A strange thing happened to me today. Desire left my body.
A B&H catalogue duly/dutifully (pick whichever word you prefer) arrived in the mail. Even though I never ordered one. I thought I would open in anyway. If only to separate the polyethylene plastic covering from the paper so that I could recycle it properly.
Now I will admit that one of my past times is photography. And about the only money I spend these days is on food, clothes and work stuff…
Nevertheless, I am living in the first world. And first world people are told to buy. To consume. We’re hardwired for it from birth. From before birth even. We’re not even born yet and there are presents waiting for us. As we get older, they make “infant sized” shopping trolleys.That’s how bad it is.
So I obliged and flicked through the thing. All 340 pages.
But this was my first B&H catalogue. My very first one. “Just a peek” I thought. “To see what’s new”.
Anyway, I was quite surprised to find that as I was flicking through the thing, there was not one item that I actually needed. And believe me, I looked quite intently. I looked at photos. I even scrutinised the product descriptions. More surprisingly, there was not even even one item that I wanted to own. The desire was gone. Gone I tell you.
No USB 3.1 peripherals. No more usb hubs. No thunderbolt devices. No thunderbolt dock. No ‘other’ computer accessories. No new mice or keyboards. No new routers. No modem. No high-end scanners and printers. No network attached drives. No portable wifi drive enclosures. No optical drive. No new SDXC cards. No cloud. No data bank. No more storage space required. No storage case. No software. No ipad. No new drawing tablets. No graphics card. No new motherboard. No interruptible power supply. No power strip. No new lenses. No teleconverters. No filters. No new cameras. No new micro 4/3rds cameras. No large format cameras. No flash. No tripod. No parabolic slider. No underwater housings. No more spare batteries. No video equipment. No projector. No DVD player. No flast screen television. No curved screen television. No 3D television. No holographic television. No television bracket. No television antenna. No streaming media hub. No HDMI extender. No digital voice recorder. No microphone. No headphones. No rechargeable power pack. No audiophile cables & connectors. No turntable. No AV receiver. No speakers. No sound bar. No sound system. No graphic equalisers. No digital preamps. No joystick. No steering wheel. No GPS navigator. No dashcam. No thermal imaging camera. No night vision binolculars. No multimeter. No new smartphones. No bluetooth cradle. No cordless phone. No smart watch. No heart rate monitor. No sleep monitor. No activity monitor. No other monitors. No drones. No security camera. No alarm. No 3D printer. No 3D goggles. No virtual reality. No new bags.
I am done. I am done with consumerism.
I know none of it will make me ‘happier’. I already know. I am happy now, in this instant, with what I have. Happiness is not an accumulation of possessions. It is a state of mind. None of it will make me more productive, either.
I did want a 24mm Nikon AFD lens. Because my 12-24mm lens is “too slow” at 24mm (being f5.6), fairly large, fairly heavy. And my next focal length autofocus lens up from that is 35mm. Because it’s ‘only’ about AUD$400. And I was so close to getting that a few months back. But you know what? I know, wisely, that if I get that lens, it will always be “just one more”. So I am going to stop right here. 24mm is still very wide, too wide, for a normal lens. And I have a small little 28mm lens. I have a 35mm lens also. So that is enough. Enough is enough. “!Basta ya¡” (enough already) as they say in Spain. “ya está.” (that’s it). “Ya bastante.” (another way of saying “enough already”).
I am done and I am happy.
I am done and I am happy and I just wanted to share that with the world.
The reason I chose a Nikon system over Canon system, people, is that Nikon’s camera lenses are backwards compatible… even going all the way back to the 1970’s. Now, keep in mind that when I bought my first Nikon camera in 2014, I didn’t even own any Nikon or Canon lenses. I never had.
But after reading —no, make that scouring— Ken Rockwell’s website, specifically this new page of his, it made me realise that Nikon looked like one of the only manufacturers that truly seemed to care about not just backwards compatibility, but even forwards compatibility as well.
It just seemed to me that they were the most serious about not wanting things to go to waste. Not just money, but material resources.
And I like that. That for me is very, very important. So I guess what I am saying is that that was one of the main deciding factors, the reason, for me to have bought into Nikon’s entire F mount system.
Why is it so important to me? Well, because if there’s one thing in this world that I can’t stand, it’s companies that make things go obsolete well before their time.
So I stopped in… Port Kembla of all places today.
And sorry to say this if you live there, but it was like visiting the land that time forgot. I felt compelled to get out of the car and take a look around.
