Re-start

2010, Photography

I am not directly saying that I left my inspiration bumb behind, but I am getting new ideas though for my photography. I have been reconsidering some of the directions my photography took. Some feel good, like my photography with the dSLR. The usage of longer focal lengths. I will continue to work more on isolation in combination to what I feel do best, landscape photography. I really miss it, the calmness I experience when I am out in the great outdoors. The search for great isolated subjects.

I will be focusing less on street photography and more on portraits and still life. Street is fun and I enjoyed it, but mostly to step out of my comfort zone. I do feel that the progress wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be, but I have to be realistic. I don’t live in a big city. My hometown is a sleeping suburb and I just don’t have enough time to pay more visits to larger cities. I read somewhere the suggestion to lock yourself up in a room in your house and only leave it after you take 50 photographs inside that room. I like that suggestion and will try that more often.

When it comes to gear I keep on using the Ricoh GRD1 as a sketch book, but want to use my dSLR more extensively. In fact, I really want to go full frame and will try to get myself a Canon 5D this year to use with my Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 lens. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

To more easily find some of my articles I am slowly changing some of the lay-out of my blog within the limits/restrictions of WordPress.com. As a starter I added a new page called Impressions with a list of cameras I wrote about. The list of camera impressions will be extended soon.

And a final note, at RedBubble I have some prints for sale and will add more photographs this year to see how that works.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Planning and considering

2010, Photography


A new year has started, everyone my best wishes and the best of light for 2010. And the beginning of a new year is for me a good time to make some plans for the upcoming year. This year I really want to finish my first photo book, hopefully January or February (March). Secondly, I might want to join a local photography club to meet other photographers, sharing ideas and learning new stuff. Related to learning new stuff, I want to go old school again. I am seriously thinking about going to do film again and even thinking of developing it myself.

Why? I want to fully understand the differences of the different medium and become more thoughtful about my photography again. Nowadays many people are proud of taking more than 10,000 photographs a year, while Robert Capa for instance took something like 50,000 photographs in his entire career (which lasted 22 years). I know that learning to become a better photographer is all about practice, practice, but large quantities doesn’t necessarily improve the quality either. Thoughtfulness might be emphasize.

I not only want to use film with my Ricoh GR1, but also with some of my older cameras. These cameras are all about simplicity. No matrix or multi-pattern metering, but just good old center weighted. In fact, the sunny f/16 rule will often be enough too. Just ISO 400 B&W and nothing else. No screen for confirmation, no face detection, nothing of all the fancy stuff.

When I got my Ricoh GR1 in 1996 it was all about simplicity. Aperture mode, EV compensation when needed and that is it. The current line up of the Ricoh GR cameras are still great, but they have turned them into very specialist tools. It kind of looses the magic of the original GR1 for me. And yes, I liked using the Ricoh GXR, but while trying that camera I realized it has all become to advanced. It can manual focus, but trying to do without a focus limiter is a pain in the ass. Zone focusing can be done, but just isn’t as reliable I think with a lens that has a focus-by-wire system. When I focus my older legacy lenses for the 10D at 3 meters I know it will be 3 meters. So I can only hope some manufacturer understands that wish for simplicity without the price of a Leica M9. A simple Nikon FM with a full frame sensor would do the trick for me.

Joining a local photography club will also mean more printing again, which is I think a good thing too. Holding the print in the hand is still so much better. And joining a club will probably also force me to do more project-minded photography. I think you don’t need to travel to take the best photographs. Photographs are everywhere and projects will probably make me realize that even more.

So again best wishes for 2010 and many photography opportunities for all of you. And that everything might become more photography related instead of more feature packed stuff. And to put up the heat even more, all these photographs are just extracted jpegs from the RAW images and edited in Nik Silver Efex Pro. I kind of like the texture of these jpegs.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Post Christmas

2009, Photography


I haven’t been busy taking photographs after Christmas, but I did find some time and enthusiasm to actually continue on my book project. I really want to finish this book, but doing so is pretty difficult. First making a selection of photographs, the book lay-out and preparing the photographs for the book.


I decided to create my book with the Blurb services. The BookSmart software is pretty simple to use, but you can also use Photoshop or DTP apps like Quark or InDesign. And preparing the photographs for the book is something I find quite difficult. I found out that Blurb uses HP Indigo printers and there is a HP Indigo 5000 ICC profile available somewhere else to do the soft proofing.


I have had good experience with printing large formats at a Dutch printing facility and they cope B&W prints very well. But printing a large book is something different and it is funny how little control you have over the entire process. So I will first do a small square book to see how different versions of some photographs look like. Unfortunately it is a quite slow process with lots of uncertainties.

So, if people have some experience with Blurb, please let me know. I am in particular interested in the B&W printing and how people did their soft proofing.

The only proper chances of photography have been the last two days. Yesterday at an industrial park and today when the kids where playing tennis. After all the Ricoh GXR stuff it was good to be back to the Canon 10D with the older Tokina 28mm and the M42 Pentor 35mm lens.

And last night I stumbled upon an article by the (in)famous Rockwell, which strongly reminded me of one of my posts in January of this year. The wish for a simple camera and less choices to focus more on our photographs.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma