Here is a challenge for you: Next time you go on a photo walk, cover up the screen of your DSLR and don’t use it to inspect any of your shots during the walk until it is time to upload them into Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.
Crazy? Stupid? Pointless? You tell me afterwards.
Well, the following is of course completely based on my own experience and might not translate into your experience, but I think it does contain a more generic truth about the state of photography today. Stay with me:
I assume that you are familiar with the principles of exposure and composition, heard about the ‘decisive moment’, and are very familiar with your camera. My theory is that the impulse to inspect each shot almost immediately after having taken it, the so called “chimping,” is preventing you from taking that great shot. It invites you to forget about the theory of photography and invites you to take the same shot over and over again without the instant feedback really telling you how to improve the shot or, worse, with the instant feedback suggesting that this is the best shot possible and by doing so encouraging mediocrity. I tell you, nothing has really changed in photography with the Digital revolution, the principles of exposure and composition still stand. I invite you to take your time to set up the shot, think it over and think it over again before releasing that shutter. There is no point in taking the same shot over and over again while changing a few parameters when you don’t really know what you are changing and how it will affect your shot. Shoot fewer photos and as a result better photos; you don’t want to be caught out chimping when the decisive moment arrives!
I’m looking forward hearing your thoughts about this.
Earlier this week I watched the Hokkaido interview with Michael Kenna again and his work continues to inspire me and I know that his work is very popular on the Net especially since he has been using long exposures for most of his work and long exposures are very popular these days.. I would love to get his book about Hokkaido but $250 is a bit too steep, maybe it is time for a cheap re-release Mr Publisher (please, pretty please?)
Anyway, I started looking at long exposures and the reciprocity failure compensation values for the films I use. I still need some more time experimenting before I get there, but when I was scouting for locations to use around where I live, I came across this small copse that didn’t look too attractive on account of a farm being behind it and a modern shed distracting the view on the other side. But I realized that with my 165mm lens on my Pentax 67II camera, I would be able to crop the photo such that none of these appeared. Not a long exposure of this copse just yet, but certainly a shot I do like.
Next time I’m in Kawagoe, I am thinking of walking the 34 Kannon temples pilgrimage in Chichibu which is located at an easy distance from Kawagoe. I’m not religious but I have to admit that I’m a bit fascinated by Buddhism ever since enjoying a temple stay in Mt Koya and I do think that meditation does help me to face everyday life and enhances my photography.
In preparation of that 100km (63 miles) walk, I started with making a map of all the temples and added a route that is probably different from the official route. Ignore the route for the moment, I would say, while I do my best to dig up the official route.
Day 1 — Temple 1 to Temple 13, ±22km (blue line)
Day 2 — Temple 15 to Temple 26, ±22km (magenta line)
Day 3 — Temple 28 to Temple 32, ±19km (red line)
Day 4 — Temple 31 to Temple 34 to Mangan-no-yu onsen, ±22km (black line)
I received quite a bit of feedback eventually on this post in the Japan Guide forum: To summarize the most important points: There is a book in English about the pilgrimage available from several of the temples. It is probably best to pick it up from Temple 13 which is located close to the train stations in the middle of Chichibu if arriving by train. There is an information office just outside the train station where you can pick up the map and bus information related to the pilgrimage. The signs along the walking route are small, and can easily be missed. They are about 15cm wide and 30cm tall, and are placed at knee height on walls and posts. The signs for the automobiles are a meter wide and two meters high, and are easier to see.
From other sources I gathered this information: Make sure to buy a 納経帳 (nōkyōchō) book from Temple 1 to collect temple seals that you can get for a small fee.
The CHICHIBU: Japan’s Hidden Treasure Tuttle Guide (Revised Edition) by Sumiko Enbutsu dedicates the whole first section to the pilgrimage (about 100 pages) and contains thorough descriptions of the temples, the routes (including maps) and other noteworthy details of other sights along the way, and is a pleasure to read. This might be the same book as sold from the temples, at the moment of writing I have no way of confirming this.
Download a GPX file with locations of all the 34 Temples for your GPS unit.
Download a KML file with locations of all the 34 Temples for Google Earth.
Just getting familiar with my Luxembourg after having moved here a few weeks ago. The old city is beautiful and will be returning to it for several more photos shoots.
