Yesterday, February 8th, 2013 marks the 2nd anniversary of my other blog, my one-photo-per-day blog called mostlyfotos. As a two year old, my blog has entered the toddler stage. This description is apt since, like a toddler, I feel like I’m really getting the hang of this thing and then I stumble.
I’m generally satisfied with the photographs that I’ve posted. I hope in some way, each picture has merit either artistically or shows a place of interest. The good news is that I have loads of photographs that I have yet to publish. Even if I stop shooting, my catalogue of available images will last a year or more. Since I do continue to take photographs like a mad man, I end up generating images quicker than I can post.
On the downside, the side that I’ve stumbled, is my failure to grow a larger audience. It’s really tough to carve out a presence on the internet and I’ve only had modest success. Often times, I’m at the whim of Google and when they change their search algorithm, my audience changes and usually for the worse.
mostlyfotos runs on the Blogger platform, unlike this one that runs on WordPress. On Blogger the statistics are not quite as good but I suspect my audience there is different from my loyal, core audience on this blog. It’s hard to tell especially since I don’t have commenting turned on for mostlyfotos — I want the keep the pages there clutter free as possible. If you are reader here and visit mostlyfotos on a regular basis, please let me know. I’m just curious, I guess.
For now, I plan to keep both blogs active. I feel the discipline of posting a photograph a day pushes me to shoot on a regular basis. I strongly believe that, like any craft, continuous practice is key. I also believe that mostlyfotos gives me credibility, in one sense. Sure, anyone can put up a limited portfolio of their best photographs, I’ve added one myself this year. But when you post 730 photographs over two years, you really get a feel for the photographer. Not all the photographs are brilliant, you many not even like them but you do know that I shoot often. For that reason, when I give equipment recommendations here, you know that I’m not just an equipment enthusiast that makes test shots of brick walls. I use my gear often and in real world conditions.
Thank you for continuing to visit this blog and mostlyfotos. It is such a privilege and in fact an indulgence to share my photographs with you. I hope I have helped you in some way, whether it is a piece of advice, a glimpse into another world or as a slight distraction from your busy day.
The mirrorless interchangeable lens camera world has gotten crowded. All the major manufactures have jumped in and many have multiple models. I created my guide to mirrorless cameras to help people navigate the waters and make the proper decisions.
If you disagree with my recommendations, that’s fine. Add your suggestions in the comments area underneath this post. If you look at my portfolio or mostlyfotos, you’ll know that I like urban landscapes, architecture and street photography. I also take a lot of candid family photographs which I don’t post on the blog. These mirrorless camera recommendations are based on my experience taking these kind of photographs.
If you are confused by this new and fast growing market, don’t be. Just click on my guide for a straight forward look at what you should consider.
If you have friends that want to step up from a point and shoot or a DSLR user who is tired of lugging their beast around, please send them a link to this page or click the Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus buttons. You can also find a link to the Mirrorless guide on the right side under “Recommended Gear”
Following on the heels of the Olympus Micro 4/3 Resource Page I released a couple of weeks ago, I now present the Sony NEX Resource Page. You can also find a link to it under the Gear section on the right side.
You probably know that I’ve shot mostly with the Olympus Pens these days but the Sony NEX is a great mirrorless system. In fact, it is the camera system I recommend for beginners. Unless they want to shoot sports, I see very little these days to get a DSLR. It also has a convenient video system that works great for home movies.
When I went back into the archives, I realize it was the NEX-5 that really started my move away from DSLRs into the mirrorless cameras. The resource page nicely lays out the story of why I went Sony. I also have links to the Sony NEX-5 related posts.
Marilyn Armstrong over at Serendipity blog nominated me for the blog of the year award. Best I can tell, this isn’t any official endorsement from some blog committee — it’s a personal honor given by individuals — friends — from within the community. And for this, I am very grateful.
Much of what makes the web special are still the small peer-to-peer connections. Like any growing system, the big guys continue to become bigger and threaten to monopolize the most scarce resource we have — time. But I feel lucky that almost anyone these days can publish their thoughts to a world-wide audience. The many who blog collectively add richness and color to a place that otherwise may be dominated by corporate interests and low-grade spammy filler.
Part of me feels guilty for not being more active within the blogging community. Of course I can make excuses about being busy, we all are. Yes, the two blogs and the photography take up much of my free time. Kind of crazy but perhaps it is an outlet. A creative outlet arranging photons and words that balances my increasingly analytical world.
