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 Pluscamera 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.
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.
Monochrome — updated July 13th, 2017 with a better viewing method
Many many years ago when I was just a kid working in my dad’s darkroom, black and white photography was what we did. People shot in black and white, processed black and white and created images that were story telling, dramatic, honing in on what was the primary subject and not the colors. Black and White totally eliminated color and isolated what is important in an image, the subject.
I am not against good color images and to be honest, if done right can provide us with the beauty of the world overall. Color is most certainly a part of photographic lives and story telling so I am not discounting what great color represents to the photographer and the images a photographer gives to us.
There is a long-awaited and most certainly deserved rebirth of the monochrome image, which is not solely black and white. People are beginning to appreciate how a monochrome image draw them into the image, right to the heart of the story, the subject.
Overtime and even more so today I have processed digital images that were created in raw color by the cameras software, into monochrome images with a variety of software products. With wonderful software in the market today I have come to process images both in color and black and white in Picktorial 3.0 raw processor which provides me with universal and local adjustments for all my tools. Then in the final process should I want a more artistic approach I either export a copy of my image to Nik Silverefex Pro 2.0 (soon to be discontinued completely) or Alien Skin X2 Layer software and/or On1 Photo Raw
However, as I am a Mac user, I do use Picktorial for over all adjustments and then Alien Skin x2 to finish if necessary. I should note that Alien Skin is also a raw processor for both Windows and Mac as is On1.
I have also set up my Fuji X cameras, all three of them to shoot black and white Jpegs and color raw files at the same time. So what I see in the viewfinder and LCD screen is a black and white (monochrome) image.
Adjective: 1) having only one color, 2) representing colors with shades of gray (photography).
Origin: From Ancient Greek μονόχρωμος (monókhrōmos), from μόνος (mónos, “one”) + χρῶμα (khrôma, “color”); mono- + -chrome.
First known use: Early decades of the 19th century.
Digital photography, monochrome is the capture of only shades of black by the sensor, or by post-processing a color image to present only the perceived brightness by combining the values of multiple channels (usually red, blue, and green). The weighting of individual channels may be selected to achieve a desired artistic effect; if only the red channel is selected by the weighting then the effect will be similar to that of using a red filter on panchromatic film. If the red channel is eliminated and the green and blue combined then the effect will be similar to that of orthochromatic film or the use of a cyan filter on panchromatic film. The selection of weighting thus allows a wide range of artistic expression in the final monochromatic image.
That is what most dictionaries say. And what that means based on what each individual believes will determine what in their photographic life is essential.
For the fun of it I am including a small poll to see what you feel is essential.
I’ll get right down to specifics about what I use:
If I carry 1 body, 3 primes and one 18-55 zoom, cable release, extension tubes, 4 batteries, extra memory cards (2), Custom Slr strap, Spider Light Belt Holster, Nissin i40 flash. I use a Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder bag (cross chest). It is quite weather proof like my cameras and lenses.
If I carry 1 body, 3 primes, 3 batteries, cable release, lens cleaner, Nissin i40 flash, extra memory cards, cable release, cell phone I use a ThinkTank Urban Approach 10 (weather resistant and rain cover) shoulder bag (cross chest)
If I carry 1 body, 3 primes, 2 batteries, 2 memory cards, small Fuji Mini Flash EF-X20, lens cleaner I use a waist pack called CosySpeed Streetomatic +. This bag is adjustable up to 50 inches and can be warn around the waist with it resting on a hip. It can also be used cross chest as well. It is weather resistant and comes with a rain cover.
It has taken me too many years to determine what is essential for me. Every time I think I have figured it out I wind up still going back to old habits and taking with too much gear, most of which does not get used. That was then and this is now. And now after 74 years of weight bearing shoulders and back containers for carrying gear I know I have it licked.
The Cosyspeed Streetomatic + (plus) is the Goldilocks solution. I is not too big, to small. It is just right for a comfortable day out with the bare essentials I need for taking photographs all day long.
This is what I actually get in this bag.
Fuji X pro 2 with a 35mm 2.0 prime lens with lens hood mounted and an L bracket attached to the bottom of the camera for tripod mounting. Please note that in a picture below I show the Cosyspeed finger strap attached. It comes with the Cosyspeed bag and is a very secure way to have your camera in hand.
Fuji 50mm 2.0 with bayonet hood
Fuji 23mm 2.0 with bayonet hood
2 Fuji (OEM) batteries
2 Extra Memory Cards
1 iphone 6 +
1 small flash in a case added to the belt of the waist pack
1 lens cleaning cloth
There are days when I may only take the 18-55 zoom with hood extended. But usually it is my 3 primes. Two of my primes are attached to back to back rear lens caps that I glued together for portability and efficiency.