I felt like a location scout for Grand Theft Auto. It is just that seedy. I think I am going to start a book with this picture, called “The Lucky Country”.
I was going to take a shot of this façade “as is” (without anyone). Because it is almost like a ghost town. Seriously, it is that devoid of people. Then I saw this interesting character approaching, the only one in town, looked him in the eye, said “G’Day”.
He walked straight past me into the scene and I took the shot anyway. I think he heard the shutter it go off, but maybe he thought it was a mistake with him being in it. So he didn’t even look back at me. On a Saturday mid-afternoon, most places are closed. I suppose the good thing about this town are that there are no queues!
Yes the subject is not perfectly in focus. It’s back-focused. But I had about one second to compose the shot. So it was either this or nothing.
18mm equivalent focal length
I have had some very strange looks while photographing the Bin Laden project. If there’s one side of Sydney that I don’t like… it’s the refuse & rubbish that I see everywhere.
With this project, I am trying to make waste “look nice” with special editing techniques. Easier to become zero waste though I think.
I think it’s strange that all of this refuse (which is for the most part very ugly) is on display for everyone to see. Where is the waste in nature?
The fact is, nature knows no waste.
So the point of this project is to get people to think more about all of the waste that they generate on a daily basis. As a former materials scientist, I try to encourage everyone to buy less products and more services instead.
It has been shown that we humans tend to look back on experiences more favourably than previous physical purchases.
When we do buy products, they should be made from ecological, sustainable materials, with zero waste. I myself am trying very hard to operate a new “zero waste” business.
And that is the goal of the Bin Laden project.
It’s been a while, so I have just uploaded some new photos to my ongoing Bin Laden project.
I have also been busy on several new projects:
- “advertising space” — there are now five photos in that set.
- “behind closed doors” — there are now four photos in that set.
- “signs of the time” — there are now five photos in that set.
- “windows to the soul” — just one photo so far (I found the light and colour emanating from this particular window to be very interesting).
I have two main long-term goals with my photography. As I get older, I would like use street photography to shine a spotlight on two massive problems that are prevalent in many societies today:
1) MATERIAL WASTE: I previously studied materials science and I believe that there is way too much consumerism in the Western world. Way too much. Mining leads to environmental tradgedies, yet we need the environment in order to survive. So we are eventually going to have to overcome this addiction we have of unsustainable synthetic materials and manufacturing processes, literally for our own survival. Recycling in its current form is still not enough, we need to be able to recycle all the elements on the periodic table, not just a handful of them.
In nature, there is simply no such thing as ‘rubbish’. One organism’s waste is another’s food. There is a girl out there somewhere who only had only accumulated one jar of waste after a whole year. I believe that should be our collective future; our aim should be to create zero waste. I believe that one day in the future, the large rubbish bins we see now today will become obsolete. Perhaps it will take centuries, but that is the way it has to be.
I have spent the last 2 or 3 years learning about lenses. For me, some of the best advice has come from none other than Ken Rockwell. His advice is usually to invest in small, compact prime lenses rather than digital bodies. The whole idea is to get better quality equipment for less price. That is what I have essentially done and I am happy with pretty much everything that I have bought so far. He is generally quite right about equipment, and his advice can save you a lot of money in the world of cameras.
Another great resource for lens reviews is Photozone. I have bought more than a few lenses on their reccommendations because I find their reviews to be thorough and very objective. A similar site is DXO mark. And there are no shortage of reviews on the Imaging Resource. Another good one is LensTip. If you prefer the funny/creative/vulgar, then look no further than Kai Man Wong’s entertaining video lens reviews on Digital Rev TV.
If you’re like me, you get a bit overwhelmed with all the choices of lenses. Lenshero.com is one link that makes your life a bit easier to compare all of the lenses available for a certain type of camera body mount. It’s especially useful if you’d like to compare the size, weight of basic specifications of the lenses. The one down side is that Voigtlander lenses are not featured, which is a shame.
The only photography blog that I really follow is Eric Kims street photography blog. That’s it.
Other than that, Ming Thein has also written a lot about photography and takes lots of great photos. Be warned though that Ming’s writings are more like treatises or photography essays than actual blog articles (he’s also a Hasselblad / Zeiss nut). Many times I end up falling on one of Steve Huff‘s blog articles too (he’s a Leica nut though).
A popular forum that you might have already come across is dpreview.com. Loads of professional and very knowledgeable amateurs on there…