One of the advantages of photography as an artistic practice that it requires engaging with the physical or social environment


Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area

The Q2 Monochrom on a rehab walk.

I’m 5 months out from my bike crash and C2 fracture followed by a cervical. Off the bike outdoors, so walking an hour a day became a habit to supplement my indoor bike trainer rides.

Sadly, I wanted to be unburdened by camera, so there a few captures from over the summer. Not sure where this is going, but I’m now looking for full frame subjects as a new project.

Thanks to Patrick Rhone, I now know that the right WordPress theme will happily create blog posts with no title.

I cleared out some of the decorative clutter from the site

Watched my first cyclocross race. The Charm City Cross Race here in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park. It was intermittently pouring down rain, so I stayed long enough to get the flavor and see the mud. Looks like fun, but I doubt it’s for me.

Walking an hour a day. Rehabbing after my bike crash Memorial Day Weekend. 4 months out. Two monitors go off the bike outside.

Should I Be Using Photo Presets?

When I make an image with my iPhone, I’ll do a quick edit of exposure, contrast and often apply one of the built in gray scale filters. Done.

But think about how much processing the iPhone has performed on that image even as it’s being captured. I get mid day landscapes with beautifully exposed blue skies and fluffy, contrasty clouds that I don’t think I could achieve with my camera kits. It’s all backend machine learning which has migrated in some measure to the RAW file processing in current products, but mostly in the form of presets.

New Orleans Dumpster Leica Q2

So of course using presets is a great strategy for processing images from cameras, if it achieves the desired effect. One of the joys of film photography is that the film characteristics provide a very specific modification of the raw photon flux because of color sensitivity and contrast curves.

There a quite a few companies making good presets like Nik and Mastin Labs. This image was processed with DxO’s FilmPak which provides lots of really nice film presets. They are using sophisticated software to manipulate images to get very specific effects, ones that I don’t believe I could ever duplicate.

Not all photography need be casual in the way I’ve defined it. Expression in the darkroom is an art in itself and requires a base capture as a starting point. But the work of photographing- capturing images and developing technique- the eye for light, form and composition, can be impeded by the laborious process of computer post processing that not every image needs. Quality suited for purpose. It’s easy to get the global look of the image right. It’s the local changes- the dodging and burning we did in the dark room that provides the next step to draw in the viewer.

I think of an image like this as about 80% done. If I want to develop it further, I’d print a 4 x 6″ print and look at it from time to time until I understood what I might do to express a bit more of what it’s like to see a dumpster in New Orleans. But for now I like the composition and the blur of the landscape. Ideas that I hope I’ll bring to future image captures.

Process Not Product

There’s an idea that desire for success is a trap since the end goal can never be achieved. No matter how much one acquires, there’s more. Once acquired any achievement or possession pales in comparison to the next object of desire.

Fake Flowers Leica Q2 Monochrom

If instead of focusing on the achievement, the gain, then the process itself can be fulfilling. Even without gaining mastery, doing the work day by day is giving, not taking from the world.

Here this casual photography is having a camera at the ready, seeing light and form, then using the direct visualization that mirrorless cameras allow, capturing a near final image in the moment. No optimal raw file capture for Photoshop processing, not just grabbing a shot,but the whole photographic process in the moment, just as easy as framing an iPhone image, with better control and image quality.