TALKING IMAGES 68 – THE CLASSIC EDITOR, A VERY USEFUL LINK

 

 


An old friend

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I’ve recently put out two posts regarding the emergence of WordPress’s new Block Editor, and the original Classic Editor:  these posts are here and here, and if afflicted by the recent editor issues, I recommend that you have a look at them, and also have a look at the various comments these posts have received.

Via my very long time blogging friend Meanderer, I’ve now received a very useful link re these issues, which I recommend you read as well.  The link is here – click onto it and it will open in a separate window:

click onto this link

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TALKING IMAGES 67 – CAN ANYONE RECOMMEND ANOTHER BLOGGING PLATFORM?

 

 


Rainy morning; the Somerset Levels (click onto the image to enlarge it)

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My previous Talking Images post (here) discussed the arrival of WordPress’s Block Editor.  My comments were (and still are) negative, and I have yet to receive any positive feedback re this new editor – including from bloggers who know far more about blogging and post editors than I do.

However, WP has kept its promise and retained access to the far simpler and more user friendly Classic Editor, although from comments received it seems that not all bloggers are able to find this access.

Mention had been made of moving to other blogging platforms, and while this is not something that I’m going to do as long as WP keep the Classic Editor easily available, it might be prudent to think ahead in case this eventuality materialises at some point.

So, can anyone please let me know of any other blogging platforms that they or others have had good experiences of???

PLEASE let me have any names or links that may be useful.  Thank you.

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TALKING IMAGES 66 – THE WORDPRESS BLOCK EDITOR – NOT FOR ME!

 

 


Father and daughter

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Well, without any warning whatsoever, on attempting to edit a post this morning I was propelled directly into WP’s new Block Editor.  Have to say it came as something of a shock, and an unpleasant shock at that.  I’ve spent time looking at this new editor and can see that its far too complex for my fairly basic needs, its certainly not for me.

But >>> good news!  While in the Block Editor, I went the the “three dots” options icon on the extreme right of the toolbar and pressed it, and right at the bottom of the options displayed is an option to use the Classic Editor, WordPress’s original post editor, and I clicked onto this, apparently to no effect.

However, when I take my usual path into post creating/editing – which is My Sites >>> WP Admin >>> Posts >>> All Posts – each post in this list now has a Classic Editor editing option, which takes me straight into the really very simple, efficient and fast Classic Editor that we all know and love so well.  In particular, I’m very happy to still have the ability to get into and edit the code underlying the posts.  Now, I have no idea whether my seeing the Classic Editor option on my All Posts screen is due to my having made the selection described in the previous paragraph or not but >>> I can use the Classic Editor, easily, now.

So, to add a new post, I go to the All Posts option mentioned above and select Add New.  This opens a new post in the Block Editor and I give this post some sort of title, however interim, and I then save a draft.  I access this saved draft in the All Posts list and select the Classic Editor editing option – and I’m back on track!

Now, I have no idea if this is what I’m “supposed” to do but – it works (or at least appears to) and that’s all that matters >>> I can get back to creating posts in a very simple to use editor.

I say again that I’m by no means ANY sort of expert here, but if anyone is having problems accessing the Classic Editor, I’m very happy to try and help out.

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TALKING IMAGES 65 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 11 : WHAT CAMERA EQUIPMENT SHOULD I CARRY WITH ME?

 

 


(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.

POST 7: Which is best for you – film photography, digital photography, or both?  And why?

POST 8: How does the size of the digital sensor in your camera affect the kinds of pictures that you can take with your camera?  This post considers the size of the sensor, the size of the camera body needed to house it, and the profound effects that sensor size has on depths of field/focus.

POST 9: Five essentials to think about when taking any photograph.

POST 10: Iconoclasm!!! >>> frank opinions on >>> photographic competitions; camera clubs; The Royal Photographic Society(ohhh!); our WordPress blogs; imminent WordPress changes.

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WHAT CAMERA EQUIPMENT SHOULD I CARRY WITH ME?

You are going out from your home to take photographs.  What photographic gear should you take with you?  If you know me at all, I expect you’ll know what I’m going to say – that this decision is purely up to you, its purely down to your personal choice.

