Forum participation taps into energies similar to photography

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Bill Burk, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Those who get it, need read no further. The rest is a story how I came to realize that the time spent here taps into the same energy that could otherwise be used for photography.

    I just took two round trips to the mountains. Over this summer I will take several more of these trips. It's where my heart and soul live, so when I am there... I am happy, alert and alive. I see things more clearly when I am up there and I can tie my thoughts together better (compared to when I am home immersed in my usual routine).

    I've resisted getting into smartphone technology but a couple weeks ago finally caved-in and got one. Normally, cell coverage in the mountains is spotty, but Verizon works very well at Huntington Lake. It's really weird to be in the mountains, and be online.

    I didn't control my online time on the first of my two trips, it didn't directly interfere with my photography. The cold and snow took care of that (OM-4 froze up and it took two and a half pairs of batteries to get it going again). Wonderful late season storm. So I used plenty of energy last Sunday to catch some of what I saw onto 35mm TMY-2 film, (though I wished I had TMAX-100 or was shooting 120 or 4x5 instead because I would appreciate the greater detail).

    But in the downtime I could connect and catch up with everybody. And that was fun. But I would never have noticed it except for what happened on the way home. I drove back alone, having dropped my son off at camp where he's counselor-in-training (thus the "several" trips coming up - last week was staff training, he goes back in a couple weeks)...

    It's a five hour drive from the mountains to home. That's if you drive non-stop which I never do. I usually add an hour for various planned stops, but I wasn't careful last weekend and added a few hours to the drive.

    I stopped at various places and picked up the phone and checked-in online. Then I continued to drive.

    Rest stops should leave you feeling rested. But these kinds of rest stops did nothing to give me rest. I continued on as tired as when I stopped. So it took me 8 hours to get home and I got home tired.

    Determined not to make the same mistake, I consciously curtailed my online presence yesterday. But I had no urgent need to get home quickly so I allocated 8 hours for the drive home. Instead of going down hill with stops... I went up hill. Kaiser pass had just opened and I was there. So my son and I drove up over that pass stopping occasionally for photography.

    Kaiser Pass road is a very special place. If you love backpacking but have limited mobility, driving this road can make you feel like you are backpacking. There are plenty of intimate forest scenes available within a short walk from the car. Normally when I am on this road, I am with friends and have a goal to reach the trail head for real backpacking. There is a time commitment to catch the ferry. But today was the first time I got to just stop wherever I wanted and get out and explore creeks and rocks that I've always driven past.

    It was on these little excursions yesterday that I realized what I was doing. When I go backpacking with friends, I will stop and take pictures. My friends will stop and rest. Done with my shooting, I repack (I'm pretty good at unpacking and packing the camera) and move on. But I never rested. I keep going to the next irresistible scene and once again drop the pack, grab the gear and explore the scene... repack and move on. At the end of a long day backpacking, my friends will have stopped as much as me, but I never really got any rest.

    It's how I operate, and my endurance and will-power "just works that way".

    The rest of the drive yesterday, with technology disconnected, I took real rest stops and they felt different. I felt more rested. It was a better drive.

    Public Service Announcement: Don't go online during rest stops if you are driving. Turn off and really rest.

    What I realized in these past two weeks is that I can spend the same time over a long restless day alternating between work and photography. Or I can spend a similar restless day alternating between work and being online.

    It takes the same energy.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's why I'm rarely online when away shooting or printing etc. Sometimes people forget it takes time to give the detailed replies their questions require.

    Ian
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Not me I am online APUG and LFForum 7 days a week while I am at work. I find both quite a resource, and it keeps my mind going.There are so many relevant to my business tidbits going on each day
    that I find this gives me an advantage over some of my competition, I do not recommend this for those with Real Jobs, but for me its like having a encyclopedia open all the time that I use.

    Sean has created quite a resource here for all to use.
     
  4. OP
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    Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Would you agree that time spent here taps into the same energy that you use for photography.

    I didn't mean it as a value statement, just that it "feels" the same and "uses" the same energy.

    I think what makes this forum so fun is just that... it "feels" like photography.
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Mostly yes and sometimes no

    Depends on the topic, sometimes the threads get too silly and my blood pressure rises... I remember years ago a photographer in my city went on one of these threads
    and bad mouthed my company... I almost had a shit conniption and I was pretty nasty and looking back I only looked bad...

