First outinGR..

2013, Photography
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Old skool

There is obviously so much that crosses my mind after a day of photographing with the new Ricoh GR, but I also feel it is way to soon to just write some first impressions down. I know some have no problems jumping to conclusions after a couple of hours using a camera. I however want to learn to master it. I should say though that after a brief moment it felt very comfortable.

It feels easier to hold than the GXR, the grip is reassuring and the finish of the camera is like expected. The little bit of extra weight is much appreciated. The menu though….. A typical Ricoh menu, organized, well structured, but you do almost need an IT background to understand all the firmware features. I’d better figure it out now and just set up the camera once and for all.

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New skool

I always try to set up my cameras to keep the shooting process simple. A concept I always appreciated when I bought my GR1 briefly after it was launched in 1996. All the options of the Ricoh GR can, at first, be very overwhelming. If you already have a GRD predecessor I suggest to set up your GR similarly. Best for me though, was to get out with the camera as soon as possible.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

The new….

2013, Photography
photobooth, photo, booth, stroll, stroll photography, wouter brandsma, walking, walk, ricoh grd, ricoh grdigital, ricoh grd3, ricoh gr digital 3, ricoh grdiii, ricoh gr, photography, grd, grd3, snapshots, grd snapshot, ricoh grd photography, black and white, strolling, photo booth, gr

Photo booth

I know, it is just a tool. And no, the eye is you and definitely not the camera. It is all within you. Yet, the new Ricoh GR gets me pretty excited. It looks like a worthy follow up for the previous generations of the GR Digital. Check here (English) or here (German) for more info. More to come soon….

images, photographs, stroll photography, wouter brandsma, ricoh grd, ricoh grdigital, ricoh grd3, ricoh gr digital 3, ricoh grdiii, ricoh gr, photography, grd, grd3, snapshots, grd snapshot, ricoh grd photography, black and white, strolling, family, brandsma, Family matters

Family matters

Don’t let the tool become the main object of your photography though. Vision is not about what camera you use, but something within you and worth to find.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

No gear, yet Photokina

2012, Photography


I mentioned previously that I would be going to Photokina in Cologne. Not too long I ago they asked me, and some other photographers, to participate on a project for the Pentax Ricoh booth at the fair. They wanted to create large photobooks and arrange an exhibition.

On September 18 they invited us to come to Cologne and see the exhibition and photobooks for ourselves. On the booth they had a very large photobook with, I presume, A2 prints inside. Additionally they made A3 sized photobooks that focused on several of the cameras in the product line of Pentax Ricoh. My photographs where printed in a book where the participating photographers used the Ricoh GRD, GXR and the Pentax Q.

What I liked best was meeting the other photographers and the organizers from Pentax Ricoh and the design agency.

And what about the rest of Photokina? Of course a lot of cameras, but I couldn’t care less about that. It is very crowded and you see people trying cameras, basically pressing some buttons and checking the menus. Asking questions is even funnier, because there is always some young girl or boy friendly smiling you and just rambling some feature set.  It was a place I felt quite alienated and I was glad that at several places there was some good photographs at display. In particular the Leica gallery with the work of Elliott Erwitt, Jacob Aue Sobol, Danny Wilcox Frazier, Steve McCurry, and Nick Ut (the Napalm Girl photograph) was special.

At the fair I had a chance to meet up with Sean Reid from Reid Reviews. And best was talking with Fabian Kruse at a café near the Cologne Central Station briefly before going home again.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

Cumbersome indeed and a bit of everything

2012, Image editing, Photography

It took me a while to think of a new blog post again (I don’t feel a pressure to regular post new stuff though) and that has partly come because I currently hardly photograph. I guess, more than expected, I needed a break from photography. Much of my work in the past year dealt with converting my moods into imagery, sometimes consciously, but often subconsciously. A friend recently showed some concept of his new photography blog and that excited me. And made me realize too that much of the stuff I did was not always about happiness and joy. Mood? Yes. Honesty? I tried. I think what I miss is something to desire, a mood, a feeling, something pretty and pleasant. More than ever before I look forward to this upcoming Summer.

