to create pictures which fell into the traditional landscape/nature genre albeit with a slight twist ... I limited most of my picture making to that time of day known in some quaters as entre chein et loup, aka: between the dog and the wolf. A time when the sun has set but some daylight lingers on. My referents could also be considered to be of traditional iconic Adirondack stuff.

Judging by the substantial prints sales of those pictures, I apparently it the sweet spot of Adirondack picturing. However, in 1985, I moved to a place far enough away from my then easy access to the Adirondacks and my Adirondack picture making waned almost entirely.

That situation changed in 2000 when I moved to the Adirondack PARK where I now reside. And, over the intervening years, actually decades, something else had changed. I was no longer interested, flogging a dead horse as it were, in making traditional landscape/nature pictures. That is to write that I was no longer interested in making pictures in which the primacy of the referent(s) was the thing. Rather, I was interested in making pictures in which the visual qualities / characteristics, independent of what was depicted, as they appear on the surface of the 2D print are what defines those pictures that are "beautiful".

Quite simply, that is to write, making pictures which, when the image resides on the surface of a print, a thing in and of itself, is considered to be a beautiful object.

That written, I am re-issuing a series of my "vintage" Adirondack pictures. The reason for that is quite simple ... I have recently discovered that there is still (and most likely always will be) a considerable market for such work. So, why not?

FYI, the 2 Castle Rock pictures above were made one evening and the following morning. I stayed on Castle Rock over night along with the 10,000lbs of picture making gear (or so it seemed on the hike up to Castle Rock) needed to make an 8x10 color negative picture. I had no advance notice of the atmospherics which presented themselves, almost on cue. Strickly a case of f45 and be there.

* low light, small aperture (f45, although it might have been f64) and ASA 100, resulted in shutter speed of 20 minutes. Hence TYPE L color negative film which was developed to compensate for the recoprocity effects of long exposure, Although, a 20 minute exposure was severely pushing the boundary of that compensation.

Landscape # 1 ~ arrrgh!

landscape ~ (embiggenable) • µ4/3

Over the past couple days I have twice attempted to create an entry which defines my current picture making paradigm, re: landscape picture making. Both times, upon completion thereof, my text has disappeared.

So, I am posting this interim entry while I try once again to get it done.

civilized ku # 5307 ~ I don't need no stinkin' menu(s)

a color picture ~ (embiggenable) • iPhone

Over the holidays I had some time to ruminate on a number of items, re: the medium of photography and its apparatus (conventions, not gear). However, to be honest, one item was gear related.

That item-based rumination was instigated by a post, re: some camera or another, on TOP. A comment from a reader about the camera stated that he did not like menu(s) configuration (or words to that effect). That comment sruck me as kinda odd. Although, truth be told, I do find digital camera menus to be rather obtuse.

On the other hand, I could not care less one way or the other due to the fact that I rarely utilise the menu(s) on my cameras. The reason for that is simple ... for 40 years of my picture making life I was in the anologue / film world (there was no other choice). My picture making mechanics were quite simple; set the film speed on my handheld spot meter, take a reading, set the desired aperture and shutter spend on the camera, focus and shoot. Easy peasy.

When I entered the digital picture making domain, I just naturally fell into the same picture making M.O. with the exception of the handheld spot meter thing ... set the ISO (almost aways 200 so it rarely requires setting), take a light reading (center weighted) with the in-camera meter, set the aperture / shutter speed and shoot. Again, easy peasy.

I rarely visit the menu(s) because I always - with a "real" camera - shoot RAW. Color is always set to "NATURAL/NEUTRAL". The viewing screen is always set to square (the camera delivers a full frame file for cropping to square). And, I don't do in-camera effects. So diving into menu(s) is a very rare occurrence (most often to set an auto-bracket setting).

For me,other than the initial set-it-and-forget-it menu setup, menu(s) just are not a part of my normal picture making M.O.. Therefore, I can't ever imagine a situation where menu(s) configuration would be a factor in choosing a camera.