At the start of May, the Canalway Cavalcade 2012 was held in the area of London between Paddington Station and Warwick Avenue better known as Little Venice.
It is the point where the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal meets the Regents Canal and every year, since 1983, a festival is organized at this location showcasing the beautiful boats, boating skill and lots of people in most interesting outfits allowing for some cool street photography.
All photos shot on Fuji Neopan Acros 100 at EI 100, developed in APH 09 1:80 for 19 minutes. Agitation: 2 inversions every minute.
If you ask a random person to describe the Dutch countryside, 99 times out of 100 they will mention cows in a field that is so flat, you could play snooker on it. I used to live on the Veluwe, a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland. This is where the place the polar ice sheets stopped during the Saale Ice Age before retreating and leaving the deposits behind.
To me, the fields with cows are just as foreign as to you. One of the most interesting places around where I grew up was Kootwijkerzand, a 7km2 large area of sand dunes and Scots Pines. The area was lucky enough to be too poor to be turned into grasslands and it stayed like it was since the Ice Age for a long time. Unfortunately, due to the larger amounts of nitrogen in the atmosphere due to the increased traffic, the previously infertile dunes now can sustain mosses and trees which are now cut back regularly to keep the unique landscape.
It was this empty area that the authorities picked as the location to build the huge radio station to keep in contact with the colonies in 1922. I do remember the huge aerial on the roof which was torn down in 1980.
For a map of the location, click here.
Last week I felt I needed some exercise and decided to follow one of the circular walks as described on the Colne Valley Park website. We had gone round a few years before in Spring and been amazed by the yellow rapeseed fields, but this time the walk was going to be in the snow.
I was really having a great time in the snow when I came across a tree all by itself in a large field just off the M25 motorway. I had been scouting for a tree like that late last year, but hadn’t spotted the ideal tree yet and now it was right in front of me. The composition that spoke to me most came together when several fences forming a triangle in the bottom half of the photo with the tree standing all alone in the top half of the photo, sort of resting on the triangle.
Driving on the M1 in the area of Nottingham, the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station is difficult to miss. I had noticed it on our trips to the Peak District and earlier this week I decided to drive up there to see what I could capture on film. I have to confess, I do know that these kind of coal powered power stations are a disaster for the environment but I do love the contrast of the concrete cooling towers in the middle of nowhere. I know that Michael Kenna came up to shoot here, so I’m not alone.
If you look up the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in Google Earth (February 2012), you get some old aerial photos presented which don’t show the East Midlands Parkway railway station that has been constructed just next to the power station in 2009 and which has opened up the whole area. You can trust the road and roundabouts drawn in the middle of some trees and a field in Google Earth. I was really surprised how close you can get to the cooling towers. A great location, recommended!
Directions: Follow the M1 until J24, exit the motorway and follow the signs to the train station down the A453 and exit left once you arrive at the power station.
See here and here for 360° panoramas of the power station.
One of the problems I have always had was how to find great photo locations while having little time to spend in a town or country. A Travel Guide will give you the obvious shots, but limiting myself to those I never found satisfying. The solution I found is to scan the area to which I intend to travel in Google Earth and inspect those little blue markers that indicate uploaded photos in Panoramio. If I find something I like, I note the latitude and longitude and enter those as waypoints (favourites) in my GPS unit.
I quickly learned to zoom in a lot as the larger, more popular blue markers in Google Earth, for some inexplicable reason, always seem to contain the least interesting of photos. My guess is that the larger markers point to the photos Panoramio started off with and therefore have collected a lot of hits over the years especially during the period when few photos were uploaded. By the way, the red markers in Google Earth contain 360° panoramas and are certainly worth clicking through on to scout for locations as well.
To keep the system going, I have uploaded some of my photos to Panoramio which is the site Google uses to allow people to upload geotagged photos to Google Earth. Please have a look at the photos I uploaded.
Update: Sometimes it is quicker to use the Panoramio pages directly and browse to area of interest via their maps. Depending on how far you have zoomed in, most photos will show up in miniature on the map and a panel on the left hand side lists the most popular photos. This way you avoid clicking on all the blue icons in Google Earth and only inspect those photos that catch your eye; all in all, a much faster process.