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Coast Tire Machine
Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop and look at the previous photo I posted. Tonight I had meant to post this shot and discuss my thoughts behind it at a bit of a greater length, but we shall see how far I get. I have been at the computer all day scanning and editing an image for a job, so my neck is sore and my eyes are tired, and it is a thoroughly less pleasant fatigue than the one you enjoy physically after a good hike in the woods.
Anyway, my attempt with my last photo was just to change the pace a little. I know part of my opinion coming up is cynicism, but also not entirely. I just wanted to take a shot at the 5-second attention span many of us use to rule our lives. Regarding photography specifically you notice this by watching a person's viewing habits. What do we do when browsing Flickr, but flip flip flip.
And flip flip flip.
I am certainly not immune to this, and have been paying a lot more attention to it lately and trying to slow myself down. It is one of the reasons I have been leaving fewer comments is I have been looking at fewer photos and trying to leave more personal comments than the usual "Excellent photo!" or "stonking good shot!". Yes that last is a nod to our good friend RC, for those of you who know who I am talking about. ;-) He is sort of the antithesis of what I was trying to encourage with my last photo.
Whoa, speaking of short attention spans, cannot let myself get too distracted. Anyway, I just notice this behavior in people (again myself included) and it sort of bugs me. Well ok, it bugs me a great deal. I recently rented a car for my trip up to Mt. Rainier. It had Sirius radio. Something like 156 stations to listen to. You know what I spent most of my time doing? Flipping stations!!!
And flip flip flip. Eventually I just turned the radio off and read a book (not while driving though). It was ridiculous. I find I do the same in hotel rooms when presented with cable television. It is almost too hard to resist. Oooh so many channels, cannot decide. I'll watch Discovery for 30 seconds until a commercial, then flip over to History. Wonder what is on AMC or HBO?
What I find a bit unsettling though, is sometimes I wonder if this attitude is affecting how we perceive the world, and hence the photos we take. They tend to rely more on intense colors, dynamic compositions, shock and awe. They have to, the average person only looks at a photo for a handful of seconds, it has to have a hook.
Nothing really wrong with that, unless you sacrifice depth to achieve it. I was browsing a really cool book of Ansel Adams' photos today over lunch (no I really do never stop thinking about photography). His photos certainly are full of drama and contrast, but they also have depth to them. They appeal to the wandering eye as well as the lingering one.
This is where I worry about the trends of our perceptions. We continuously think that a photo has to be vibrant, punchy, and saturated. Our black and white photos have to be contrasty and impending. And notice how these words work into our vocabulary. How often do we talk about the soft palette of colors an image celebrates? Or the extensive tonal range? What about richness without contrast? Sure, these still come up, but less frequently than they used to.
A couple of comments I received sparked various thoughts in my head. On the last self-portrait I posted taken at Lost Lake with my pinhole (that 4 minute exposure) someone commented on the extraordinary patience I must have. Really? Is it that extraordinary these days to be able to stand still and occupy one's self for 4 minutes? And I will even be more honest, I was not even occupying myself. I had a gorgeous lake and mountain in front of me to do it. Is it really such a gulf between 4 seconds and 4 minutes that people think I must be superhuman to bridge it?
And the second comment someone left on my last photo about the machine gun nature of DSLRs contributing to this drive-by attention span we have going. I think there is definitely some validity to this. The ability to fire through 1000 shots without having to stop to reload or waste film certainly plays a role. But I think this is more a matter of the egg coming before the chicken. We use digital cameras in this fashion because we want to. No sense blaming our behavior on the camera. It is not like that D70 is whispering seductively in your ear "come on, just 50 more frames, no need to stop to think or enjoy any of this. Just shoot shoot shoot." As I have said before, the important stuff all happens behind the camera. If a DSLR becomes a photo-machine gun it is because the photographer makes it one. And that photographer is just as likely to do so with a film camera too. Trust me, I know some of these people personally.
Anyway, these are all late night musings. Things I have noticed. I am not saying I am right. I am not saying I have a
The times they are a changing.
Or so we thought back in 2003 when this picture was taken. The authorities in Malta had decided they wanted to join the EU (why?) and further decided that the Islands buses required a re-vamp. With the latter in mind, several experimental types were acquired for evaluation, one of which was this Polish built Solaris, which I thought was quite an attractive bus. With the exception of the Dennis Darts, the Maltese buses all seemed to come on 'proper' sized wheels and tyres, rather than castors. I've heard a lot said regarding the inadequacies of the Chinese built King Longs, but have no idea how these Polish machines have coped. DBY 313 is seen here I think, climbing along the coast towards Pembroke.
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