The Invisible Photo

 

@parisa_jfrn6854

For most of us, no one will ever see our photos.

This has likely always been the case for most photographers. Before, it was having rolls and rolls of undeveloped film no one would ever see. Things new home owners find stuffed in the attic of a fixer-upper. Dirty DVD’s and rolls of film and old lenses.

Softball

It’s sort or like that now, except now our photos are stuffed away on passcode protected computers which themselves will be discarded in 7 years. We may transfer photos between computers using an external drive, but I have a feeling future home owners will find our SSD drives in old Amazon boxes in a corner in the attic…

Even if you post photos online, the hardcore truth is: nobody really spends significant time looking at the average online portfolio they come across. Flickr could shut down tomorrow and all those photos will be scattered to the wind….

To be fair, photography itself is a young art genre. I mean, it can’t be that much older than spray paint graffiti art. Both were created within 150 years of one another I’m sure, as opposed to traditional painting, which was done in caves a million years ago. Affordable consumer cameras, much less digital ones, are a fairly recent phenomenon.

Still, it seems like most of what we do will never be seen by another human, or maybe your friends and family will see it, but most likely they don’t care. In many ways that’s ok…

Tumbling Cheerleader

Immortality through art. More data needed to process….

Exit.

WHAT IVE BEEN DOING ON SUNDAYS II

I haven’t been watching football on Sundays this year.

Why?

Who knows?

I have been shooting aspiring models and friends though.

 

The Weak End of Summer…

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…..

Exit.

Model on Instagram is @myrlanis_

She only accepts followers who follow me first….

My IG is @rickyray73

Tee shirt available here.

FUJI X100F – 6 Month Review

Enter.

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….

FINAL THOUGHTS

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….

Exit. Please like and subscribe.

Tee shirt available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X8L6WS

Model: Ana Rivera @myrlanis_ on Instagram.

Creep Show

The more I carry a camera around the streets, the more I realize that some people think it's weird that I'm carrying a camera around on the streets.

It's not my fault really. My little Fuji X100F is small enough to not intimidate folks. The true reason carrying a camera in the streets seems weird is because it is implied that every person ALREADY has a camera on them in their iPhones.

Of course the quality of an iPhone image is not on true par with a raw file from my Fuji or my Canon bodies, but that's where the disconnect happens for most folks. Many people are completely satisfied with their cell phone cameras and, unless they are a parent photographing youth sports, they feel no need to use a bulky old school traditional or post modern traditional style camera. Thus, an old man walking through the streets with a camera around his neck looks stereotypical and creepy to many millennials. Oh well.

Keeping my camera at my side helps me to avoid that "are you a creep?" glare from folks. Looks more professional that way anyhow. In the winter I can stick the Fuji in my jacket pocket. It's all about stealth out there and if people are long-spotting you and they know you're creepy their guard goes up and you lose the ability to capture a true candid. Strategy….

Do you dangle your camera around your neck? Let me know in the comments below.

Exit.

Muggy Summer

This summer has been very hot and muggy. Blame global warming I guess, but if I’m going that far I may as well blame the sun while I’m at it…..

I’m gearing up to accept a second sports photography gig for the school year. Here goes….

I’ve been shooting street, working full time hours at my day job, and launching a few other business ventures. I’ve also resumed investing in my potential retirement. Here goes….

Single again. Here goes…..

Summer means scooting around on my Harley. I’ve been doing that a lot. If I wasn’t so busy maybe I’d combine my rides with street shooting….

The next big purchase for me is the Canon 1dx II. Then after that I’ll try to get the 300mm 2.8 IS II…..

Besides that shit is real. Keep banging….

Exit.

What Do You Love? Paper Chasers…

My dream is for all photographers who only shoot photos to make money and not for personal enjoyment to sell their DSLR’s and retire.

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This includes bored moms, intrepid self-starter entrepreneur hustlers who shoot everything they can for a buck, tireless wedding warriors, and sports shooters who only bring out their massive cameras to shoot games and don’t even have photos of their kids to share. Just fucking quit. All of you.

Fortunately (unfortunately) photography isn’t the cash cow it once was. These days it’s amazingly hard to earn a living as a photographer  and this situation will not improve. Ever. The record business was blindsided by Napster and has never recovered. The once incredibly lucrative DVD porn industry was crippled by tube sites and file sharing, and has not recovered. Cell phone technology, particularly cameras, will not worsen. Consequently, people can effortlessly take photos of themselves and others with decent resolution and quality.

Girls on Instagram don’t hire pro photographers. They snap selfies in the bathroom mirror with an iphone and drum up hundreds of thousands of followers. They don’t need you. It doesn’t matter how good you are with speed-lites or flash portraiture. In the years to come nobody will care enough to hire you. In the coming years you will quit because you don’t love photography. You just love what it can do for you.

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The financial world is becoming tighter and less of a wild frontier. As a result, most of the historically “easy money” streams will dry up as economic 2.0 takes over, led by ideas such as Uber and social media, where the lines between amateur and professional are sketchy at best. If you love something enough, you may become what’s known as an artist and find yourself able to make some extra cash selling artsy photos or instructing others who want to learn the industry. Everyone else will be kicking rocks while complaining how the world is changing before their eyes. I look forward to this because many of you are only here for there paper. Fuck off. Maybe you can change careers? I hear that there is always a need for nurses….maybe you can try that instead.

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Exit.

 

Street Photography when shared publicly

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I see you guys. I see what you say about street photography. I see you explaining away garbage projects and ungodly photos by saying street photography is for your personal enjoyment only. You insist that since you don’t have clients, like a wedding photographer has for instance, that you only have to uphold your own personal standards as to how your street photos look.

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Let me back up a bit because I know it seems like I’m being a toolbox right now. I know that there are at least a handful of supposed Guru’s who have strong opinions about what street photography is supposed to be. Some of these Guru’s insist that it is a personal experience, and the most important part of the street photography process is breathing the air outdoors, snapping photos, and walking. I don’t disagree that these features are valuable areas on the street photography landscape but…..this isn’t wilderness photography where you take pictures of dying trees and abandoned road signs and no people. This is street photography and our subjects are indeed people, and just like any other gig where we photograph people, comparisons, evaluations, and judgements can be made by people outside ourselves about our photos and these opinions matter.

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Sentimental values are fine. If a certain collection of photos you have put together over time has some personal meaning to you then I can understand that. My only thing is: if the photos are not any good then don’t share them publicly. If you have lost the ability, or never acquired the ability, to evaluate your good from bad photos then I suggest you ask peers what they think, and be prepared if they don’t like your stuff. It may not matter to you if they hate your work but the fact that it doesn’t matter should not prevent you from seeking their opinion. This millennial softness whereby people can’t take any artistic criticism has become far too pervasive.

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I’m just skimming the surface of what I really want to say but I’ll keep this post brief. Last night we elected a new Commander in Chief for America and social media is not exactly the place I want to be right now, checking to see if folks are reading my post. I’ll just say that calling what you do street photography does not give you the license to call everything you shoot in an urban environment street photography. There are standards that must be established, and once established, a level of quality that must be upheld. It seems like these days most guys don’t have the right mindset, look, attitude or level of content to call themselves elite street photographers.

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