I am a regular visitor to The Online Photographer Web site. I admire the writing style of founder and editor Mike Johnson, and the site provides a valuable insight into the wide spectrum of photographic subjects. This week saw a piece by guest contributor Ken Tanaka who wrote about January being a time for self-assessment.
Ken posed the question: How do you feel? He went on:
This may seem an odd question but the answer is fundamental to realizing how you can best pursue photography. How is your health? How’s your weight, your energy, your mobility, and most importantly your eyesight? Are you unrealistically pursuing a style of photography that’s become too physically demanding for you? I don’t mean just arduous treks with heavy kits but also long hours on your feet in a studio or darkroom.
More than ever, photography offers virtually everyone with eyesight the opportunity to participate. Indeed, today’s small, light, powerful cameras enable you to achieve spectacular success even with rather restrictive physical limitations. You no longer have to carry heavy camera kits to get good technical-quality imagery. So if you’ve not already done so, now’s a good time to evaluate if your equipment, subjects, and style are really good choices for your age and physical condition as well as for your goals.
Now for you 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds these sentiments probably do not strike a chord and rightly so. Barring misfortune, you are good to go for 20 years at least. But for someone who will be 60 in 18 months time, Ken’s words hit home.
I do have health issues — blood pressure that is kept in check with daily Lisinopril — but that is not going to impinge too much on my photography. I also have issues with the optic nerve in my right eye as well as the onset of glaucoma. Those issues obviously do concern me as a photographer. Luckily, my left eye is my sighting eye, the one I use to gauge focus when manual focusing my Zeiss lens.
After reading Ken’s article, the balance once more swung towards the Ricoh GXR with the A12 M-mount. Ricoh, like Sony with the Sony NEX, has incorporated focus peaking to assist in the nailing the focus with manual lenses. That function appeals to me a lot.
In the course of this afternoon, I received an e-mail from a friend in London who had visited the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2011 exhibition at the National Theatre. She said she was disappointed not to see any of my photographs on show. Right! She did go on to mention that the work of photographer Sandra Bartocha appealed to her greatly.
Checking out Sandra’s portfolio, I can understand why. Sandra’s landscape photography does not go in for sweeping vistas but tends to concentrate on a single element of the landscape, exploring colour and texture. Sandra is a hardy soul, regularly venturing out in the cold and snow to capture exquisite shots. Her portfolio is well worth a view.
Sandra’s work also shows that you do not have to live or visit some great scenic area of the world to produce fantastic landscape photography. Great opportunities are probably right on your doorstep or just a short drive away. It is knowing where to look and seeing the potential for a great photograph. Sandra possesses this talent and an abundance of it.
I read up a bit more about Sandra and discovered that she shoots with a Nikon D700 and her favourite lens is the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR.
You can probably see where I am heading and you are absolutely right. The balance has swung back to the acquisition of a full-frame DSLR and my case it would be a Canon, preferably the still-to-be-announced Canon 5D Mark III, rather than a Nikon.
But by this time next week, I will probably have found another article and good reason to swing back to the Ricoh GXR M-mount again. Like the old joke goes: I used to be indecisive, now I am not so sure.
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