I do, however, need to visit and comment on more blogs. At least things are trending that way. I recently realized that, as well as not watching TV, I hardly ever go to main stream media websites. Blogs from people who I trust and respect are now my source of knowledge and entertainment.
While there is some level of self-satisfaction in creating a tiny, personal corner on the internet, it’s aways thrilling to get feedback from one’s audience. Marilyn has some very kind and encouraging words and I am truly grateful.
As I approach 200 posts, things are getting hard to find, even for me. I’ve decided to create resource pages, displayed on the right.
My first one is the Olympus Micro 4/3 Resource Page, You can access it from the section on the right under Gear. This page references my best articles on the Olympus micro 4/3 and explains why I like them so much. I think it will help orient new readers. Please tell me what you think.
I’ll add more pages over time. There will be more on gear but also sections for travel and events. Instead of being just a collection of posts, when completed, the pages will add structure to my blog.
atmtx portfolio, front page
You know I post a lot of photos on my blogs, like a man obsessed. On mostlyfotos, I post a new photograph everyday. I also post some more on this blog. So why do I want yet another site to post photographs? Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I realize I don’t have a true online portfolio. A place where I can direct someone to see my best and/or favorite work.
I’ve looked around on the web for a good-looking yet budget priced portfolio site and of course they are hard to find. I wanted a modern looking, minimal aesthetic. One where the pictures grow as the browser window is resized. Of course there are beautiful and really expensive sites that do this but I, being frugal, wanted a less expensive alternative. I think I’ve found what I’ve been looking for at 500px. There are a few more things I wished it could do but it does most of what I need at a reasonable price.
I mentioned a couple of days ago that 500px’s Awesome membership was on sale for $24.95. I jumped at the opportunity and now my portfolio is live. I’ve actually been working on this 500px site for a while. It takes some effort to go through the thousands of photographs and pick a small number that I truly like. On mostlyfotos, I post what I think are decent or interesting, but not all are of the same caliber. I also post a crazy mix of genres. My portfolio, however, is going to concentrate on a narrow set of topics.
Perhaps it is part of the maturation process but I’m gravitating towards architecture, interiors and the urban life. Particularly in the evening and night-time. I like color, as you can probably tell but I also search for reflections and a certain quality of light which I call “glow”. I’ve added one word descriptive and slightly goofy categories on my portfolio such as Glow, Striking, Structure, Blur and Cozy. I have selected 40 or so photographs and I may change them around once in a while but plan to keep them focused.
Please take a look and tell me what you think.
You can access the portfolio from the link up top but here is the direct URL:
Thank you to the editors of WordPress.com for selecting my post for the honor of “Freshly Pressed” for the second time. Freshly Pressed is a section of the WordPress.com site that showcases blogs on their site. This time, my post Proof: creativity not determined by price made it on their list. Certainly the bump in viewership is always welcome but more than that, it is always gratifying to be recognized by one’s peers.
While my first Freshly Pressed post, 2012 Chinese New Year Celebration in Austin is completely original, it is a Photo Essay on an event that I attended, this latest post is different. This time, I linked the primary content to showcase someone else’s work, the spectacular work of Dan Chung at The Guardian. Sure, I added my perspective and tied what he did to a point I was trying to make. But this is the first time I really referenced someone else’s work as the central theme. In the past, I was wary of just linking to someone else’s work; I always wanted to create original content. I’m beginning to change this stance, somewhat. I’m still believe in creating original content but I now think it makes sense to included works by others that fit into the narrative of this blog site.
Earlier today, I linked to a YouTube video which I found inspirational, (Re)touching lives through photos. It fits into my belief about the power of still photography. I’ll add more nuggets from the web but will continue to mix it with my point of view. Of course I will continue to add original content as well. Hopefully, as always, you will find these interesting and even worthwhile.
2 years ago, I started this blog. And after two years I finally feel like I’m finding my voice. I think like photography, a semblance of a style has begun to form. It is still in the primordial oozing stage so what is currently developing may turn into an evolutionary dead-end. But the good news is that I’m finally starting to move from just creating random posts to developing a set of stories and expressing my perspective on photography and camera equipment.
I continue to learn a lot about writing, developing a site and the general creative process. Much of what I said a year ago on my first anniversary post is still relevant and I won’t rehash them here. The main thing I’ve learned is sometimes it is more important to “just do it” than strive for perfection. I know I’m not the greatest writer but with practice I’m getting better and faster. Getting the ideas down and posting them is what counts. It is analogous to going out there and shooting photographs all the time. Repeated practiced does help. I’ve learned that writing is a skill and a craft just like photography.
