The Q&A post: answers, part III

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Delving deeper into the abstract…

The final part of the epic. Find parts one and two here, the rest after the jump.

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The Q&A post: answers, part II

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Gratuitously painterly header image.

Continued from part one. Read on…

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The Q&A post: answers, part I

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Jazz time – put some music on. This is going to be a loooong post.

From an earlier post where I opened the floor to the readers, here are the answers. There were some enjoyable ones in there I really had to think hard about; I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of questions submitted, but decided to answer pretty much everything with the exception of speculative or ‘what should I buy’ posts about equipment. There is no way to answer these meaningfully without understanding the output objectives and skill level of the person wielding it; give a skilled photographer anything and it’s possible to make a compelling image, there is also the recommended gear list, and if it’s not on there, then there’s probably a reason.

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Curate curate curate (and, coincidentally, post #1,000)

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Tribute to an American painter

I’ve never really talked much about what is probably the most important process in photography other than conceptualisation and capture/execution of the image itself. Even though it isn’t directly part of the photographic process, curation has probably the greatest impact out of all of the possible things you can do to control the way your work is perceived. Coincidentally, we’ve been running for a little over three years now, and this is also post number 1,000excluding the reposts. At an average length of 1,500 words per post (and many well into 4,000-5,000 range, plus the mammoth Camerapedia), that means there’s around ~2,200,000 words of primary content on the site, not including the comments. Not bad considering an average paperback is in the 100,000 word range. I suppose it’s therefore also somewhat fitting (and perhaps a touch ironic) that I celebrate being prolific by discussing the opposite. It seems it’s simpler to do it than talk about it, but equally important to do so in order to understand why…

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Calling all fanbois

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Yesterday’s hero is today’s display sacrifice.

Everybody knows the camera industry is suffering. We’re expecting tomorrow’s camera, yesterday, and the day after’s camera, tomorrow. And if it doesn’t have the 12-400/1.2 zoom that fits in a shirt pocket, well, I’ll be damned, I’m switching. How are our favourite businesses supposed to stay solvent? I have a solution.

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Anniversary time: into the terrible threes

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This rather appropriate cake was organised by my wife – at my own birthday last year…

Another year passes. Another productive, interactive, challenging twelve months. Time flies, doesn’t it? It seems not so long ago I was writing the two year anniversary post; the site is now three years old. It has reached a mature steady state; there’s a great regular audience, a large back catalog, and I’m pretty set on direction for the immediate future. We have about (my best guess) 2.1 million words and 4,000+ images in 970 posts; that’s about 15 paperback novels. I’ve worn out two keyboards in the production of the content – no joke. I believe the best is still to come – I know my point of view certainly changes with experience and time, and there’s some great stuff still in the pipeline. I also know that I want to bring things back to being about the images, about the photography, about the philosophy. After all, we’re all here to make images, right?

Without the readers (and their 51,000 comments!), without the community, without my partners, I’d be playing not very much to an empty house. So, that leaves me -us- to say a big thank you, and here’s to hopefully another great year! Cheers! MT

Off topic: personal/portable audio

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From left to right: Sony XBA-A2; Astell & Kern AK100 player; UE Triple.Fi 10P with custom cable; Audio-Technica IM50; Audio-Technica IM03; B&W P7; 6G iPod Nano.

I spend a lot of time on the road. Probably quite a lot more than the average person*. This has always been the case because I’ve almost always been in the service industry in a client-facing role, which means plenty of air miles. In a bid to make the commute a bit more pleasant – possibly even enjoyable – I slowly sank into the world of portable audio. This was 2003. I’m sure like horology, cars, cigars and the like there are more than a small number of people here who’ve also made that journey. Today’s post is a sort of meandering of thoughts – there are a number of parallels between photography and personal audio, both in the industry and the hobby, and perhaps some thoughts to take away. Plus, which serious listener isn’t always seeking the ideal setup? :) Read on, or skip forward if you’re not an audiophile.

*According to my frequent flyer statement, 540,000 miles in 2014.

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Jan 2015 garage sale: there’s a lot of interesting stuff here…(all gone!)

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I somehow managed to acquire a lot of gear during 2014. I suppose it’s something that happens to us all on a fairly regular basis; but there needs to be some rationalisation for a couple of reasons: firstly, I’ve got the hypothetical too many ways to get to Rome, but more importantly, we need to buy a house in the very near future. Sadly, since money is not an infinite resource, I have to prioritise and many things will have to go. That means you, my dear readers, will be the first to benefit. As with all lenses and bodies, you stand to gain not just the effort spent in hunting, but the effort spent in finding and QC’ing a good copy – sample variation does make a significant difference, and if I’m going to use it for my own work, I’m going to spend quite a lot of time making sure it delivers the results I expect. These lenses/bodies are all good copies.

As usual, first (payment) come, first served. Shipping is not included and will of course depend on your location, but I will only use an insured courier. PayPal is fine, but for items over $2,000, I will need a bank transfer as I land up taking a huge 8-9% hit after fees and exchange rates. Images were all shot recently and reflect current condition of equipment; no retouching has been done – visible white dots are dust, and watermarks are because I’ve had far too many equipment images stolen in the past. Black tape is because I like my cameras that way, and of course leaves no marks. If you’d like to buy something, please send me an email…

Update, 17 Jan: All gone – thanks everybody!

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Post-Christmas humour 2014: photographic definitions

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As part of the ongoing annual tradition on this site…I present the 2014 Christmas Humor post: Photographic Definitions. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas everybody! May the gold and silver boxes under your tree not be empty and purely for decoration. MT

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An open note to camera makers, marketing departments and agencies

Dear Brand,

Please give your prototypes to people who a) are photographers and b) know how to make interesting photographs. This way, all of the operational bugs and issues can be ironed out before bringing to market a flawed product that will backfire and harm your reputation later*. Your eager early adopters are your most loyal customers and are not beta testers. It will cost you more to rectify retroactively, too.

*In the last couple of years alone: D600 oil spots, D800/D800E/D4 left focus, D750 dark band/shading, E-M1 shutter vibration, A7R shutter vibration, A7/7R/7S raw compression, M9/S2 sensor cracking, M9 card corruption, M240 lugs falling off, X-trans and Merrill/Quattro workflow…the list is endless…

Furthermore, you do yourself no favours by publishing mediocre images that do not show what your products can do nor excite any strong feelings of ‘want’ in your potential customers. This will become increasingly important to taking over market share and growing sales in the face of an increasingly saturated market. I would be happy to help out.

Sincerely
Ming Thein

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Take your photography to the next level: 2015 Masterclasses now open for booking in Prague (9-14 Mar 2015) and Lucerne (17-22 Mar 2015)

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Limited edition Ultraprints of these images and others are available from mingthein.gallery

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Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

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