Saturday, March 12, 2011

Henri Cartier-Bresson

I've been studying the work of a few photographers over the last several months and I've been inspired by a few of them.

Galen Rowell influenced me to travel light on the trails and in the backcountry. He often carried a light weight, variable aperture, consumer grade, zoom lens. While these lenses aren't great in low light, they are very sharp when stopped down and are much smaller and lighter than professional f/2.8 zooms....perfect for backpacking. This inspired me to get the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6. The longer focal lengths add another dimension to my photography out in the backcountry.

Ansel Adams was a master at B&W landscape photography. While my landscape photography over the years has been in color, lately, I've embraced the beauty of B&W landscape photography. I especially love winter scenes for the great contrast between the snow and the darker trees, mountains, and rocks. While I am not overly fond of the cold, I purchased snow shoes this year to enable me to get out into the winter wonderland with my camera. Some of my favorite photos are my recent B&W snow scenes.

Now there is one more photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Before I discuss Cartier-Bresson, first some background information. I've been interested in purchasing an old rangefinder camera, like a Leica M3 or a Nikon S2. Unfortunately, both are expensive, especially the Leica. I decided a Nikon FM2/FM2n manual camera would be a more cost-effective choice for film. I corresponded with a friend to get his advice. Interestingly enough, he suggested I do the "Cartier-Bresson thing" and get the Leica M3, for a pure photographic experience.

While most photographers today use highly sophisticated digital cameras with large, expensive professional zoom lenses, Cartier-Bresson shot with a Leica rangefinder camera, outfitted with a single 50mm lens.

I found this very interesting because my favorite lens for my day-to-day photography work is my 35mm f/1.8 (which is equivalent to 52mm on 35mm film). Furthermore, if I were to purchase a Nikon FM2/FM2n, it would be outfitted with a 50mm lens (and perhaps a wide prime for landscapes). While I haven't been influenced by Cartier-Bresson (yet), our preferred tools of choice are very similar! I think we both enjoyed the simplicity of a fixed focal length lens and perhaps a more pure photography experience.

351/365 - Lines

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