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Some mind-bendingly good travel photography...

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by Ray Sachs, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    So I'm hanging out a bit too much on the Nikon Forum on DPR lately, learning all I can about this DSLR gear. And among the usual squabbling (Nikon shooters eat their own - they don't bother hating Canon, being too busy hating on the Nikon DSLRs they didn't choose!) and occasionally educational thread, I was stopped dead in my tracks today. There's a long thread debating the relative virtues and deficiencies of the 28-300 super-zoom. Many, of course, insist it's not worth the piss it's made of. Others manage to love it for what it is. You know, the usual gear debates.

    And then this guy posts an album of travel photography from a recent trip to Myanmar that he shot with a D800 and mostly with this lens, as well as a few shots mixed in from the 17-35mm wide angle lens. And reminds us what incredible work a great photographer can do with even compromised gear. Although the light handling does speak well of the D800, lens aside...

    http://www.silentnomad.com/images/Photos/Myanmar/

    I'm seriously thinking of giving up photography. This guy is THAT good. Do yourself a favor and peruse this - it's scary good...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 11
  2. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    That dude's been to a whole lot of places!

    P.S. How does anyone figure that he is using compromised gear?
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    You haven't given up playing guitar even though you're no Albert King :tongue:

    Seriously, I don't think we shoot to be the best. We shoot because we enjoy it. And who knows, he may very well say the same thing about you. I can't say anything bad about his shots, and they're miles better than mine would be. But I dare say that there are some places you can go on this planet with little talent and the wrong gear and still get some great looking shots. Myanmar is definitely one of those places. Every time I see the word Myanmar in a photography forum, I prepare to be amazed. The light ALWAYS looks amazing (does the Golden Hour last all day there?!) and the colors are always gorgeous (unless someone is shooting Canon :tomato2:.)

    The shots are definitely worth checking out, but I think a lot of the attraction is that the place seems so foreign to us. Show the people over there your shots of Philly and they'll crown you the king of photographers.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  4. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Stunning stuff indeed, many pros would be jealous. I do have to say most of his other travel albums don´t quite reach the myanmar level, even though they´re still miles better than anything I would come home with.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I don't think they were saying it specifically to him, but before he added his 2 cents worth, there was a raging discussion with many asserting incontrovertably that the lens was a piece of crap. Which, by some standards and in some ways, it could be said to be. But yet, it's capable of those results in the right hands...

    -Ray
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Actually I more or less have given up playing guitar. And its because I'm no Neil Young or Keith Richards (who I should be able to at least FAKE because they just had soul, not a lot of technique), let alone Jimi Hendrix.

    But you raise a good point. We're always more impressed with how others see than how we do, because how we see seems like the most natural thing in the world to us and we find it easy - therefore, there must not be much to it. He probably feels the same about his own stuff. And it might be "foreign-ness" of the place and people and scenes as much as his talent. But I'm not sure. I think if 100 photographers went and shot in Myanmar, no more than a couple would come back with stuff this good.

    They've seen enough of my shots of Philly and folks like 'em but not like this guy's stuff. But if your theory is correct, that could be because there are so many westerners on the forums for whom Myanmar is quite foreign, and Philly is only vaguely wierd...

    But, OK, thanks Luke. I'll keep shooting a little longer... :cool:

    -Ray
     
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, you're right - that's the best of his stuff, so maybe Luke really does have a point. But as you say, his other stuff is still reeeeeeaaaaaaal good, just not quite AS good...

    -Ray
     
  8. bluzcity

    bluzcity SC Veteran

    313
    Jul 30, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    Brent
    Excellent, thanks for sharing.


    Sent from my iPad using SeriousCompacts
     
  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
    So many beautiful shots. Going to be there next spring. Can't wait. Thanks.
     
  10. El Guapo

    El Guapo SC Regular

    176
    Feb 3, 2014
    Ray,

    Don't be so hard on yourself.
    I think your images are better than mine. The grass is always greener syndrome.

    Sometimes I think for the time and monetary effort I/we put in our images should be better.
    In the end some of my images make me happy, I think that is all that matters, plus I had a fun time making them.

    As my wife flips through my images I ask her, "Am I hired or fired?" - it varies. LOL
     
  11. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    Those pictures are really good. I've been shooting in South-East Asia with a D800e and a long lens (an older 80-200ED) and I can't manage anything like those images. That bloke definitely has a sense of occasion. Also his editing is fantastic.
     
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Not to worry. I'm not REALLY gonna give it up - but that's sometimes my initial reactin when I see someon'e work I like this much. Sort of a "why bother" feeling. But as I've mentioned before, it's sort of like Paul Simon's reaction when he first saw Elvis as a kid. He knew right away he could never do THAT, but that helped him focus on what he could do, and he obviously did what HE did very very well. So, ultimatley I'll look at this guy's work a fair amount over the next couple of weeks, may even start to emulate a couple of his tricks (probably not going to Myanmar anytime soon, but THAT would be a trick I'd like to do!), and will keep on doing what I do. I ultimately enjoy the process too much not to do it, almost regardless of how I feel about what comes out at the end of any particular day of shooting...

