week 26 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project

When you start a project the end seems so far away and many times you might think  (and I sure did) about stopping your project. Especially when it the project will take a while. Therefore I am pretty amazed that I got this far, because I just finished the first six months of my project. Recently I mentioned I was being interviewed by Paul Giguere from Thoughts on Photography. He now published the interview (not too good to hear your own voice and insecurity back).

This week I want to do a small fun post before posting the week 27 photographs. After that I will possibly not be able to respond to comments for a few week, but don’t worry. “I’ll be back”.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 24 | 2011

2011, Photography, weekly project

This last week didn’t come as easy as hoped. Last Tuesday I was privileged to talk with Paul Giguere of ‘Thoughts on Photography‘ on the phone about my Photography a Day project. I believe it is not very common that an ongoing project can be followed like this. In projects like these you sometimes learn that the best photographs of a particular day are not always the best for a project like this with a certain flow and mind state. Normally we want to carefully select our photographs and only share them when we feel a project is finished and complete. Or we select photographs we feel confident about. In this case I had no particular plan except to take at least one photograph a day.

Another two weeks and I am halfway. And honestly, currently I really shouldn’t be worrying how I can keep up this project. The end of the year seems far away, but the first few months went pretty fast though.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

Joined idiocy

2011, Photography

Last Saturday I went with four other photography friends to Amsterdam. It was a meet up with some photographers I know from exchanging mail, blogging, flickr, twitter, or facebook. These kind of meet ups are always very good fun and very meaningful. You learn so much by observing others. It provides a wonderful opportunity to share our joy, fun, knowledge, doubts, to learn each other, and to basically have a good time.

We started at the World Press Photo exhibition in the Oude Kerk which is located in the (in)famous red light district of Amsterdam. As usual many of the photographs at the venue showed many human tragedies. Some intriguing, some horrible. I absolutely believe there is a necessity for this news and documentary photography, but I can understand too that for many it becomes too much. At the exhibit I was fascinated by Tomasz Gudzowaty’s essay about the Mexico’s Car Frenzy.

With the seriousness of the news and documentary photography at the exhibition it becomes apparent for me what a difference all photographers can make. Documenting normal life, with street photography for instance, gives the normality in all it’s facades a place to be appreciated too.

After the exhibition we went to an Irish pub for a drink and on a walkabout through Amsterdam in the afternoon.

Doing this outing was a good break from my ‘Photography a Day project‘. With this project there is a lot of emotional involvement going on and doing it everyday can put a strain on me at times. Getting out and doing something different can provide me the change to reset myself, so I enjoyed every minute with these photographers.

Thank you Arjan Aanraad, Björn Utpott (and Lindsey), Piet Osefius, and Pim Bonten for the extraordinary day.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

week 23 | 2011

2011, Photography, Project, weekly project

I received several questions this week about camera choices and workflow. I try to answer them all, but giving everyone a proper answer isn’t easy though. There are so many things that influence our decisions, and needs and wishes may vary. I try to go through several answers now.

Do you still use your Ricoh GRDIII now you have the Panasonic GF1?” Absolutely, I do use both cameras even do currently I use the GF1 the most. While the GF1 has a much larger sensor it still provides me with some of the more sketchy characteristics I do prefer for my photography. The GF1 is fast, snappy, and is amazing to use with the 20mm lens. The GRDIII is still a pretty amazing camera. Spent yesterday a couple of hours with some great photographers in Amsterdam. Two of them now also use the GRDIII and it is fun to see how they use it for street photography (and they are certainly more accomplished street photographers than I am).

Is the Ricoh GRDIII a good camera to start photography?” While the GRDIII is a lot of fun and not at all complicated to use, I don’t think it is a good camera to start with. A new camera is a lot of money, even more so when you start with photography, but I still think you are better of with a small dSLR and a nice and simple prime lens. Not a zoom, but a prime. Why? The dSLR and the prime lens provides you instant feedback on how aperture influences the depth of field. A second hand Nikon D40 or a new Nikon D3100 for instance has all the basic features a camera need. And the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens is basically the 50mm lens many of us used in the good old film days. With an opening of f/1.8 it is fast enough for even in low light and makes the viewfinder a lot more brighter than the standard kit zoom lens. Eventually you can always decide to go for another camera when you have learned all the basics and more with your dSLR.

Workflow and post processing” There is a ton of information on the net about workflow and post processing. And at some point we all have our preferences. I shoot both raw and B&W jpegs in-camera. I consider the raw images basically my negatives, but use them in less of 10% of my final selections. I am more then happy with the B&W jpegs, both from my GRDIII and from the GF1. There are many discussions on the net about raw versus jpeg. Each and everyone will likely provide your personal opinion or piece of information you need or don’t want to hear. For workflow I use Lightroom for my editing and basic post processing. And Nik Silver Efex Pro in combination with Photoshop for the final finishing touch.

I don’t consider the post processing an additional step in my photography. It is part of what I saw when I took the photograph. Therefore I also prefer the B&W jpegs. It is that, maybe nostalgic, but most certainly definite feeling that I won’t change my initial intention.

I therefore encourage everyone to start experimenting. Find what works for you. What works for me will not give anyone else similar results. Besides are similar results really what you want?

And best of all, meet up with other photographers. Shoot for a day or more, and learn from each other. For instance, yesterday I went to Amsterdam with four other friends and we had an amazing time there (more photographs later). And repeat that again, again, and again.

The photographs of this ongoing project will also be updated here.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma