S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography

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  • Alan Goldhammer
    Alan Goldhammer
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    S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    on: December 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    I’m using a Nikon Z6 these days and find that it’s well suited to all types of photography.  I seldom print larger than 17×25 and the Z6 works well.  On a trip to Banff last June, I shot a bunch of stuff, all hand held and everything came out sharp with the 24-70 “kit” lens.  The camera is lighter and a touch smaller than the D800 that I traded in.  I’ve not added any other lenses yet, but the user experiences I read indicate that all the new Nikon lenses are extremely sharp.  A 2-3 lens + Z6 body is a very lightweight set to take on trips.

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
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    Posts: 157
    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #1 on: December 9, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Great discussion.  I just installed Luminar 4 and have been playing with the “cloud thing.”  Pisses me off.  It’s too good.  It isn’t fair.  It’s not right. LOL – sort of.  I think, bottom line, I’d prefer Jeff’s blue sky, to even an undetectable, perfectly executed, fake sky.  Don’t ask me why. There just seems to me to be a “line somewhere” that crosses from photographing “what was there” (and enhancing that, interpreting that) and “constructing an image from pieces.”  The latter becoming “something other” than “photography.”  I may be reaching old-fart status in saying this… but there it is.

    As for imbibing the Kool Aid, I’m now using a GFX 100.  For me, a game changer.  Do I need 102 megapixels?  Probably not.  Do I love what I’m seeing in the files?  Absolutely.  I print for other photographers and see, optimize and print files from all kinds of cameras. I may have grape-poisoning and not realize it, but the 16 bit uncompressed raw files from my GFX 100 are “different” than any of the 24×36 files I see.  Reading the reviews I keep hearing that 16 bit doesn’t get you much over 14 bit, but I can see it in the tonal transitions.   But perhaps the most amazing thing about the GFX 100 is how it handles pretty much like a dSLR.  The best of both worlds, me thinks.

    Rand

    Photo:  Rock Creek, Eastern Sierras, CA

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand47

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    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #2 on: December 9, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Rand, constructing an image from pieces is “art”. The pieces being constructed are photographs or from photographs. So is it photographic art? I think so. Photographers have been doing this kind of thing in one way or another for so many decades back; the new element is how easy and perfected it has become. Whether one has a problem with it depends on one’s concept of what photography is and whether there should be arbitrary boundaries around what one can do with photography while still calling the outcome a photograph. Photography is literally “painting with light”, and from that perspective the innumerable ways in which one can paint with light suggests a very broad concept of what a photograph is. The point at which honesty intervenes is, that if it’s not obvious, the photographer should be clear that the image is not simply a record of what was seen through the viewfinder at a moment in time.

    Mark D Segal
    Author: Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, published by LaserSoft Imaging AG
    https://www.silverfast.com/downloads/92ed080ac1ae274ea6aeed756a504f7a/en.html

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #3 on: December 9, 2019 at 11:29 am

    “The point at which honesty intervenes is, that if it’s not obvious, the photographer should be clear that the image is not simply a record of what was seen through the viewfinder at a moment in time.”

    Mark,

    I agree with what you’ve said above.  It is (or at least can be) art.  I’m a fan, actually.  Jerry Uelsmann coming to mind, going back to analog work.  John Paul Caponigro more recently, and the constructed images of Adobe Evangelist Julieanne Kost.  Lovely stuff.  But what I am talking about is precisely what you’ve said in my snippet from your post.   My suspicion is that more and more we’ll be seeing these constructed images passed off as something other than “constructed.”  We seem to be living in a “post-truth” age, however, (Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year) so perhaps even this doesn’t matter all that much.  😉

    Rand

     

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand47

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #4 on: December 9, 2019 at 11:44 am

    By “post-truth” you wouldn’t by any chance be thinking of “alternative facts” would you? Oops – better be careful, I might get “moderated” 🙂

    Seriously, yes, and those who do it could well argue that what matters in the final analysis is the product, the art, and if you like it fine, if you don’t you don’t, forget about how it was made. I’ve heard this often. When I think of it, it’s fine as long as we all know the work doesn’t pretend to be a verbatim record of a scene.

    Mark D Segal
    Author: Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, published by LaserSoft Imaging AG
    https://www.silverfast.com/downloads/92ed080ac1ae274ea6aeed756a504f7a/en.html

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #5 on: December 9, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Mark,

    LOL… I suspect that Oxford Dictionaries had that in view, but perhaps also the larger context of the popular notion that there is no such thing as “objective truth” anymore.  The history of western civilization may well see this, some hundred years hence (assuming it lasts that long), as a watershed moment in philosophical thought.  But I digress . . .  🙂

    Rand

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand47

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #6 on: December 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    “The point at which honesty intervenes is, that if it’s not obvious, the photographer should be clear that the image is not simply a record of what was seen through the viewfinder at a moment in time.”

    But what I am talking about is precisely what you’ve said in my snippet from your post. My suspicion is that more and more we’ll be seeing these constructed images passed off as something other than “constructed.” We seem to be living in a “post-truth” age, however, (Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year) so perhaps even this doesn’t matter all that much. ?

    Personally, I make no bones about the fact I manipulate images considerably…the image in question was an image made by computational assembly to stitch multiple images together. Of course, the intent with that manipulation is not to make up an image out of whole cloth but to accurately recreate a complete scene from many parts.

