Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thoughts for the end of the year

First an apology. An error in the processing of one of the images in yesterday's posting was pointed out to me. It was simply an oversight on my part that I didn't notice pixelation in one corner of an image that was the result of a glitch in Silver Efex Pro 2 talking to Lightroom. It happens sometimes that when I finish processing images in SEP2, during the process of applying the filter and re-importing back to Lightroom, I get strange effects happening. So far it's been infrequent. Rather than call Nik Tech Support and hold on the line for several minutes (a phenomenon that is new to Nik Support only since the Google takeover. Hmmmm ......) I reprocess the image and it's fine. I didn't post the comment, but have decided to change my comment procedure for next year and post all comments, except those that are abusive.

I'm reviewing my shots for the past year in preparation for submission to an annual review. Later this week I'll be posting a blog entry of my 'Ten Best Shots of 2012'. I have narrowed the selection to forty-fours images for now. My exciting plans for New Year's Day include beginning work on my 2012 tax figures, giving two lessons, and doing a final review of the images and narrowing the choice down to ten. This is heady stuff!

I've had a little too much time on my hands lately and been thinking a bit too much - about anything and everything. For those of you who don't know me personally, it may come as a bit of a surprise that I am somewhat obsessive/compulsive and correspondingly have a tendency to act impulsively. Non, pas vous! You say. Oh, mai oui! This is not necessarily a bad thing. When I was younger I would at times berate myself, wishing to be more normal like I thought everyone else was. As I grew older I learned to accept my differences, to utilize them to my advantage. Lately I've come to cherish them. Really.

Everyone of us begins life as a creative person. Children love to draw and play with crayons. As they become adults they forget how to do that, or put it on a back burner and think about making money and raising a family. Talented people learn to apply their talents towards more adult and mature endeavors. The artist, however, never quite becomes an adult, never grows up, in the sense that he never loses that creative drive. He learns to combine his creativity and talent, and accepts that the world around him will deal with life in a mature adult manner (not quite the same thing as sane, however) and find a modicum of satisfaction in his conformity to the norms of society. The artist stops at twelve, and that's were I've been ever since. I tried mightily to change, but always reverted. I've stopped fighting. What a gift is every day when I start out and have to decide how I'm going to have fun, how I'm going to spend my minutes and hours searching for my grail cup.

And that brings me finally to my point. Whatever I do is with an end result in mind. I go out to shoot so that I can create images, process them, write about them here, and present them to the world. But my joy, my bliss, is in the search, the process, the doing. Not in how others do or don't appreciate my product.  I like to hear back from people about the images, how they've enjoyed them, or not. How they would have shot or processed them differently. And I especially like to teach - whether it be music and the violin, or photography. But if I never received feedback or responses, if I never had any students, would I still play with my toys? Go out to shoot? Write about my experiences here?

Absolutely. The thrill is in the exploration and discovery, the experimentation, the risk taking. The rest is just icing on the cake. And it's not about the toys you use, it is about using your toys. My current toy of choice is the Fuji X-Pro1 with the 18-55mm zoom lens. The shot below was taken at 55mm. I generally tend to stay at the wider end of the focal length spectrum, but without the long range flexibility of the zoom lens I wouldn't have been able to get the shot. The sidewalk was very crowded, and isolating this character would have been impossible with a wider focal length. A big thanks to Mike Cinelli who, after reading my post yesterday, supplied me with a preset of sharpening parameters which really puts some zip into the Adobe raw processing algorithm for the X trans sensor.