I’ve learned that creating an audience on the internet is damn difficult. There is so much noise out there that getting noticed and having people coming back is such a challenge. A challenge that I, at times, wonder why I am taking. But over time my audience has grown and the general trend seems to be going up, though to my chagrin, it is quite an irregular climb. I’ll be lying if I said I was doing this just for myself. Sure, I’m proud of what I’ve written, photographed and the site I’m building. But I would love to have more people enjoy what I’m doing and maybe gain some insight or a new perspective from what I have written or photographed. Thank you to the people who have come back and over and over to visit my site. Some have added their comments which is wonderful and I know there is a larger group that just visits quietly. I feel immensely happy when I run into someone and they say they enjoyed what I’ve written.
I’m begun to add more of my opinion these days. My objective is to be well thought out and not come across as a jerk but I’ve realized that a blog is a platform for opinion. I try as hard as possible to be factual but this is not journalism. This site is ultimately going to be about my perspective, right or wrong. I’ve received some more negative comments which ultimately means that I’m doing the right thing. Sure, its tough and at times I feel a bit hurt by some of the comments; I think most people would like people to agree with them. But this is not reality. And I understand that if I express a stronger opinion there will be equally strong opinions that will come back. As long as we are respectful of people’s positions, it’s all good.
Over the year I’ve done some design tweaks to the site and got it pretty close to the way I want it (at least within my ability). I’ve started to add affiliate links in hopefully a non-annoying way. Thank you to the people who have purchased items via my links. Keep in mind that while I my promote a product that I use and like, you can always click on my links to buy any other product, even non camera gear, and I will receive a small commission. I realize that there are many other sites vying for your affiliate clicks so thank you for using mine.
Finally, I’ve gotten a bit more confident in the commercial aspect of my little operation. Whether it’s people who want to license my images or me asking people for money (via affiliate links), I’ve learned that if you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will. I don’t consider myself a natural sales person but it doesn’t hurt to be able to sell. So In that spirit, please use the following links to support this site. Click on the links before you buy from these sites and I get a small commission and you will get the product at the same price and the satisfaction of supporting a blog that you find enjoyable.
My blog posts have been a lot more sporadic these last couple of weeks, as you may have noticed. I’m currently in Japan and want to maximize my time making images rather than creating lengthy blog posts. I’ve been to Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama. I’ve shot about 7,000 photographs these last couple of weeks so I know I’m going to fall even more hopelessly behind in my image post-processing. I have a little less than 1 week left in Japan so we will see what the final image count will be.
I’m shooting all Olympus this trip. I thought about bringing my Sony NEX-5 like I did to India and Singapore but I decided use my Panasonic Lumix 14mm as my wide-angle lens. I picked up the, still rare, Panasonic wide-angle adapter in Japan for the 14mm which basically makes it a 11mm. With the conversion factor, I now have a 22mm on my Olympus Pen cameras. Not quite as wide as my 18mm equivalent on the Sony, but the Panasonic lens quality is a lot better. So, I brought 3 cameras with me. Two of my Olympus E-PL1s and my newer Olympus E-P3. Lens wise, I have the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f2.5 plus the wide-ange adapter, the Lumix 20mm f1.7, the Olympus 45mm f1.8 and the Oympus 40-150 zoom. While I have to juggle a few cameras, the weight is not bad at all. The 3 cameras and lenses together weight about the same as my Canon 7D with the wide-angle Sigma 10-20 lens. A bit more camera juggling but no lens switching required. I find it faster getting my images and I don’t have to worry about getting dust on the sensor.
I’ve already started posting images from Japan on mostlyfotos, my one photo per day site. I’m trying to have a mix of modern and old Japan for a nice slice of life here. Please take a look if you have some time. I will start posting longer form entires and talk about my experiences once I get back.
I took this photograph with my Olympus E-P3 with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f2.5. Please make sure to click on a photograph to see a larger image and hover over the photo to see the exposure details.
See more images taken with the Olympus E-P3 at mostlyfotos, my one photograph per day photo blog.
Today, February 8th is the 1st anniversary of mostlyfotos, my one photo per day blog. Readers of this blog may not know that I actually have two photo related blogs. Kind of crazy since one blog by itself takes up enough time. I started this one first, back in the summer of 2010. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing back then and maybe after a year and a half of blogging, I ‘m starting to get an idea of where I’m going to take this thing. Like may of my photography friends in Austin, who have their own blogs, I wanted to occasionally post a photo and talk about it. And that is the way I started out. Then as I continued, I started to add more photos per post, my prose increased in length and my blog started to evolve.
