Structure in chaos

2013, Photography

The comments from my previous post were overwhelming, but also gave me new energy. I wrote that I would be photographing again each and every day, like in a photograph a day project. Unlike in my former photograph a day project I have decied to do my editing of photographs a bit differently. The essence for me is that I take photographs daily, but have no intention of selecting one photograph a day. Sometimes I might select 10 photographs while another week it might as well be one photograph.

Focus

Focus

Emptiness

Emptiness

Light in darkness

Light in darkness

Directions

Directions

Constructing

Constructing

Pause

Pause

Direction

Direction

Paradise

Paradise

Heading

Heading

Making photographs helped me a lot this week. Many of the ingredients of a pleasant composition helped me structure this week’s chaos.

Photograph by Wouter Brandsma

Rehearsel of steps

2012, Photography
Upside down

Upside down

Each year we basically rehearse our steps. While it makes sense looking forward it can make sense too to look backwards as well. To get a better understanding of what you did and what happened. A year ago I deleted my facebook account after privacy concerns, a couple of days ago I removed my Instagram account. As a result I decided to not delete my flickr account which I intended to do earlier this year. Now we can only wait for the next controversy I guess.

Rainy steps

Rainy steps

I won’t be posting any “best of” lists at the end of 2012. The archive is my list. I had my doubts about continuing my blog, but I stick to this platform. It is my outlet. For 2013 I am thinking about some layout changes including a larger font for better reading. I will keep up the larger size for my photographs too. Additionally I want to overhaul my project site completely and go for larger photographs and just a better experience. If anyone has a suggestion for a good platform (preferably low to free cost) keep me informed in the comment section.

When I write this the Pacific already enters 2013. Take care and I see you in 2013.

All photographs 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

New means

2012, Photography

Schoonenberg

I am currently trying VSCO film presets in Lightroom for my post processing. I won’t go, yet, into deep about these presets, but I want to delve a bit more into Lightroom.  I like Lightroom for both organizing my photographs and post processing these. It works really well with some good plug-ins like Silver Efex Pro and Exposure 3. I like it how you can search presets on the internet or create your own, but what I miss is combining these presets. I have a color preset that those more than only white balance and so. If you use another preset most of the previous made adjustments will be gone again. I now overcome this by applying my own color preset on an image, tell Lightroom to edit it in a plug-in like Silver Efex Pro. After this command a tiff file will be generated that is treated with the previous preset. When the external plug-in is launched, which opens this tiff file, I cancel it. I return to this tiff file in Lightroom and then apply another preset. In case of these VSCO film presets I currently like the Fuji 800Z preset with some additional cool high lightning.

Vertical silhouettes

I believe photography is a way of communicating. You don’t need to be a professional to do so. Current technology provides means for the masses to interact with each other and to share their photographs among a broad range of people world wide. While this have let to an enormous increase of images, and some would say an increase in mediocrity, I still believe this democratizing movement can only be a positive thing. Nowadays we can share our photography for free online, we can create our own photobooks and share these without the need of a publisher. We have become the publisher. And best of all, only we determine how far we go. Especially those photographers, the amateurs and the hobbyists, not restricted by commercial requirements can act freely.

One size fits all?

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Contrast

2009, Photography

I am pretty much finishing my last photographs from the visit to the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam where I had to the change to try several cameras (again Björn, many thanks). These last photographs were all taken with the Panasonic GH1 which I now consider a pretty impressive camera. And this camera could be really nice with the new Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens.

The most important reason why I wanted to finish this, is because the Ricoh GRDIII test sample has arrived. No photographs yet, but my first impressions are very positive. The finish is superb and the camera feels great in the hand, also as a result of the magnesium body (just like my Ricoh GR1). And this camera is quiet. What an incredible performance when I compare it with my Ricoh GX200. The finish, the lens, the customizing, I do understand why there is a huge demand for this camera in Japan.

NDSM Wharf Amsterdam by Wouter Brandsma

NDSM Wharf Amsterdam by Wouter Brandsma

NDSM Wharf Amsterdam by Wouter Brandsma

NDSM Wharf Amsterdam by Wouter Brandsma

NDSM Wharf Amsterdam by Wouter Brandsma

NDSM Wharf Amsterdam by Wouter Brandsma

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma