This has been my progression over the past few weeks of sketching. 🙂
This has been my progression over the past few weeks of sketching. 🙂
Like any good Samurai, I long to do things the old way…
Do I like microwaves? Nah. I heat my food up in the oven. TV dinners too.
Do I like TV? Of course I like TV. Um….at least I used to. I guess TV has lost its appeal to me as the centerpiece of human entertainment…
What has replaced TV?
YouTube (which I like)
Every video game ever made in last 17 years…
…the distracting temptation of each mindless app on your phone.
At some point you look at all these cable stations and social media platforms and you feel as though you are spending your waking hours in a place that isn’t real.
I mean, lets say you are at work, (which is most likely a real place) but when you get bored or frustrated or happy or whatever at work you go to this virtual place on your phone to share random thoughts or to gain some sort of misplaced perspective by driving yourself to irrational jealousy as you follow other peoples lives…
I don’t want to be too harsh here. Even a Samurai must adapt to change. When the Shogun dies we become Ronin. When the Katana is outlawed we buy guns. When guns are outlawed we buy wine.
Still… I think back to my youth, when we had 3 TV’s (which each had 5 available channels to watch) and a chorded phone and a radio. Nowadays I have all that in my iPhone. All of it. I long for the days when the world was smaller and I couldn’t interact with so many people virtually.
For instance, I have several Facebook “friends” in Indonesia. I will never see them in person within this lifetime most likely, and even if they really aren’t so special that I’d go to the other side of the planet to holla at them, part of me wishes I could see them. Why? Because I see them on my phone and maybe we traded some adult photos back when Facebook was newer and people did that shit. That makes me want to see them. That makes me subconsciously compare American woman I meet to these world-apart Indonesian gals. Life was a lot simpler when Indonesian girls were a “theory” or a curiosity and nothing more. In short: the internet has made the world smaller but it has also made me feel smaller too, while making my expectation of the world bigger.
I deleted my Instagram account today. Why? First because I was shadowbanned and secondly because it was useless to me. I have never made a single meaningful contact through IG. R X R Photo has never booked a photoshoot or made a dime from it. I have felt bad when a photo didn’t get as many “likes” as I felt it deserved though…
Will I delete Facebook next? That’s possible, but I’ll give that another year or two. I have a feeling I’ll just end up using Facebook messenger only…which I really don’t understand how it’s superior to regular old texting, but whatever. I would like to be like the old photographers who booked clients through word of mouth and their own websites and not through becoming a bitch for social media. I’m starting to hate what I see everyday. Nothing is separate any longer. There are no sub-genres. Every little interest you may have on social media moves along the rivers and dumps into the big social media oceans of presidential politics, social causes, and blindly fighting with strangers. It sucks. I suppose this social media thing as isn’t social anymore…
I have never been comfortable with the concept of being a follower.
This attitude and subsequent behavior pattern for me dates back to my days as a toddler, according to my mother. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel she says, or more precisely, a little badass free agent.
Not to say I haven’t followed behind friends and done dumb shit. Of course I have. Those experiences just made me more adamant about not being a follower.
So along comes Twitter and then Instagram and these apps ask me to follow people and try to attract followers by any means…. and ya boy Ric Ray is immediately offended. Followers huh?
I mean, Tom of Myspace didn’t ask me to follow him. Tom wanted to be my friend. I sort of liked that about Tom. Even Facebook went the “friend” route and did so more intimately by limiting the number of friends I could have to 5 thousand. As far as reductionism is concerned Facebook is an outlier. IG and Twitter put no limits on the number of followers you can amass. Myspace had no limit to the number of friends you could add.
IG doesn’t limit you. Nope. Your pathetic, uninteresting, pedestrian life limits you. Ive never had more than a few hundred followers on any platform….
I’m too humble to think myself so fabulous that I’d have actual followers. To be fair though, I know “follower” in the social media sense means that this or that person is following my feed, not the creepy “Jim Jones in Guyana with a few cups of cyanide and a cult” type of followers…..but it still seems contrived and unseemly. Of course someone like Taylor Swift has millions of true followers and deservedly so. She’s a megastar. Perhaps a person who amasses say… 25 thousand followers on Twitter can have a slice of that megastar feeling. Maybe for a price…
You of course can buy followers. You can also “follow for follow” with people and then get sneaky and unfollow them so you can have that golden ratio of 1000 to 1 followers.
Like when you look at some pop star’s follow/follower count and she has 1.2 million followers but only follows 1200 people….Nice.
I just don’t like the concept of following anyone. No one is worth following to me really. I don’t care what my favorite rapper is doing this evening or when my favorite pornstars’ next live cam show is happening. Who gives a fuck?
