photography

Something Of A Legend

Best Ones Ride for Free

Thomas Fitzgerald on shooting with classic gear, like his old Canon 5D:

Coupled with a 50mm lens, it’s a great option for street shooting. It feels like shooting with a film camera in some respects. I’ve grown quite fond of mine again recently, and I’ve been shooting with it more and more lately.

“Like shooting with a film camera” – I get that, too, especially because all it does it shoot straight-up stills.


The Grind

Above All, Plant Reason

The Grind isn’t the photographs.

The Grind is the selecting your location, choosing which equipment to bring, selecting a film stock, lining up subjects, finding an open slot in your schedule, making time to send/respond to emails, editing the photos when you’re finished with the shoot, picking your favorite picture to present to the world, sending a select few to the subject, backing up your Lightroom library…

But that’s what “photography” means – it’s the photographs, and it’s the Grind to get them made.

Lately, it’s the Grind that has me feeling overwhelmed. If I can pick away at it, bit by bit, I do okay. Otherwise, I feel like I’m swimming in “photography.”

Better learn to love the Grind if you really want to accomplish that project.


Call A Plan A Guess

Pulaski, Michigan

Pulaski, Michigan

Jason Fried at Signal vs. Noise:

Busting your ass planning something important? Feel like you can’t proceed until you have a bulletproof plan in place? Replace “plan” with “guess” and take it easy. That’s all plans really are anyway: guesses.

As my old boss used to say, plan the work and work the plan.

But I take the same approach to planning as I do for traveling: set up the ground rules and structure, and then let real life interject – as it always does.


Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35

If constraints help to fuel creativity, then consider the Olympus Trip 35 film camera my new constraint.

I picked up my copy on eBay from Light Burn Photo’s store last year – a great selection of re-skinned film cameras. The brown leather wrap is right up my alley.

Get this: You have four focusing zones. Close, near, far, and very far. That’s it. You have 1-6 meters to focus, or infinity.

And you can set the aperture, but the camera only has two shutter speeds: 1/200 and 1/40. The ISO dial goes from 25-400. Talk about constraints.

The results are pretty great, though, from what I’ve seen. I loaded a roll of Lomography 400 color film and picked away at it since the fall.

One niggle: the zone focusing is tricky to master. Quite a few of my shots had the wrong zone picked. I almost prefer full manual focus to this system.

It’s super small and light, and almost fully automatic, meaning I can take it anywhere and shoot. And boy, have I.

(Side note: film photography is saving my butt lately. It’s the one experiment that I can mess around with when I feel like it and not feel any pressure to post recent photos. It’s no-pressure photography, and I’m really digging it.)


A Kick In the Butt

What's True Is A Life

I’ll admit that getting going with new creative projects has been a challenge lately. With the move, and the new baby, it’s been hard to think and plan about doing a big new thing.

“Inspiration,” as most people understand it, doesn’t help. I don’t need to look at other photo projects, or read quotes from famous artists. None of that will help me take a step forward. It’s not how I’m wired. Inspiration, for me, is just a bunch of ideas.

But this morning, on the drive into work, I felt a spark as I was listening to Bill and Jeffery on On Taking Pictures. It wasn’t anything concrete, or the subject matter, or even their mood. I think it was just listening to two people talk about art and creativity that made me feel better about my situation. That little creative fire inside me that’s been so weak the past few months got a little brighter. I can’t explain exactly how it lit back up, but I guess it doesn’t matter.

What I need is a kick in the butt from time to time, not inspiration.