Why Have You Stopped Taking Pictures

Lately I have been speaking with people from all walks of life who used to love photography and making pictures but for reasons that are not really clear, just stopped doing it. 

What started the conversation was my little Cosyspeed Streetomatic Plus camera bag with a Manfrotto Pixi Evo table top tripod sticking up out of a side pocket.  When I explained my passion  for going minimalist they wanted to see what that meant.  Then they began to talk about the photography they used to do.

Men, women, young, older than young told me that at one time they owned a camera and lenses, still owned a camera, film or digital and some even had spent time in darkroom or at desk top computers with their photography.  Most said they had their phones, but really did not feel that a phone camera provided what a system camera like Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Nikon or Canon did.  The one common denominator was that at one time they loved, loved their photography.

When I questioned why they had stopped most really weren’t sure but felt perhaps that other priorities in life such as career building became a dominant factor and certain things had to be side lined in order to grow in other areas.

On a personal note and I told them that I felt that it was sad that they had stopped recording the important moments of their lives, abandoned something they loved to do instead of trying to incorporate it not only in their lives but the lives of their friends, their families.

Not only was all of that left behind but too was a chance to expand, to grow their artistic capabilities and to share those capabilities with others.

I have spent a lifetime involved in many aspects of photography having started in my dad’s darkroom right up to today. My love for photography as a hobby and a profession spans a lot of years and I consider myself fortunate that my personal love of photography was enhanced and expanded by working in world of photography which fortunately did not diminish my personal photography endeavors.

As I told the folks who I have met, if you have side lined photography, for whatever the reason and have interest in coming back at any level, I am here to help or guide you along that path.  So if I can be of any help please be sure to contact me. 

My Friend Bill – Last Year He Left The Room And Broke My Heart – But He Is In My Thoughts A Lot And I Miss Him

My Friend Bill – Last Year He Left The Room And Broke My Heart – But He Is In My Thoughts A Lot And I Miss Him – I am not totally sure why I am writing this blog now but I am sure there is some great emotional need for me to talk about him once again.

Bill, like myself had a passion for everything photography and his love for Nikon Camera gear was surpassed even by people like me who worked for Nikon for so many years.

He loved to join me on Nikon in store demonstrations and Nikon schools as he just loved to talk to others who either shot Nikon or who he wanted desperately to convert to Nikon shooters.  He was unrelenting in his passion for the brand and at times to his detriment. (I say that smiling)-

He would find no greater pleasure than sitting down with folks who he either knew or would come to know him forever and tell his tales of his life and his experiences and share is knowledge and wisdom about video and still photography  with old friends and new ones as well as those who would be friends. He considered himself Nikon representative.  And yes, that sometimes created confusion because I was the Nikon rep and after me there were a couple of other Nikon reps and to their benefit he was determined to help with his knowledge and enthusiasm.  It made him happy and after all he was more of a loyalist to Nikon than most people I had ever known.

When I say he lived and breathed Nikon it’s not even close to an exaggeration.  It is a truth beyond all truths and because he was that way I have to say that on the day his family and friends and co workers came together to celebrate his life, in a last good-bye, something was missing.

What was missing were all of the Nikon corporate people who knew Bill so extremely well and who Bill had helped in oh so many ways were sadly absent.  Not only were they absent but not one acknowledged that Bill had left the room.  Not a sigh, not a whimper, not a high-five as a thank you.  NOTHING.

That saddens me and I just felt that I had to say something.  Giving name, rank and social security number would not make a difference and after all the mindless, uncaring, self-absorbed son of bitches more than likely know who they are.

It is not that Bill and I always agreed and there were ups and downs but we were really true friends and cared for each other and in the end I only choose to remember the ups and what a dear friend and wonderful human being Bill was and is as he lives in my heart and mind.

I love you Bill.

What Happens When Your Camera Is The Same As Every Other Camera? An opinion piece!


What Happens When Your Camera Is The Same As Every Other Camera?  An opinion piece

I have used a lot of different camera brands and overall they all produced very nice images.  But the system that I finally wound up with after all my years of shooting with different cameras is the Fuji X system.  If I was to look at images from my current Fuji X camera, the X pro 2, and other camera systems all intermixed in the same folder and dumped into the same software I would have a very hard time knowing what camera produced what images in that folder.

So what does that leave me with?  It leaves me with a mirrorless camera system called “X” which is aesthetically very pleasing to look at and very comfortable to use having all kinds of dials and buttons for doing creative photographic stuff.  But it also leaves me with the feeling that the images that came from the first X cameras like the X100, X10 and X Pro 1 were much more AESTHETICALLY (film like) (smooth) (sort of pastel) pleasing which was why I bought into newer generations of the X brand.  It was not only the Jpeg files which are processed in camera but it was also the raw files.

This does not mean that the images out of the X’s today are not excellent because they are.  It means that a certain quality that Fuji seemed to have master with their first X bodies has been replaced by something that any dSLR can produce.