    Topics that I believe in are pure bliss as here, one can say almost anything after a period of time posting and not be afraid of looking bad, I still ask very rudimentary questions
    mostly about topics like chemistry where I am very weak and my ignorance of the subject has never been pointed out in a bad way.

    A prime example is Ian Grant, he has meant so much to me and though I do not always follow his advice I really appreciate where it comes from , and for me that is a great learning experience that
    equals taking a photograph.
     
  6. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    You are all THE RESOURCE FOR ME and I appreciate all you do
     
  7. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I don't think it taps into the same energy. I spend a good bit of time here ( probably more than any other site). I find the forums enlightening, and the galleries inspiring. Still, when I am making photographs, in the field or darkroom, the internet is usually off limits. It's not a matter of energy. It's more a matter of interruption. It can interfere with my concentration.

    Having said all that, I think my view is a product of age. The vast majority of my life was without instant access to everything ( including people expecting instant access to me). While I enjoy the advantages the internet age has brought, there are certain things ( like actively making photographs) where solitude still rules.
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I see where Bill is coming from, but I'm not sure that what eddie is saying contradicts that.
    Forums can distract, because they require similar types of attention. But they can also supplement, because they can help answer questions.
    If you are looking to solve a problem and the solution requires information, they can supply it. And if you just need a break from something you have been working on intensely, they can give that break without really breaking your momentum.
    Just stay away from threads about politics, music or food!
     
  9. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Hopefully, as you acclimate to your new smartphone, you will feel less need to check it, thereby saving you energy for more important things.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    We are in an age where much is being forgotten, Bob Carrie is into toning, effects etc, something I worked on for possible commercial uses in the past.

    Now the worlds leading toning and hand colouring expert committed suicid a few years ago, rarely talking about his techniques, sponsored by Agfa and Tetenal - Bob Carlos Clarke. see his books Illustrated Delta of Venus (images that compliment some of the Anniston Nin short stories), Obsessions, and his master piece "Dark Summer".

    Now Bob Carlos Clarke puts the UK doctor a supposed guru of toning to shame with the breathtaking quality of his work, I met him in th late 1980s and because of the research I was undertaking realise what techniques he was using and how, so we had an interesting conversation. At that point kits were available and had been for many years (search for Johnsons Colourform there's a PDF I put together of a brochure on Photomemorablia - I think I posted details here as well). What's important is just how much further Bob Carlos Clarke took these techniques while a student in the early phases at the RCA underf John Hedgecoe and Michael Langford.

    Why is this important ? Well all US sites/people advocate Marshals paints for hand colouring, but compared to hand toning and using dye coupled toners, as well as dyes for additional hand colouring it's like comparing a 4 year olds attempts to real mastery, where you can't be sure that a print isn't actually just maybe a colour original, it depends how far you take it.

    It's something I'm quite passionate about, something I did a lot of work on over 30 years ago, something I must return to. In the resources section there's some examples (no dye couplers) from a talk I gave in the 1980's which was at short notice and oFf the cuff. I' post a link but my iPad is not instinctive :D

    If I can get the time I'll resurrect my toning and hand colouring techniques, I need a project that can use them . . .

    there's a whole world of toning and hand colouring Rudman never touches on..

    Now Bob Carlos Clarke's work was so good because he was obsessive, a perfectionist, deeply troubled, but he set such a high level of achievement in this field that no-one has really dared to follow. But it needs to be done.

    Ian
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    While I'd agree that much is being lost ( and more would be if not for places like APUG) I vehemently disagree that using oils to color prints is akin to "4 year old" in comparison to other methods. The chosen method is important in terms of the desired goal, and one is not superior to another.
     
  12. OP
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    Bill Burk

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    I think Ian might be talking about one of my hand-colored prints, not yours eddie.

    Still acclimating that's true. Tuning out yesterday was the first step and it worked. With the same amount of effort. I had a day of photography in a place that I always wanted to be. Plus there was snow and torrential water.
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I don't know what Ian was referring to. It really doesn't matter as he's one of a handful of people who, when I see he's posted in a thread, I read his response. I've learned a lot from him, and look forward to learning more.
    Back to the original topic, I think one of the things that we film people are drawn to is the fact that there's no instant gratification ( instant films aside). We view the times between taking the photo, developing the film, and making the print as integral to our process. We are patient people in an impatient world. And, that world is continuously conspiring against us. Still, we persevere...
     