But I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way the blog and the accompanying photographs came together. I wanted larger photographs but I didn’t know how to modify this template to make it work for me. Besides, I like this format for longer posts. I add medium size images along with text, and I think it’s nicely structured to tell a story. It would be hard to add another entirely different kind of format, one with large pictures, into this blog. For that reason, I decided to create a second, photo focused blog. I wanted one large photograph per post with a small amount of text underneath. That is how mostlyfotos was born.
Now with the flexibility or pain of having two different kind of blogs, I can focus each one for a specific purpose. The posts on this blog have increased in length. I get to tell stories, share my photographic experience and review the stuff I use. On mostlyfotos, I get to showcase different photographs from around town and my occasional trips away from home. So why do I do all this work? Good question. Sometimes I question myself for spending this much time on blogging. I know that by forcing myself to post an image on mostlyfotos, I forces me, in a good way, to get out there and shoot more often. I need a deep buffer of photographs to be able to put one up every day. And while I don’t necessarily think each image is equally good, I don’t just post any kind of image to satisfy my one per day “requirement”. I believe that each image has some kind of merit, a different look, an interesting scene or a viewpoint that is uniquely mine.
So if you happen to stumble over to this blog and read about my photographic point of view or about the equipment I use, please take a look at the photographs I shoot on mostlyfotos. Good or bad, they are a reflection of who I am. More importantly, if I may be so presumptuous, you may find an image that inspires you. You’ll become interested in photography or in blogging and share your work with others. It is fun to talk about photography, the theories and the tools but I think ultimately, it is all about the images. By shooting constantly, I like to practice what I preach and not just become an equipment review blog. So I would greatly appreciate you taking, what little time you have out of your busy schedule, to take a look at my photographs once in a while. And if a photograph floats your boat, please feel free to share it on Facebook, Tweet it or G+ it by hitting the icons at the bottom of the image on mostlyfotos. After all, there is no better honor for a photographer than to have a large audience.
As a the calendar flips over again to start a new year, I started thinking of what 2012 my bring for my photography and blogging. I’m generally not much into New Year’s resolutions. I figure, why wait for the beginning of the year to start a new habit? If something is worth changing, doesn’t it make sense to change it immediately? I won’t bore you with non-photographic stuff. I did want to discuss observations and changes that have occurred in my photographic realm and my guess at the future direction of these trends.
I talked about some of this in a post called Canon losing the buzz, why I’m not interested but I’ve noticed this year that my interest in using my big Canon SLR has been decreasing. The initial trend started more than a year ago when I got my first mirrorless EVIL camera, the Sony NEX-5. I would carry by NEX-5 and the Canon 7D along on photo walks. I discovered, however, that the small Sony camera gave me a freedom of composition and expression that I didn’t have with the larger camera. Mid-year this year. I purchased the Olympus E-PL1, initially to play with and to get a color and exposure that I wasn’t getting on my Sony. It turned out that the slightly clunky E-PL1 especially with the Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens have become my go to camera for casual shooting. When I want a camera to make snaps of may family, the Olympus is in tow. When I want slightly more “serious” images from my photowalks, I still press the Olympus into service. The 40mm equivalent format is really easy to shoot but it also challenges me to see and make interesting compositions. I no longer, just relay upon super-wide images with HDR enhancements to make interesting shots. I’m hoping to create worthwhile images even with a lens that has a normal view and with a single exposure. I’m not sure if I’m succeeding or not but I’m starting to see changes in my newer images. I also feel more freedom when I’m no longer tendered to a larger camera and a tripod. I can move around easily, unencumbered and really explore alternate compositions. For 2012, I’m going to continue with this style. Less weight, more flexibility and a simpler way of shooting.
I also learned that skills and ability drop quickly. The downside of all this shooting with my small cameras is my loss of familiarity with my Canon DSLR. When I used the 7D all the time, I knew the controls and could make adjustments quickly. Now, when I pickup the camera, I’m sluggish and I need to search through my brain to set the controls. Recently, during my son’s school performance and at the Christmas gift opening, I broke out the good old 7D. I immediately noticed that my handling skills have dropped off and it took me a bit of fiddling to get the shots that I used to get with ease. Bounce flashes off the ceiling weren’t exposed right. I eventually got dialed back in but my hard learned skills were fading quicker than I imagined. While I’m planning to use the smaller cameras more than ever, I must remember to use my Canon and keep my skills refreshed. That, unfortunately, is the downside of having several different cameras — different interfaces. I need to rotate though my cameras to keep their usage parameters fresh in my head.
