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Time helps

2013, Photography

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I can drive 80 km/h, look down deep, but it helps to take time. Time to breath, to think, to rest, to continue.

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After my previous post I gave it some extra thoughts how I want to proceed with my blog and what I want to do with the older blog posts. It is certainly tempting to host the blog myself outside the wp dot com environment (thanks Jorge for your thoughts on that subject), but I don’t really have the means (especially the finances) to do so. In the last week I also had several discussions with others on how I want to continue with my blog, and what is happening in the blogosphere. Also I had some good exchanges on photography with fellow photographer Josh White.

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I find it interesting that other bloggers try to figure out what to do with their published stuff. Much gets covered by new posts and images, and what we did gets easily forgotten. I think it is not about rewriting our past, I truly think a blog often echoes a personal diary, but more about restructuring it and make it more easily accessible. Even if I would decide to migrate my blog to a self hosted platform, the restructuring would allow to reduce the number of posts and stored photographs.

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The brief moment of reconsideration in the last week also helped me forward in photographing every day again like I did in 2011. While that may seem clueless at first, I found that particular time after all one of the more liberating periods in my photography. Completely unlimited by gear and techniques (sure they are relevant, but became irrelevant through experience and knowledge at some time) only restricted by my personal feelings. I mean, after 72 weeks consecutively photographing I couldn’t remember taking photographs until I reviewed them later on. At that time, last year, it was a shocking experience. The results however have become quite unique documents to me after struggling with that shocking feeling for some time.

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In essence, that is for me my stroll photography. My first photo book, Saudade, was about reliving that. I want to work on a similar book for next year though. Some of my blog posts will turn in one form or another into that new book. I’m pretty excited to work on that and it really fits with how I described my feelings in my previous post.

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Don’t forget your work, let it breave and remember that time helps. Time and looking back, helps appreciating the road forward.

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All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Almost

2013, Photography

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I almost pressed the publish button for a provocative blog post. I almost thought about quitting my blog and to start all over again. I almost…….. Well almost.

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I do think we, photographers, worry too much about the wrong things. We try find solutions the easy way, but often realizing later on that these were all just distractions. Honestly, when I stop with photography now I will be forgotten in a heart beat. I just try to photograph for myself. And I hope you’ll do so too.

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I really appreciate you all visiting my blog and viewing my photography. Current mediums all seem to be about easy consumption of blog posts and photographs. We tend to forget the past easily, both readers and creators. This blog now has over 500 published blog posts. There is a lot of unread stuff here. Therefore I am thinking about rewriting and reorganizing some older blog posts so they become more interesting to read again.

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All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

There is nothing in the fridge

2013, Photography

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“There is so much in the fridge, but I don’t know what to eat.”

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There are so many interesting subjects to photograph, but they currently don’t inspire me. I wanted to refuel it with a new photo a day project, but felt unhappy and unconvinced with the first results. I am not there, yet. I do know that the sun rises later and sets earlier. The heath is purple and leaves gradually colorize again. The breeze from the sea already challenges the summer heat and the nights get colder. These changes normally bring back the inspiration. The strolling days are returning.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

Longing, dreaming and desires

2013, Photography

There is the present, the past, and the future. The glue for me to that is longing, dreaming, desire, and even wishful thinking.

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Longing away

I long for taking more photographs. I desire to be making better photographs. And since today I dream of that new Ricoh GR. Or maybe it all is just wishful thinking. I don’t know. What I do know is that I need to give a big cheer to Don Springer and Olivier Duong for their new e-magazine ‘Insprired Eye‘. Really check this out and make sure to subscribe. For $20 you can help them forward and make it your photography magazine too.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Desire

2011, Photography

Those who knows Steve Huff’s blog do also know that he has several contributors that supply a wide range of articles from inspirational posts to technical stuff. Not too long ago someone (Randall Kelley) posted an article titled “A Better Camera“.