    I also have no problem with adding clouds…I’ve done it daily often–particularly when the sky is a major component of the image or is just plain boring…two examples: The Buddha image had stormy clouds from the American southwest and the Monument Valley image had carefully selected clouds added from the Palouse. The intent is to improve the image not create an image that would be impossible to achieve if you had forever to wait for the right scene to present itself.

     

    Edit: BTW, the assembly was done in a REAL digital imaging app called Photoshop (although the search for sky and cloud replacements were found in Lightroom :~)

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    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #7 on: December 9, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Jeff,

    Cool photos!  And your “no bones” comment is an appropriate qualifier in my book.

    I did this one with Luminar 4, literally just goofing around, one button-click.  Sky was dead-empty cold morning blue.  The sense of light direction and tone on the mountains Luminar did all by itself, whichI thought was remarkable.  The foreground is empty as this was one of my junk-shots of the RaceTrack that I just grabbed at random as a test, and I didn’t bother to warm it up to make it blend better w/ the sky.  I posted this w/o comment on FB and got tons of “wow” comments, which was depressing.  LOL

     

    Race Track, Death Valley

    Rand

     

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand47

    Kevin Raber
    Kevin Raber
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #8 on: December 10, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Luminar 4 is pretty amazing and I think it will improve as time goes by.  I have no issue with sky replacement.  Usually, as Jeff and I experienced a month ago we some times go to great expense to visit a location and then we are cursed with big beautiful blue skies.

    I will try to do some screen grabs of Luminar 4 in action.  I also bought a set of stock clouds.  I’ll report on where I got them and how well they work soon.

    I think we are just getting a glimpse of what’s to come.

    I also watched a video that explained how to get the sky reflected in the water.  More on that after I have tried it on a few images.

    Fun times.

     

    Kevin Raber
    CEO & Publisher of PhotoPXL.com and Rockhopperworkshops.com

    Elliot Puritz
    Elliot Puritz
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #9 on: December 11, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Rand:  I have been using the sky replacement feature on Luminar 4 as I edit images from the now somewhat dated original Leica Vario as well as images from my Foveon sensor cameras.  The replacement feature alone is worth the price of the program.  All here likely edit many features of our digital images and adding a sky is no different (at least to my mind) then removing various distractions, changing the lighting, or any of a series of other artistic steps.

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand Scott Adams
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    Posts: 157
    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #10 on: December 12, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Hi Elliot!   Yeah, I “get that” re the sky as just another editing choice.  I guess I’m nearing curmudgeondom to find this as a place to draw some sort of arbitrary line.  But here’s my thinking that seems somewhat the same.  Suppose I’m out shooting here in the high desert of SoCal and I have spectacular skies!  Dramatic clouds, wonderful light.  But unfortunately, my foreground is boring.  Like dirt and weeds (we have a lot of that here).  So, I keep my sky and I replace the foreground with something more interesting, like say, a nice stock shot of Grand Teton!   I know this is a stupid analogy because a sky isn’t “a place” but the “artistic choice” is a similar decision from a logic perspective.  But, perhaps as Jeff opines, as long as I make no bones about my images being art, rather than reportage, I should be “good.”  😉   And a nice by-product is that I’d save a ton of money on pesky airline travel!

    Rand

    Rand Scott Adams
    Rand47

    Elliot Puritz
    Elliot Puritz
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #11 on: December 12, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Rand:  I suppose we are reprising the long standing discussion that involves “what is” photography, and is photography “art”!

    My suggestion is that everyone should define their ultimate goal and edits to achieve the effect(s) that one seeks.  Consequently, I believe that Jeff reflects my feelings as well.

    Since I am definitely in the Curmudgeon stage I think you are entirely correct….:}

     

     

     

    Elliot

    Daniel Smith
    Daniel Smith
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    Re: S. Gosling: Using Mirrorless Cameras For Landscape Photography
    Reply #12 on: February 29, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    All the stuff about “mirrorless”.

    If you really want a good example with high quality, try the Polaroid 20×24 camera. Tracy Storer is a master with it.

    https://mammothcamera.com/

    William Wegman uses it for his dog photos.

    Photographer William Wegman’s Timeless Polaroids of His Dogs Debut in the UK

    “Mirrorless” has been with us since Photography was able to preserve an image. The View Camera. The Box Camera. The Kodak Instamatic to the pinhole camera as a scout project.

    Now it is a new moneymaking product for camera marketers.

    No matter what camera is used one can produce fine images.

    I like having an optical finder. The 8×10 ground glass is a wonder for viewing what I am going to photograph. The optical finder of my Canon of Nikon SLR’s and DSLR’s are what I like using. I just can’t get comfortable with a small TV screen/electronic finder in the Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic cameras I have tried. I keep hearing how wonderful they are – but I prefer an optical finder.

    What it comes down to is the electronic version of “the silver bullet” – that elusive and almost never ending search for the perfect film and developer combination that will make your photos wonderful. B&W fortunes have been made and lost in the search and supplying it. Just as with Mirrorless – the latest version.

    If you use it because you like it. Or, it cuts weight or the size of your kit. Or – whatever. Good for you. If it works and you product fine images it is you, not the system or brand, no matter what the ads say. After all, the ads say if you take your crappy picture and breathe on it using Photoshop – it becomes ART.

    It is the photographer. Using gear that you like and fine comfortable will result in more fine images than any gear change around.

    "It's not what it is, it's how it looks". Paula Chamlee

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