04. February 2016 · Comments Off on Travel and Compromise · Categories: Philosophy, Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”   Mark Twain

What I have found, is that as a photographer, there are compromises that need to be made when travelling. The number of compromises increases with the number of people you travel with.  The featured image above is an example; shot from the bus window as we were driving by. The photo required large depth of field, high shutter speed, which meant high ISO…Compromise.  If I had been by myself, I could have stopped, set up the tripod and had a better image. 

Sunset, a set of compromises.

Sunset, a set of compromises.

The compromise is often around time, as a photographer, I need time to take photos, the others don’t want to wait, or can’t wait.  Sometimes the compromises are with yourself; in the sunset picture the rest of the group was enjoying a cold one, or in the pool, I make the choice for the photo rather than cooling off.  There were other compromises as well, no polarizer  because of time and condensation.  Not having enough time to deal with the condensation that makes the left part of the image soft. 

I knew going in that travel would be a set of compromises, not enough time in return for having the experience.  Compromise was forced on me in that my primary body was in the shop and I was using the backup body.  And so, the list of compromises continues.  There will always be compromises. Given that there will always be compromises, then the question becomes what choices do we make in the face of competing desires or goals, how do we choose between more than one goal with limited time and resources?

Rice paddies and mountains

Rice paddies and mountains

With ‘Rice paddies and Mountains’ a different comprise; I was riding a bike with my camera in my knapsack, limited amounts of time to stop, no deviation from the route.  Exceedingly well worth the the bike ride, and even the pack spill that I went down in.   Lot’s of possible ‘IFs’, but if I was focused on what was not available I would not have been present for what was available.

Tanah Lot is incredibly popular as a world heritage site. In this photo there were folks on both sides of me and behind me all jostling for an opportunity to take this photo.  How do we deal with others that may have goals that are different than mine?  

Photography, like life is learning to choose and live with compromises.

For more pictures of Bali, visit my Bali Album

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

26. January 2016 · Comments Off on Too Perfect? · Categories: Philosophy, Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali

I was sharing with a friend photos from Bali. He surprised me and said the pictures were too perfect ! LoL

Are these photos too perfect?

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali.  Too Perfect?

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Sunrise and fishing. Too Perfect?

Sunrise and fishing

Sunset

Sunset


Water Park / Temple

Rice paddies and mountains

Rice paddies and mountains

I would argue that they are not too perfect, but rather their imperfections are not as glaring as the typical travel point and shoot pics. No, not too perfect.

Let’s look at each of these photos and see what might have been done better.

The bowl of flower petals, gorgeous bowls made every morning. In the photo the upper rim of the bowl is slightly out of focus.  The red was more vivid than the photo. And there is a glare reflection in the center of the bowl.  If I had been using a polarizer, the the colors would be better.  A tripod and greater depth of field would have helped the upper rim. No not too perfect

Looking at the sunrise photo, a nice photo, one of the best from the trip. My timing was slightly off, the boat needs to be slightly more to the left. But worse, is that the horizon is not level.  I should have caught that imperfection in post processing.  Again, if I had had a polarize on the colors would have been more vivid. No, not too perfect.

The sunset photo although eye catching has many goofs that the trained eye will notice. First are the awful spots, worse than zits on a face, on a face you don’t get a lot of choice, in a photo you do. Also the horizon isn’t level. But there is another problem with this photo over on the left edge, notice the softness in the water?  Our rooms were thankfully air conditioned to about 70 with much of the humidity remove.  Outside at 90 to 100 and 75% humidity was a different story.  The issue was, taking the camera from the cold room outside promptly caused LOTS of condensation on the lens.  This needed to be carefully wiped away to take a shot until the camera warmed up and it was good for about 10 seconds.  Again, a polarizer would have made the colors more vivid still. No not too perfect.

The water temple is nice, but notice the lens flare above the fountain?  Taking time, with extra shading from a hat would have prevented the lens flare.

The rice paddy with mountains; see the glare in the water?  That would have disappeared with a polarizer, and the polarizer would have made the sky darker more contrasty.

Conclusion, no not too perfect.  However, there are several vastly more important lessons to be gleamed here. There isn’t really perfection, it is a journey as we become more perceptive to nuances.   There is a prayer that I love that speaks to learning to live with imperfections. “God, I humbly ask you to remove all of my shortcomings that get in the way of me being of service to you”  notice not all the shortcomings, some of the ‘shortcoming’ might just be needed even though we may not like them. Photos like life are not too perfect, they are perfect they way they are.

15. August 2015 · Comments Off on Pretty Pictures · Categories: Philosophy, Photography · Tags: ,

This week, I am not writing very much.  I have spent much of my photo time the last two weeks looking at photos and improving them in the digit dark room with the goal of making pretty pictures.  I have found that over time, my criteria for what is an okay picture has evolved, that I get pickier about what I like.  The pictures today generally have to have better composition, and be better technically (straight horizons, no spots, etc) than what they use to be be.  The net of all of this, is for me prettier pictures.

I saw the opening image in the rear view mirror and stopped.  At the time, and now it is a golden crown.  We were in the right place at the right time; there are many right places and right times if your eyes are open.  Paying attention leads to pretty pictures.

One of the Windows Arches.  Seeing the possibility

One of the Windows Arches. Seeing the possibility

The image below is about what the camera produced, but in my mind’s eye there was more than this. The result a pretty picture after a bit of work.

One of the windows arches in Arches National park

One of the windows arches in Arches National park

Here is another variation of the same scene.  Both can be nice pictures.

Another pretty picture

One of the windows arches in Arches National park

When I got married a few years back, I gave away framed photos.  It took a while to frame them, and I had help from a friend.  But what was interesting was that there were lots of different pictures, and pictures that I found pretty were not the same ones others did, so pretty pictures, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The picture below has a very different feel to it compared to the arches above. Each of us is drawn by the feeling that a photo evokes within us.  The massiveness and strong lines can be accentuated with a crop as seen below.

Escalante slot canyon

Slot Canyon

You choose which one do you like best; there is no right answer only what each of us calls a pretty picture.

Cropped version to emphasize the massiveness

Cropped version to emphasize the massiveness

Come on over to Patrick Lynch Photography and see more.

01. April 2015 · Comments Off on Photo Technology – Computational Photography · Categories: Photography · Tags: ,

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Thanks to evolving photo technology. Stitched panorama

Thanks to evolving photo technology. Stitched panorama

Where is photo technology going? Computational Photography is changing the nature of photography.  Instagram has made computational photography acceptable and brought it to the masses what was once limited to Photoshop.  Photoshop can compute what should be in a region through computation, it can bend, spindle and mutilate pixels beyond imagination of a decade ago.

Photo technology can warp pictures and calculate color blending to allow stitching of photos to generate large hi resolution composites.  Photo Technology can turn un usable pixels that were too dark or too light in pleasant images.  This is now all accepted photo technology, so much that if we it was missing we could comment on the lackluster nature of the photo.

3-D printing is now all the rage and the forefront of printing.  Imagine a photo technology that generates a 3-D color relief  (bas relief) of an image.   Cameras can now take holographic images, why not?  This is not really much of a leap as all the technology is here today.

I’m a Harry Potter fan.  One of the nifty things are the moving photos in newspapers and on walls.

Ready to print type of photo

The type of Photo I like – ready to print

Imagine this pre dawn image slowly or not so slowly changing and ending up at sunset.  Is this unrealistic? Maybe not… We already have picture in frames that are really LCD screens showing slide shows that sit on a desk.  How much more is really needed? Higher resolution, maybe different display technology so that the image is reflected light rather than transmitted, but we have the photo technology to do this today.

Today is April first, or April Fools, but where does the dreamer end and the fool begin?

18. March 2015 · Comments Off on A Prepared Photographer · Categories: Preparation · Tags: , , , ,

 

Not so recently I was in Canyonlands National Park for a sunrise shoot through Mesa Arch.  There were a number of other photographers there before sunrise.  What was a surprise was the degree of  not prepared.

  • Several people didn’t have tripods, so they couldn’t take photos other than setting the camera on a rock.
  • Others didn’t know how to operate their cameras
  • Still others didn’t know how to put the camera on the tripod
  • Only about half had a flashlight or headlamp.

All of the above doesn’t mean that you can’t get nice images, it is just harder to get good images; your options are more limited. Learning to be prepared can occur via the school of problems, or you can get some coaching so that you are more likely to be successful.  Being unprepared may mean you miss the shot you wanted, or that it doesn’t turn out as well as you would like.

Take the sunrise shoot at mesa arch; someone who has shot there previously can tell you how long it takes to drive, and then walk to the arch. What lens combinations work from each location.  Which locations work for sunrise, what works for sunset. Or you can do like we did figure out the mileage and the walking distance and make an estimate.  In our case, we did not allocate enough time and I had to run on the trail in the dark.

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch

Ask someone who has been where you want to go and see what tips you can get.

Ask and answer these questions for yourself

  • How much time will it take me to get setup?
    • How long to get there?
    • How long to set up?
    • Do I know where I am going?
  • What equipment do I need? (trying to get a shot under pressure, when it is the first time with the equipment is a recipe for failure!)
    • Do I have the equipment I need?  Is it pre setup? or am I going to fumble when I get there?
    • Do I know how to use the equipment?
    • Is the equipment ready? (clean, batteries, media, extra batteries for the cold)
  • Do I have the non camera gear that I need?
    • Snacks; an army or an individual marches on their stomachs
    • The right clothes; few things are more miserable than freezing (sub zero & breeze) and not having the right clothes.
    • Map/directions, permits
  • Other
    • Am I planning on meeting someone? If so how are we going to rendezvous?
    • Is the car gassed and ready?

The Boy Scouts really have something with ‘Be Prepared’

 

 

04. March 2015 · Comments Off on At lunch – what works for learning Photography · Categories: Mental Process, Preparation · Tags: , , , ,

Early morning. Any time, anyplace is good for learning photographyThe other day, several of us who are interested in photography, got together and had a beer over lunch (sorry, no photo of the beer).   The lunchtime conversation was interesting in that we spent most of it reflecting on what worked for each of us and what did not work.  Below is a quick summary of the conclusions we had and the common shared philosophy around teaching and learning photography.

  • There are good workshops, and not so good workshops
    • Not so good have things like:
      • ‘Here is what is wrong with that photo’ followed by a long devastating list
      • ‘Oh, there are no photos or anything to take a photo of here’
      • Where the workshop people are more interested in taking their own photos than helping you with yours.
    • Unfortunately it is kind of hard to figure this out without having been on one of these types of workshops….
    • Good workshops
      • Instructors are there to help you
      • Interactive question & answer (not pontificated at)
      • Instructors give each person something to work on for their own improvement based on where they are at.
  • That the learning process takes practice and gentle feedback
  • That we can learn to give ourselves feedback with practice.

In one workshop that was led, one of the participants was complaining that the sun was in the wrong position and that it was the workshops fault…

Part of what any workshop should teach is how to work with what is there, not what you wish were there.    The joke was about a guy who always won whatever bet he make.  Life became uninteresting…. Part of what makes photography what it is, is the learning of how to work with what we have.

There was one workshop that we bumped into at Bodie,

Shanty town, Bodie. Learning Photography can occur anywhere

Funniest places to meet people. Learning Photography can occur anywhere

one of the participants of that workshop had a question that the workshop instructor couldn’t answer.   We looked up the answer out of curiosity, and then ran into the same workshop group at dinner (there are only a limited number of places to eat).  We sat around and discussed the answer with that whole workshop, even though it was not ours.  The goal is about sharing, not hoarding.