Capturing

2013, Photography
Storm above the Grand Canyon

Storm above the Grand Canyon

A quiet late evening moment near the end of August at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. A storm set in from the west. It is 1994. As a child I dreamed of this place. Whenever my grandparents returned from California in the Seventies and early Eighties, visiting my relatives there, they told about the Grand Canyon. They once visited it, but also saw the Canyon on their return flights from LAX. The scale, the beauty, a sight really special. Or at least that was what I imagined.

I return to 1994 and anxiously we arrive at the North Rim Lodge filled with expactations, facts, and the stories once told. I am overwhelmed. I can’t believe it. I start making photographs at the end of the day. The light is fantastic. The clouds at depth. The views are just breathtaking. I really can’t believe I am here.

On the third day I thought I had seen it all. It is late at night, briefly before midnight and it is full moon. It is still pleasantly warm while we sit on wooden chairs on the patio facing south. The moon completely lights up the canyon accentuating every outline. In fact, the light is so bright that only a view stars can be seen despite the clear sky. Grasshoppers fill in the musical background, adding a new layer to this spectacular sight. The view is unbelievably stunning. Almost too good to be true.

The camera bag rests besides me. With a long exposure, probably 30 seconds with an f/16 aperture, there is so much light I can expose the slide to make it look like a weird day time seen. Can I capture what I feel right now? I get the sense that the sound of the grasshoppers is necessary to actually understand what I see and feel. After some doubting I make up mind.

Even though it was certainly a place worth capturing, the moment was just too special to be captured. The senses being engraved in my memory would ultimately be stronger than every possible attempt to photograph it. I realized it that late night and still believe that now.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

It is not always what it seems

2012, Photography
Not really Siberia

Not really Siberia

Things are not always what it seems. I wrote several times about the Ricoh cameras I used, like the GRD3 and the GX200. From a photographer’s point of view these cameras are made for photographers. Some of the best user interface, the customization, you name it. Now these cameras are hard to acquire in most of the world and even here in the Netherlands you won’t find many stores with these cameras. Most reviews are in favor of these cameras although Ricoh’s cameras do use outdated technology, like the older sensors. Ricoh engineers however push their available technology to the max. I love these cameras, not because they are named after a copier. No, they are meant to use as a tool, a good tool.

Unfortunately though I experienced myself that these cameras comes with flaws. Not immediately, but after a while. I bought a GX100 in 2007, had that camera for a year, but could only use it for 9 months. The other months that camera was at the repair service. Dust in the lens, three times. Its replacement, the GX200, seemed to be a good deal. In the 1.5 years I had that camera I never had a problem with it. Although it performed flawless I never grew into that camera. I didn’t like the output for my B&W photography. I briefly had a GRD1, liked that camera a lot, but the autofocus gave problems at some point. The lens was front focusing, even to the point that snap mode didn’t work anymore. The GRD1 was replaced by the GRD3 I liked so much. While I still consider the GRD3 a perfect photographer’s camera I had several problems with it. The camera once stopped functioning and was replaced by another sample. With that camera, which I still have, the LCD screen was replaced (scratched surface), the lens was replaced (AF problem, misalignment and dust), and now the autofocus isn’t working properly. These current problems remind me of the AF problems I had with the GRD1.

I am noticing that I become hesitating of recommending or personally buying a new Ricoh camera. I guess I have had enough problems in the last five years with my cameras. Enough camera stuff too. The above photograph was taken near my hometown in surprisingly cold weather. The beautiful light, the fog, and the snow gave me a brief moment of joy.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

Gently rolling hills

2012, Photography

Vineyards on some gently rolling hills catch some early morning sun, while modern windmills catch a light breeze to provide energy for a new day just west of one of Germany’s oldest city, Worms in Rheinland-Pfalz. And makes me refocus on my landscape photography, which I slowly started to miss and learned to appreciate again.

Gently rolling hills

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

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