The reasons I’m done with IG and Twitter sort of mirror my hesitancy to buy into bitcoin at the current time… Allow me to explain….
Bitcoin was good to get into early. You could mine bitcoin without using a completely prohibitive amount of power (electricity) to do so. Nowadays mining bitcoin can only be undertaken by people (or sovereign nations) with a lot of money and resources already at their disposal, like North Korea for instance. Otherwise your ROI will be negative in all but the most ideal circumstances. Similarly Twitter was hot to get into early when people were following like crazy, but a few million spam bots and Nigerian email scams later and people are a bit more conservative with their follows, UNLESS you are a person with a lot of fame, money, and resources…..
I hate following people and honestly I don’t like being followed. Facebook even tries the follower thing but it’s not well defined and it comes off as sketchy. They can keep it. They all can just keep it…..
I haven’t been watching football on Sundays this year.
I have been shooting aspiring models and friends though.
There were no 100 degree days this summer.
I’m not saying global warming is wrong, but back in the 90’s I recall consecutive summers in Baltimore and Georgia where the thermometer read 100 degrees or above.
The current/past summer was muggy yes. Hot? Not really to me.
I switched companies that I shoot sports for. (If you want to know to whom I switched check my Facebook page or something) Shooting sports is fun but the money is drying up pretty quickly. Fewer and fewer parents are willing to buy prints of their kid once he or she (the parent) leaves an event, and those photo tents you see at tournaments aren’t as lucrative as they once may have been. Couple that with newspapers and magazines dying slowly, and there really isn’t a major demand for sports photos. I see parents and high school students with semi-pro gear on the sidelines now all the time. They may not have the passion and skill to produce high level sports compositions, but that camera and lens they now hold represents the money they would have spent on professional photos perhaps…..
Sports are in full swing though. I’m booked to shoot every weekday afternoon (after my main job) up till probably the first week of November. I’m also shooting models now until kingdom come, and will probably miss many Sundays in front of the tube watching the Redzone channel because of it. Sundays are great to shoot models for that reason however. It’s a dead day in the city for foot traffic and that’s a perfect environment to shoot in….
MICROSTRUGGLER is nearly a year old. I mainly like to shoot women and that’s what this blog will be about moving forward: photos and women…..
Model on Instagram is @myrlanis_
She only accepts followers who follow me first….
My IG is @rickyray73
Tee shirt available here.
I like this little camera. Model Ana Rivera ain’t bad either.
So it has been 6 months since the Fuji X100F debuted and I of course purchased the first one sold in my city of Baltimore. In fact, I have yet to see another X100F in Baltimore, but I digress. Since I bought the camera I’ve shot ~5000 photos and spent untold lunch breaks going through the menus. I’ve shot sports sidelines, pretty models, and I’ve shot and killed streets. I’ve hooked up an external flash, more on that later, and have fallen in love with using the LCD only to shoot.
WHAT I LOVE
I started out with this camera thinking I could shoot jpegs using those cute film simulation modes. I really tried to make it work too. My favorite one is ACROS (followed by Classic Chrome). I used ACROS a lot. I knew though, that sometimes I needed to record a scene in color so I quickly started shooting RAW + Jpegs to my card, which slows my Lightroom flow down, but it was manageable. Then, at some point, I downloaded the fuji film simulation plugins from some damn place on the internet and installed it in Lightroom. That way I could change a Fuji (only Fuji) RAW file to the Classic Chrome look if I wanted, or whatever. After a while I figured there really is no fucking difference between the in-camera jpeg film simulations and the Lightroom plugin camera conversions, AND I noticed that Fuji RAW files have a shit ton of dynamic range. I shoot all RAW now. Fuck it. Those in-camera film simulation modes are too cute for me…
I never understood or cared about having a leaf shutter until I started shooting sidelines at sporting events. I normally shoot 1/1000 F5.6 and auto ISO range 200-800 during the day for streets. When I’m shooting events I turn on the built-in fill flash just for shits and giggles. This is when I discovered that I could overpower the sun and create these hauntingly half dark images. I continued this trend later shooting models using an external flash….
The image quality beats the unholy fuck out of my Canon 5d Mark III, even when the DSLR is coupled with the world class 70-200 2.8 IS II lens. This little Fuji point-and-shoot compact beats it handily as far as micro contrast and sharpness is concerned. RAW to RAW the Fuji wins handily when it comes to dynamic range for both shadow pulling AND highlight recovery. Colors are more of a taste thing, but I find Fuji colors to be more accurate than Canon, even though Canon’s colors are warm and lovely.
The face detection works reasonably well, and it will even detect a models eye (left or right depending on your chosen setting) when it feels like it.
This is most likely the finest street photography camera ever made.
