The Beginning....

The Beginning....
When William Least Heat-Moon toured the country many years ago, his steed, if you will, was a van that he named Ghost Dancing. His journey of America was 13,000 miles. His book is Blue Highways, A Journey Into America. My steed will be a Subaru WRX (traded for an XV Crosstrek). My travels will be, what in the past were called, the blue highways of Virginia. Years ago, maps showed secondary roads in blue. Yes, the ones less traveled.

A Few Words About Photography

Since I took my first picture at about age eight, I've been fascinated with photography. Yes, for more years than I care to count, I've chased that elusive one decent snap. Admittedly, over the years I've have a few photos that I've said, Gosh, that's not all bad; however, there have been few.

Over the years, I've made every mistake an amateur photographer can make. And, many of the mistakes I've made more than once.

Chasing equipment.

If I just had a (fill in the blank) lens. If I just had a longer lens. If I just had the latest model of the (fill in the blank) camera. And, on and on.

For many of us it takes a while to understand and accept that cameras and lenses are just tools. Yes, some cameras have features some others don't but ultimately, we either have it as a photographer, or we don't. Not saying that we can't improve, but we do that by studying and getting out and taking a ton of photos.

My goals for this website are modest. I want to travel around my state of Virginia, snap away, and hope that anyone who might happen by here will have a better picture (no pun intended) of what Virginia is like.

I'm going to use one camera. Well, I'm going to use the Ricoh GR series, of which I have the I, II, and when Ricoh discontinued it, I bought a IV. I'm going to most likely have all three available most of the time, but will rely on the IV.  I've set the three My Settings: two are black and white and one is color. One of the black and white setting is high contrast and high sharpening. Will most likely not use that one all that much. Yes, I know with the click of a mouse I can turn color into black and white; however, for no known reason I just like the in camera black and white setting.

Why would you limit yourself to 28MMs, you may ask? Reasonable question.

For the past no-telling-how-many years I have used the GRs almost exclusively. At times I leave home with a camera bag jammed with an SLR and a battery of lenses...though just about never do I use the SLR. Yep, always the GR.

As I see it, here are the advantages of the GRs and their 28MM lenses.

Great depth of field. At most apertures and most points of focus just about everything will be in focus.

The 1.9 lens (GR IV) lets in tons of light which is great when shooting in low-light conditions. I have yet to use a flash on any of the GRs. But, I will admit I need to experiment a little with the flash for fill flash. You know, just adding a spec of light, maybe.

The 28MM is great when in confined areas such as taking snaps in a small room. Areas that you can't easily move around in.

I must have a viewfinder! Period. And, yes, though a little pricey, this camera does have a clip on viewfinder.

The lens, as far as the quality or whatever term you want to use, is right up there with the best of them. This allows a fair amount of cropping without losing all that much image quality.

I feel that the longer you use one lens the better photographer you become. For one thing, you aren't constantly asking yourself, which lens am I going to use. I guess, I could almost say, it allows you to better concentrate on photography, with no thoughts about equipment.

There have been many famous photographers who have always worked with minimal photography kits. And, of course I could mention the folks who used Rolleiflex cameras exclusively. Yes, the old 2 1/4 square cameras with normal lens. 

Note: In years past I think most folks considered the 50MM lens as normal. Normal, as in closest 
to what we see. And, lenses less than 50MM were considered wide angle, an angle wider than our normal vision.

Well, folks might ask.....why not a zoom? Short answer, use your feet to zoom; walk to get closer or further back.

Well, enough for now. I'm tired of writing about this.

Edit: 2:43AM 3/10/14

The best camera is the camera you have with you. The GR cameras are small and take up no room. You can always have one with you. And, with an extra battery you are set. You can snap away  forever. If you want to make your photography better, bite the bullet, buy a GR series camera, a couple of extra batteries, and go out there and fire away. Experiment a little, black and white especially. Take snaps every day. On the way to work...... On the way home, when you get home, and wherever you happen to be. You will definitely improve by taking a lot of shots, studying a little, and paying attention to what you're doing.

And, no, you can use the camera you presently have. You don't have to have a GR series camera, but it might help.

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