However there are things to think about here.  First, your decision may well be influenced by your mode of transport:  if you’re going to be on foot, then the weight and bulk of what you’re going to be carrying may be more of an issue than if you are going by car – and the more so if you are no longer able >>> by any stretch of the imagination!!! –  to see yourself as any kind of spring chicken!

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TOTAL GEAR SYNDROME

Then second there is the question of whether you can bear to miss any of the photographic opportunities that may arise because, if you can’t, then you may feel that you need to take all of your photographic gear with you every time you go out – irrespective of your mode of transport.

This perception that you must be equipped for each and every photographic opportunity that may arise can be quite strong I think – you may of course feel quite substantial feelings of loss and disappointment if you have some wonderful photographic opportunity in front of you, but lack the gear to do it justice.

I can only give you my personal opinion here, I can only tell you what works for me.  And that is that its important to get away from this ‘Total Gear Syndrome‘, and to be able to live with the fact that, during a photographic excursion, there may be lost opportunities – and that’s just how Life is!  As the French put it, “C’est la vie!”.

There is also the point that if you have loads of gear with you, you may waste time deciding which items to use whereas, for example, if you have but a single camera and lens, you’re going to be straight into the action without any thoughts about gear.  Zoom lenses are good, because they provide an immediately accessible array of possibilities without having to change the lens.

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME

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Partly because of my increasing years, but mostly because of my minimal, less is more outlook on things, I tend to travel light.  Walking around Bristol’s outer suburbs, I carry only the little Olympus TG-5, which is  both light, and completely out of sight in my trouser pocket.  It has a 25mm-100mm equivalent zoom, which is far more flexible than a fixed focal length – but as I often “see” at x6 magnification (300mm focal length), there are clearly many times when I will “see” pictures that the TG-5 simply cannot do justice to >>> and this is exactly what I was talking about above >>> the TG-5’s short telephoto range may cause me to miss pictures but I am totally at one with that – it is a straight trade off between available telephoto range and the camera’s wonderful, go anywhere, portability.

If I’m more intent on photography and on foot, the primary weapon is the Nikon Z 6 which, being a mirrorless camera, is not so bulky as a DSLR.  Because I often “see” pictures as telephotos do, the lens I’m married to is the 70-300 Nikkor.  And because the Z 6 can capture photos in both full frame and APS-C format, the range of this lens is increased from 70-300 to 70-450.  And so to traveling light – one camera, but with a huge telezoom range.

And if I’m out in the car, I’ll also take the small Fujifilm X-T2 with a 15-36 equivalent, wide angle zoom.

Finally, I always carry a tripod in the boot of my car but it simply never, ever gets used.  Many landscape photographers consider tripods a necessity, but their relevance is to some extent being eroded by the greatly improved image stabilisation systems in both camera bodies and lenses.  Personally, I find tripods far too restrictive, as I’m very often on the move – to steady my camera, I rely more on the stabilisation systems mentioned above, on a stable body stance when triggering the shutter (eg elbows pressed in tightly against my ribs), and on leaning / bracing myself against walls, buildings, lamp posts, trees and other solid supports.
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TALKING IMAGES 64 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 10: ICONOCLASM RAISES ITS HEAD – AND BE SURE TO READ THIS POST RIGHT TO ITS END!

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.

POST 7: Which is best for you – film photography, digital photography, or both?  And why?

POST 8: How does the size of the digital sensor in your camera affect the kinds of pictures that you can take with your camera?  This post considers the size of the sensor, the size of the camera body needed to house it, and the profound effects that sensor size has on depths of field/focus.

POST 9: Five essentials to think about when taking any photograph.

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THE MAIN MANTRA, THE REALLY CRUCIAL POINT >>>>> ONCE AGAIN!

Back in POST 1 of this series, I took great pains to stress that we are all individuals, each with our own ideas.  I said this, which encompasses some of my core beliefs:

When thinking about photography, THE main (and very liberating) thing to keep in mind is that we are all different in our attitudes and opinions to it.  We are all individuals.  This does of course apply to probably anything that you like to mention – we all may have different opinions about cheese, the clothes we choose to wear, the houses we like to live in, the books we read, those we choose as partners, those we hate – you name it!

