January 31, 2006

Do your soul a favour

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tony Bridge @ 9:18 am

If you had a classic Kiwi upbringing, you will have spent time in a kiwi bach (you know, green walls and castoff furniture, along with a cutlery drawer full of remainders from different dinner sets).  You will know all about being trapped there on a wet day, one of those days where you curl up and read… and think… and dream. You know what I mean. The sound of rain on the tin roof, maybe a sandwich and a Milo beside you. Time slows to a halt and you think freely and drift…
If you read any of the comments on Blueprintx, you will have seen a couple by somebody called pohanginapete. I was curious about the name. I mean what sort of person calls him/herself that?
(You may or may not know that I get to vet your comments before they go up to the blog. Well I do, so there!)
Anyway, I went searching to find out more about him/her. And what a find!
It turns out that pohanginapete is really Pete McGregor, who lives in the Pohangina Valley below the Ruahines in the North Island. Pete is a fascinating guy who has done a lot of things in his life (and is still doing them).
While it has some great photographs, it has truly inspiring observations on life. This is a densely-packed blog with a lot to offer, a sort of rainy-day-bach site, where you can take time to read, think and reflect.
Do your soul a favour. Check it out here.


January 27, 2006

The camera looks both ways

Filed under: Shout out, Something different, Thinking about Photography and Art — Tony Bridge @ 10:13 am

Kia ora tatou:
Enough of the gear stuff. I want to share an image with you.
A good friend, Lindsay McLeod (or is that MacLeod), used to tell his students that” the camera looks both ways”. What he meant was that when we make a photograph, it says as much about us as it does about the subject and our feelings towards it.
Often when we photograph, something has moved us to do so. Ostensibly (I’ve been at that thesaurus again), it may have been the weather, the light or even a half-hidden memory from childhood. Or it may be something deeper. And reflecting on our own inner selves may lead to new directions in our photography.
I would like to suggest that one of the best ways to improve our picture-making is to keep this in mind.
Take time to look at the image. Minor White, one of photography’s great teachers, would make his students study an image for at least 3 minutes before he asked them what they thought. The point is, it takes time to understand what you have done and more importantly, why you did it.
When you have looked, ask yourself what attracted you to make that photograph. Was it light, the subject, your feelings, a memory from childhood. Note your thoughts. Better still, write them down.
Then ask yourself what the image tells you about yourself. This is the hard bit.
Money where my mouth is time.
I made this picture late one afternoon last November. I was walking back to the car after finishing a wedding in New Plymouth. I decided to make a few images for myself. As I was walking along the boardwalk I saw a group of unicyclists practicing on the seawall. I asked if I could photograph them. They carried on and I probably made about 20 photographs. This one took place near the end.
It was one of those moments when time, space and intention (the core artistic concerns of my work) all come together. I knew I had captured something significant.
It was only later, and in the months afterwards, that I have come to realize that I had made a photograph of my life as it has been for some time.
The unicyclist balancing on the knife edge of the universe is me.
A moment later he fell off.
Ka kite ano.

January 24, 2006

Geek’s Corner

Filed under: Technical posts — Tony Bridge @ 7:05 pm

Danger, danger, Will Robinson!
Horn-rimmed glasses and pocket protector country!
For all you CS2 nerds who, like me, get frustrated at CS2’s apparent sluggishness, have a look here, There is a really excellent article by the folks at Extremetech on how to tweak PhotoShop to run faster on your machine. Some really useful tips and tricks.
It’s worth noting that if you have Creative Suite, you can use Adobe Updater to automatically get the latest updates. For example, Adobe Bridge improves immensely if you upgrade from 1.0.0 to 1.0.3. Just go to help and click on “updates’.
Happy downloading.

January 23, 2006

Cool new accessory #233a

Filed under: Gear, Technical posts — Tony Bridge @ 5:38 pm

Kia ora tatou
I don’t know about you, but keeping track of memory cards can be a real issue. Apparently I am not alone- I have heard of one pro who has inadvertently put his through the wash several times with his trousers!( no, it isn’t me-yet!)

For some time I have looked for something that was weatherproof, easy to use (those dumb cases they give you when you buy a card are a real pain to open, especially if you’re wearing gloves!), and could be seen easily in long grass.
If you have ever tried to find a card that has dropped out of your hand, you will know just what I mean.
At last there is a gizmo that deals with all those issues!

