What I like

They always tell you to photograph the stuff you love, and I have always found that a bit frustrating. I hasn’t really worked for me before. How do you identify the “stuff you love” in this context. For some it can be as simple as; they love horses, so they photograph horses. For me, it’s a bit more elusive.

This summer it dawned on me that I do enjoy street photography. Why is that? Mostly because I like to watch people. How they look and what they do. I always do that when I’m out walking the streets or sitting on the subway. It is however some way between just observing, and actually taking photographs. At least for me it is. But I try as best I can. The thing is, I didn’t realize this until recently. I have photographed street on and off for many years, but I didn’t know exactly why. And it only became apparent to me that I have done street quite a bit when I went through my library a few weeks ago.

A shot this one back in 1991.

Then, just the other day, I realized another thing I always tend to do. This may sound strange, but I find a surprising amount of pleasure in various man made objects. Usually finely crafted things or precision mechanics, but it can also be old and weathered objects. Big or small, but most often small. I have stuff lying around just because I like to pick them up from time to time.

This small microswitch has been lying on my desk for at least 3 years now. Every now and then I pick it up, pushing the lever and enjoy the solid click and the smooth action. I also remember boarding a plane once. I had to wait a minute right in the doorway, and then I had a look at the hinges used for the doors on that plane. Beautifully machined parts that was custom designed and manufactured for that single purpose. I loved it. Why don’t I photograph all these objects? I don’t know, but I guess I didn’t connected the dots all the way to photography. Also, I don’t want to do straight product shots. It has to be something more. Maybe I was afraid of not being any original.

Another thing that dawned on me recently is that I really love threes in all its forms. Both live and … processed. This was also a thing that I realized by looking through my library.

ocoloy print 23 12/12-23

In fact I do find all the details and stuff lying around in nature (leaves, twigs, fungi, and so on) very interesting, but I find it hard to photograph. Light is often a problem in the forest, which often lead to boring images. And that leads me back to my recent introduction to off camera flash photography.

So, any conclusion to all this? Maybe. I find the recent realizations quite motivating, and I like that there are a variety of stuff. Streets are fun, but you need the time and opportunity to get in to the city. Nature …. well you have to get out, which is a good thing, but not always possible. At least not in daylight during winter. Small objects can be shot in an ad-hoc home studio, or on location. As long as I can find the time, there should be an opportunity. Also, adding my own light to the equation makes thing easier since I’m not always able to postpone my other obligations every time the light is optimal.

Trying out flash

I have dabbled with Speedlight flashes before, and even got some decent results by bouncing off ceilings and so on. However, I have not tried it out for real. Flash equipment has been expensive, and I didn’t see how it would fit to my way of photographing. But now, two things have happened.

  • I found some really nice examples on using light in close-up/macro outdoors.
  • Off camera flashes has become accessible at a reasonable price (Godox).

So, to start off, I got myself a Godox AD100Pro and a wireless trigger for Fuji. I also got a silicon dome to put on the flash, and a small collapsible reflector. Wow, this was fun. Below is my first attempt. It was taken on a gray overcast day in the forest. The first image was the one I got without flash. I tried to develop it to a decent level, but I didn’t go all in. Just 10 minutes of Lightroom work.

The next image is a composite of two flash images. I emulated a two-flash lighting setup using one flash and photoshop. Notice how the texture is improved.

ocoloy print 24 17/12-23

I’ll definitely do more of this. Probably get a second flash unit and a couple of cheap light stands.

B&W or color

This has been an ongoing process for me for several years. When I started photographing in 1987, I only used B&W film. Partly due to the cost of color film, and partly because I enjoyed making my own B&W prints. I rigged a makeshift darkroom in my own bedroom, and had a lot of fun.

Fast forward to digital. For a long time, I have kind of thought I liked B&W most, but for some reason I have gravitated more and more towards color. It is fairly recent that I figured out that I mainly am a color photographer. But then there is that odd shot.

ocoloy print 3 9/11-23

I don’t think that one work at all in color. I B&W, the focus moves to the people in the foreground, while the 7-eleven storefront takes up too much space in the color version. I’m trying to figure out what I think about this. I’m not bothered about shooting B&W photographs, but I don’t like making that decision afterwards.

But all this is just me being silly. No one else is cares whether I planned a color shot or not, and whether I changed my mind afterwards.

OCOLOY – Sort of

ocoloy print 1 7/11-23

The almost-ocoloy project is coasting along. Still on the project, but winter is hard. It has been very cold for a couple of weeks, which really has affected me. The productivity went down the drain, but now I hope to pick it up again. To mitigate the problem of not getting out as much, I have added another tool to arsenal. A macro lens. I don’t think there has been that many weeks since 1989 that I haven’t owned a capable macro lens, but for the Fuji system I have only used my old Pentax 100mm. This is not really a satisfying solution. Even for macro, or maybe I should say close-ups, I enjoy shooting hand-held. So when I found a used Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro at a very good price, I jumped at it. That gives more opportunities to go around the house and finding abstract details.

A falling out with Instagram

ocoloy print 21 10/12-23

I don’t like Meta anymore. Or, I never really like them, but they have gotten worse. I haven’t experienced anything unpleasant, but I don’t like their business-model. I have no illusions about Google either, but you have to start some place.

Also, I don’t think Insta is that good for photography. My goal is not to gather likes or followers, but I do enjoy the occasional chats. However, I don’t want to do the stuff that is necessary in order to get my Insta account rolling. Just the simplest thing, like tagging the images is too tedious.

Right now, I’m testing out Flickr. Much better for presenting photographs, and maybe more my thing. I just want to have some galleries out there to show whenever someone asks. I’ll try it out for a while, and we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll end up terminating my Insta account, or maybe I just leave it dormant.