This being the case, there are never any rights or wrongs in photography, there are only differences of opinion.  I may think my photos are wonderful, and someone else may think them dreadful.  Photography is a very subjective activity, it depends upon our personal opinions – and that is something I’ll touch on more in later posts.

And its the second paragraph here that is really the cruncher, that really says it all >>> that photography (along with many other things) is highly subjective, that is, it depends on OUR OWN PERSONAL OPINIONS.  YOUR photographic vision is unique to YOU.

This being the case, the question must arise as to whether anyone else is qualified to pass a definitive opinion on your photographs, because that person might not understand your mindset or vision, what you’re photos are trying to say or convey, etc etc.  That person may only be able to see your photos from his or her mindset / vision which, since we’re all individuals, may be quite different from your’s.  Its hardly rocket science, is it?

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AND SO TO A SPOT OF ICONOCLASM – ALL MY OWN PERSONAL VIEWS, NATURALLY

PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITIONS

Since photography is so subjective, I cannot believe in the validity of competitions that seek to compare one photo with another, and to say that one photo is “better” or “worse” than another.

I read that entering photographic competitions can give one more confidence, and enable one’s pictures to be seen more widely and those points may be true for others, but they are certainly not true for me.  I have never felt the slightest urge to enter such a competition.  I’m very happy with the exposure to others that my blog gives my pictures –  and I have actually read that one way forward with photography is NOT to enter competitions, that is to keep right away from any hints of competitiveness.  Still, having said that, our species is a highly competitive animal … so you takes your choice!

CAMERA CLUBS

Well, I’m quite a loner really, and especially so when it comes to taking photographs, and I can only say that these clubs are not for me.  I do know someone with club experience that is really very negative; and I read clubs’ accounts of themselves each week in Amateur Photographer magazine, and simply see a different world, a different mindset, to my own.

There are clubs all over the UK, and various regional federations of clubs, and probably federations of federations too, and they have competitions where the members of one club try to outdo members of another, and there are trophies and prizes, and all I can say is that to me all of this seems a million miles away from simply going out with a camera and creating images.  And, once again, if photography really is as subjective as it appears to be, how can such competitions have any solid, objective basis?  But, once more, the human animal is competitive, and tribal too …

THE ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY (RPS)

Well now, I’m really not qualified to give an unbiased view here, I freely admit to that.  And, to be fair, let’s start with a link that tells you all about the RPS: that info is here .  I imagine that the RPS does some good, worthwhile things, and you can learn about them in the link.

I suppose that my negative feelings about the RPS originate from three things.  First, the UK is a country with many institutions that have originated in the past and which are simply carried mindlessly on in the 21st century.  Examples of such anachronisms are the royal family, parliament’s house of lords, and the continued use of titles like knight, duke, lord, dame and so on.  For me, royalty are the really outstanding anachronism here, so that anything with “royal” in its title is instantly suspect.

Then second, I have an interest in Modern Art, and I am inspired – indeed, often simply blown away – by many of the works of the Impressionists and others – the likes of Renoir, Degas, van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Cezanne – and never, ever, forgetting Britain’s JMW Turner.  And the French Impressionists of course arose in a time when French art was totally dominated by the Academie des Beaux-Arts, which laid down the “rules” of art, and which only accepted pictures to its annual Salon de Paris if they obeyed those rules.  The Impressionists broke away from the Salon and staged their own exhibitions – and so to a vast breath of fresh and exciting air through French art.

And, in my mind, I confess to not being quite able to totally disassociate my feelings about the RPS from my feelings about the Academie des Beaux-Arts.  Of course, all things royal in the UK have nothing like the power or influence they once enjoyed – which can only be a profound blessing! – but I remain at best equivocal about the RPS notwithstanding.