So that leaves me with the aesthetic look and feel of the body and the prime lenses I use.  And that will have to be enough I guess because at this stage of the game I have to admit that I am not disappointed in the image quality when it comes to resolution and dynamic range which is on a par with other cameras.  But I am disappointed with the overall look of the images from an emotional point of view.

I have to ask how and why this has happened?  I was led to believe that it was the different design of the Fuji sensor that made the difference in color and texture in the images but I guess that turns out not to be the case.

It’s not a deal breaker only because I no longer have the desire to break in a new system that for all practical purposes will give me the same image quality I am currently getting.  But I do miss that aesthetic look of the images from the first early X cameras.

The Exposure Triangle: Making Sense of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO-via PetaPixel














If you are about to learn something new, or are revisiting what you may of have sort of put aside for the love of automation it is always a smart thing to do learn or relearn the basics.

This article posted on PetaPixel is going to do just that for you.

How important is exposure in photography? What are the components of exposure? What is the “Exposure Triangle”? These are the questions I will attempt to a

Source: The Exposure Triangle: Making Sense of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO

Fan Boys and Girls (PERSONS) and the bullshit they Spew

images-1Fan Boys and Girls (PERSONS) and the bullshit they Spew

You can find this plague almost everywhere on the web and no, it is not spread by mosquitos.  I have seen the FAN PERSON SYNDROME for so many years that I have almost become numb to it because it is just so crazy.  All brands have their Fan Persons, and they are incredibly brain washed about what they own is the ultimate photographic tools in the world and everything else is simply less than rat poop in the world of photography.

I shall excuse Leica cameras and lenses from the above statement, because they just can’t help themselves.

It is more than likely that I have way too much time on my hands.  As a matter of fact my wife tells me that a lot, but because that may be true it affords me the TIME to do a hell of a lot of research about the industry. the hobby, the profession, the passion I and others like me have for photography.

I have to admit that when I was the Nikon sales rep for so many years I just loved fan persons.  I mean while it was my job to sell Nikon and teach about Nikon it was also my job to cultivate people who would travel the land far and wide and spread the word that Nikon was the professional’s choice, and how it was loved by so many enthusiastic photographers.  I loved fan persons.  I still love them today, but imgresunderstanding the phycology behind fan persons, I also know that whether the product be great or maybe not so great, it is always going to be GREAT to them and right or wrong they will spread the word, create converts, and swear on a stack of the good book that the brand they use is the finest in the world bar none.

Thankfully in our photography world today there really are no bad brands.  All of the cameras that are out in the market place are exceptional and all they need is a dedicated instruction  book reader and an owner who actually takes the time to learn about the gear and even more important about photography.

The problem with the Fan Person Syndrome is just that.  What is good for the goose may NOT BE GOOD FOR THE GANDER.

In many cases your friends, relatives (who can be friends), your teachers and yes even the folks behind the camera counter can be fan persons.  And they are perhaps going to try and sway you to what they love and believe in even though it may not be right for you.

It may not fit right in your hand.  The viewfinder may not be what you like, the controls are not comfortable to use, you may not like touch screens (I don’t), it may be too heavy, too light, to big or maybe too small.  There are a lot of variables here and to let a fan person sway you with what the spew could set you on a course of hating photography because of a bad decision.

Reading blogs on the web can have the same effect unless you find some writers who can really be neutral.  They are the bloggers who understand that not everything is a perfect fit and that is why there are so many different choices.  Now they may recommend one over the other and give very good reasons as to why the say what they say, but only you can make the final decision.

I have a friend and for the purpose of this article I shall call that friend Elmer, and Elmer some time ago asked me to recommend a camera because what was being used which happened to be a Canon camera was heavier than it used to be because Elmer was older now. Sorry, but that does happen.

I told Elmer what I was happy with but recommended to go to the local camera shop to pick up the camera, hug it, look through it and get a feel for the controls.  Elmer did that, but was also told to look at another camera system as well, based on Elmer wanting a smaller and lighter camera to carry around all the time.  It was smaller and lighter for sure and Elmer called me and asked what I thought and I said, I do not like the menus in the camera and that the buttons for me were too small, but that the images from that camera were excellent.  Elmer bought that camera, and now one year later Elmer is very unhappy with the camera, the menus and the buttons but is invested in the system and would have to make a large expenditure to get into something else.

What actually sold Elmer on the camera however was not the sales person in the store.  It was another customer standing near by being a busy body, who put in their two cents and raved and through confetti in the air, all for the love of a brand.  Right or wrong.  Elmer was swayed by, you guessed it, A FAN PERSON.

I watched a Youtube video this afternoon and heard and saw a professional photographer lambasting Sony for what seemed hours over a repair issue which was more his fault than Sony’s fault.  Here is a guy, who travels a lot, who is an avid, foaming at the mouth Nikon Fan Boy, who for some reason had decided to start using Sony.  After his last adventure he returned home to his home in Australia and sent his camera off to Sony Pro Services which I guess is not that well-developed yet in Australia but it is here in the USA.  He sent it off for a cleaning including the sensor which he says he does after every trip.  I question just how professional he is if he is not up to cleaning his own sensor even though Sony, and everyone else almost say do not do that or you will void your warranty.  I mean I do not know a lot of people who do not know how to clean a sensor.  As a matter of fact I taught people to clean their sensors and most camera stores can do it for you as well for a fee.  Anyway he ranted and ranted and ranted until I was ready to destroy my expensive Apple monitor with a coffee cup.

