On the face of it, this seems like a very obvious statement of intention. For most people, this is not even something that gets called into question (see this article on why we photograph). Perhaps it’s an odd issue I’m personally facing, but the discussion of all things photographic and creative is the purpose of this site after all. Of late, I’m stuck between four places: photographing the commercial, as specified by the client; photographing what appeals to me personally, which is almost always not commercially viable at all; photographing what the audience of this site wants to see and photographing what the art world dictates I should be doing.
I’ve been receiving a lot of email lately. This in itself is not unusual, but it appears that something I quietly bought has stirred the pot somewhat. You see, I’m now a Fuji user (again; I owned the first original X100 in Malaysia, and an X20 and XF1 and XQ1 since). The Fuji fanboys have always said I was biased and paid by the other companies not to use Fuji; the other fanboys have now started emailing me saying I sold out. Sorry guys, the simple truth is nothing so exciting. I bought an X-T1 at retail from my usual dealer in KL with my own money. Two things changed: firstly, ACR in its very latest iteration appears to have changed something in the soup to make X-trans file workflow at least acceptable, if not perfect; secondly, the fast compact normal conundrum demanded a solution.
Setting personal photographic and creative goals for the forthcoming year has become a bit of a tradition for this site – so far, I think I’ve done reasonably well in hitting my targets. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my corporate days when you had to set targets for the projects or divisions under your purview for planning, or worse, so you could later be judged against them. When it comes to running your own business and that overlaps with where you personally want to go with your own creative development, a little more careful thought is required.
Prague, Czech Republic, 9-14 March 2015 (best suited to urban, architecture and street)
Lucerne, Switzerland, 17-22 March 2015 (+/- a day or so; best suited to urban, architecture and landscape)
Duration: 6 days, four practical and two classroom
Tuition cost: US$2,300; $2,600 special bundle including Outstanding Images Ep. 1-5 and Intro to PS Workflow (required, but most participants usually have some or all of these already)
Want to be challenged? Inspired? Push yourself to take your images to the next level? The Masterclasses are aimed squarely at you. They are for the photographer who already understands the fundamentals and is looking at developing their own style, evolving creatively and spending some time with like-minded individuals. The aim is no longer about building core fundamentals by exercises, but to work on vision, the ability to assess and curate one’s work, application of style, postprocessing, and being able to put together a coherent set of images to an objective.
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
Happy holidays! The traditional Christmas humour post will return in a couple of days, but in the meantime I’ve got a present for you all: a special edition of How To See – Ep.5: Havana, Cuba. Unlike the other videos, it’s a free, full episode in 720P HD (a little shorter at 1h than the usual 2h+ epics, and you may need to click through to Vimeo to get 720p because of the page width). Paypal won’t let us take payment for anything that’s Cuba-related, so we’ve decided to give it away instead for all of you to enjoy – perhaps something to watch in the afternoon once the presents are done and the post-lunch food coma has set in on the rest of the family…just hit the play link in the embedded video window above. If you did enjoy it, there’s always a handy donation link in the sidebar (but please don’t use the words ‘cuba’ or ‘havana’ anywhere :)
The How To See series is what a lot of people have asked me for in the past – the ability to look over my shoulder as I shoot to see what I notice and and how I compose when I’m in a given situation, of course with explanations. You can get a feeling of the ambient surroundings to get a sense of context, plus what’s outside the frame to understand the compositional choices I had at the time. In addition, I talk about the structure and composition of each final image shown, what attracted me, what the the artistic, compositional and postprocessing considerations were, and what my thoughts were at the time of capture. It is a vicarious exploration through five exciting cities; a travel guide of sorts for photographers, and a personal masterclass in learning to see the unusual in the ordinary.
I’m also using this opportunity to put out a special How To See video bundle – travel vicariously for more than nine hours over the holiday season and get all episodes 1-4 covering Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Penang and Melbourne for $92 off at just $160 (regular price: $252). This offer is valid for a limited number of customers only, and is available right here from the teaching store. Trailers and testimonials for HTS 1-4 after the break.
Today’s photoessay is a sort of conclusion or coda to yesterday’s post from the Arrow River Delta; whilst it was shot in broadly the same area, it has a little more focus to the presentation, but a similar theme and somewhat more altitude. Enjoy! MT
I admit to being very late to the game in landscape photography – it’s something I’ve not really done seriously until pretty much this year; I suppose the main reason was a solid lack of opportunity. When you live in the tropics, then your shooting hours are limited: light is great in the morning and evening, but weather usually conspires against you with pollution, convection rain, or just general haze. Travel opportunities have changed that somewhat, however I think my quest to create images that are the kind of art you’d want to hang has lead me to look at new subject matter. This of course in conjunction with the ongoing quest to find subject matter that makes the most of the immersive experience of the Ultraprints and vice versa.
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.
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)
Limited edition Ultraprints of these images and others are available from mingthein.gallery
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!
Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved
This little gem of a location is perhaps one of the most photographically rich places I’ve ever been to. Firstly, an hour on an overcast grey day that yielded a couple of interesting images and very cold fingers, then the better part of an entire afternoon and evening in the gorge as the light fell and the mountains turned gold and the shadows a deep blue. I spent a magical few hours watching the light change, and towards the end of the day, running around like a madman trying to capture the last glowing tips of the trees before the sun went behind the ridge line for good.