Gear and workflow

2017, gear, Photography, thoughts

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

I wrote before that I try to keep away from writing extensively about gear and workflow. Currently I only use my iPhone to make photographs. It is simple, allows me to make photographs without thinking about technical stuff, and made my editing process a lot easier. I do post process my photographs in VSCO, and sometimes Snapseed. I use airdrop to transfer my images to my Mac.

It is getting darker though, so I might be using my older Ricoh GR again. It is a lot better in low light. I’m hesitant though since I need cables or a card reader again. The old GR has no WiFi and these cards are pretty expensive.

Speaking of cameras, I wrote about the GR a long time ago (read it here). While it seemed logical that Ricoh used a larger sensor I rather preferred a smaller sensor in that camera. It would have kept true to the small sensor look. Maybe a camera with a 1″-sensor would have been an interesting consensus for me.

I’m also reconsidering my workflow. I depend on Lightroom for most of my editing and processing with a bit of Photoshop. I just wonder if I like to keep it that way or move to different applications. I hardly use the import module and Lightroom doesn’t automatically sync newly added photographs in one or more folders to its catalogue. The non-destructiveness of the images sure is a nice thing, but you lose these edits outside the Adobe workflow. I find that a risk.

So last week I experimented with Affinity Photo for instance. I converted some Lightroom presets to look up tables (LUTs) and could use these with ease in Affinity Photo. For how I use Photoshop it could be a good replacement.

I also tried ACDSee in a beta version. Although not everything works it is still a nice application and looks very promising for a beta. I kind of like it that I can use ACDSee as a very advanced finder app with digital asset management tool without the database features. Another option might be Luminar by Macphun. Luminar will even get LUT support later this year.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

OMG A gear blog post

2017, gear, Photography

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

I have a love and hate relation with cameras. Some are just great, others just pieces of crap. Older film cameras were build to last, although I sometimes wished some broke down so I had a good reason to replace them. My Ricoh GR1 was great, simple, light. I could use it with one hand and just loved it. I still have that camera, but stopped using it. Film is just simply not an option for me anymore.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

When I finally decided to go for a digital camera I bought an Olympus. It was a decent camera, something with a four digit number. At some point the lens got stuck and the camera never worked again. Then I got myself a Ricoh point and shoot. It reminded me of my GR1. Had that camera only a year. Some dust issues kept coming back and Ricoh replaced it with a follow up. Hated the sensor of that replacement. Swapped my Ricoh for a GRD instead. Awesome camera, not that well built, and eventually the AF and snap focus played tricks with me.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Again Ricoh replaced that camera and I got a GRD3. It was reasonably constructed, still light, easy to handle. So the lens got misaligned, the AF went bogus. Ricoh kindly replaced it for another camera. Had that one some six months and then the same problems occurred. Got another GRD3. I still have that one, but the AF and snap focus is not perfect either. The thumb grip on the back came off, the front grip is slowly coming of too. I think I gaffer tape it so I can keep using it while it lasts.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

I got myself a Panasonic GF1 a couple of years ago with that illusive 20mm lens. Fine camera, a bit plastic results, and a loud shutter. I might be using it more though. Got a Canon dSLR from a friend, still thankful for that. which still works. The camera is almost 14 years old now and I don’t use it anymore. Tried a Pentax K3, too big for me and that is that. Used a friend’s Leica M8, loved that camera. Besides my experience with my compact cameras and my iPhone the best camera experience I had. Still dream of owning a Leica someday. Got a Pentax Q which is small. I mean small. Don’t use it anymore, although I wished to came with a proper prime wide angle lens. It wasn’t bad either.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

I sometimes use a friend’s X100 (Fuji cough). Nice camera, but I keep doing something wrong with that camera. Everytime I put this camera in my bag I accidentally switch it on. I just hate the on and off dial. It drains batteries and by the time I want to use it, the battery is almost dead. It also doesn’t like my SD cards. I should be using newer SD cards, they’re cheap, but my cards are OK for me. They’re almost nine years old, 2Gb in size, and they still work.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

