It’s trite, I know

I had been thinking about doing this post to the point where I’d selected almost all the photos for it. There was some hesitancy because it’s such a “year end” thing to do and I find those rather annoying for the most part. Further to that I started seeing other people doing the same thing. Oh boy, it’s the legendary “Obligatory Marble Shot” situation all over again. Nevertheless and despite my own reservations I went ahead and constructed the post on December 17. Will it get published? Only time will tell. (If you’re reading this either it did or you have magical powers.)

Selections were made on three criteria; the technical quality, the artistic value, and the wholly subjective “because I like it” factor.

First up, two from the Kodak V1003, the cheapest camera in my arsenal:

yelonly
Yellow
100_0385
Vice

“Yellow” and “Vice” show how artistic you can be with a very simple camera. Something I like to demonstrate for the benefit of new photographers or those just looking to find their way.

Now two from the Kodak P850, as we move up in camera value:

stickC
Candlestick Colour
WB850
Walkin’ Blues

Here we have the original colour version of the candlestick photo series and the P850’s rendition from the “Walkin’ Blues” series. The richness of this camera’s captures with its CCD sensor never ceases to amaze me.

Shifting up in price again to the Nikon P610. Oddly enough even though this is still my “main” camera I had a hard time choosing from its photos, because a lot of what I take with it is not done for artistic reasons.

hannibal
Hannibal
crop1505
Lonely Stranger

These two show the P610 at its artistic best, I think. “Hannibal” radiates warmth and fuzziness, just like the actual cat. “Lonely Stranger” is not only poignant but also personal, as it is a self-portrait. Usually the Nikon is shooting pictures of the moon or wildlife, because one of its main attributes is the fantastic zoom lens. I just didn’t think those pictures were top-of-the-class for technical or artistic merit.

Now for the most expensive camera, the Canon T100, we have a couple of shots that show for a camera that spends most of its time doing weird photographic experiments it can do some great art if given a chance.

1811
Broken
IMG_1912
Chimney

“Broken” is pure art gallery level snobbery, whereas the “Chimney” is serendipitous colour and form. Besides these I found quite a few taken with the T100 which were suitable, and narrowing it down was difficult. I had to somewhat suppress the “third criterion” to make the choices.

And while we’re on about the Canon’s experimental usage and my “because I like it” qualification, here’s two from the unlikely yet strangely successful Canon + Brownie experiment:

IMG_2131
Vase

This is actually a bad picture, speaking technically. Most of it is out of focus and where it is focused it isn’t sharp. The composition is random and purposeless. Yet I like it. Not just for the odd method used to make it, but because the whole is greater than the parts and it becomes an abstract of slightly blurred shape and colour which could probably hang in MOMA and sell for a million dollars in print form.

IMG_2135
Isetta

From the same experiment series, the Isetta image fails on technical merit and arguably is about as artistic as a mistaken shutter trip. Yet again, I like it. My whimsical nature gave it composition that would ordinarily be found only in a Madison Avenue advertising campaign, although I doubt they’d be accepting of the quality otherwise.

The main reason for all of these pictures remains the same: I’m having fun with my cameras. You should too.

 

Walkin’ Blues

Woke up this mornin’, feel ’round for my shoes

You know ’bout that baby? Got them ol’ walkin’ blues!

Woke up this mornin’, … an’ feel ’round for my shoes.*

Or “the camera as artist”.

WB100
Canon T100
WB610
Nikon P610
WB850
Kodak P850
WB1003
Kodak V1003

Four shots taken with four different cameras. Each set to shoot monochrome (not colour desaturated later) and on automatic to let the camera choose exposure. I tried to frame them all as close as possible with their widely different focal lengths, and shoot as quickly as possible to prevent severe light changes (natural lighting). The only processing was reducing image size from native (not the same on any of them) to 640 pixels wide.

Which do you think gives the best rendering?

Of course I could take any one of them and tweak the contrast, brightness, et cetera – but that isn’t the point of the exercise. I think one of the major failings of digital photography is too much reliance on processing and not enough concentrating on getting it right out of the camera. The manufacturers don’t help there, with the way they design the controls and bury things in menus. As it was none of these cameras has a simple switch for going between colour and monochrome; it’s in the menus for all of them. I understand Fuji makes several models with such a ‘film switch’ but they are pricey beyond reason for me.

Here’s what happens when you get “artsy” with it:

WBartsy
Lithography version

*”Walkin’ Blues” by Son House circa 1930.