Olympus C4000z

He tries to get in length why he disagrees with the statement that a better camera doesn’t make you a better photographer. And he tries to mention two points why he thinks a better camera makes you a better photographer. The first reason for him is that a camera and lens that produces radically improved images will show your errors much more distinctly. And with the second reason he basically implies that the statement “A better camera won’t make you a better photographer” is either meant to talk only about your talent and perhaps to make you feel a bit better about not being able to swing to “high end” equipment. He says that good equipment, and especially equipment that pushes you to make more of your own decisions, will improve your results if you are willing to learn and if you persist.

To me he connects the abstractions better camera and personal improvement in a very linear fashion. Like those who are skillful will become more skillful with better equipment. But to me this remark leaves no room for creativity. I think an artist knows very well what to use how to create that what he or she envisioned. Will a photograph contain more details than a sketch? Of course it will, but then it won’t be a sketch anymore. Execution is not only the tools being used, but also the intention of the artist. The Victory Boogie Woogie painting by Mondriaan could well be done with very expensive tools, but that wouldn’t be so obvious since his intentions where different, while it would be very obvious that Rembrandt used excellent tools for the “Nachtwacht“.

Olympus C4000z

Yes, a camera that performs better at high ISO’s and fast lenses will likely decrease the chance of motion blur and camera shake, but what if you intentionally want motion blur in your images? Then you as a photographer should know how to get it.Even with a cheap camera you know when you caused the problem or your camera. A high quality lens will for sure resolve more details and lead to sharper images, but that all doesn’t make a lot sense when you intent to make sketchy images. Moriyamo Daido as an example purposely uses small compact cameras to shoot free and unrestricted to realize his vision and says that a larger camera will makes his photography more deliberate.

If you know how to push your self and how to make your own decisions your equipment will only form a small fraction of your decision making, I strongly believe so. In his article he says: “It’s like getting a new prescription for eyeglasses after years with a bad one. You can really notice things you missed. And IF you choose to take that to heart and start looking, you will observe better. Photography is a lot like acting, in that a good observer picks up detail to add to their work that is missing in someone who is not as observant.” To become a better observer I believe it is better to understand more about your subject. Studying helps you understand what detail(s) to depict or to ignore. No better lenses or camera will help you with that.

Canon Powerhot A70

As he mentions that the statement “A better camera won’t make you a better photographer” is partly there to probably justify the fact that you can’t buy a more high end camera, I think his reaction and article is just there to justify such expensive purchases. Lets honestly face it. Are there for an amateur photographer proper rational reasons why you want to buy a high end (read professional) camera? I can’t come up with no other reason than desire. Do we need the reliability a professional needs from his equipment? Do we need the sturdiness of our gear? Do we need all the bells and whistles? Likely not. We don’t shoot in war zones or at marriages everyday. We don’t have customers expecting the best from us whenever needed. If you are a competent photographer you are also aware of the shortcomings of your equipment and know how to deal with it. That is part of the craft.

Sometimes our choices have more to do with our desire to be an accomplished, respected, and preferably, professional photographer. We think we are taken more serious when we have a Canon 1D or Nikon D3s around our necks. Other photographers might think you are exceptionally good when you have a Leica M9 in your hand. It feels different and great to have great tools. We want great tools even though we know we can do it too with less. I used to windsurf when I was younger and thought it was fascinating to have a board and rig that was also used professionally. Did it make me a better windsurfer. Honestly not, but it sure was fun to feel like a better windsurfer. It looked good and people knew my stuff was good. And that is it to me. Pure emotion. If you think you need all the quality to make crops of your photographs (like he shows in his article) you might instead have better bought a longer tele lens instead. Or from an even more photographic standpoint of view: “You were not close enough.” I think there are hardly any rational aspects to choose a specific camera or lens, only emotions. So maybe I belong to the group that disagrees with his assessment, because I can’t afford a high end camera. And yes, I would love to have a Leica M9 or even a M8 would be fine. But I know I can work on my photography too with a micro fourthird camera or my GRD3.

Olympus C4000z

But if you really want to become a good photographer I stick to my words: “Practice, practice, practice!” And the good thing is that you can practice too with a cheap camera. Do you want to have the desire to have a better camera or to become real better photographer?

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma