One of the most toxic feelings that a photographer (or human being) is to feel envy. Apparently envy is a trait that is deeply embedded in us, even as babies. But why is it that we feel envy, what are we envious about, and what can we do about it? First of all, realize that it is totally normal to feel envy (wishing you were in someone else’s spot) and also jealousy (fearing that someone else is going to take your spot). After all, it is a great human adaptation that has helped us survive through the millennia. If humans didn’t feel envy, then we would probably be exited from the gene pool (survival of the fittest). Envy is what probably kept us from dying (if everyone else is eating the huge bison your entire tribe hunted but you, if you didn’t feel envy you would starve to death)…….
Source: Why Envy Any Other Photographer?
That quiet voice inside your head that says: “That might be interesting— why don’t you take a photo?” Then your rational mind goes: “No, that will be a boring cliche— don’t take a photograph.” The more I’ve been studying and learning about creativity, artistic process, Zen Buddhism, and the habits of productive creatives— I’ve become more and more convinced that following your intuition is much more important than being “rational” in life. In the West, we revere “rational thought”— ever since Plato invented the concept of “naming everything.” However in the East, they have always revered following intuition— very similar to Lao Tzu’s concept of “wu-wei” (action without action) in Taoism. You can see a lot of Eastern arts which promote meditation, using the force of others (Judo), and going with the flow of the river (instead of against it)……..
It seems that we as photographers have this overly-obsessive fascination and obsession with “image quality” — through how sharp our images are, how well “bokeh” renders, the depth-of-field or “3d-ness” of images, how much the colors “pop”, or things such as “micro-contrast” (not even sure what this is, but I hear it mentioned a lot). But my main question is this: why is image quality important— and is it important at all? Believe me— I’m a sucker for “image quality” — or how the image looks to me. To me aesthetics of an image are important. For example, I despise looking at black-and-white photos that have too low of a contrast. I don’t know why, but many black-and-white photos are greatly improved by increasing the contrast in the image……..
To be frank, I wasn’t all that excited to test out the Fujifilm X-Pro 2. I’ve never shot or owned an X-Pro 1, so I don’t really have a reference point. But for all my friends who have owned an X-Pro 1 — the consensus was that the camera was solid, but the autofocus sucked. Well I am very happy to announce that the new X-Pro 2 has a ridiculously-fast autofocus (I’d probably rate it a 9/10). Not only that, it is extremely accurate too. I will also say this upfront: the new Fujifilm 35mm f/2 (50mm full-frame equivalent) is blazingly fast in terms of the autofocus as well— and pretty much kicks the ass out of any other Fujifilm lens. tried out two lenses with the X-Pro 2; the new Fujifilm 35mm f/2 and the Fujifilm 18mm f/2. Long story short; the 18mm f/2 sucks, the 35mm f/2 rocks……..
I’m currently here in Dubai, and had a chance to check out the new Fujifilm X70. TLDR; the X70 is a compact digital camera with the same sensor as the Fujifilm X100T, and a 28mm f/2.8 (“full frame equivalent”) lens. I first heard about the camera from my friend Shay Allen, a passionate street photographer who travels all around the world. I first got him into the Ricoh GR, but he loves shooting color and also traveled with his Fujifilm x100T for a while. Eventually he settled on the Ricoh GR because he preferred the size. However he sent me a text message and showed me a photo of the Fujifilm X70, saying that it was like a Ricoh GR with Fujifilm colors. I was intrigued…….
I wanted to write you this letter on traveling; my experiences globe-trotting around the world, my motivations, and things I have learned along the way: I remember when I was 18 years old, I never really had much of an interest to travel. I traveled a few times to Korea, but otherwise never left California (besides living in New York a few years when I was a kid). I think my first interest in traveling occurred when I started to get interested in photography. I was 18 years old, I got my first digital point-and-shoot Canon camera, and I went to Korea for a summer. I remember how much fun and excitement I had capturing images on this little device; how I was able to express myself creatively, capture moments of my daily life, and enjoy have fun along the way……
Black and white is where my heart and soul is. I feel that by shooting in black and white, I can better communicate and convey my emotions, thoughts, and feelings. I feel that black and white is less of an aesthetic, but more of a feeling. You don’t shoot black and white because it is more “artsy”. You shoot black and white because it better communicates how you feel. Colors blind the eye. I have experimented a lot shooting color. I first started off trying to shoot color because I started to get bored with black and white. I wanted more of a challenge. Color seemed to open up new avenues and opportunities…….
I have a very vivid memory as a child: I was around 10-12 years old, and I was in the passenger seat of my mom’s car. We were driving around, got lost, and ended up in some shady neighborhood. My mom saw a guy on the side of the street, and pulled up to him and asked him for directions. At first, I told my mom, “No! Don’t ask that guy for directions, he looks like a thug! Black hoodie, baggy jeans, and he’s black! (as a child I was taught that African-Americans were to be feared). My mom slapped me silly and told me straight-up: “Eric, don’t you ever dare judge people based on their appearances, and whether they are black, white, or asian. They are human beings, and deserve our respect. You receive the energy you give out……
As a photographer, you are nothing but a subject-selector. You are a filter. You take in reality through your eyes, and you determine what you find interesting enough (or important enough) to photograph. Technical details— like aperture, shutter-speed, ISO, etc are all (mostly) done by the camera. Eventually we will reach a day when we will never have to worry about any technical details. However what will still be important 2,000 years from now? What to photograph. What is meaningful to you? I think most of us started off photography quite simply. We might have started taking photos on our smartphones to document family gatherings, or snapshots during travel. We might have picked up photography as a way to express ourselve…….
In today’s world we are overwhelmed with distractions. Imagine the sirens from “The Odyssey” reaching out at you, trying to lure you into the water (to your untimely death), with their beautiful voices. The “sirens” we have in today’s digital age are advertisements, text messages, emails, phone calls, tweets, Instagram posts, and any other form of “social media” online. The last few weeks I have been trying my best to “cleanse” myself and to prevent myself from being distracted. I almost became a bit of a hermit— rarely turning on my phone (unless Cindy yelled at me to do something on the phone), and tried to see with how little technology and how little of the internet I could get by with. And how did life go on? Surprisingly well……..
Fujinon XF Lenses
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