Models and subjects smile at this camera, as opposed to my big ass Canon which makes folks get all serious or run away.
THINGS I HATE
The afl/ael button is useless and positioned horribly. I have reassigned it to change my focus type.
The control ring concept is so horrid that I try my best to never touch the lens unless I’m changing apertures.
What the fuck is up with Fuji and off camera flash? Nothing works right. I can get my Canon (actually a Pixel Mago) flash to fire in manual using a chord that I have to jiggle and pray to get it to work. When it works the results are good though. I’m getting the X-T2 and some lenses soon as well as this new Godox flash trigger and flash unit that’s supposed to work with Fuji TTL and HSS and do it all wireless. We shall see…
I hate the view mode button. God forbid you ever hit that bitch by accident and spend an hour thinking your camera is malfunctioning. Perhaps I’m just an idiot but still….
This camera is a nice intro into the Fuji universe and also has a leaf shutter. That’s the deal. The jpegs are good but overrated. The RAW files are superb. It’s compact yet made of steel. It’s sharp as fuck. It’s silent. The autofocus is good in single shot mode. If you’re a street photographer this camera is superior to almost any camera you can buy besides a manual focus Leica and maybe my beloved Leica Q. None of those cameras have a fill flash though. This one does….
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Tee shirt available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X8L6WS
Model: Ana Rivera @myrlanis_ on Instagram.
Instagram has started shadowbanning people.
Don’t know what shadowbanning is? Google it. The thumbnail sketch goes like this: Instagram makes you think people are seeing your post when you use hashtags, and when you check the hashtags yourself your post is visible, but others cannot see your post when they search for that hashtag.
Instagram is mind-fucking you. They want you to think your post and hashtags are reaching new users, but in fact only your followers can see your post.
That’s some dastardly shit.
Reportedly, other social media outlets shadowban users. Twitter has been allegedly doing it for years. My issue with it is just one of disappointment. Sure, Instagram is free and the owners can do whatever they like, but it’s just that I’m running out of ideas of how and where to share my street photos online and potentially be exposed to folks I don’t already know in the process. Should any of this matter to me on a personal or even a professional level? Nah. Still, it’s fun to share photos and gain followers and get likes and all. People may hate on the idea in principle but who cares if an activity is important or not if that activity is fun? Everything a photographer does doesn’t have to be part of some Machiavellian scheme for world photographic dominance. It’s perfectly fine to get a kick out of people “liking” your photos, even if folks generally like “everything” and aren’t really interacting with your portfolio.
I don’t understand Snapchat at all for the record….
At any rate, Flickr seems to filled with foreigners and old people. Facebook is over-saturated. Twitter is for famous people and to find out if somebody is really dead. Instagram has started shadowbanning users. Great. Just fucking great. I am in the streets shooting, interacting with people every day. It would be nice if it didn’t end there. It would be nice if there were some allowable enjoyment to be had via street photography besides the act of taking the photos themselves…..
I care about street photography and sharing is caring. We shouldn’t all have to be like Vivian Meyer and have our entire portfolio discovered after we are long dead….
What matters more: photo content or picture quality? What photo has more intrinsic appeal: a grainy photo of a person getting shot in the head at point blank range or a crisp medium format photo of an apple sitting on a kitchen counter?
People seem to prefer interesting content over visually appealing picture quality. Actually, having both at the same time can be a detriment….
Before I begin I must admit: I’m far more shallow and superficial than I might have hoped….
Let’s take the internet for example, which consists of 3 things: photos, video, and text. That’s it. That’s the internet.
With laptops and PC’s declining in sales and tablet sales becoming stagnant, the main way folks consume the internet these days is by using their phones. Phones have made people highly tolerant of inferior photo quality, especially if the photo features a juicy ass, a nice set of boobs, or a cat, in no particular order. This is because people use their phones to record video and snap photos of the above things, often times in bad lighting or with less than professional level cameras mounted on their phones. Actually, there arguably has never been a professional level camera mounted on a phone…
Come to think of it, amateur porn is the reason this is a debate at all. Every time a chick sends you a photo of her rack and you whack off to it you are taking a side in this debate….
Meanwhile, the internet gives us high quality porn and photographers offer their services for top dollar. Premium porn sites sell content that later gets bootlegged and iPhone photo geeks scoff at paying 5000 USD for a wedding shoot. What the marketplace, both the internet consumer and iPhone shooters are saying is that image quality essentially doesn’t matter.
….and we wonder why our basic friends are simply not impressed by our nice, sharp, well composed DSLR photos, and instead like grainy, drunkly composed iPhone St. Patrick’s Day pictures….
