Category Archives: Reader Poll

Which Photo Shall We Use for the Project?

As mentioned a few weeks back, we’re ramping-up for another project here on Epic Edits. To recap, we’ll be doing another “Edit my Photo” project, but with one of YOUR photos rather than one of mine. The first stage of the project was to submit candidates for the photo to be used. We didn’t have a huge turnout, but we did have a few people submit images.

So now we’re in “stage 2″ of the project where we vote on the image to be used — just ONE. I’ll leave it up to you guys which photo you want to work with for the final stage of the project. Here are the 6 candidates, and there’s a poll below them where you can cast your vote. And of course, a big thanks to the contributing photographers (linked via their photo).

1.
Photo by John Huson

2.
Photo by Thias

3.
Photo by Pat R

4.
Photo by Robert

5.
Photo by TikiPundit

6.
Photo by Bob Simmons

The above images are all available at high resolution, and most of them are in raw format. So pick one that looks like it would be fun to work with and we’ll start the photo editing soon enough!

{democracy:63}

Who’s Your Favorite “Undiscovered” Photographer

Over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned some of my personal favorite “undiscovered” photographers (part 1 and part 2). I say “undiscovered” because these folks are not your mainstream hotshots known by every other photographer on the face of the Earth — but, you never know what the future holds (plus they’re still freakin’ awesome)!

So this time around, I’d like to give all of you the opportunity to highlight an “undiscovered” photographer. Simply leave a link in the comments to the website or portfolio of your favorite non-mainstream artist (please don’t link to just an image file). Limit your choice to ONE photographer — somebody who does outstanding work. Oh, and try to refrain from promoting yourself… this article is about promoting other people (but don’t worry, you’ll get credit for pointing them out!).

When the comments die down (maybe a week or two), I’d like to get in touch with some of these photographers and exhibit their work here on the blog. I can’t say that I’ll show the work from every photographer mentioned, the exact numbers will depend on the number of entries and the quality of their work. So dig deep and find that “diamond in the rough”!

What’s Your Favorite F-Number?

In previous polls we’ve discussed topics such as your favorite focal length, camera modes, autofocus modes, exposure modes, and types of cameras. So this time around, we’ll dive into the f-number.

What's Your Favorite F-Number?

The f-number directly affects the depth of field in your shot. It’s also one of the three exposure controls, in conjunction with shutter speed and ISO. Based on our previous polls, I see that most of us are using a dSLR in aperture priority mode, so I’d expect that most of us have a “favorite” number or range of numbers. Personally, I favor F/2.0 on a ~50mm lens on a full frame camera. The DOF isn’t as crazy-shallow as F/1.4, but it still gives a nice amount of separation between background and subject at the distances I’m used to shooting at.

Now, I realize that your choice of f-number will vary depending on focal length, sensor/film format, subject distance, and subject matter. But try to answer the poll with the number that you usually gravitate toward. And feel free to elaborate in the comments!

{democracy:62}

And be sure to check out the last poll on the topic of “Why Are We So Compelled?” Lots of good thoughtful discussion there with 27 comments (and a few of them are quite lengthy)! As always, I appreciate the participation in these polls and discussions.

Why Are We So Compelled?

Today’s typical photographer is a curious being. Cameras are cheap, computers are easy to use, and the Internet makes sharing photos so incredibly easy. So many people are into photography, but I’m willing to bet that over half of us don’t know why we do it or what we’re after.

Seriously, take a step back and look at yourself. How much time do you spend doing photography-related activities? Shooting, processing, posting, reading, participating, drooling, etc.

And why do you do it? Are you making a living from photography? Are you making anything from it? Do you truly enjoy the whole process? Do you actually print your pictures and hang them on your walls? Or do they sit on your hard drive while you tell yourself that you’ll need them someday? Why do you do it???

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer with all of this. I’m just contemplating what it is that compels us to pursue the art of photography so enthusiastically. As I sit here in front of a computer screen most nights scanning film, processing photos, reading blogs, and writing articles… I’m curious to hear what all of you have to say about this topic.

What compels you?

What’s On Your Photography Wish-List?

