So....How well would a 46 or 47 year old, 50mm kit lens work on a more modern digital camera? How badly have we tricked ourselves about lens performance?
Inquiring minds want to know....
Newly added: Still getting a ton of views from Sweden. Sure, I'm ready to move there. I have my vaccines all taken care of and I'm ready to travel. Can I bring my favorite cameras and retire there? Can I switch my U.S.A. health insurance for the Swedish system? How's the real estate market? Is the coffee in Sweden good?
Can I get a government grant to do a big show? Does Hasselblad sponsor American Ex-Pats?
I must have written something that translated very, very well into Swedish....
Just a few questions for my newest Swedish readers.
How well do you tolerate Texans?
Yes, yes, but how about liberal Texans?
Looking forward to visiting; is Winter a good time to come?
Thanks very much!
Usually we spend the entire hour of our masters swim practice (USMS.ORG) in the pool, in the water. Today was different. We had a coach who doesn't usually attend the second morning workout and we got a taste of something different.
Our coach was Olympic Gold Medalist, Ian Crocker, and his workout for us today was...different.
We started with a conventional warm-up of 300 free, 300 pull, 200 I.M. and 100 yards kick but then things got more interesting. Ian devised a set that alternated 50 yards of breaststroke with 50 yards of freestyle in a set of five X 50's. After each 50 of breaststroke we climbed out onto the deck and did 10 regulation pushups. After each 50 of freestyle we hauled our butts back up on deck to do ten squats.
There's a break after each set of five in which we swam 100 yards of freestyle followed by 100 yards of kicking. Then we continued...
The next set alternated 50s of backstroke and freestyle with the same push-up and squat routine as in the first set. Then the restorative 100 swim and 100 kick. Followed by the set of 50s, alternating between butterfly and freestyle.
So, over the course of this particular set, in addition to the swims, we got to revel in the glory of 90 pushups and 90 squats, on the deck, soaking wet. Certainly an interesting formula for getting one's heart rate soaring while also doing some strength and core training.
Unfortunately, after this wild set we had to clear the pool because of approaching lightning and the bellowing of close by thunder. Now, a couple hours later, the sun is out and all the rain chances (and lightning and thunder) have vanished. Most of us who can are planning to head back to the pool for the noon workout so we can get in the yardage we were meteorologically denied earlier.
Still, I knew you'd be interested in a swim workout that also combined "dry land" exercises. You may even want to incorporate the concept into your daily workout.
Some people struggled with the pushups. Some could have done sets of pushups for the rest of the day. I fell somewhere in the middle. Just don't give in to the temptation to drop your hips --- keep your core straight and parallel to the deck.
Many people who are interested in fitness and holding down the weight and girth changes that can come with aging (but which are not destiny!) are fixated on diet. But no diet can replace the extremely well documented rewards of daily exercise. Lots of daily exercise.
Swim enough yards and walk enough steps and you can eat as much as you want. You shouldn't eat trash but if you eat good, fresh, whole foods you probably won't need to keep track of calories taken in. An hour or two of good, hard exercise is a wonderful investment in overall health. And the less you spend on healthcare the more you have left over to spend on photo gear.
Not every image we take is all about making the "model" look sexy and fabulous. There's more to photography than flattery and surface beauty.
As a reference to content over gratuitous use of technique I'd point to the work of Robert Frank in both his collection as presented in the book, "The Americans" and also in his various movies. Flattery and a compliance with the preferred aesthetics of the day (George Hurrell?) were certainly not high up on his list of essential photographic properties and yet, some 60+ years later his work is still lauded as being part of an (r)evolutionary pivot to creating photography that mixes social commentary with pure art.
In my street photography it's not a priority to make sure each "cute" person has flawless skin or a perfect BMI as much as it is to document public social practice and posturing. In the same way, most car fans love to look at stylish automobiles from the past in photographs but an image of big, dual cab pick-up trucks stopping to gas up at a roadside convenience store would be the antithesis of that aesthetic. At the same time it's much more compelling testimony about status, transportation, the down market reality of convenience stores in general, and the homogenous buying habits of a certain American demographic. While we might not be entranced by the beauty of shot like that we do understand that we're making a record of how we live now in some areas of the country and even though the beauty of this kind of consumption eludes me I certainly understand the interest in seeing how 4% of the world's population chooses to use their resources, and what constitutes a status vehicle and lifestyle among certain groups.
In 25 years a headshot of a girl with PHOTOSHOP FLAWLESS skin won't stand out from hundreds of millions of daily shots that are more or less the same but the historic record of how the average Texan lived and rolled around their state might be endlessly interesting to a new society which may have conquered their addiction to fossil fuels and reckless consumption. (And yes, I understand the irony of writing this as I just took delivery of a new, fossil fuel powered, automobile in which I am generally the only person...Sorry, we actually don't have any public transportation in the city of Westlake Hills...).
I personally like gritty and grainy black and white images and sometimes it's almost impossible to divorce the overall look of a style with the impact it may have on a subject's complexion or even overall detail. Consider the work of Daido Moriyama who is one of my favorite black and white photographers. The lack of smooth, long-toned detail and the lack of flattering technique enhances the visceral power of his work. And I like that. In a similar way I also like the black and white work of Peter Lindbergh but for different reasons. He was never afraid to let grain and contrast take equal stature with the celebrity of his subjects, and his dark (tone, not subject matter) treatment of images is inseparable from the momentum of his style over the decades in which he worked.
Fuck beauty, let's make art.
37 to go...