And my third source of disquiet is that the RPS actually goes as far as issuing photographic “qualifications” (you can read about them on the link), so that you can become eg A N Other FRPS for example!  Once again – and for the final time, you’ll be glad to hear – if photography really is as subjective as I believe it to be, how can RPS judges, or any other judges, be objective, how can they hope to get deeply inside others’ minds?  To be fair to the RPS, I think that other UK photographic societies also bestow photographic “qualifications” now – but all of this is very, very far from my mindset …

One final point is that at least some RPS members do not consider a photograph to be a “true” photograph (whatever that is) unless its been printed, and you don’t need me to tell you what I think of that particular piece of dogma!  However, we do live in a digital age where vast numbers of images will remain forever on phones and hard drives, and I’ll talk in a later post about this – photobooks seem a good way forward.
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AND, FINALLY, TO OUR WORDPRESS BLOGS

Reading Amateur Photographer magazine as I do each week, mainstream photography in the UK seems to be a fairly stressful and pressured affair.  There seems to be the fixation that every photographer must strive to make his or her photographs stand out from those of “the crowd”, in order to get him or herself noticed.  Also, there are recognised photographic “honeypots” that are guaranteed to produce at least reasonable pictures: the great prehistoric circle at Stonehenge, which must have been photographed millions of times over the years, would be an example, I suppose.  And as I understand it, the perceived notion is that I should go to Stonehenge and strive to take photographs that are somehow different from all of the millions of photographs already taken there – that I should “see” Stonehenge is some different sort of way, and so end up with photos in some way different from all those taken before, to get my photography more widely  noticed.  And there also are jokes about having to put the legs of my tripod into the holes made by the tripods of other photographers who have toiled there before me …  (also, reading this and thinking about it, perhaps the current trend for each photographer making “his/her take” on a honeypot locality is akin to painters in medieval times, who each did their own take on The Crucifixion and other biblical/classical scenes).

Well, I read what I have just written in the preceding paragraph, and my single response to these points is “WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD I EVER WANT TO GET INTO THIS MINDSET?!“.

What I have outlined above is certainly not my idea of enjoyable, satisfying photography – and I have a feeling that many of you reading this will agree.  We post on WordPress, in a reasonably small, quiet, non-competitive and mutually supportive community, that suits our really quite simple needs very well.   I also value the opportunity to write at length on WP, should I want to (and as I have done here!), rather than being constrained by just a title and/or some brief text..

WORDPRESS: THE STING IN THE TAIL!!!

And now, having written so glowingly about WordPress, I recall reading recently that we are no longer going to be able to use the original, Classic post editor.  Instead, a version of the new Block Editor will mimic the Classic Editor’s functionality – see this link Well, as always, words are words and only time will really tell …  For the moment, read the Comments on this link.

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TALKING IMAGES 63 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 9: FIVE THINGS TO DO WHEN TAKING A PICTURE

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.

POST 7: Which is best for you – film photography, digital photography, or both?  And why?

POST 8: How does the size of the digital sensor in your camera affect the kinds of pictures that you can take with your camera?  This post considers the size of the sensor, the size of the camera body needed to house it, and the profound effects that sensor size has on depths of field/focus.

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FIVE THINGS TO DO WHEN TAKING A PICTURE

There are of course many things to think about when taking a photo >>> and when taking a grab shot, with no time at all to do anything but press the shutter release, they all go out the window!!!  But, if you do have the time/opportunity to think about them, here are five simple things to do when taking any picture:

1: take a series of pictures, not just one.  It has been my experience, time and time again, that my best picture of something is very rarely my first picture >>> so if there’s something in front of me that looks good, I take a whole series of pictures using various formats, viewpoints, spot meter readings, etc.  I think I’m probably learning how to “see” the subject as I’m photographing it.

Arguments for adopting this approach are (a) that you might not see this subject again, this might be your only chance to photograph it; and (b) that you can later consider all the shots at your leisure, and then delete those that are less satisfactory – digital photography makes this sorting/editing easy, efficient and cost-free.  But err on the side of caution: if you’re at all unsure about deleting an image, keep it, at least for now.

2: always check the periphery of the frame.  Immediately prior to taking a photo, get into the CONSTANT habit of quickly running your eye around the edges of the frame, to ensure that there is nothing unwanted there.  We’ve all seen portraits with telegraph poles sprouting out of the subjects’ heads, and idyllic landscapes with a pile of litter (or worse!) in one corner.

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3: always check the background of the image.  Some pictures require front to back sharpness, and for these you have everything sharply in view in the frame, so that you can run your eyes over the frame and see what’s there.