013/2009 Year 2 Want! Seven Deadly Sins: Greed
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tyla’75

Most of us probably have at least a short wish-list of photography-related items. My list usually fills up with things that I don’t have the money for, and over time I stop caring about those particular items. But there are a few things that I’ve been wanting for a while — and I don’t see myself losing interest in them.

  • MINOLTA HI-MATIC 7SII
    I’ve been wanting this camera for quite a while — this thing is freakin’ awesome for an old rangefinder. Some would even argue that this is the best rangefinder ever produced by Minolta. Why do I want it? Street photography. Why am I holding back? Price: they usually go for over $150 (2-3x that for the black version).
  • CANOSCAN 8800F
    This wish-list item is more of a necessity than a craving. I’ve got the Canoscan 8400F (which is more than a few years old), and I’m getting very finicky about my film scans. I’d like to have a bit of extra resolution and possibly better color control during the scan process. Besides… my current scanner could commit suicide any day now.
  • DSLR SPLIT IMAGE FOCUSING SCREEN
    This is an item that’s been in the back of my mind ever since I started shooting film. I like the split image focusing screen with the microprism ring that my film SLR has, and I often find myself wanting the same feature on my dSLR. Why? Low light situations, macro, street, etc. Sometimes autofocus just doesn’t cut it, and manually focusing without a good screen is useless.
  • BESELER DICHRO 67S HEAD
    This one is on my backburner for now, but I’d like to get into color developing and printing by the end of the year. I’ve had a good experience with the b/w printing, but I also have a growing collection of color negs that I’d love to print in full analog glory. Scanning is okay, but nothing beats a true print. This head I have my eye on will bolt right up to my existing enlarger stand, so it’s really just a component swap-out rather than a whole new setup.
  • SONY 35MM F/1.4 LENS
    Yeah… this lens is way out there for me right now, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having it. I often find that my 50mm lens on the dSLR is too tight for many street photography situations. I like the field of view I get with the 50mm lens on a full-frame film camera (I even prefer my slightly wider 38mm sometimes), and the 35mm on a crop sensor would basically be equivalent to the 50mm full-frame. This thing is spendy though!

Those are probably my top 5 items outside of the low-budget realm. I’ll probably be lucky to pick up one or two of these within the next year, but it’s fun to dream!

WHAT’S ON YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY WISH-LIST?

Leave a comment and let us know what you crave. I’m always curious about the things that other photographers want when it comes to equipment. And be sure to check out the results of the last poll: What’s Your Experience With Film Photography? Believe it or not, there are actually a good chunk of photographers shooting film today (around 40%). But another 40% gave it up and never looked back.

What’s Your Experience With Film Photography?

As many of you know, I’ve been addicted to film photography for about the last year. And maybe its just the crowd that I associate with, but it seems like more and more people are shooting film lately. Some are picking up their old film cameras for the first time in years. While others are brand new to film photography.

So where do you sit with film? I put a small set of answers in the poll below, so try to fit your own experience to one of the items listed. If your own situation is a bit unique, leave a comment and let us know!

{democracy:61}

Also, check out the results from the last poll titled “How Much of Your Work Do You Share?” The question was based around what percent of your photos actually end up online where other people can see them. I’m a bit surprised at how heavily the answers came out to one side of the spectrum.

How Much of Your Work Do You Share?

With the abundant presence of an online photography community, many of us choose to share our photos through one avenue or another (or many). It may be Flickr, SmugMug, DeviantArt, personal photoblogs, and many more sites and services that we can utilize. But no matter where we post our photos, we all have to decide how many of them to post.

Having been on Flickr for nearly two years, I’ve observed that there are three types of photographers sharing their photos:

  1. Share only the best of the best
  2. Share everything and anything
  3. Somewhere between the two

You know what I’m talking about. Some photographers post one photo per day (or maybe even per week), and that photo is a masterpiece in their own mind. Then there are those who post what appears to be everything straight off the memory card.