    And my wife usually at least pretends to like my stuff! :cool:

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I actually looked through his exif and the pretty large bulk of his shots are taken south of 150mm - he was only using the long half of that lens a little bit of the time. And I'm not much of a long lens guy anyway, although I sometimes enjoy trying. But I think I'll stick with the 24-120 as my primary walk around and travel zoom.

    He's just REAL good...

    -Ray
     
  14. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Ray,

    You're right; his stuff is very, very good. Some of his stuff reminds me a lot of Steve McCurry's work for National Geographic.

    Nevertheless (and here I am going "Old Fart" on you -- offering a word where none was asked for), when you say stuff like "I'm seriously thinking of giving up photography," I can't sit here and say nothing.

    So here goes:

    1. Comparisons are meaningless. I wasted a lot of time in my life bemoaning that I wasn't like so-and-so, or that I had not achieved what someone else had. You are uniquely you, and your job is to be you, not someone else.

    2. You have own style of photography, Ray, one that I -- and I think many others here -- have admired. Some of your best shots have layers to them, and as one continues to view the photograph, additional things of interest are discovered. If I could level a criticism of silent nomad's stuff, it is that some of the shots are too clean, too sterile; they could have been taken in a studio or on a set. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that silent nomad's photographs are bad -- far from it -- but I prefer travel photography i which I get more sense of the environment (and, indeed, some of his photographs do just that).

    3. If we sent a dozen photographers to the same locations as silent nomad, they would come back with a dozen different views -- and isn't that marvelous? John Hartford (now gone) banjo picker, fiddler, and guitar player extraordinaire once said, "Our limitations define our style." I think that is true of all of us. I the best I can hope for as I view your stuff Ray, silent nomad's, and the work of others is to learn what I can and hope that it helps me to "shoot from the heart."

    So, Ray, my intent here is not to embarrass or chastise you but to speak a word of encouragement in due season. I hope it has done that.

    Cheers, Jock
     
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    619
    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    You know, it's funny, but that fellow's photography doesn't strike me as being as that great. Sure, it's very good, but not stunning.

    In a similar vein, but what I personally like more, is Peter Lueck's work:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterlueck/sets/72157628297681499/

    If you look at Peter's work, it has been taken with a variety of cameras including the Leica M9, Leica X1, Fuji X-E1, and the Canon 5D Mark II. His photos have their own distinctive style which carries through regardless of the gear he uses.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    That is wonderful stuff indeed. Peter Lueck does seem to get in the thick of things more, while still coming away with great imagery. That's is what I try (and usually fail) to do, being a wide angle guy. Thanks for the link!
     
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Interesting, I much prefer the photos in my original link to Peter's also excellent work. I guess it comes down to what you like. Peter's is more realistic and a great depiction of the situation he's looking at. But in terms of light and processing and compositions they basically strike me as just incredibly incredibly good snap-shots. I don't find the photographs particularly interesting beyond the subject matter. Don't get me wrong - I LIKE them a lot. But my initial reaction to these is that they're another collection of very very good photographs from yet another very good photographer who's work is on the web. I guess I don't get any "art" from his stuff - I dont feel moved by it except as by the people in it. Whereas the stuff in my initial link does a lot more for me in terms of light, mood, composition, even variety of subject matter (although that's not fair because that set of Peter's is specifically just "PEOPLE" of Cambodia).

    Peter's stuff I enjoy immensely, but I don't see anything there, I'd really try to emulate or incorporate into my own work. Whereas the initial shots I posted will have me coming back to them a lot and I'll probably start looking for similar types of compositions in some cases. Just down to personal taste and preference I think.

    And Jock, not to worry. When I say something like "I'm thinking of hanging up the cleats", I'm not REALLY thinking of hanging up the cleats. And I'm not even meaning to denegrate my own stuff. I like what I do or I probably wouldn't keep doing it. That kind of statement is just the kind of thing I'm moved to say when I'm really blown away by something. That guy's work really REALLY moves me in ways most photography doesn't. It's just the kind of statement that is as strong a way of saying WOW as I know. I've been saying stuff like that about all sorts of activities I've taken part in when I'm really blown away by how someone else does it. It's just sort of an ultimate statement of respect when I run out of superlatives....

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 3
  18. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I would prefer to see the proper name, Burma. It was the military junta that stifled democracy - and continues to do so to this day - that forced a change of the country's name after a bloody coup. Ask Aung San Suu Kyi which name she would prefer. It is fair to say that the United Nations has "accepted" the name change (after significant lobbying) but official policy in both the UK and the US is to continue to use the pre-oppression name in support of democracy and against the generals. Like many others I will never travel there until democracy is fully restored, beautiful though it is.
     
  19. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I think we should chip in and send Ray to see if they make him King of the Photographers.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Amen to that.

    Cheers, Jock