But other pictures have a subject, often in the foreground, that needs to be isolated, if only a little, from the backdrop.  If attempting this second sort of image, always pay great attention to the background, and especially so if it is non-uniform and/or has much light falling on it.  Shoot at larger apertures to reduce depth of field, and always use the camera’s depth of field preview button to get an estimate of how intrusive the background is going to be.  And ALWAYS REMEMBER that the effect that you see when using the depth of field button is probably going to be less than the effect that you will see on the finished picture (cameras taking their viewfinder/screen image directly from the sensor eg mirrorless cameras apparently suffer less from this defect, i.e. they give a truer indication of depth of focus).

The simple fact remains >>> an intrusive background can totally wreck a picture.

4: exclude anything extraneous from the frame.  I’ve already covered this point in POST 4 but I want to reiterate it here as its so important.  The point I’m hammering at is Simplicity of Message.  Less is more has long been a basic creed of mine.  Because simple is beautiful – and its in the famous KISS command, which urges all of us photographers to “Keep it simple, Stupid!”. 

The more there is to look at in a photo, the more confused the eyes become, they don’t know where to look, they don’t know what the photo is trying to say.  “Picturesque” subjects often have loads and loads of detail >>> look to create images that only contain things relating to the image’s subject >>> don’t try to cram everything in! >>> unless “everything” is the message you’re trying to get across.

5: unless you have consciously decided NOT to, try to get the horizon horizontal and verticals (eg buildings, street lights) vertical!  I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but the number of seascapes that I’ve seen which have horizons at a slant is far, far beyond count.  Many cameras now have leveling aids visible in the viewfinder, and there are further tools in post-processing software.  In situations where being sure of horizontals and verticals is difficult, its often useful to leave a “unused” area in the frame around what you want to be the actual image, so that you can use software to correct the horizontals/verticals without eating into the edges of the image you are trying to create.  If you frame your image tightly, then later adjusting of the orientation may cause some of your image to disappear.

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TALKING IMAGES 62 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 8: HOW DOES YOUR CAMERA’S SENSOR SIZE AFFECT ITS IMAGES?

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.

POST 7: Which is best for you – film photography, digital photography, or both?  And why?

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HOW DOES YOUR CAMERA’S SENSOR SIZE AFFECT ITS IMAGES?

SENSOR SIZE

Firstly – and very obviously – the smaller the digital sensor a camera has, the less image information it will collect, and the less suitable the resulting pictures will be for big enlargements and/or significant cropping of their content. Having said this, sensor technology is improving by leaps and bounds, and smaller sensors are far more capable than they were in the past.  But, still, the basic rule applies – if you want big enlargements or the ability to significantly crop your images, then full frame (i.e. 35mm format) cameras, or cameras with still larger sensors, are better.

But there is also the fact that, despite sensors improving in quality as they undoubtedly are, smaller sensors still tend to lag behind larger ones in terms of resolution and dynamic range, and also in terms of the amount of noise that they generate at high ISO settings.  However, having said all that, there is the point that my Olympus TG-5 TOUGH camera, which has been used for many of the pictures in this blog, has a sensor only 6.17 x 4.55mm in size  – way below the 36 x 24mm of a full frame sensor.  But for the needs of this blog for example – fairly small images, basically – the TG-5 is fine.  And the TG-5 is a tough, compact and eminently portable camera.

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CAMERA SIZE

Secondly, the smaller the digital sensor, the smaller and more portable the camera body containing it can be. I used to use full-frame Nikon DSLRs, and they really do the business – wonderful cameras – but they are bulky and heavy, and they have optical viewfinders.   Then I started using the lighter and more compact, mirrorless Fujifilm X-T2, which has a wonderful electronic viewfinder (EVF).  This camera has a smaller APS-C sized sensor (25.1×16.7mm) which produces really beautiful images – but, there have been instances where I’ve missed the size and (to a rather lesser extent) the quality of the Nikons’ larger sensors.  I still use the X-T2 now, mainly as a second camera with a wide angle zoom lens, but I’ve been blown away by the full-frame, mirrorless Nikon Z 6, which is significantly lighter and more compact than Nikon’s DSLRs.