I find myself somewhere between the two, posting between 3 and 5 photos each day. The photos aren’t my absolute best, but I like each of them enough to justify my minimum 5-10 minutes/photo of keywording, captioning, titling, and processing. I probably post 25-50% of my film shots and 10-20% of my digital shots, averaging out to maybe 35% of my photos being posted. In fact, I just checked the photos from my last mixed-medium photowalk and that number is almost spot on at 36% (or 55/151 photos).

So where do you stand with your photo sharing? Take a guess at what percent of your total shots make it to the online community.

{democracy:60}

We also ran a poll some months ago about photo-sharing frequency that had more to do with how many photos you post. Check it out, it supplements this topic quite well, but it’s a different question entirely.

What’s Your Newest Inspiration?

I feel that inspiration is an important driving mechanism for photographers. Its the thing that pushes us to take photos and improve ourselves. And the interesting thing about inspiration is that everybody’s is different, yet it drives us to do similar things (like photography).

The other day, my friend Vivien from InspirationBit asked me what my new sources of inspiration are this year. I’ve written about my sources of inspiration in the past, but it was a good question to ponder at the start of the new year. Here was my response:

I’m going to have to say that my new darkroom is quickly becoming my inspiration for photography. There’s something magical in loading a piece of film into the enlarger and creating a photo from light, paper, and a few chemicals. The tactile and visual qualities of paper far outweighs the additional cost of printing. Seeing one of your own photos on a silver-gelatin print is pretty amazing. So with that, I’ll be shooting a fair amount of black and white film this year. I’ve also discovered the awesomeness of printing from medium format film, so I’ve vowed to get more use out of my old Twin Lens Reflex (which is crazy-sharp even though it’s over 50 years old)!

[UPDATE] Vivien has posted her blog post displaying answers from select bloggers she contacted.

So I’m turning Vivien’s question to all of you now. I’d like to hear about your newest source of inspiration and how it’s impacted your work.

What’s the latest thing (or person) that gets you fired up about photography?

What direction is your newfound inspiration pushing you?

Is it Best to be a Specialist or a Generalist?

The poll this week is an open ended question. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but I can never convince myself to form an opinion.

Is it best to be a specialist or a generalist?

A Specialist is somebody who focuses their photography on a very specific topic or style, while a generalist is somebody who has no single specialty. I could argue for one or the other depending on my mood at that moment, but I keep coming back to “no opinion”.

Specialists can have a very recognizable body of work based on subject matter or photographic style. This can be good if you want to have your name associated with that subject or style. But it could be bad if you don’t want to feel limited to that one thing.

Generalists are often less recognizable because they cover so many different subjects and their style can be varied to suit the need of the subject. This can be good if you like doing something different all the time. But it could be bad if you find that you’re never well known for any one thing in particular.

I see myself as a generalist — film, digital, b/w, color, street, macro, landscape, portrait, architecture, candid, sport, etc. I’ll basically shoot anything that comes my way with whatever camera I happen to have in my hands. And yet all along, I feel like I should be focusing on something more specific in order to take myself to the “next level”… whatever that means. I think I’m giving up on trying to define my photography — I’ll just let it do its own thing.

What about you guys? How do you see yourselves? Are you striving to become one or the other? Do you feel one is better than the other? Do we even have a choice in the matter?

Photo Backup on DVD: Love or Hate?

Love, Hate
Creative Commons License photo credit: A.gonzalez

My last post about backing up photos on DVD immediately brought out the comments… mostly negative regarding the use of the medium as a feasible backup solution. Hey, everyone is more than entitled to their own opinion, and I even said right up front that when it comes to DVD backups photographers either love it or hate it.

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
TOC — PHOTO BACKUP GUIDE
BACK — DVD
NEXT — DVD PHOTO BACKUP… AGAIN

So I’m actually very curious about this topic now. Am I the only one left who uses (and likes) DVD backups? I was pretty certain that I knew of more than a few photographer who backup on DVD. Or are the other DVD-lovers just not speaking up? Let’s find out!

{democracy:59}

And when you’re done voting here, check out the results from the last photo backup poll: “Have You Ever Needed to Use Your Photo Backup?” Over 50% of those who voted have lost photos at some point. Luckily most of those photographers had a photo backup, but there is a portion that either lost the backup too or didn’t have one.