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!)

jan15 garage sale 2

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!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!

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

On the democratization of art

mariuszwatz
Marius Watz, with permission from the Absolut Art Exchange

The current state of the art world – at least what passes as fine art by conventional measures* is almost always determined by a select few – the select few, I should say. There seem to follow two types of people: those who ‘get it’, or at least are willing to submit to the opinions of the few; then there are the other type, who tend to be more open to the artist and creator putting forward their views on what should be art. I’ve always made it very clear which camp I fall in; it can’t be art to you if you don’t ‘get it’ without having to be told.

*At this point I always ask whether anybody claims to have seen or create ‘coarse art'; the answer is inevitably in the negative.

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‘Interstellar’, the movies, and the general creative state of play


Interstellar official trailer #3

I found time to watch a movie the other day. This is an unusual occurrence for me because it takes a huge chunk out of my day; but it was raining and I was on foot without an umbrella. Interstellar was showing, and happened to be something whose trailer did actually show promise. Plus I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan; I have no doubt that history will look back on him as one of the greats – both for his visuals and his storytelling. This post is not so much a review as some observations and musings after three hours in a theatre seat from the point of view of a photographer…

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What camera should I buy?

what camera should I buy infographic
Click here for full resolution

I have the answer for you right here, only partially tongue in cheek… :)

And if you need a more detailed, considered list, try my Recommended Gear List. Education though, we have in plentiful supply on the Teaching Video Store here. MT

On a more serious note, there’s a special offer going on with the Nikon D750 and excellent all-round AFS 24-120/4 VR lens (I have both) at B&H – $600 off to a total just below $3,000; you can get that here. The Pentax 645Z is also back in stock.

Have some stones

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Rocks, hard places, stones…mix and match your own metaphor.

Today, a few tangential thoughts on photography and the overall state of marketing strategy these days. Yes, I’ve done a lot of this kind of work extensively in my previous life as a consultant, but guess what: most of it is really common sense. And sometimes it can be very difficult to see the wood from the trees if you’ve been lost in the forest for too long. I’ll start with two thoughts:
Have some stones and
Social media metrics are not an indicator of fiscal success.
This principles apply equally to both sides of the negotiating table.

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New comment and email policy

Thanks to an unusually large number of rude, profane and personally insulting communications in recent weeks – following reviews, especially – I have decided to implement a new policy regarding comments and emails. I have no problem with friendly and objective disagreements – they spur discussion and knowledge sharing, and this is what the site is about; however, abusiveness and insult will not be tolerated.

Site comments, Facebook, twitter and other public fora:

  • Please use a consistent username when commenting. All current readers with an approved comment should have no problems posting without moderation.
  • Posts from new commenters will be held for moderation.
  • Posts with a lot of links from any user will be held automatically for moderation; this is a WordPress thing to prevent spam (or in case somebody’s account has been hijacked).
  • Abusive, rude or trolling comments towards me or anybody else will be treated as follows: the first one will be left there because it will be obvious to the civilised rest of the community that you are a troll to be ignored, and clearly have social and mental deficiencies. Subsequent comments will be deleted and your username and IP blacklisted. I will no longer waste time replying you or engaging you in discussion.

Email and other private messaging:

  • I will still do my best to reply all emails so long as they’re legitimate.
  • Trolling, spam or rude emails will be ignored and deleted.
  • Repeated ‘what should I buy’ emails will be ignored.

To put it bluntly, I do this for free. I no longer have the time, patience or desire to deal with idiots. Thank you. MT

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A few places left for Making Outstanding Images Chicago (September 2014), Masterclass San Francisco (September 2014). Masterclass Venice (November 2014) now open for booking – click here to book or for more info

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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!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!

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

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