There is also the fact that smaller sensors lend themselves more to image stabilisation than larger sensors – which, again, is quite logical. I’ve read quite astounding reports of the image stabilisation feats achieved with the small Micro Four Thirds sensors mounted in recent Olympus cameras, and this is the reason. So, if you’re looking for ultra-reliable stabilisation in low light conditions, smaller sensors are the thing  >>> although, for low light, larger sensors are better at light-gathering – you pays your money and you takes your choice!!!

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DEPTH OF FOCUS (aka DEPTH OF FIELD)

But, finally, a far less obvious point. The smaller sensors get, the larger are the depths of focus (aka depths of field) that they produce at any focal length. Which means that full-frame cameras produce slimmer depths of focus, which is wonderful if you’re after lovely out of focus effects (bokeh) in, for example, portraiture. But its more difficult or impossible to get such effects with smaller sensors – I can get nice out of focus effects using the APS-C sensor of the X-T2, but this is with a 300mm (equivalent) telephoto used close in to subjects.

Conversely, if you’re wanting to take images with everything or most things in focus (e.g. abstracts), then smaller sensors are for you: and this is where the Olympus TG-5 really works for me.

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TALKING IMAGES 61 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 7: WHICH IS BEST, FILM OR DIGITAL?

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.
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WHICH IS BEST, FILM OR DIGITAL???

Hahaha!!! >>> well, this post has a deliberately provocative title and, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I don’t think either film or digital is better in absolute terms >>> they’re simply two different entities, each with their own positives and negatives.  That said, personally I’m very much a digital photographer, because digital does exactly what I want – which the bottom line really –  but I will still try to give a balanced comparison of these two processes.

What are my qualifications for commenting here?  Well, I shot film from the 1950s up to around 2009 or so, and processed black and white in wet darkrooms at school and university – although with hindsight I was never really much good at this processing.  The later years of my film days mostly involved shooting colour slides, a lot of Agfa CT18, some (really quite exciting) Agfa Scala black and white slides, and finally a lot of Fujichrome.  One thing about shooting slide film is that everything has to be right at the point of capture – composition, framing, exposure, the lot – and this is really good practice/discipline for photography generally.

And then I’ve been shooting digital since early 2009 >>> using DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compacts >>>and plastered many of the resulting pics onto this blog – alongside quite a few of my film images that I’ve scanned.

So, the big question, digital or film??????????

And of course one answer is that there’s absolutely no reason to restrict yourself to either >>> why not shoot both???   But let’s look at each in turn.

FILM – ADVANTAGES

  • Many say that images on film have a better ‘look’ to digital images, the latter often being considered to look rather too sterile and precise.  This may well be true.  Lots of digital image processing packages have attempted to remedy this but I really don’t know enough about these to comment.  Does anyone have any input on the effectiveness (or not) of these software packages in making digital images appear more film-like?
  • There is also talk of a renaissance of film, of its recently increasing use, and lots of young photographers apparently see it as very cool and fashionable.  Again I can’t really comment, although I have to admit to some scepticism.  Again though, any comments?
  • One thing is for sure: if you’re after a very hands on and tangible approach to photography, film is the thing.  Just think:  buying uncut lengths of film in bulk; loading your own film cassettes; developing and printing your own films in a real, wet darkroom.  Or doing as I did in later years, shooting colour or black and white slides, which I then posted off to specialist processors – all of the pictures on this blog’s front page were shot on film.
  • Its said that using film slows down our photography and makes us think more about each shot, not least because there are only a relatively small number of shots per film.   These points are very likely true, but personally I value being able to take shots – as, when and how rapidly I like – without having to think about changing the film.

FILM – DISADVANTAGES

  • But then there are the (not inconsiderable) costs of buying film and paying for its processing, or buying processing chemicals and equipment for yourself.
  • Along with the fact that very few if any new film cameras are being made any more, except in the largest formats.
  • There are still many second hand film cameras around at the moment but, as time passes, they may need repair by specialists.

 

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DIGITAL – ADVANTAGES

I was initially very sceptical of digital photography, in fact I was a die hard film user.  Until I saw a friend’s digital images on his computer – and until Nikon produced the D700 DSLR, which I could afford and which seemed capable of producing images comparable to my wonderful Nikon F6 film camera.  I seem to remember a brief transition period when I was shooting both formats, but then digital very decisively took over and I’ve never looked back.  Much as I enjoyed using film cameras – the Olympus OM-1 comes very much to mind here – it is for me unthinkable to even contemplate a return to film.  My reasons?

