October 30, 2011

In Defence of Sony

Recently had a few rants thrown my way, one about my appreciation of public transport in Melbourne and then a more detailed effort about my articles on Sony cameras. To set the scene, I bagged the Sony Alpha range on the basis their SLT version of SLR is a gimmick looking for a market. Sony make some great gear, but have failed to grab a slice of the SLR market since launching the Alpha range. Recently they introduced the translucent mirror and backed the move with a slew of misleading claims.

In a market full of solid technology and with no genuine quality difference between the imaging systems, the lack of an optical viewfinder in the Alpha range makes is a white elephant. Far more compelling are their E-mount systems, but those compliments went unheeded by the gentleman offering feedback.

You can read my article sony in full here, but far more interesting is to read the rant from a gentleman who I wont name for his own sake...

G'day Greg, just received my 3rd example of Digital Photography under my 12 month subscription and yet again I have to read Ewan Bell ranting on about how much he dislikes Sony's current range of DSLRs and their "translucent" /SLT mirror technology.

Enough already! Ok Mr Bell, perhaps you have sold your soul to Canikon and cannot stand the thought that a company might actually try to innovate with their DSLR's, but if you are the photographer that you want us to think you are, you'll appreciate it's not the brand on the camera but the idiot pressing the shutter button that matters. It's not about the brand, it's about the photograph and your reviews might make better reading if they discussed things like the quality of the images that a camera produces rather than why the technology that produces it is not to your particular taste.

I'll be upfront and admit that I happily own 2 Sony DSLR's - an a700 and an a55. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but both are capable of producing exceptional photographs (as is just about any other DSLR on the market today) - if I come home with a dud it's always my fault, not the cameras. The a33/35/55/77 go about it differently, but can you honestly say that they don't/can't take a decent photograph?

By all means be loyal to your particular favourite brand, but don't shit-can a manufacturer just because it's "new" (would you be so harsh if the camera's had Minolta on the front I wonder?) and is trying to do something different in a crowded market. Stupid questions like "Is the SLT concept really going to change digital photography forever?" do you no justice. Of course it won't "change digital photography forever" any more than Nikon or Canon's way of doing something will stay the same forever. Likewise, the statement that "Translucent mirror technology makes more sense for cinematography than stills photography" shows your complete lack of knowledge about cinematography and how those cameras work (unless you really meant amateur video photography using a digital stills camera).

A camera review should be un-biased, or at the very least the author should establish their particular brand-bias at the beginning. If you're too much of a brand-snob to do an objective review, stick to taking your rather excellent photographs and leave the camera reviews to those that can.


June 19, 2011


"The rank and file appear increasingly rank, yet hardly ever file."

I think you know when it's time to move on, and if you let the Universe guide you a little it always works out for the best. That much desired label seems to be used by all and sundry, like a worn out phrase taken drastically out of context and eventually losing it's original meaning altogether.

It seems like a good time to pick another label, one that fits a little better and gives some room for growth.


June 07, 2011

Reality and Travel Photography

The reality of travel journalism, at its best, is not lounging about a spa pool waiting for another cocktail to arrive, but getting up at 6am to trek into the village and chase fisherman about the beach with your camera. You get back to the hotel hot and sweaty and too late for breakfast, but you don't care because the excitement of those photos captured on the camera contain an expression of the experience.

You can tell when a writer is faking the experience and you can tell when a photographer is faking being an artist. Sometimes they're lazy, sometimes they're fooling themselves. If you're not busting your ass to get a better shot then just go home and play on Photoshop.

Realities of being self-employed aside, the challenge of my creative work is something I've tried to share in detail with my website called Photography for Travellers. When I first launched the site I had a vague idea of what I wanted to say, and the content has taken shape on its own since then. The key ingredient to good photography is genuine experience. The more you know the more your images will show.

I hope that comes across in the various features and guides across the website, the idea that you can improve your photography more by changing your way of seeing the world instead of just buying a better lens. In the process of adding to the Photography for Travellers website and expanding my ideas, I've come to redefine my idea of what travel photography is all about. Experience turns into expression. The more you embrace the narrative of your photography, the more you become an artist, the stronger your voice and the deeper the message.

January 30, 2011

Peaceful Places

Peaceful places where people are few but naturally pleasant.
Crowds only happen when Monks gather in the mornings.
Fast food is when sticky rice is ready to leave the steamer.
A land where elephants still wander the forests.
How do such large creatures disappear from sight?

I can get lost inside a Tokyo train too. Anyone can.
Trains flow like rivers but lack their grace.
The river cares for its people like a grandmother.
Mostly gentle and wise, sometimes crazy. Always flowing.
A place of places is where I want to be.

Maybe more than one. Life is too short to watch it all on the internet.
Mountain tops are clean and pure, their people hardy and remarkable.
Tropical islands are rare jewells that shine in the ocean.
Jungles are rich in creatures of kind and carnivorous nature.
Deserts are a temporary wilderness for travellers only.

Time pauses when you fly, the world is truly small.
Time races before you fly, the world is truly narrow.
Time jumps while you sleep, re-emerging where you least expect it.
Time flows when you've arrived, flowing away from you like youth.
Time stays with you when you are present, when you're in that peaceful place.