Now it just happens to be that this guy who pissing into a cup over Sony service is a NIKON FAN BOY.  That’s right.  A NIKON FAN BOY.  So what was that really all about.  While he ranted and raved about how Sony sucks, he kept raving about how great Nikon pro services is.  Well then why was he using Sony?  I’ll let you ponder that for the rest of the day, or week.

Opinions are great.  But that is just what they are.  Only you can make up your mind.  If you do not have a local camera store to run over to, then go on the web and look for respectable renting companies like WWW.BORROWLENS.COM or WWW.LENSRENTALS.COM and rent what you are interested in for a few days.  You will spend a minimal amount compared to what a mistake might cost you and you will learn what is right for you without some not bag trying to convince you that what is good for them is good for you.  If you are local in northern Va then you can try WWW.DISTRICTCAMERA.COM

The Philosophy Of Less – – – If You Own Way Too Much Gear Then It Is Time To Get A Smaller Bag

I recently had a visit from a photographer friend who I have known for a very long time.  We were friends in several territories I covered for Nikon for 33 years.

He was in Washington DC for an assignment and he had a couple of days before he had to get shooting.

He looked pretty tired and physically uncomfortable and I badgered him until he let loose with his story.wheelbarrowgear

He owns 3 systems of camera gear.  Canon, Sony A7, and Fuji X.  While he uses them all, his Canon system remains his current mainstay so he carries his 2 Canon 5D Marks, together with 3 zooms and 3 prime lenses, 2 flashes, etc.  His total load weighs in at about 25 pounds.  So he hurts from carrying all his gear, he carries the extra body, all the lenses and flashes and accessories.  But here is the real deal.  He generally only shoots with 2 of his lenses and 1 body and 1 flash.  He carries it all, even with all of his experience because of a fear he might need the focal length to get the shot.

So even after all the years of shooting he was still fundamentally impaired when it came to carrying less.

So I challenged him, well okay created a situation that would force him to change and adapt and have more confidence in his ability to get the shot with the gear I was going to let him carry.  I gathered up his Canon and Sony gear while he slept and secured it in a galaxy far, far away and left him only with his Fuji Xt1,  23mm 1.4, and 56mm 1.2, 50-140 zoom, small flash by Nisson 3 batteries, 4 cards, 4 packs of Lens Cleaner and lens tissue.  And I grabbed a ThinkTank Photo 30i mirrorless bag of my shelf and loaded his gear into it.  I shall not describe the reaction, the language, and the frustration he showed as he left to shoot his job, yelling I ruined his life.

Long story short, he returned from his job, 1200 images later, hopped up the steps in front of the house ready to go out for dinner.  He wanted to know if I would come live with him so I could hide his equipment on a regular basis.

Of course that is not going to happen. However, he is now convinced that self restraint, and reaching for the smaller  bag, making it a container that he has to live and work with, is possible and that less is more and better for his back.

He has been leaving his Canon gear at home.  Not because there is any thing functionally wrong with it except for the fact like Nikon and other full sized systems it is too big, too heavy.  He gets to his assignments in less pain and with more energy and has learned that even with all of his experience as a journalist, he can get better imaging with less gear by relying on the smaller bag and his exceptional talent.

For me the decision what to take is an easy one.  I own the terrific Fuji XT1 and 4 primes, and the lens that is generally on the body for my walk about is the pancake 27mm 2.8.  fuji xt1A very small but might sharp lens.  I generally couple that with either my 14mm 2.8 or 56mm 1.2.  I like fast primes.  My other system is one that most will not remember.  It is the Ricoh GXR system and lens modules.  I have the 24-85 zoom, 50mm 2.8 macro, and the 28mm 2.8.  That whole system fits comfortably in one small bag.  That bag is called the Cosyspeed Streetomatic (black but other colors available) and it can either be worn across the chest or around the waist.  These are small systems, with great imaging and controls and one or the other is always with me.

I have a lot of small bags and large bags for that matter but I have found the Cosyspeed Streetomatic protective while supplying quick access to my camera.  Very handy especially for someone like me who really loves street photography.

But it is important to remember that no matter what kind of photography you love the Philosophy Of Less should apply.  Whether you are out for the day enjoying the sites, on the street to capture life as it happens, hiking through the woods, etc..

Everyone I know is strong willed enough to make a decision on less gear and learning to make less gear work for you.  Photographers for many years have done just that with great success and less stress.

 Go to the cosyspeed web site if you are using small mirrorless, or small Dslr products and learn what a pleasure going out for the day with your camera gear can be.


The image to the left is the Streetomatic in different configurations










Edited By Brian Zwitwww.schoolofcreativephotography