  • I’m attracted by the very powerful and accessible creative potential of digital photography, even when used with fairly simple processing software like Adobe Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2.
  • I’ve already mentioned not having to think about changing films and having to carry spare films with me.
  • Another very important point is the ability to shoot each frame at a different ISO, though I’ve yet to use auto ISO.
  • And then there are ISO values that digital allows me to shoot at – I can well remember the stir when the D700 (and its predecessor) allowed over 25,000 ISO, and now the Z 6 reaches up to 204,800!!!  I know, I know, there will be gasps of revulsion, and “the quality will be terrible! … you’ll be able to see the noise!! … the pictures won’t look real!! …! >>> to which I have two, very definite answers: (1) if its a case of 200,000+ ISO or I don’t get the picture, I’m getting the picture;  and (2) its certainly worth trying out 200,000+ (although I’ve yet to), because the effects may in fact prove to be creative >>> and, as in POST 5  >>> if it looks good, it is good!
  • And then of course the ability to shoot on colour and/or mono, though I always shoot top quality, full colour, Raw files and do my mono conversions post-capture, either in-camera (sometimes) or on a computer.
  • I don’t have to scan my images into digital to present them on this blog.
  • Digital cameras do many things for me, which enables me to think more about my surroundings and what I can see through the viewfinder or screen, and to think about composition.
  • Instant appraisal of images (though I did enjoy the anticipation of waiting for my developed/printed films to come back from the processor).
  • And I am totally unable here to stop myself putting in a plug for mirrorless cameras which, to me, are simply magic – once again, freeing up my mind to concentrate more on what I’m photographing and on composition.  I mean, for example, accurate auto focus (a blessing for my tired old eyes!); and live histograms, horizons and exposure adjustments visible in the viewfinder.  What do I use?  Well, the mirrorless Nikon Z 6 and Fujifilm X-T2;  and, in these days of Coronavirus, the far more portable and compact Olympus TOUGH TG-5.

DIGITAL – DISADVANTAGES

  1. Having to buy some sort of computer or smartphone; memory cards; batteries, processing software (although free software is available, and many modern cameras and phones have some processing software inbuilt).  Many film cameras were totally mechanical (or a small battery was needed only for the light meter), whereas all digital cameras need batteries (and often spare batteries too if large numbers of pictures are to be taken).
  2. Ending up with vast numbers of unprinted images on phones or hard drives, which can be all too prone to failure;  and hence leading to the need for regular backing up routines.
  3. Using a more remote process than film, by which I mean not having the tangible, touchy feely relationship with the photographic process but, rather, using a camera, a keyboard and software.
  4. Feeling less easy about changing lenses on digital cameras, especially in windy / dusty / seaside etc environments, due to the danger of getting dirt onto the sensor.  As some kind of solution, many digital cameras now have internal, sensor-cleaning routines, and it is possible to have sensors professionally cleaned.  But the fact remains, that the sensors in film cameras – i.e. the films – were changed after every 24 or 36 shots, and a new sensor loaded;  and that it was easier to clean the insides of the film cameras themselves than it is digital cameras.
  5. Have I missed anything???

A FINAL POINT: TECHNOLOGY RACES EVER ONWARDS

I lived in Kenya 1977-89 and, if I wanted colour slide film that could be developed locally (i.e. in Kenya), then Agfa CT 18 was the sole (and excellent) choice for at least most of that time.  But when I got back into “serious” (LOL!) photography in the UK, in around 2002 or so, I was absolutely taken aback by the quality of the new colour slide films that were available, especially those made by Fujifilm – the likes of Fujichrome Velvia 50 and Velvia 100, and the totally wonderful Fujichrome Provia 400X.

My point here is that technology races ever onwards and that there have been very significant improvements in both digital sensors and electronic viewfinders (EVFs) in the past few years, so much so that many earlier digital cameras now appear crude and over large – as well as very highly expensive when they were first produced.  I realise that many reading this post will already have made their minds up about the road that they will take – film or digital or both – and it is not for me to try to change those decisions.  But I do urge those with any interest at all in digital to get an idea of what modern sensors and EVFs are capable of.