Since December 2007 I run my own photography blog and shared my photographs online. I don’t do it to become popular, well known, or to start up a business. sharing makes perfect sense for me in photography, the people I met ever since were worth all the effort. And yes, I had my worries of image theft or people sharing my work without mentioning. But I lightened up on this issue which I mention clearly in my About page. A couple of days ago I was shocked when I received an e-mail where someone claimed the two photographs in the previous post, Almost Human, were actually his. First of that claim was just ridiculous. I know these photographs are mine, I took them, I processed them, I know where and when I took them, which camera I used, and I know who where with me. I told it to my wife and she was flabbergasted (she was with me on both occasions). The claim is stupid, but with current internet legislation I feel the content makers are very vulnerable.

E-mail with the insinuation

Then I more closely inspected that mail and I noticed that the person, not leaving behind additional contact information, attempted to redirect me through a strange link to my blog post. This felt untrustworthy. The strange link and, I presume, the false identity. I immediately changed my password for my blog content management system and I contacted wordpress.com. It felt like an attempt to hack either my blog or something else. Again it emphasizes the vulnerability of our online presence and the evilness some people unfortunately have within them. Yet it pisses me off, you know. These punks should get a life, go to school, do something meaningful with their lives and for our society, and they should tell their mothers what a jerks they are. I thought the best response trying to forget this was to write a new blog post. It is my blog, and these are my photographs, my musings.

Since November last year I made no effort writing about gear. You see, I believe a camera is just a tool. There are probably lots of reasons why you decided to use a specific camera (I know I have), but I feel no need to defend this. An important reason why I stay away from forums, because too often people troll to give great significance to their reasoning and bash anything else. Just stupid. But I prefer certain tools and I know many visitors on my blog come here for this fact too. As much as I hope it would be for my photography alone I realize it matters others what gear I use and what can be done with certain cameras (and lenses).

Well that said, my preferred cameras are the Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm pancake lens and a Ricoh GR Digital 3. While I really like the GF1, it does feel like a replaceable camera to me. The Ricoh however is more than that. If I replace this camera, it would only be with a new GR Digital model. Since end 1996 I replaced my SLR for a Ricoh GR1 and I was really glad to get a digital replacement in 2009. No other camera forced me to work so consciously with a minimal set up. Just a 28mm prime lens and that is it.

The current version, the GRD4, still uses the same sensor that was introduced with the GRD3. Sony stopped producing this sensor and that makes me wonder what Ricoh should do for next year. Ricoh acquired Pentax last year, but yet haven’t decided or at least announced proper plans for their full camera line up. I think their current line up has a few noticeable and distinctive cameras like the Pentax 645D, the K-5, and the Ricoh GRD4. The K-5 has one of the best APS-C sized sensors and is a really good camera. The GRD4 is a true cult camera and loved and faved by many photographers, especially in Asia. The sensor however is outdated and the competition is getting better and better. Now Sony introduced the RX100 with a new 1 inch sensor and I really believe this is the sensor that Ricoh should incorporate in the new GR Digital 5 next year. It is a huge step beyond the small sensors used until now. Greater dynamic range and better high ISO performance. And while the current GRD is well developed in it’s current form, I believe it makes sense to get the GRD form factor closer to the original GR1 series with a viewfinder.

And returning back to the Pentax Ricoh camera line up I think their problem is in the mirrorless cameras, the Pentax K-01 and the Ricoh GXR series. While both are unique and use interesting technologies, I believe these cameras are commercially speaking not really successful. The K-01 lacks the option to use an electronic viewfinder and looks rather ought. And when it comes to the GXR I personally feel only the M-mount module is really worth all the effort. And innovating technology alone doesn’t necessarily make a camera system commercially interesting.

Enough cameras though. Recently I started using the previous year released Lightroom VSCO film presets by Visual Supply Co for my own processing. One of the most well known photographers who contributed his knowledge to these presets is American wedding photographer Sean Flanigan with his distinctive style. Both his shooting and posing techniques with tilt and shift lenses became fashionable in the wedding photography industry. Soon after that his processing style popped up all over the place. With the release of these presets it is now even easier to achieve this look. Honestly, I think this look is now overdone in the wedding photography, but still I find these presets very intriguing. In my opinion these are the first development presets for Lightroom that can generate continuity and consistency in the post processing on multiple photographs. Soon I will publish my impressions on these presets and how I try to use these for my photography.

I hope all is well to you and good light!

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma