I decided to revisit my minimalism and photography post I did a couple of years ago:
Minimalism and photography. Do they go together? When people think of minimalism they tend to think of having to sort out their stuff and get rid of it. If you follow The Minimalists you will get a much better idea of the concept.
Everybody has their own interpretation of something they read and what they take away from it. At the moment part of my take on minimalism is:
Remove things that don’t add value to your life.
Adopt a conscious consumerism approach, buy what you need not what you want.
Think about using what you have before making a purchase.
Think about how much freedom you will have worrying about less stuff.
Whilst I am slowly reducing the amount of clutter I have, I’m not blindly throwing things out. There is a fine line though. The ‘keep it just in case’ pile is getting smaller in the house. Unfortunately the same pile in the garage is a more difficult task for me to tackle. I don’t know why DIY orientated stuff is harder to make a decision about. I’ve only just got rid of a steamer that hasn’t been used in about eight years. When I stop and think about it now, I can’t reason why I’ve kept it so long. The same goes for an old metal tool box with a collection of oversized spanners in it. A throw back to the days of DIY maintenance on the car. Which I also haven’t done for years. Even the wife thinks of it as a family ’heirloom’.
By now this may start to be familiar in photographic terms. How many flashguns, lenses, bags, filters, brackets [insert anything else you can think of] do you have lying around? How many of these items are kept ‘just in case’?
So that bit of text in italics above is an excerpt from the original post. How am I doing on the minimalism and photography front? Not too bad at all. How about minimalism in general? Could be better is the answer.
Now let me point out the other half is in no way a minimalist. I am still trying to do the conscious consumerism thing. That for me is working a lot better. In the past I would have been a lot more impulsive on my purchases, Now its more a question of ‘well it still works so I’m good for now’.
Of course that will only work for so long…. But I am a lot more mindful of the things I buy. There’s that conscious consumerism thing.
In terms of my photography gear I am already reasonably minimal. I have a ‘standard zoom’, and a ‘medium zoom’ as my everyday carry in a small bag set up. That covers wide angle to telephoto (24-300ish mm in full frame equilavent).
On top of that I only own another two lenses (a 35mm 1.8 DX and a 85mm Macro lens). As much as I try I just don’t like the results from anything wider than 18mm on DX. I have gone through a couple of 10-20mm lenses but I never end up keeping them.
I do go back and forth on the macro lens as well. I currently have one and will hang on to it for the time being.
My better half currently has my old D3200 (you forget how small they are) with a 18-55 and 55-200. Despite my best efforts though she doesn’t tend to use them much preferring her phone instead.
I’ve also got My Nikon V1 and a couple of lenses. I do like using it but I’ve come to the conclusion that if any of It breaks it will not be replaced. I stopped spending money on that system a while back.
What I do seem to have is a draw full of chargers, cables and other stuff of dubious usefulness. I need to sort that lot out sometime.
If you are fortunate enough to have a few lenses for a challenge try going out with just one or two. Or maybe have a look at the metadata in Lightroom to see which you use the most. You might surprise yourself which focal lengths you shoot at.
So how do you cope when your partner doesn’t share your minimalism ideas? Well like most things in life you have to pick your battles 🙂
I have to admit I’m not a full blown minimalist but starting to think about what I keep and what I buy is a step in the right direction.
If your curious about minimalism pop over and pay Joshua and Ryan a visit at theminimalists.com. You never know it may change your life 😉
( Other minimalist advisors are available).
Experiences not gear. A while ago I wrote about whether experiences or more gear would be beneficial to us as photographers. I also said I would be putting my money where my mouth is. So here are some photos from an experience I had for my birthday, along the Fort William to Mallaig railway line.
We started off on this:
Went through here:
And ended up along here:
The ‘Harry Potter’ bridge or its more correct name The Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Line in the Scottish Highlands. In the film its pictured from the other side. This image was actually taken on the return journey. If you’ve ever tried to take photos from a train carriage you will realise how many reflections there are 🙂
If your a railway enthusiast, at least in the UK you will be familiar with this line in Scotland.
It’s very popular:
So what do you take photos of when you cant get near the engine? Well if your me, you look at the stuff other people aren’t taking photos of:
OK I’ll stop there for those of you not into trains as much as I am.
The weather on this particular day was gloomy and overcast, we had to take a chance because we pre booked the tickets.
According to my wife though, it didn’t detract from my excitement 🙂
Should you fancy a trip along the Fort William to Mallaig railway you can find out more information at http://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm
Arrive early in Fort William because you may have a longer walk from the car park than you think and it can get busy.
For at least part of the journey put the camera down, take in the scenery and enjoy the experience.
You’ll be surprised at how smooth travelling on a steam train is.
(Camera / lens: Nikon 1 V1, 10mm, last image Iphone SE)
Snipe – have you seen any lately? That was the question put to me in the bird hide. Actually I had. Only a couple of weeks ago at least four of these well camouflaged birds were about.
Heres a couple of them:
Snipe are reasonably common and love wet grasslands. The average lifespan is around three years for this medium sized wader. In a previous post I joked I needed to find bigger birds or get a longer lens. I took these images with my Nikon 1 V1 and the 70-300mm AF-P zoom. The V1 has a silent shutter and the 70-300 is extremely quiet in use. With the crop factor of the V1 and the 300mm end of the zoom that gave me an equivalent of 810mm lens.
These birds have some marvellous gold and black bars with a brown and gold head and a very long bill. When they stand still they are very difficult to see and blend into their preferred habitat quite nicely.
As you can see in the picture above the one on the right is harder to see than the chap on the left.
It was only when these guys started moving that I noticed them at all. Chances are if they had stayed still I might have missed them completely, that is why I always take few minutes when entering a bird hide. Set up the gear and have a look around before taking pictures.
Take your time and have fun.
Camera/lens: Nikon 1 V1, FT-1 adapter, Nikkor 70-300mm AF-P DX VR.
After a few cloudy days the weather has warmed up, the sun makes an appearance and I take the opportunity to look for dragonflies at the local reserve. The last couple of years, warm days in September resulted in some decent dragonfly activity so I was quite hopeful.
Sure enough they were out and even with the breeze, fairly active. If you’ve ever tried to photograph dragonflies in flight you know how quick they move. Out of all my dragonfly shots I’ve only got two or three decent in flight captures. Today I went for the (slightly) easier resting poses.
I like to try and capture dragonflies at different angles if I can. While a decent head shot is nice the wings and body can also be quite interesting.
Talking of wings the shot below shows some detail. I found it covered in dew on top of a post. Don’t know what happened to the body.
More dragonflies and other insects appear in the macro gallery here.
All images taken with a Nikon 1 V1, 30-110mm lens and Raynox dcr250 adapter.