It’s not been a bad start to 2012 on the website front, so i thought i’d do a little roundup of the highlights.
The new RichFlintPhoto | 50mm Tumblr blog is set to stay, and i may even invest in a better theme for the site later this year. It difficult to describe the difference between a Tumblr blog and the WordPress/Blogger, so lets just say it’s a nice, quick, daily updated addition to the blog family. Check out 50mm on Tumblr at http://richflintphoto.tumblr.com/
I also invested a little more time in my main blog including a review post of the content and publication application SlideShowPro Director. I haven’t done a review on the blog for some time – years probably – but i was so impressed with the SlideShowPro software that i thought i HAD to do a review. No sponsored review – i bought the software with my own money – just a simple review of what SlideShowPro Director offers.
If you are waiting for the release of the well overdue podcast, then you’ll be glad to know that I’ll be recording it over the next couple of days. It should have been released (or do they escape?) by now, but a sound card failure delayed the recording. I really do need to get some kit to make it slightly easier to record i.e USB microphone. Expect the extended December/January photography podcast with news and links very soon.
It’s hard to believe but the Darker Skies blog has been online for a year. My initial idea for the blog’s role turned out to be a non-starter. Originally i had planned the blog to be more like my main photo blog. I just didn’t see the point of doubling up on websites though. Each must have its own distinct role and Darker Skies certainly has developed an important role for itself over the last year.
Really the blog acts as a satellite for my other online photographic endeavours and as my own photo blog. The podcast has its own page here and there are plans to expand the site even further. The page design changed again earlier this month and… finally i’m happy with the way the blog looks. It’s been quiet here so far this month, very little in the way of photo postings, but i ‘ll be adding an image everyday this week starting tomorrow.
I’ve already started to formulate some plans for next year. After all, a year seems like a long time, but it soon goes, so I’m just thinking about where to take things next year. 2011, I think, will be a year in which I want to push my multimedia ideas to the next level - video, audio and photography. Heck yeah, that sounds like fun and a challenge too. I’ve started experimenting around with video recently, shooting and editing material I’ve done via my iPhone, however I really want to move to a much higher standard of work by this time next year. I think that the return to shooting in Norfolk next year will be a great place for developing a large-scale piece of multimedia work.
A couple of items needed to help me along. First is a compact digital HD camcorder, and second is software to produce professional photography slide shows with audio…. with the addition of video too. The camcorder will also be used for video podcasting, something I want to commence doing later this year. My only worry is the potential pitfalls of shooting video and still images at the same time. It rarely works well – both need different mindsets. I always remember a Larry Burrows (one of my photo heroes) remark that he would shoot black & white OR colour…. but NEVER both at the same time.
Ways of looking, ways of seeing and the visual interpretation of a scene – it depend to some degree on the medium you use and sometimes it’s just better to focus on one, than try to do several at the same time.
Going across the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northern England
I’m about to start writing my own personal ‘end of year review’, something that i always do for the last post of the year on my main photoblog. It’s a post where i reflect on how i’ve done creatively regarding work and photographic ouput over the year. Have i produced photographs that i like? Have i improved on last year’s work? So far, after a couple of strong creative years with 2007 and 2008, the jury is out for this year. I do expect a fair judgement when it comes though. 2009 wasn’t too bad, but i do intend to make 2010 a more outgoing and vibrant year photographically. More on that in the last post….
Well, the Darker Skies blog has been running a few weeks now. So far so good. There are lots of improvements on the way, often a blog takes a while to find its feet and i shouldn’t think that this one will be any different. Any comments or questions regarding the Darker Skies blog can be sent to email@example.com
The BBC’s Viewfinder Photography blog has posted an excellent article about the recent row in the US - discussed in the previous darker skies post. The Viewfinder post also contains a number of rather good links including one which is an interview with Associated Press (AP) photographer Julie Jacobson.
A blog post by photojournalist Zoriah Miller got my attention recently. The post contained a top ten of photojournalists of all time produced by the website Digital Photography Basics in which Zoriah had come sixth. Very nice i thought, but then I noticed that Don McCullin was in seventh place (yeah right!!) and a few problems started to emerge from the list. Just how do you judge who is better? What criteria do you use? Do you take into account different eras and world events? Is it about the photography or are other factors included? Suddenly compiling a top ten becomes a bit of a nightmare.
A couple of years ago, British television was full of these ‘best of’ programmes. The best 100 love films/comedy/war films/science fiction films/ etc etc etc. It was tedious but the TV people loved them because it filled in about three or four hours of programming schedule. One thing became apparent from these TV shows – the public vote format they used tended to favour the new. Time became a deciding factor on rating. If a film had been released recently it stood a far better chance of getting a higher position than an older 1940′s film. Music top tens were even worse because most people would vote for flavour of the month/year. Robbie Williams would often be higher for the best album ever than The Rolling Stones. Age and public awareness determined position. That is the fatal flaw with certain top ten topics. Do the vote five days/months/years later and you’d get a completely different result.
If you try to do a top ten with photographers surely you must have to take into account the era into account. You could do a top ten best Vietnam war photographers but it would be a lot trickier to compare Larry Burrows to a modern photojournalist like James Nachtwey. Both photographers live(d) and work(d) in two totally different times, with different needs, technology and media audiences. One isn’t better than the other. It’s like comparing directly a 1950′s football player with the modern player. So much has changed that it’s virtually impossible to use any static and solid measurement to compare them. The best idea is to not even try.
How do some of these photo bloggers find time to post daily? Even at the peak of my posting, on my other photoblog creation, i only managed 27 posts out of 31 day period, and that was a one time event. I suppose i was fanatically keen on blogging at the time, although that ‘honeymoon’ period didn’t last. I average about 11 posts a month now. What i find rather worrying about such regular posting is that it becomes rather tedious and does the photographer’s work some disservice. I’d rather have a photographer who posted great images every few days or so. Less is more.
One photoblog I’ve been following for a over a year now really does get my blood boiling. I’m not going to mention the blog or who it’s by, but i will say that the writing on this blog is entertaining, witty and often contains useful photographic observations. The writer even seems a likeable, friendly type, but it’s the photography that really, REALLY annoys me. Bland, boring images, yep hugely DULL photographs that i’d rather set fire to than blog, taken with some of the finest pieces of camera equipment, money can buy. Looking at the dull images makes you instantly realise that great cameras don’t necessarily make great photographers.
I have a theory that a good photographer can shoot a great image using virtually any type of camera, from a cheap secondhand Zenith 35mm, to a mobile phone camera, to a top of the range Leica M8.2. Is it envy for the camera the blogger is using? Well maybe partly, but it just seems such a waste of a well engineered camera. A great camera should compliment the user and help you take great images, and if those images are lacking something then you can’t blame your tools. It’s not tools, it’s technique. I suppose, like all art and beauty, a good photograph is just a matter of opinion and all in the eye of the beholder. Still seems a waste though. I’m going to keep an eye on the blog and see whether any improvements in image quality and shooting technique occur… I’m not holding my breathe.