Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Amy Wenzel's equipment

"Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to answer one of the most frequent questions that comes to me on a regular basis….”What equipment do you use/recommend?” First let me say that I can’t recommend a Canon over a Nikon for the simple fact that I’ve never picked up a Nikon in my life. All I can say is that I love my Canon to death and it does everything I want it to do, so I have never needed to look elsewhere! Here’s a list of what’s in my bag:

  • Canon 5 D Mark II
  • 85mm 1.2 L
  • 50mm 1.2 L
  • 24-70mm 2.8L

One of the best decisions I ever made for my business was to upgrade to the pro lenses. I previously shot on the 85 1.8 and 50 1.4. The difference in upgrading to the 85 1.2 and 50 1.2 was ASTOUNDING. It was like having a whole new camera. I could have wept eternal tears over the tremendous quality increase. When you pay for the 1.2 you aren’t just paying for a faster lens, you are paying for professional glass. You will see differences in the contrast, light distribution, creaminess, sharpness, and tons of other technology related things that I don’t know names for. I realized how much time I was previously wasting in Photoshop just trying to compensate for what was coming off my camera. The nail in the coffin was when I rented the 50 1.2 for day, and once I saw the difference I could never go back. And oh my soul, I would have sold an organ on the black market to get that new lens. So I did. (Got the lens, I mean, not sell an organ). And I like to use fixed lenses because they are so much sharper. I plan to replace my 24-70 2.8 zoom with the fixed 35mm 1.4 very soon. (I borrowed the 35mm and now need to sell another organ. dear, me.)

Upgrading to the 5 D Mark II was the same hysterical aha moment of “Oh my gosh, my life just got 10 million times easier and now my photos are finally coming off the camera the way I want them too!!!!!” There really is that much of a difference. So that is me on my soap box telling portrait photographers everywhere, that yes, it’s worth the investment, and yes, if you can do it you definitely should!"

found it here as I was browsing on the Internet.

9 Things To Do When You Are Feeling Stale (by Chase Jarvis)

1. Make a major life change. For me, I was in a stale spot in 2005, unsure of what to do next, so we up-and-moved to Paris. It changed my work, my career, and my life. Moving might sound like a huge deal, but it doesn't have to be. Try Berlin, New York, or anywhere on the planet that inspires or scares you. Things like this can be done cheaply - and once you put your mind to it, barriers just fall away. Inspiration points = 10.

2. Travel. This can take many forms depending on your budget and timeline, but the gist is to shake up your routine. I can be lots of long weekends regionally, or the other side of the globe. Don't rely on your standard morning cereal to inspire you. Have fish soup for breakfast in Japan, baked beans in London, or a tuna fish sandwich on Route 66. Sleep in tent or a hostel, or a castle. Travel by train, foot, bike or rickshaw. Mix it up. Meet people.

3. Set the Camera Down. Give yourself a break. Live a life without your camera for a predetermined time frame - a month or two or three. For me, this made me miss shooting soo much. I noticed things in the world that I longed to photograph. And when I picked up that camera again, I was hungry.

4. Watch films. And I'm not necessarily referring to summer blockbusters. I mean track down some art films. Documentaries. Fantasies. Seek out your local art house cinema, or downloa some films that you'd not ordinarily put atop your list. Reach out to friends and colleagues for their most inspiring flicks. This will get your mind going both conceptually and visually.

5. Look inside. Deal with that stuff in your life that you're not dealing with, or point a spotlight on those things in you that you know not what they are. Personal sacrificesand insights are a huge key to individual creativity and often bring out the best in who we are. These experiences can be humbling and challenging. Haven't talked with your brother in 2 years because of that fight you guys had? Reach out. Not sure why you have an aversion to hard work, success or failure? Explore that. And let yourself experience those emotions, those pains, or those moments of clarity you find on that journey. Those things can drive incredible work in your creative self. What pictures could you take that no one else in the world could take? Those can only be found by looking inside. You want a "signature" style? That's where you'll find it.

6. Become a voracious reader. It seems like a cycle for me - when I read a lot I'm creative, and I'm creative when I read a lot. The material I'm reading matters a little, but generally I chow down on a steady diet of biographies of artists I admire, classic fiction, philosophy, books on cultivating creativity, and monthlies in design, obscure fashion rags, or inspiring foreign design magazines. Blogs too - especially ones that keep me guessing on their content - less how to and more 'why'. Whatever your 'thing' is. Read about it.

7. Carry a sketchbook or an iPhone. All the times in my life when I've been on the creative rocketship have included a sketchbook as a part of my daily routine. I've never sat down and particularly drawn a ton, but I jot notes, make sketches, and take notice of things that inspire me. For me, this has really transformed into a role for my iPhone. The camera is my visual notebook - a snap here or there, a dissection of the visual vocabulary around me. I couldn't live without it. Voice memos that I mail to myself in brief moments of inspiration, or notes I jot and send myself via email. Whether it's a notebook or a handheld computer, the important thing is that you're recording ideas, inspiration, emotions for later reconsideration.

8. Get healthy. There's a longstanding tradition of artists in every culture being exceptionally unhealthy creatures. Complete overindulgence to the point of destruction. While I'm a strong advocate of experience, experimentation, and sometimes living loudly - I've found that for me these are ultimately best if they're short term methods to blow off steam or to temporarily avoid what's going on inside. Necessary evils I'd argue--but definitely not the key to creativity. I'm far more creative when I'm in a healthy place. Balanced, energized, alive, honed, exercising, taking time for myself, my friends, and my family.

9. Do something creative everyday as a practice. If you sit around waiting for the perfect inspiration, you'll make a lot less stuff, and the stuff you do make will be of a lot lower quality because your skills will be in the gutter. Creativity can be fostered. There are neural pathways that you're opening up, blood that your pumping around your brain. Again, enter my iphone. I post photos almost every single day (follow this onTwitter and Facebook). Some are great, quirky, unusual or evocative; others not so much. Banal. Purely experiential. Not everything you make will be great, but you'll be more attuned to the things you make that are great, and you'll have the wisdom to recognize those things that beg for more of your creative attention when they hit you like a freight train.

(found here)


Monday, September 28, 2009

Your Camera Doesn't Matter

"It's always better to spend your time and money on learning art and photography, not by spending it on more cameras.


So why do the artists whose works you admire tend to use fancy, expensive tools if the quality of the work is the same? Simple:

1.) Good tools just get out of the way and make it easier to get the results you want. Lesser tools may take more work.
2.) They add durability for people who use these tools hard all day, every day.
3.) Advanced users may find some of the minor extra features convenient. These conveniences make the photographer's life easier, but they
don't make the photos any better.
4.) Hey, there's nothing wrong with the best tools, and if you have the money to blow why not? Just don't ever start thinking that the fancy tools are what created the work."

Read the full post here (From Ken Rockwell).

Think about it the next time you want to buy a better DSLR :)

(Also, read a previous post of mine)


Three Photography Books

After a long time, I read three books from cover to cover. They are the following books:

The first one is more practical whereas the other two are sources of inspiration.

Photography blogs that I watch

I will keep you informed about any other blogs that I will find useful.

My new blog

This is my new blog about photography.
As I was writing many posts about photography in my Programming Dashboard Widgets blog, I though that it would be nice to create a new blog :)

I will regularly publish photos either from my DSLR or (usually) my iPhone 3GS.
I hope that I will be able to publish at least one photo per day.

The best Camera

This is a new book by Chase Jarvis. I have already ordered it and I am anxiously waiting to read it.
The bottom line: the best camera is the one that you have with you!