I arrived in Ireland a couple days ago, and I have been taking plenty of photos along the way. I’ll post them in future articles, but there is something more important to discuss for now: the dangerous, idiotic behavior I saw at the Cliffs of Moher.
One of my favourite times to photograph garden plants and flowers is first thing in the morning after a fresh rain. All of the colours and textures seem richer after the rain dapples them with water droplets.
I’ve been quite busy with client work lately and I decided that I needed a break. So, today I headed out to photograph birds-in-flight with my Nikon 1 J5. As most folks know, this camera does not have a viewfinder, so I used four, thick elastic bands to attach my Zacuto Z-Finder to the rear of the J5. It ended up being reasonably snug against the back of the camera. While not particularly elegant looking, it did get the job done.
Now no one’s ever going to accuse me of being a motorhead any more than they could accuse me of being a gearhead. Cars don’t provoke a tachycardic enthusiasm from me in the same way as other subjects do. But there happened to be a car show at a summer festival nearby yesterday so I ambled along with my camera to see the display. I was certainly tempted by the beautiful lines, form and colour of classic car anatomy.
The past few months I have fallen victim to a creative slump, a rut, a lack of enthusiasm around my photography. Call it what you want, I felt uninspired. Although I love nature and bird photography, I found myself struggling to make time to get out and shoot. We live on the gulf coast of southern Mississippi. There is an abundance of wonderful birdlife, beautiful sunsets and unique cypress swamps full of wildlife begging to be photographed. When I did get out, I found I was not very motivated to download my images, let alone take the time to process them. I needed a change. What I really needed was a challenge. I decided to try something I had heard of, but have never tried before, in the hopes that it would relight my photographic passion.
I can still remember buying my first camera, a Nikkormat, back in 1974. Since then every camera I ever owned had a viewfinder of some sort built into it. The prospect of ever owning a camera that didn’t have a viewfinder was so foreign to me that I simply dismissed buying the Nikon 1 J5 out-of-hand. Well, the combination of the delay in an updated V-Series body and the lure of improved image quality of the J5’s 20.8MP BSI sensor finally got to me and I bought one a little over a month ago. Within a week of buying the first one, I bought a second J5. What I discovered was that overcoming my ‘no viewfinder’ concerns was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
Not a very positive article to post from the perpetually optimistic Alpha Whiskey, or to pull me away from the exciting Euro soccer tournament (although this particularly pedestrian game will forgive me the distraction of writing this). But on a recent escapade a friend of mine seemed to be missing her photographic mojo. I’m not sure what happened but it had definitely vacated her previously enthusiastic demeanour. Perturbed to see my friend so forlorn I rationed a few brain cells (not having that many) to consider this problem.
Photographing the humpback whales of Tonga has been on my personal bucket list for a number of years and finally in 2015 I got to spend nearly three weeks in Neiafu, the main town in the Vavu’a island group in the north of the archipelago, where the majority of the whale watching takes place. The 170+ islands that make up the nation of Tonga are stretched out over a 800km long archipelago, located about 1600 km north-east of New Zealand in the western Pacific Ocean and are basically a long way from everywhere – even for Australians like me!
I am sad to say that the world of photography lost one of its true masters this past Sunday. Chinese photographer Fan Ho, known for his intimate street photographs of 1950’s Hong Kong, died of pneumonia at the age of 84. His photographs are more than simply beautiful; they show an understanding of light and composition is truly unparalleled. I cannot write anything that does justice to work like this, so I will leave with one of Fan Ho’s quotes – among the most beautiful sentiments I have heard from a photographer: “I put my whole life into a single photograph.”
The transition from film to digital was one of the most dramatic shifts in the history of photography, and countless new techniques arose along the way. Everything from exposing to the right to the ability to review photos on-the-fly dramatically changed the photographic world. Of all these changes, though, one has transformed landscape photography far more than any other: the advent of digital image blending.