I’m still looking for the elusive camera/video multi-function camera, maybe 2012 will be the year. When I bought my NEX-5 back in 2010, I thought this might be the camera that combines high quality still images with an easily usable, auto-focusing video camera. As I wrote in The Sony NEX-5 Review and the new NEX-5n there were a few limitations with the NEX-5 that ultimately disappointed. The NEX-5n has addressed much of my frustrations but I’ve decided to wait. There are rumors of a new Fujifilm EVIL camera coming out, there is always a chance that Canon might finally address this high quality mirrorless market. This market is rapidly changing and I’m excited to see what is in store for this coming year. What will the successor to the NEX-5n be like? Will a Olympus E-P4 come out with a better low light sensor and better video? Will Nikon release large aperture primes (at least f2.0 or better) for their Nikon 1 line? Of course, If I do end up getting yet another camera, I exacerbate the issue I talked about in the previous paragraph. I add yet another interface to the array of interfaces that I need to remember.
Shifting gears to social media, I’ve noticed that in 2011, keeping up with my photo friends have increasing been difficult. It used to be simple for me. Everyone I knew was on Flickr. Now people have scattered to the different social medial islands that compete for our attention. Google+ is the new shiny site that has pulled many photographers away from Flickr and Twitter. There is also that large Facebook world and lone island that is personal blogs. I have two blogs, this one which has longer form posts and mostlyfotos which is my daily photoblog. I’ve developed these sites over the last year and a half and put significant effort in to them. And while I like how they are shaping up, concentrating too much on my site isolates me from my online friends. This year, I need to return to my roots, somewhat. I need to post more on Flickr again. When I return there, it feel like I’m back in the neighborhood in which I was born. Some of my old friends are still around and posting just as much. Some of the gang have left for greener pastures and are no longer around. I probably can’t spend as much time as I originally did a couple of years ago but I need to show up more often on Flickr. I’m still unsure of the Google+ world. While I have posted some to G+, I really have not spent the time to make too many new friends. I’ve bumped into people I know from Flickr, which is aways a pleasant surprise. It feels like running into an elementary school friend in the large out-of-state University. Social media seem to be changing quicker than cameras so I know I won’t have this figured out in 2012. I will just have to make adjustments that seem to make sense.
Finally, I’ve learned that writing is a skill like photography. I don’t know if my writing has improved any over the last couple of years but I find that I can craft together posts quicker than before. I also found that I have no shortage of topics and ideas that I can write about. Maybe, if I keep at this, my writing skill will continue to improve and I’ll be able to crank out these posts. Of course, blog post creation time has to complete with photography, photo processing and organizing not to mention all the rest of my life activities, so it is always an uphill battle to find time. I hope 2012 will bring more interesting and useful posts to anyone that my stumble upon my blog and my photography. I hope you all have a great 2012.
Happy New Year
I wanted to do this for a while and I finally finished it. I wanted to create a site index of all the posts I’ve made on this blog. Even though I’ve slowed down some, over the last year, I wrote about 70 posts — hard to believe. I broke up my posts into some rough categories that seemed to make sense for me. The Review and Observations sections are the largest and I’ve broken them down into subcategories. The other categories include some of my photo philosophy and photo industry trends that I have seen. I think my two favorite posts are under the Photo Essays section. There I wrote about my visit to the two old and non-functioning power plants in Austin, Holly Street and Seaholm.
Looking over my posts, I’ve seen changes over the last year. My earliest posts were simple, short and more focused on one photograph. Over the year, my posts have become longer and many of the entires have multiple photos. Instead of short photo oriented posts, I have started to write more about my thought process and things that I’ve discovered about photography. My second blog that I started in February, mostlyfotos focuses on the photograph with very little text. Over the next year, with these two blogs, I can focus on different things. This blog will continue to have medium to longer form text content with some photographs, typically to illustrate a point. My one a day photo blog, mostlyfotos, will continue to showcase my range of photography.
If you look near the top right of this page, you will notice the links to the site index and mostlyfotos. These links will be available on every page so you can quickly access them at any time. I’ve also further revamped my right hand column with my Twitter feed and a link to my Facebook Fan page. I hope you visit these links and read some of my earlier posts or look at a sample of my photography. Thank you for continuing to visit my site and please let me know if you have suggestions for future blog posts.