Enter (stage left) the Gepe Card Safe, Tough as, easy to open, waterproof, and (if you choose the lurid green or red one), easy to spot in the shrubbery.
It’s like a micro pelican case, really. At the end of the day, you can wrap up your cards in their nice cosy protection and kiss them goodnight.
And no, before you ask, I haven’t sent it for a test drive in the washing machine!

Ka kite

January 20, 2006

Digital vs film (what, is that one still around?)

Filed under: Gear, Technical posts — Tony Bridge @ 9:38 am

Good Morning. I have been away on the South Island’s West Coast for the last ten days, working on my next book, hence the gap in postings. They should become a bit more regular now.
While I was away, I kept bumping into people who wanted to know whether it was true that film still beat digital, that you needed at least 30 megapixels to beat 35mm film. To them digital was still the poor cousin.

Is it bollocks!

I remember hearing this 10 years ago, when digital first came out. I actually believed it myself, until I got a Canon 10D last year. My exhibition prints were clearer, sharper and had much finer grain (sorry, noise) than I could ever have got from film.
I was convinced and jumped right in. Would I go back to film? Not a chance.
I am going to put my neck out and say this: A 6Mp Digital SLR will deliver better prints than scanned 35mm film. Do I detect the sound of incoming….?

But don’t take my word for it. Michael Reichmann, whose wonderful Luminous Landscape site is in my bookmarks, has a brilliantly lucid explanation of why digital is better.
You can read about it here

Ka kite ano

January 8, 2006

Like rats’ feet inside the head

Filed under: Books I recommend — Tony Bridge @ 7:25 am

Kia ora tatou:

Every so often we need to feed our idea bank, to take fresh look at what we are doing, to put our picture-making concepts under the microscope. Books are a great way to do this. Some are old friends; they reinforce the path we are taking or add to our knowledge. Others are like rats’s feet clawing the inside of our heads: they challenge us, ask us to look differently at our picture’making concepts….

For your edification may I present Taking Measures Across the American Landscape by JAmes Corner and Alex S. MacLean.

A reviewer describes it thus:
How we represent the land to ourselves affects the ways in which we value and act upon it, according to landscape architect Corner (Univ. of Pennsylvania). His text accompanies the beautifully suggestive aerial photographs of MacLean (whose previous book was Look at the Land), which document the ways in which we impose shape and meaning on our landscape: Irrigated fields contrast sharply with the surrounding desert; old homesteads, now abandoned, anchored people in an undifferentiated and dangerous landscape–their isolation from one another reflecting American individualism; and wheat fields follow the rolling contours of the land. “Revealed is the absurd and magnificent ingenuity of American people,” Corner writes, “a people enmeshed with yet remote from their land.”

You can read about it here

January 3, 2006

Where now, O Photography?

Filed under: Technical posts — Tony Bridge @ 6:05 am

Kia Ora tatou:
The holidays are a great time to take a break, sit back and reassess all sorts of things.
Photography is no exception. There is no question that digital has matured as a technology. Just look at what is now available in camera stores (and what isn’t). I remember about 12 years ago being invited to a Kodak trade show where we were introduced to a cutting-edge programme called Aldus PhotoStyler and its Mac rival, photoShop 1, as well as the latest 1+MP professional camera (it cost >$NZ 25 000!). They confidently assured us that digital would have completely replaced film by 1995!
Interestingly enough, the cameras we now use are developmental extensions of film-based technologies. We are part of a long tradition that stretches back into the 19th century. As such we are participants in a dance whose steps were formulated by our forbears. Any movements we make are in in one way or another dictated by the photographers who came before us. A kind of danse traditionelle, if you will. Developing a new approach is not easy (assuming we want to do so).
For those of you who wish to view your photographic direction in the rear-view mirror of photographic tradition, may I suggest this essay by Irwin Puts, a long-time Leica commentator and authority. Some of his thoughts are provocative but clearly argued. Leica fans will not enjoy aspects of it!
As a taste:
……..Digitalization of photography means that the main expansion will occur in the consumer electronics domain where the prosumers and the instant snap-shooters with the mobile cam/phone will dominate. The true amateur photographer may become extinct unless we can focus on photographic quality as the result of a craft that is worth pursuing….

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