The Key to Obsessive Compulsive Photography Disorder

The Key to Obsessive Compulsive Photography Disorder
The Key to Obsessive Compulsive Photography Disorder

This is a photo I took of some old keys, obviously. It was a simple matter of arranging, lighting, taking a few shots on a tripod, processing the RAW files in Lightroom, editing in Photoshop, and then a little tweaking in Photomatix Essentials for an HDR effect.

So I asked myself, am I obsessive, compulsive or possibly both? I wasn’t sure so I did some research on the five types of OCD.

The first type is cleaning obsessions, such as cleaning your camera and lenses with a special microfiber cloth kept in a special package and folded in a special way.

Next are checking obsessions, which can include checking camera settings frequently like shooting modes, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus points, exposure mode and white balance.

The third type is obsessions without visible compulsions, which can involve intrusive thoughts such as previsualization, and in extreme cases this is known as Dryshooting.

Not surprisingly there are also hoarding obsessions, which may involve accumulating tripods, lens hoods, filters, and new equipment of all kinds whether you need it or not (do not keep a copy of the B&H photo video catalog under your bed).

And finally, obsessions with ordering, arranging and counting compulsions, which would realistically be almost everything else involved with photography.

So in my case, the answer might be yes, but it gives me something to do and it’s much better than sitting in a recliner, drinking vodka and watching daytime TV. (I’m guessing).

Something In The Way

Left for dead
Left for dead

Kurt Cobain once sang that fish don’t have any feelings, and I wonder if that’s true. I was walking around Long’s Park a while ago and saw a partly mangled dead goldfish. My guess is that one of the Herons that live there got over ambitious and bit off more than he could chew, or maybe left to invite his friends for lunch. So I took a few pictures because I was intrigued by the whole thing.

Then the fish moved. At first I thought this was strange because dead fish rarely move, but apparently she was not quite done being alive. So being a fisherman I considered throwing her back, but the wounds were serious.

If only I was a fish doctor, if only I got there earlier, if only I won the Powerball last night, if only, well, that fish was screwed no matter what. So I watched her for a minute wondering if she was suffering. I imagined she was as I would be if I got eaten by a giant bird and left for dead like that.

I finally kicked her back into the lake in the delusional hope that she would take a couple of deep breaths and swim away with just a flesh wound, warning her fish friends to stay deep. But she floated on the top with those terrified eyes staring right at me.

It became too painful to watch and I told myself it was the natural cycle of life, survival of the fittest and all that. And that maybe fish don’t have any feelings and she wasn’t suffering at all.

In goldfish heaven there are no angry birds.

Turtle Existentialism

Turtle Existentialism
Turtle Existentialism

Every year I save at least three turtles, it doesn’t take much effort and hopefully they appreciate it. Now by saving them I don’t mean I read them a short passage from the bible, or tell them an inspirational story about races with rabbits. I help them across the road before they get run over in a senseless slaughter.

The most important thing to remember is to move them in the direction that they were already traveling. They know where they want to go, they’ve probably planned out the trip for weeks in not months, so keep this in mind.

Knowing that you’ve probably saved a life is reward enough, but now that the little guy is safe you might as well take a few pictures. Gently place the turtle in good light and try different compositions. At some point, usually after 20 or more shots they will probably hiss at you.

This is a reminder to check your settings and wrap it up. Turtles, contrary to popular opinion, are impatient creatures and want to move on.

I found this one at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and tried to capture his dignity and sense of purpose. I wanted to convey turtle existentialism and the search for meaning in all living things.

When all was said and done though, it was a hissing, annoyed turtle with a man 100 times his size lying in the road pointing a camera in his little turtle face, looking for meaning on a beautiful summer day. Stalemate.

It’s Not About Your Camera?

Eastland Alpacas Open House
Eastland Alpacas Open House

It’s not about your camera says Ken Rockwell. In his own words: “If you can shoot well, all you need is a disposable, toy camera or a camera phone to create great work. If you’re not talented, it doesn’t matter if you buy a Nikon D3X or Leica; your work will still be uninspired.” Camera stores will argue this theory and not let him in, but he may have a point.

He goes on to say, very eloquently I might add; “Many people still cling to the mystique of the tripod, even though tripods went out with film cameras.” Oh.

Continuing: “If you love your tripod then don’t let me poop in your ice cream; but if you’re carrying it around to use with your Canon or Nikon DSLR because someone else told you it made sharper pictures, think again. I make more and better pictures when I’m not weighed down.”

Now the way I see it, the disturbing part is not about the difference between a point and shoot and a Hasselblad, or even the advantages of using a tripod, but the poop in my ice cream thing is at least a little kinky.

This may be shocking to new readers, but I’m a bit obsessive (see blog name). So fancy cameras with a lot of buttons, dials and customizable options are a good thing for me. Tripods I find useful to compose and also slow things down a bit, and smaller ones hardly weigh me down.

So does Mr Rockwell have a valid point? I don’t know, but he seems like a nice enough guy and takes decent photos. Some people are happy with a small dirtbike and others want a Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro. I want both and have neither, but I have a camera that works for me and fits in my pocket.

I go to the open house at Eastland Alpacas in Mount Joy every year and see people taking pictures with everything from phones to top of the line Leicas, and most photos probably come out pretty good. Maybe after three hundred shots and hours of post processing some come out better than others. If not I will tell myself that they do.

Note to self: always shoot RAW.

Growth

Baby Sunflower
Baby Sunflower

This is a baby sunflower I shot early this morning on my windowsill. The photo is not exactly the way I wanted it but it seemed right for me today.

Maybe nothing is perfect, maybe everything is, or maybe growth is understanding that things are not always exactly the way we want them to be, and that’s OK.

It’s been said that if we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. My plan it to continue to look.