Archive for June, 2011

You’re Wrong!

Posted in art, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by cliffmichaels

Every field of human interest has its own endless arguments. Big Bang vs. Steady State; Bible vs. Quran; Apple vs. Microsoft; Republican vs. Democrat; Chevy vs. Ford; Tastes Great vs. Less Filling… In some cases, these arguments are pointless because no one is ever going to change her mind; others are pointless because the answer came years and years ago but a significant minority refuses to admit it.

Despite the pointlessness of these debates, you will find people in comment sections across the Internet furiously arguing for one side or the other. “Anyone  dumb enough to buy a Chevy truck should be shot.” “Steve Jobs is the Messiah!”

Photography has its share of these pointless debates.  A few of my favorites:

Nikon vs. Canon. You will find internet commenters who are fans of each brand. These fanboys will argue with passion which is better. I, of course, am a Nikon Guy; but put a gun to my head and I’ll admit Canons are just as good.

People Take Pictures, not Cameras. I read a piece by someone who was extremely critical of anyone who actually thought buying a better camera would make them a better photographer. This mantra seems to be affirmed every other day on one photography site or another. In the piece I just read, the author even claimed that having a better camera can make one a worse photographer by “exposing your shortcomings”!

Let me go against the Perceived Wisdom in this debate and say that of course a better camera can make you a better photographer. Of course, too, it isn’t automatic. A camera is just a set of tools. Generally speaking, better tools lets you do better work. Of course, if a photographer is so incredible dense she can’t understand her tools, or has utterly no artistic sense whatsoever, then she isn’t going to be a better photographer with a D3 than she was a with a $100 point and shoot. But most folks aren’t that dense or artistically lacking. For most of us, who care enough about photography to try and learn how to do it better, a superior camera will make us better. Maybe not a lot better, but some.

It’s Wrong to Use Photoshop to “Change” a Photo. Years ago I was talking photography with a cousin at a wedding. He proudly told me how he never used Photoshop, that his photography was pure. No post processing for him (he would, however, use darkroom techniques).

I use Photoshop a great deal (probably too much). I eliminate all kinds of things from photos – posts, fences, zits, garbage, people – and I change colors, relative sizes, dimensions and textures on a whim. Now, I warn people on my Flickr profile that none of my photos are offered as truthful, accurate depictions of what was in front of my lens. I like to play God.

Obviously, a photo journalist is offering her photograph as a depiction of reality. If she alters her shot to increase the drama she is committing fraud. On the other hand, no one ever accused Monet of “tinkering with reality”. We understand his work is not purely representative. Most of us know, too, that fashion photography leans heavily on Photoshop and other technical enhancers of reality.

Like its older cousin Painting, Photography is now free to depict not just the reality of its subject, but the artist’s perception, whatever it might be, of that subject.

Photo by Mr. Cortes, subject to a creative commons license

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Close to Home

Posted in photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, tennessee with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by cliffmichaels

There are lots of great Flickr photographers from all around the globe. Here, in my little corner of the world, east Tennessee, we have some good ones as well…

PHOTOGIRL612– Her photos of Caves Code  are particularly nice

GREG BOOHER –  Enjoy his Tennessee landscapes

MARTY CARSON – His landscape set makes me jealous

Flickr groups: East Tennessee Photographers East Tennessee Natural Landscapes

Photo by Kimintn, subject to a creative commons license

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The Other Side of the Street

Posted in erotic, fetish, PHOTOGRAPHY, pinup, Sexy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2011 by cliffmichaels

This week the New York legislature passed a bill allowing gay marriage in the Empire State. The sixth and largest state of permit same sex marriage (along with Washington, D.C.), New York’s “coming out” will give a greater impetus to the fight for marriage equality across the nation.

To honor the victory in New York in the sleaziest way possible, VISIONS presents a few Flickr purveyors of gay erotica:

As always, to see most of the photos in this post you must be a FLICKR member with safe search OFF.

HANDSOME33– PG rated, but hunky

DARCY ROLLO  – Hard R, fantasy hunky

KARAO2 – PG twinks

BIGBULGE2a1 – twinkie pinups

LIKEMUSCLEBEARS – X, the name says it all

Flickr group: ANTIQUE AND CHARACTER GAY EROTICA

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Feeling Ashamed

Posted in art, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2011 by cliffmichaels

As I’ve noted before, I  am an incredibly lazy photographer. On many of my excursions, the only exercise I get is pushing the buttons that lower my car’s windows. This past wednesday, for example, I spent two plus hours driving around south Blount County snapping summer landscapes from the air conditioned comfort of my Honda Civic. I did, however, actually get out of my car at one point and walk well over one hundred feet along a level roadway to get some shots I couldn’t manage from my car.  I felt so proud…

I was channel surfing last night and stumbled upon a Weather Channel program about one incredibly intrepid photographer. I didn’t get his name, but he was shooting with a medium format camera and his shots were magnificent. (update: he’s Peter Lik, renowned Australian photographer).

He was shooting in the southwest, around the Colorado river canyons, including the ultimate, the Grand. Now, this guy would climb rock formations for hours to get just the right shot, or dangle precariously over the edge of a sheer nrock wall, hundreds of feet above ground, to get that fresh perspective.  Oh, and he was doing all of this while lugging a industrial strength tripod and wearing an oversized backpack full of thousands of dollars worth of camera gear.

In his voice  over narration he told us a handful of people fall to their death every year from the top of  canyon walls. He didn’t tell us how many of those poor souls were landscape photographers. If any were, I just hope each victim’s final photo was unique and well composed, with delicate color and razor sharp focus…

This unknown photog even makes my Flickr hero,  Patrick Smith, look like a dilettante. Smith plots out his landscape shots well in advance, consulting Google maps as well as tide and sun tables to find just the right time and place to put his camera. As far as I can tell, however, not even Smith delights in risking  his life.

So I  feel even more ashamed than before. I ought to make a vow to abandon my car, to get out, climb those smoky mountains, tramp through those dark forests, go to any lengths, take any risks  necessary to get fresh, unique,  shots of the Tennessee countryside.

I ought to do that. I really should. And I might. Maybe. Someday. Soon….

This gorgeous photo of Canyon Piva in Montenegro by Alexander Shchukin, courtesy of a creative commons license, did not cost the photographer his life or limb (as far as I know…)

Here’s a group of canyon photos

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Sunday Morning Blonde (6/25/11)

Posted in erotic, FLICKR, pinup, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2011 by cliffmichaels

This lovely lady courtesy of  Alan Antiporda, subject to a creative commons license, and ruined by me…

Like your blondes a little less real?

Blondes of Second Life

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Flickr Newstand! (6/25/11)

Posted in FLICKR with tags , , , on June 25, 2011 by cliffmichaels

Flickr groups on newsworthy topics

Minot, North Dakota

Gay Marriage

Hackers

Arizona Fire Service  

Paris Air Show

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Appalachian Winter

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, tennessee with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by cliffmichaels

Scott Hotaling (Flickr handle Light of the Wild) provides only a single sentence about himself on his profile page: “A climber and photographer, I love going on adventures to beautiful places and sharing the bitchin’ views.”  While his entire photostream is well worth viewing, his magnificent small set Appalachian Winter is amazing…

And here’s a Flickr group, Winter Landscapes, with nearly eighteen thousand more shots of snowy trees and mountains!

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