This is why Instagram models are so successful. For every person surfing the web on their phones looking for art there are 2600 men searching the hashtag #tittytuesday. Art is secondary to porn, and in turn, image quality is secondary to content. In fact, many men are suspicious of well lit, professional photos on an Instagram models feed. They suspect a sell is coming, and nobody likes “the sell”. We, ahem, they are more amenable to poorly lit bathroom and bedroom photos where the model is wearing her often worn night clothes…
A nice painting is probably not as desirable as a nice blowjob I suppose, even though the painting normally costs more….
We photographers spend thousands on our cameras and even more on an array of sharp lenses and we only have 900 followers on Instagram and 300 on twitter while some chick in her moms basement using a Galaxy Note has 200k followers on IG and a respectable 24k on twitter, even though she never does more than post photos….
Why the fuck are we buying all this gear? Are the camera companies mind fucking us? If you shoot weddings or funerals or school photos I get it, but most of us don’t shoot shit besides street photos and our reluctant family members who we are afraid to tell how much we paid for our gear….
This is a micro-struggle. The debate over image quality vs. image content will not determine whether or not your city legalizes prostitution. This is small shit in the scheme of things. Still, think about how much grainy amateur porn you whack off too compared to over-produced West Hollywood porn…..
Ain’t no money in this thing here bruh.
Street photography isn’t a genre where you’re going to work your way up to being rich. Nope. You wont make ANY money shooting street photography. None. You wont sell a single print. You wont book a single magazine gig. Nothing. The best you’ll do is host seminars and become famous for those seminars. You can blog about it, like I’m doing, and maybe eventually it will segue into other genres of photography that actually pay. Otherwise, this is art in the purest sense. You shoot the streets because you love shooting the streets. If you are in it for any other reason then you are lost.
With that being said, street photography is a fine beginners genre. You will learn a lot of useful skills. Mainly, you will learn to shoot moving subjects. This is valuable if you end up shooting sports or weddings or other types of live events. You also will learn your camera and how to adjust it to suit the scene in front of you. The street is not the studio, and the light is generated by God and not an Einstein strobe. As the natural light changes or vanishes, your settings must change also, so you’ll become a master at that. In addition to learning your camera, you’ll also develop a steady hand as you combat camera shake with your non-stabilized 24mm to 50mm prime lens, and you’ll learn a lot about photo editing, which is no less than half of the photographic process.
You can dream as big as you want, and there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what can and cannot happen in your career, but if you’re looking to get rich off street photography, look elsewhere. Street photography is a labor of love, and the best you can expect is a ton of Instagram followers and perhaps some proceeds from awards you may win when you enter contests. Other than that you know the drill: Stay low and keep shooting!
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I don’t know if you fine citizens in America have noticed but social media is nearly unusable during the weeks leading up to an election for President. I can’t enjoy one good WorldStarHipHop fight video before I see folks who only watch CNN when there is a tragedy, all of a sudden write posts as if they are talking heads or political pundits. I had no idea watching two debates on TV gives a citizen an honorary degree in political science.
So this week more than any other before, my Facebook feed is largely anti-Trump posts (most of my Facebook friends are black liberals) or the occasional “Hilary sucks too” post. My white Facebook friends are all over the map topic wise. Some are dreading nuclear war if Clinton is elected. Others are offering up no-chance third party candidates. Many are dead quiet, and these are probably folks who have decided to vote for Donald. Your boy Ric Ray is a moderate and is a registered independent. I never know who I will vote for until I’m in the booth staring at the names. The last two times I voted for president I was overcome with the spirit of “we shall overcome” and voted for Obama. In truth I wasn’t too keen on him or his opponents. I’m just not enthusiastic about the major elections at all.
Scrolling through my Facebook feed, and to a lesser degree my Instagram feed, I am horrified at the depths to which people are going to in order to bash these candidates. I understand that in a democratic nation such as ours, coupled with modern tech and social media, this is what is going to happen. There will be doom-and-gloom posts and deeply ironic judgements rendered on a candidates’ character, judgements that a person would never want made against themselves. When confronted with that argument people like to say, “…but I’m not running for president!”
My response is always, “…you would if you could”
Every working adult would accept the position of president or king or queen if the position required little to no effort to gain and maintain.
I get it. This is the first, full-fledged, reality-TV based election. Both candidates are famous for being celebrities mores than for being good politicians, even though Clinton was a senator for a decade. The same way people bash or blindly worship Kim Kardashian, folks will do with Trump and Mrs. Clinton. I’m not even saying this is wrong. I just don’t want to see it on my Facebook feed. Thus, I’m unfollowing damn near half my feed until this whole “leader of the free world” thing gets sorted out…..
Unless you are one of those folks who post mean political attacks, please like and share my post….