  14. I stay off line when I am out photographing or doing anything else such as walking, sightseeing, ... . After I get back when I have time I get on line. I have always liked to keep my free time cleared of clutter. If someone has taken to time to come to me and talk to me, I will not answer the telephone nor look at text messages; those before me have my first attention, the rest wait.

    I also mix my interests by combining photography with off-roading, photography with sightseeing, photography with just taking a walk, ...
     
  15. OP
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    Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I think he was talking about how great Bob Carlos Clarke's hand colored prints look.

    Yesterday I felt it would be a crime if I hadn't gone up the road instead of coming right back to civilization. And yes, it felt good driving home with as little distraction as possible from the electronic marvel. And although I don't really regret last week's "connected" drive. I do appreciate that driving home with real rest stops makes life better.
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi bill

    i know what you mean but i don't really think it is a drain from my photography,
    ithink at times it prods along photographs i have taken, or darkroom work or other creative things
    i have done/am doing kind of like what bob said. i don't have access in my darkroom but if i come out for air
    sometimes i will poke around. i don't go online when i have a camera out ...
    some things can be a drain, but anything can be a drain if you let it.
    i just look at apug, like i do a lot of places i go to on the internet, as a valuable resource. when i forgot
    wherei wrote down the recipe for D72 i look and find tom hoskinson's recipe, ansco 130, john simmons ...
    fixer, i find mcfortner's post ... emulsion stuff, and problem solving too .. for me its not unfortunately there is a lot of interesting stuff
    to read and gallery posts to be inspired by its more like fortunately.
    but apug isn't my only rest stop in al gorre's super highway, i go to other places to learn and be inspired as well ..
    i find it to be more like a public library than a drain..
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I wasn't referring to anyone specific on APUG, rather that techniques are being lost, in this case one not really used in the US.

    As it happens I've just returned from 3 hours shooting, looks like it was very productive a few sheets of 5x4 HP5 and nearly 4 rolls Delta 100 in a TLR. Tried to sneak in a tripod but was caught had to return it to my car, but a bright sunny morning 28c with a cooling breeze, but scorching sun, 1/125 f22 with a hand held Crown Graphic. Interestingly Priene was the first Ancient Greek city I visited 11 years ago to make images, I see different aspects each time I visit places. It's good to come full circle there's something satisfying and I now feel ready to begin to put a final exhibition set of images together.

    Unlike some here I tend to print more sporadically and in intense bursts, this more to do with better editing and selecting which nagatives to print and also helps with better coherency in Exhibition sets.

    Ian
     
  18. Two23

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    I have avoided getting a "smart" phone, but not for the reasons you give. I see people sitting and staring at them like zombies as the world is passing them by. I have come to feel that every moment of life is precious, and I don't want to miss anything! I also dislike the idea of GPS in a phone--I don't want to be tracked. I want to be wild and free. I see a smart phone as just another chain wrapped around my feet that somehow makes me less wild & free.


    Kent in SD
     
  19. OP
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    Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I know it sounded like I meant it as a drain, but that's not what I meant. I kind of meant that it feels almost as good reading, thinking and responding here, and it takes as much (and the same kind of) energy, as actually being out taking pictures. Do I regret any of it? Nah, it's been fun all around.
     
  20. Tim Stapp

    Tim Stapp Member

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    I have to say, I find APUG (Photrio) to be inspiring. I have never met one of you in person, but feel that I know many of you. I'm a solitary person. Growing up an only child until the age of eight, I learned to entertain myself. Sixty years later, outside of my best friend (my wife) I'm perfectly content being in the solitude of the outdoors soaking in what God has to show me at the moment. I find that it is up to me to see what he is showing me and capture the moment (I hope) that I'm given.

    I am continuously reminded (forget origin) that "we are give only one sunrise and one sunset each day, therefore make the best of each one." (Possibly Galen Rowell?)

    Bill, I'm with you in that there are times that I turn the cell phone off. I probably would not have one if my wife did not insist upon my having one. "What happens if an emergency occurs?" I respond with "what did I do when an emergency occurred 20, 40 or 50 years ago???"

    Unplugged can be a good thing. It sometimes irritates me that cell phone reception has intruded into my "quiet places"