And the final, final(!) point here is that, as I’ve been reading, digital cameras (full frame and smaller) have probably become as good as they need to be, such that future “upgrades” may be driven more by marketing campaigns for “must have” features rather than by actual, hands on usefulness to photographers.

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TALKING IMAGES 60 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 6: COPYRIGHT? I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

COPYRIGHT?  I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED – FOR 3 REASONS

1: LIFE’S TOO SHORT! – I suppose that when thinking about copyright, I can sum my feelings up with the phrase – “LIFE’S TOO SHORT!”.  There are many, many other more worthwhile things to think about in Life.  We live in a highly materialistic world in which money and possessions govern everything for many, many people – and in these pandemic days we are seeing this even more clearly than usual, as the rush to re-open nations’ economies is inevitably leading to more people dying – it is a simple trade off between lives and livelihoods.  I’ve said many times on this blog that I’m trying to pursue a simple life, and this desire has only intensified now that I’m retired.

I would not think like this though if I were in any way a professional photographer, deriving income from my images, but being any kind of professional photographer is certainly NOT something that I ever want to be >>> being an amateur gives me total freedom to enjoy photography – how, as, when and where I chose, with no pressure whatsoever from anyone else.

Its true that I do put some very basic copyright metadata into each of my images, but I really have no idea whether this information can be removed or not, and I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over that.  Also, all of my images are posted at only moderate quality, which may make them less appealing to thieves, but this is primarily to avoid overloading the space allotted to my blog by WordPress, and to (perhaps) make my images open quicker.

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2: MOST DIGITAL PHOTOS ARE NOT TOTALLY STOLEN the stealing of unique film negatives or positives (i.e. slides, transparencies) can mean that pictures are gone forever.  What is being stolen has a physical presence, and can be materially removed from one’s possession forever.  But in this digital age, for example on Instagram or WordPress, the owner is still left with at least the master version, and so is still in possession of the actual image.

The concern then of course is that the thief may go on to make money or kudos from the stolen copy but, really, I can live with that.  I read somewhere recently that someone had their photos stolen from Instagram and that one of the stolen photos was entered into a competition and actually won a prize.  I can only see this as very sad behaviour; I can only feel very sorry for anyone who would even consider doing such a thing.

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3: PUTTING TITLES AND WATERMARKS ONTO IMAGES IS OUT – now here we get back to the personal preferences which I talked a lot about in POST 1: of this series.  Personally, I feel that the image is everything, and I have not the slightest inclination to deface it in any way, regardless of whether this may leave it more vulnerable to theft.  So I never put titles or watermarks onto images.  Many titles are not overly intrusive, its true, but here on WordPress I’ve been stunned to see some really heavily intrusive watermarks.

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TALKING IMAGES 59 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 5: IF IT LOOKS GOOD >>> IT IS GOOD!!!

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FINAL IMAGE: IF IT LOOKS GOOD IT IS GOOD!

To put it politely, there is a lot of rubbish floating around in certain photographic circles as to how photography should be done.  It all revolves around equipment, techniques, the recording medium (film, digital, etc), the type and amount of post-capture processing, whether or not prints are made, etc, etc, etc.  Well, if you know me at all, you will know what I think of such opinionated hot air – and so I am going to put the next three sentences in bold because, as far as I’m concerned, they say it all:

  • To me, all that matters in photography is the final image, completely irrespective of how it was captured (camera, pinhole, smartphone, anything at all). 
  • And completely irrespective of how much or little it has been subsequently cropped and processed. 
  • The resulting image is in the here and now, it is what we are looking at, it is all that matters.  And if it looks good for any reason at all, then it is good.

But others do hold different views.  For example, never cropping, only ever using film/digital, only ever using black and white/colour, never/always doing any post-capture processing etc etc.  All of these ways forward, and all others, are valid.  What is certainly not valid is the opinion that, unless we use certain photographic equipment or techniques,  we am not practicing photography “properly” and that, in some way, our images are invalid, inferior or unworthy of consideration for that reason.

Another real no-no here, in my view, is to try to pass off something that has been highly processed post-capture as something that is straight out of the camera at point of capture.  That is plain dishonesty.

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