Moving to a new site

Sorry folks, but for several reasons I moved this blog (almost all of it!) to:

Photo Forays

There will be no more updates on this site.

You're welcome to browse all the old post and new ones too at that address! My theme remains teh same: to share the joy of photography, and to whare the doubts of the photographer about ever taking a perfect picture.

In due course, this blog will be shut down.

See you on the other side/site!



Hipstamatic: a toy that needs a different vision

There are just so many apps available for taking pictures on the iPhone that one does not easily know what to choose, althoug a little googling will give you equally lots of lists with peoples' favourites. Hipstamatic is sure to turn up as one of them. So I donwloaded it a whle ago, but I must admit that I have not really often found a good way for using it.

It is a nice toy, but you really have to take a different look at taking pictures. I find that difficult. My vision is more 'traditional', most of the time. I want to take pictures that are sharp (selectively), well-exposed (for the purpose), etc. The creativity is in finding a good perspective, a good compisition--and in knowing what the picture should get across to the viewers.
This Hipstamatic game requires a different type of creativity and vision. It is more about colour, mood, and emotional vehicles to get 'something' across to the viewers. But I guess that it also leaves more freedom to the viewers--requires more involvement of the viewers as well, though: you as a viewer have to think much more about what this picture with these effects says to you. I'm curious to know if this one says anything to you. Reactions are welcome!


Wallpaper Wednesday 2: Lotus flowers

Let's make it a weekly date: Wednesdays will be "Wallpaper Wednesday" from now on. (I may be a bit early this time; in my part of the world it is not yet Wednesday, but I hope you'll forgive that.)

Lotus flowers from a lake in the grounds around Ryoanji temple, in Kyoto.


Beauty is in the photograph, not the gear

"Beauty is in the photograph, not the gear. Lenses matter, but even today’s kit lenses are capable of creating beautiful photographs. ... And if the best thing people say about my work is, “Wow, it sure is sharp,” then I’ve failed and the lens is irrelevant."

Highly quotable statement from David DuChemin in his blog.


It takes a few efforts: Spider lily tamed

A few weeks ago I saw intriguing red flowers by the wayside and took some pictures, but was not very satisfied with the pictures: they were good enough for the memory, but not for a serious photo. This weekend I came across some more and tried again. A simple example of the oft-told lesson about photography: don't let go of a subject until you have caught its essence. I think that this second time, I have tamed these wild flowers--for the moment, anyway.
These flowers are called Spider lilies or Higanbana, and have a practical use to keep pests out of rice paddies as they are supposed to be poisonous. Another story associated with Spider lilies is that because they "usually bloom near cemeteries around the autumnal equinox, they are described in Chinese and Japanese translations of the Lotus Sutra as ominous flowers that grow in [...] Hell [...] and guide the dead into the next reincarnation," says the Wikipedia.

Kodak shares plunge as bankruptcy fears escalate - The Mainichi Daily News

The company that made photography popular looks likely not to survive the demise of analogous photography. Sad for the people, and a 'sign of the times'.

Kodak shares plunge as bankruptcy fears escalate - The Mainichi Daily News


Autumn is coming to Japan

Slowly nature is turning to autumn, here in Japan. Not the time of the vibrant colours yet, but some leaves show that change is coming.

DIY-photos in magazines: authentic or trite?

A weekly had asked its female readers to send in their best pictures of their husband (partner, or whatever politically-correct term you want). Many sent a picture of hubby in bed with a cat. Maybe those were the pictures that made these readers happiest. But if you then make it into a policy of your magazine to use only pictures made by its readers instead of professionally-made photos, will you get 'authentic' content or just trite DIY-pictures?

This discussion I read about in my newspaper got going because a magazine for young parents wants to use only illustrations it gets from its readers. The main argument from the magazine’s editor is that in this way the pictures will be more authentic and ‘de-glamourised’. I can agree with their point, and also with the other point they made, namely that small children are so spontaneous and that parents can capture those moments better in natural situations at home than professional photographers who always intrude into the natural situation.
An old example from my own experience (scanned from an analogous photo): a pro would not have got that relaxed-curious attitude from my daughter.

A professional photographer made the counterargument of triteness, using the anecdote of the hubby & cat pictures. Amateur photographers simply lack the imagination and the vision that a professional photographer brings to the scene.

Looking at (too many of!) my own pictures, I must agree with the counterargument, too: my pictures may be too conventional, not surprising enough. Or just made too lazily, as when I do not want to take the trouble of getting down on my knees to get a better perspective, or when I do not want to set up a tripod to get better sharpness.

And I also agree that getting the imagination and vision is largely a matter of training. But I don’t agree that only professionally-schooled photographers have that training. A lot of advanced amateur photographers have that too. Sometimes my own pictures are not too bad, and I see others’ which are much better, also among my internet friends—no professional would be ashamed of them!
Finally, there is more to photographic vision than training; maybe there is such a thing as talent. I’m thinking, for instance, of my own daughter, who without any training sometimes went out with her simple compact camera and then shot really good pictures. But she too has her share of conventional, boring pictures—a bit more training or experience would help! She has her own DSLR now... Still, here comes a little example of what she made from an inspired day in a museum.