Tuesday, August 06, 2013

don't fear the dark

Another Taco Tuesday at Tijuana Flats. My wife and my GX1 were with me. It's a cheap place to eat out when you're tired from a long day at work and don't want to cook. Two loaded chicken tacos, chips, and an endless diet Coke for five bucks. What's not to like?

I got back into the black and white mood this evening, inspired by "Southwestern Russia with a Leica Monochrom and 35 Lux by Daniel Zvereff" on Steve Huff's blog. I was taken with both the photography and the story that goes with the photos. Try to pixel peep the photos, and you'll be disappointed by the lack of "cutting" sharpness. Stand back and look at them, and I find I'm overwhelmed by them. What they might lack in technical sharpness them more than make up in their emotional edge.

My photos aren't anything like his work. For one thing even though the 20mm was opened up to f/2, it doesn't have the shallow depth of field his 35mm has. While I recognize and appreciate how it adds to his photography, I'm not so sure I could make it work as well in the photos as he does. I've read the stories about the Leica magic, and most of the time I shrug my shoulders and move on. This time I can literally see the Leica magic. My photos, by way of contrast, are too sharp. I never thought I'd see myself write that my lenses are too sharp, but I no longer have this burning desire to see every single item in sharp relief. Seeing photography like this stirs the yearning for... and I can't have that, not right now. I would probably reject a new camera even if it were given to me.

I've been going through something of a cycle lately, a process that started back in November of last year, and has traced through all of this year, through my layoff, and slowly dissipating as I approach my 90th day on my current job. All of this has affected me in many subtle ways, most negative. It will take a bit more time before I can look back with perspective and fully move on. I know it's selfish to look internally this way, but a knee replacement and working for a company that did everything it could to drive you away, and then laid you off, will do that to you. I wasn't so introspective that I didn't take care of my wife and family, but still.

As I come out of this dark period my desire to photograph is slowly coming back to life. But the desire to express myself photographically is different than it has been in the past. It's taking a new and different path, and I don't know where it will lead.

The GX1

I used the GX1 with the 20mm lens. More than a few internet forum folks put the GX1 down, claiming it was obsolete when it was released. Based on my limited experience so far that's not true. I appreciate what it can produce, as much as I appreciate all my Olympus cameras. It's neither better nor worse. It's just very, very good and quite competent.

This time around I ran the original raw files through LR 5 and Silver Efex Pro 2.


  1. Hmmm those trees and poles in the car photo have some strange dark halos. I guess that was the processing?

    1. Yeah. Every time I use the Wet Rocks processing in Silver Efex Pro 2 I wind up with those artifacts. I keep notching the pre-set contrast back to try and avoid that, but it appears not to work this time. Oh well. I'll soften it up some more. Or maybe I'll just run standard black and white with the sepia tone.

    2. Forgot to say that I still like both of your photos.

    3. Thanks. I updated the image. I got rid of the dark halos, but now it may be too dark overall.


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