Fuzzy water

A benefit of the Internet is the easy distribution of knowledge. This applies strongly to photography, as this is truly an international activity. This benefit has its flip side. Take the technique to make moving or falling water look smooth and soft by choosing a long shutter speed and small aperture. This ‘trick’ made it to all the “tips and tricks” lists (click bait) and now it seems that every beginning photographer thinks this is a ‘rule’. But more often than not, it ruins an otherwise fine photograph and instead of a ‘pro’ quality it gives the picture a cheap “Bob Ross” quality. In my view, the movement of waves, drops or streaming water or a waterfall gives the picture a dynamic character: nature (and physics) in action! There must be a clear vision or intent to blur this dynamism and give it a soft, painterly atmosphere. For instance, for a model shoot it may work well as it is in line with the softer, rounder shape of a model. I vote for the return of crystal clear waves, droplets, waterfalls.


And I do not mean photographs, but Apple’s new photo management software. Since half a year I work in Lightroom + PS. I wanted to change for quite a while, since Aperture was clearly left to die. I liked Aperture and was comfortable using it, but lack of upgrades, lens correction and other functionality made me eye for LR. So when Apple announced Photos to replace Aperture last year I made the changeover to LR. I did not massively transferred all my old stuff to LR libraries or catalogs. No use in doing so. I took only the best photographs to import into LR and left 3 large Aperture libraries (700, 200 and 150 GB) and 1 iPhoto waiting for the new Photos app. Obviously the Photos app is not for professionals or prosumers, but it is fast, clean and optimized for new hardware and software. I created one small active library for casual pictures, family and friends shots and the like. I do not want that sort of pics to clutter my LR collection. As a bonus, it is directly copied to the cloud. Photos calls this the system library. The other 4 libraries I converted to Photos without a hitch. I renamed them and made a copy of each as backup, making sure that there are always two copies on two different hard drives. An improvement for the future is to have also a copy in the cloud. I removed all old Aperture and iPhoto libraries. On my laptop, where my main LR activity takes place with a few external drives, I removed also iPhoto and Aperture to free up as much space as possible on my limited SSD of 250 GB. I have still Photos of course.
That completed my transfer. I expect Photos to become better in functionality in the future, but since I work with LR now, I am not bothered. Back to photography!

The flood of photography information

The daily amount of information on photography on the Internet is astonishing. Almost 200 years of photography combined with practically the whole world population making pictures generates an enormous amount of information on gear, tips, tricks, etc. A beginning enthusiast photographer can easily drown in so much information, it can become a full time job reading online articles and you never touch a camera. Rigorous selection is required. If you just bought a nice camera there is no need to keep on reading every camera review. If you are ambitious, focus on the most difficult aspect of photography: seeing the shot, expressing your view on the world, being creative. Be aware that most, if not all, “10 tips for xxxx photos” or “how to make xxxx photos like a pro” are simply click bait. You do not really believe yourself that what a dedicated professional costs many years to accomplish you will learn by just reading tips and tricks. So, being selective and knowing what you want are important presets for successful absorption of other people’s experience. Next time more how I try to build a sustainable learning loop.

Hanging around

Hanging around is a good method for getting better pictures. In this example I went to a small park in Tianjin (China), sat on a bench and waited to see what would happen. A couple was dancing, a man standing, mothers and children, and so on. So after people got used to me (a foreigner!), I took my 70-200mm as I was seated quite far from the action for a portrait shot. After an hour I had a couple of nice shots, below a few examples. So, choose a suitable location, ‘hang around’ and wait for the right moments: patience and concentration!

see also www.arthurreijmer.com




A week ago on a rainy and cold day in Rouen, France. First thing you do in Rouen is visit the cathedral, which is a spectacular example of High Gothic style. Parked the car, took my photo bag (also holds umbrella, sandwiches, water!), arrived at the cathedral, opened the bag and low and behold: everything there except my D800 body! Then I remembered to have taken the body out and forgot to put it back the evening before. Took my Coolpix A back up camera, and worked with that. Inside I set ISO to 1600 and I was ready to go. I made a few nice pictures, proving that expensive gear is not a prerequisite for good photographs. I like the picture of the stairs. In post I had to remove an ugly lamp and pedestal on the right side in LR and of course converted to BW with Nik Silver Efex Pro. I like the mysterious atmosphere. In the other the extreme Gothic style is well reflected: man reaching for heaven.



Next blog: hanging around

About this blog

The common problem with blogs is you do not continue once started, at least not on a regular basis. I think it helps to blog about something you really care about, like me about photography. I am a beginner, at least that is how I feel. My gear is fine, good enough for most situations, and the quality of my photos will not depend on my gear but on my vision and craftsmanship. This blog is about my efforts of making better photographs, images which reflect my emotions and feelings, or just my taste.
I start with the present with flashback entries filling in the recent past.

I hope this blog will be entertaining and instructive for other beginning photographers. It will detail success and failure.

Gear freaks will have to look elsewhere, but occasionally I will discuss gear related issues. I follow – not very closely- dpreview for my gear related information.

My “display window” is www.arthurreijmer.com . I regularly prune the content, especially when I am unhappy about my photography. I like the concept of Viewbook, the website behind my photos. Simple, clean, focus on content.

I also publish some photos on 500px.com. 500px started with a good concept as an alternative for Flickr. Unfortunately, 500px followed the social media hypes (and the money). The comment section, meant to make the site ‘interactive’ is a joke. However, good photographers there, plenty of material to learn from.