The Online Photographer: Best Comment Ever

What's the point of more detail in photographs when we already have too much detail? A photograph today highlights detail, forefronts it, spotlights it—detail at an almost microscopic level dominates so many pictures. I call the look "CAF"—clinical analytical forensic. It's when you see the crusty mascara on a model's eyelashes instead of a girl with thick eyelashes. I'm sure it's why people have become so passionate about big sensors, fast lenses and maximal bokeh—that's the only relief permissible from the relentless CAF.

"What's the point of more detail in photographs when we already have too much detail?" Great question. As I've been shooting more digital lately I've noticed that I'm suddenly obsessed with sharpness and detail and other things that shouldn't matter.

Zooming in to 100% and nudging Sharpness sliders around in Capture One is the least artistically productive thing I can think of.

I'm (temporarily) all digital

With all of my film gear and supplies packed in boxes, I have been shooting only with my X-Pro2 and X-100T. I understand why most everyone prefers shooting digitally. It's so fun, flexible, and easy!

I like to extol the simplicity of using film. "One needs only a light-tight box, some film, and a few inexpensive chemicals!" I say. But if I'm honest it's not that simple at all. Which film? Which chemicals? Then there's scanning. Blech! I have a bunch of different film cameras, which means a collection of lenses and accessories for each system and format. And how about that darkroom? I just packed my darkroom and it's crazy how much "stuff" is needed.

With digital I only need a camera, card, and computer! Well, and software for processing RAW files and cataloging everything. Oh, and some way of backing it all up and keeping it forever. And which software? I'm a week in to trying to go back to what I used to use.

Ok so both have their own ways of being both simple and complex. Circumstances and recency bias are helping me enjoy shooting digital for now. I'm experiencing a sense of relief in the way digital is easy. It's nice being able to snap a few shots, pop in a card, and have something to look at or share in just a few minutes.

It'll be fun while it lasts.

Giving Capture One another go

I've been here before, but I really want to cut the cord with Adobe, and Lightroom is the final obstacle.

I like Lightroom. I've been using it for years and I am comfortable. I know how to get the results I want and I have a few plugins and styles that I rely on.

But dammit, it's one subscription I wish I didn't need.

The only real contender is Capture One. I've owned Capture One for almost as long as Lightroom. I even moved everything into it a couple of times, but without success. I'm going to try again for the next month or so and see if it sticks.

Here are a few quick notes on Capture One vs Lightroom in my workflow.

  • I can't use Luminar as a plugin for Capture One, making round trips a pain
  • Capture One's UI is very customizable. I like how it looks and I like the layout.
  • I prefer Capture One's modeless editing to Lighroom's "Modules"
  • Capture One's "Process Recipes" are cool and flexible.
  • Lightroom has plugins for exporting to SmugMug, Flickr, you name it.
  • I can do a lot in Lightroom using single keystrokes where in Capture One it requires a combination, sometimes needing both hands.
  • I prefer Capture One's rendering of Fuji raw files
  • Both apps suck at dealing with metadata, which is why I still use Photo Mechanic
  • Lightroom's Photographer subscription includes Photoshop. But I hate Photoshop

What if I didn't have a darkroom?

I packed up the darkroom this weekend in preparation for my move. The new house does not have a darkroom and I'm trying to work out how I feel about that.

 Packing up the darkroom

Packing up the darkroom

I love having a darkroom. I love the idea of having a darkroom. I want to have a darkroom, but for a while, I'm not going to.

This means I'll most likely be shooting only digital. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Part of me is relieved, as digital makes things cheap, quick, and easy. The other part of me hates the idea of not making contact prints or feeling the exitement and surprise of spreading a newly-developed roll out onto the light table and peeking at it with the loupe. I don't like the thought of not being able to make real prints, even if I wanted to.

There's a rarely used bathroom in the basement of the new place that, with a little remodeling, should work as a basic darkroom. It only has room for one enlarger, so I'll have to decide which one to keep. That's a whole thing in itself.

I sometimes think I should just go all-in with a hybrid workflow and learn how to make a decent digital print, but nothing about that process is fun or interesting. I'm going to need a darkroom, but for a short while won't have one and it's freaking me out a little.

'Mobile phones have killed photography' - Wim Wenders

The trouble with iPhone pictures is nobody sees them. Even the people who take them don’t look at them any more.
— Wim Wnders

I know, I know..."Old man yells at clouds," but I think he's got a point. I do wonder if he's confusing capital-P Photography with ordinary snapshots. Snapshots today are meant to be ephemeral. The trouble is that if all you take are ephemeral snapshots, you'll end up with nothing and that would be a shame.

My daughter thought I was silly when I begged her to keep all those envelopes of drugstore prints. "Just throw them in a box," I said. She rolled her eyes but did. Now, more than a decade later, I showed them to her and she squealed, "These are so cool! I remember that day!"

You don't have to save or print everything, but do print a few of your snapshots now and then. You'll thank me later.

Lonely Leica

I'm preparing to sell my house so I've had to put away or throw away all sorts of camera stuff. The shelves here in my kitchen are usually loaded with assorted cameras for both display and easy access. The only camera remaining is the Leica M6. I can't bring myself to box that one up yet.

 Leica M6 on shelf

Leica M6 on shelf