A creative frame of mind, redux

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Things are not as they seem: experimentation, in capture and post

This is an alternative take on an earlier piece I wrote, also on a creative frame of mind: from a different frame of mind, no less. There are some professions where you don’t have to be in the right mood to do your job well. You can be an effective consultant, accountant or middle management without having to be particularly inspired; in fact, imagination is generally not a good thing when it comes to accounting and finance anyway. (At least that’s what Inland Revenue said; if you’re Prime Minister, that’s another thing entirely). However, for creative professions – photography, videography, design, writing, music etc. – there’s no question that your state of mind has a direct and very tangible impact on the outcome of the work. As a photographer, professionalism – the ability to deliver at a minimum standard that’s above your client’s expectations under effectively all circumstances – is the bare minimum. But inspiration is what really make the difference between workaday and brilliant. [Read more…]

Mid term assessment of Hasselblad H lenses (UPDATED 29/5)

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Having used the H5D-50c and a good number of lenses for a while now, I wanted to round off the post from a couple of days ago (which was my mid term assessment of the camera) with some more detailed comments on the lenses – especially since practical reviews of these things are not common, and I’ve been receiving a lot of email of late. This is understandable, since medium format glass is both a serious and not so liquid – at least compared to 35mm – investment and therefore not the kind of thing you want to make a mistake buying. For those who don’t know, Hasselblad H lenses are built by Fujinon in Japan. The good news is that what I’ve used is pretty much excellent across the board – there are some exceptions, but few. I’ve also added some rough numerical scores, relative to other lenses available at the time of writing. I’ve also updated the Camerapedia, too.

I know this post is probably for a very small audience, but why not read on and live vicariously…

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Photoessay: Mokhtar Samba and the African Jazz Project

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I have a dirty little secret. I like to shoot jazz concerts at small venues. Wednesdays, Thursdays and by special appointment. It’s something I did perhaps ten years ago, shortly after starting photography seriously; I’ve done it on and off a few times since when time and opportunity permits. The music came first; I’m very much tone deaf but can still appreciate it. The camera came along after being invited to shoot by some of the venue owners, and stayed since. Today’s set is from Mokhtar Samba and the African Jazz Project at No Black Tie in Kuala Lumpur from a couple of months back. You may recognise some of the images from the photographing concerts article. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Nikon D5500, Zeiss 1.4/55 Otus and Leica Q, and post processed with the Monochrome Masterclass workflow. You can also look over my shoulder at the underlying postprocessing in the Weekly Photoshop Workflow series.

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New year’s resolutions, 2016

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Strung out: this is the photography market at present. Some fruit, none of it low hanging, all of it complex, a complex tangle to reach it and the illusion of blue skies and possibilities.

If there’s one thing I take away from 2015, is that the photographic market is getting more and more complex. There are tradeoffs in every choice – from clients to specialisation to hardware. And for me, 2016 is going to have to be spent sorting a large chunk of that out. But first, let’s see how I did against my 2015 goals.

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Up to $300 off Zeiss lenses

I’m not normally one for advertising, but this is too good to miss. Regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of Zeiss lenses because of their optical performance – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen discounts on DSLR lenses before…

Click here to buy from B&H.

Name and shame: ‘Pentax Ricoh Indonesia’ stole my image UPDATE: resolved.

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One of my readers (thank you) brought this to my attention earlier today. It is with great disappointment that I have to do this, because clearly the company involved – AW Photo, unclear whether they are distributor or subsidiary or something else to do with Pentax Ricoh but claiming to be ‘Pentax Ricoh Indonesia’ – has used one of my images for commercial promotion purposes without permission or credit, from my review here. Note how the watermark is still in place – how could their web designer have failed to notice that? On top of that, the page was apparently last updated in October 2013 – that’s eight months of unauthorised use, and eight months in which HQ could have done something.

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Some good Nikon lens deals…

Just got this in the mail and thought I’d share it – there’s up to $400 off various lenses at B&H – like the 80-400 AFS, for instance; no body purchase required. Click here.

Purchases made through the link do give me a small referral commission that helps support the site. It doesn’t make any difference to the price for you, though. Thanks! MT

One day left to enter the 2013 Maybank Photo Awards

A gentle reminder: there’s one day left to get your entries in for the 2013 Maybank Photo Awards; each photographer can have multiple entries per category, the prizes are sizeable and the head judge is yours truly, so if you haven’t entered – and are an ASEAN resident – then you probably should! MT

Submit your entries via the competition page here.

News and some B&H deals that came in the mail…UPDATED

I’m sure some of you might find these interesting, so I’ll pass them on very briefly. The ‘Shooting with the Legends’ series continues this weekend. I’ll also be at the Kuala Lumpur CEX show on Sunday 4th speaking for Olympus at 1230pm – please drop by and say hi if you’re in town. Have a good weekend everybody! MT

Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and M43 mounts – $1000 off, now $1995 – here

Up to $550 off DSLR + lens bundles – Nikon is here, Canon is here

Ricoh GR now in stock, here

Price drop on the original RX100, now $598, here

$100 off M4/3 lenses, here

$150 off OM-D kits, here

$50 off the E-P5 body, here

Some shopping updates…

Today seems to be sale day at B&H.

Lightroom 5 is now available for pre-order here from B&H

B&H is also running rebates on Fuji X-series cameras – the X-Pro1 and X-E1 are both $200 off; combine that with multiple lenses for up to $1300 off – click here.

One of the more interesting compacts I reviewed recently – the Panasonic LX7 – is now on sale to $299 again. You can find it here.

Three excellent Olympus M4/3 lenses are also on sale – I own all of these and rate them very highly – the Olympus 60/2.8 Macro, 75/1.8 and 12/2 (click on the lens names for my reviews). You can find them up to $100 off here. Finally, the OM-D + 12-50 kit is now $150 off – down to $1150. That’s here.

As usual, in the interests of full disclosure: shopping via these links supports the site via a small commission; prices are the same but it does help keep things going (and also helps them to justify loaning me gear for future reviews, which of course means I can test more stuff without having to buy it). Thanks! MT

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