Enjoying Art

How do you feel about your favourite art, whether it be music, photography, or any other medium?

Over on 35Hunter, Dan James is always serving up interesting conversations triggered by the questions he asks. I find myself writing longer responses in the comments, and at the end, I realise I have written a short blog post. You can say that Dan's blog posts generate writing prompts for my own.

One of Dan's recent posts was entitled, The Purity Of Enjoying Art Detached From The Artist. Would you please visit the link to read it? Dan put this question at the end.

How do you feel about your favourite art, whether it be music, photography, or any other medium?

Do you also have a keen interest in who created it and want to know all about them? Or are you interested purely in the art alone?

From my dad, I learned the joy of listening to the entire record album. Dad loved his Hi-Fi; sometimes, it seemed more than his kids, and he preferred listening through speakers. His stereo was a Sunday morning alarm clock for us boys.

While we enjoyed the music, Dad and I also enjoyed reading the record liner while discussing some of the technical aspects of the performance, the reproduction quality via his equipment, etc., but mostly appreciating the music and being in awe of the creativity of the musician. This is active listening.

I have Apple’s music streaming service and Spotify and tried Tidal, and I think they’re great for background music at a party, etc. But it doesn’t give me the same feeling. It’s not satisfying. These are things I’ve only come to realise recently.

So I have decent Open Air headphones from Grado, which I use for listening to albums on Apple Music. I’m building out a kit. Schiit Audio makes acclaimed headphone amps and DACs, which I’m considering purchasing.

It’s the same for photography. Instagram is a nice distraction when I’m bored. One of my joys is photo walks with fellow photo geeks chatting about the artist, process and technology. Another is reading blogs like this one where the author puts outs questions that inspire long comment responses.

If we are having a cosy evening with a small group of close friends or family around a fire, we bring out the Highland single malt. Hosting a party for work colleagues? Lowlands blend.

Isolation Photo Project, Day 65

Over on 35hunter Dan James described how he sets up his cameras going into details about his Pentax K-30. Dan then asked his readers a few questions.

How do you decide how to set up a camera with multiple layers of options? Do you do this once to get a set up you like, then never adjust anything, or constantly make incremental adjustments every time you shoot?

I answered Dan's question in the comment section of his website, but then I realised I had written enough for a short blog post so I repurposed my comment below.

When I bought my Fujifilm X-T2, I knew I needed help understanding the options and features, but I also knew that I would hate the new system if things felt overwhelming. I don't think most camera manuals help the photographer understand what features to use when or why. So, I bought the book "The Fujifilm X-T2: 120 X-Pert Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Camera" by Rico Pfirstinger. Rico's book helped me cut through the clutter and get straight to the "why". Once I had read Rico's book and had my camera set up the way I wanted and started using it, over time, I tweaked a few things to better suit my needs.

I programmed my Fujifilm X-T2 with a few film simulation recipes created by Ritchie Roesch, a photographer who works very hard to make his Fuji cameras work like his film cameras. Most of Ritchie's film simulation recipes attempt to mimic the aesthetic of film stock such as Ilford HP5 Plus and Kodachrome. The JPEGs are “good enough” if what you are looking for is SOOC simplicity.

Since the Fujifilm X-T2 has dials for ISO and shutter speed, and the Fujinon lenses have aperture rings, the "Format Card" is the most used menu item followed by "Select Film Simulation". When I shoot wildlife or sports, I move the aperture ring to “A” and ISO dial to “A” to engage shutter priority and the shooting mode to 14 frames/second. When I shoot street or portrait (rare) I move the aperture to f/8, shutter speed and ISO dial to “A”. All the other settings on the camera remain the same.

Just in case I have to step outside those norms, I set up a personal menu, on the Fuji, it’s literally called “My Menu”, with the items I may need to change. But I rarely touch those.

My goal is to minimise the decision making to just the composition.

One thing that could make this setup even simpler is to add the Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR lens to my kit. While the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR zoom lens serves me well, after using it handheld on this one hour hike with my Bhavna, my shoulder was sore. Metal tank lenses are heavy!

Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.