Eventually I got a Ricoh GR. In fact I became a Ricoh ambassador too. Don’t expect cool outtakes like the Fuji guys receive. I guess Ricoh knows their customers. Never asked me anything. Don’t mind too, I stopped asking questions too. I still have and use this GR. Last year there was a follow up, but I really don’t care about that. I had dust on the sensor of my GR. Was apparently not the only one. Many had their problems too. Received concerned questions from other photographers, but I dunno how to help them. The dust on my camera eventually was gone, though I don’t know how.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

The thing is, this GR ain’t a perfect camera. I think this camera wasn’t ment to last long. When I use this camera I forget about that though. It works, I can operate it with one hand and it is just so much to use. It is a tool. Unlike my Philly friend I don’t name my cameras. I don’t play nice with it. I just keep it in a pocket, don’t protect it when it rains. If it brakes down I might eventually get myself another GR. I don’t want to have a camera with knobs reminding me of some retro style with features that might as well be hidden in a camera menu. And if it brakes and I’m not able to replace it I’ll keep using my iPhone instead. That works for me too.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

I wrote it before, but I think smartphones have come a long way. And so often I find it adequate for my purpose. It is absolute simplicity and surprisingly fast. Especially when I compare it with my GRD3. And I like it that I can edit and post process on my phone whenever I have time available. Keeps me away from my notebook.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Fuji X100

I don’t get myself a camera to do the things I might want to do. I just use it for what I need. Sure I can be a more competent and complete photographer, but I just don’t care. Flash, I don’t bother with it. Tele lenses, not my cup of tea. In the end, it should be about the photographs and my photography. Ain’t it? Instead I want to do more with print again. Maybe a small book, a zine, or small packages with a couple of prints. Because I feel granted for the things I can do and the moments I see and feel. I don’t know if I’m anything special. I don’t think I lead a special life, but I think that what I do matters. Like your life matters too. So many thanks for that. I go through my moods and I don’t believe I’m the only one. I try to be grateful for what I can do instead of being disappointed for what I couldn’t do. Therefore I’m thankful that I have a camera. A camera that helps me to better understand what I’m doing and what is happening around me.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Change photography, change camera

2009, Photography

Recently I have frequently adressed my issues with purchasing new cameras and how I think about improving photographic skills. I have raised my concerns that changing cameras (and in particular for those who do so very often) might not at all improve their photography. Adopting a new camera takes time too.
Thoughts by Wouter Brandsma
But there is another thing with changing cameras. It will change your photography, whether you like it or not. If you did portraits with a MF camera, your photographs won’t be the same when you pick up a dSLR. The format (1:1, 6:7, 3:2, 4:3, etc.), size of film or sensor, different lenses, experience, all add up to that.

It used to be simple in the past. You were glad to have the money for one camera. You hoped the camera would last as long as possible (and they often did), and replacing the camera was only done when necessary. But now, people have more money to spent and they are trying more gear. Getting Canon gear and later replacing it with Nikon or whatever. Some replace their cameras now every year. Every camera has something distinctive and it will influence your photography.

When the loan DP1 arrived earlier this year I had a very good creative moment with the GX200. I tried to use the DP1 in the same way, but it was a very different camera. I had to change pace, find the flow again, and it affected my creativity.
Thoughts by Wouter Brandsma
Earlier this year I had some interest in a dSLR with a prime lens. When the DP1 came in the spring I kind of lost that interest for a while, but I have currently a new interest again. But the requirements are tough. The camera still needs to be small, I want to use a prime lens, and it should have a viewfinder. Autofocus is no priority, but the price should be low and the camera should still be rugid. Therefore I will try to work now with different focal lengths on my Ricoh. Instead of 35mm I will try something like 40 and 50mm lens.

A different camera often means different lenses too. It will change your entire view. So I need to be ready for it to make such a transistion a success. I often think it is much better to stick to your current camera. Make it work for you, grow into it, and explore your current creativity with the camera you have. And only switch or add another camera when you are really up to it.
Thoughts by Wouter Brandsma
Probably the most important criteria to change a camera, is because you want to make different photographs. I believe when you take photography serious you don’t need to replace cameras. I like it when a camera blends in with my photography. In fact you hardly realize how the camera looks like, it all feels natural.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma