It has been said, ‘Change is the only Constant’. Things change, for better or for worse. This is just a summary of my observations regarding the change around me in the last few months.
(Trishul Peak on a clear morning, after rains)
There was a time when Instagram was new. It was a platform where people shared photographs. That was the only purpose. When latecomers like me joined Instagram, it was already on its way to detoriation. The photographs were over-processed (overcooked) and more than the quality content, content from people with good networking ruled. Now the times have changed further. Reels were introduced some time back. In my opinion, that was the worst thing that could happen to Instagram. Now people are glued to phone screens, watching these excessively low quality reels, sometimes with repetitive use of the so called trending music, and with total mindlessness. Yes, I hate these reels. This is my blog and this is my opinion.
I was discussing with some people who have been quite active creating various reels on Instagram. Lately, their views are diminishing. This has been happening with everyone I talked to. What is happening is that now this platform is flooded with mindless content. The content gets lost to sheer amount of bombardment that happens on the users.
To make matters worse, there is endless scrolling. A boon for social-media content creaters, but a ‘black-hole of time’ for users. Nothing kills the time faster than mindless and endless scrolling, especially through the reels on Instagram.
The friend who introduced me to Instagram, left it many months back. I am stuck since my customers (both for photography and for homestay), check it out.
Mobile Phone Cameras
Phones with far better cameras are now available in the market than the last year. Hopefully, the coming year will bring in even more capable cameras.
Many of my contacts who had started their journeys with photography using a decent camera have now switched to mobile phone cameras. No doubt they are good but dedicated cameras are better. Sadly, the new users who buy these dedicated cameras expect magic to happen on its own when they click photographs, only to be disappointed. No such magic happens, they don’t use the camera to its full potential, and then they end up being disillusioned. Some of them sell off the new cameras and buy mobile phones for photography.
The strides that technology is making in mobile phone cameras are not ahead of dedicated cameras. Actually, the improvements in camera technology are now being implemented to some extent in phone cameras. So, as the things stand, on any day, a dedicated camera will always be better than a mobile phone camera, technologically speaking.
The Touchy Students
With the short attention spans, mindless scrolling on social media, over-processed images that everyone sees all around, the noise and the advertisements, people who want to learn photography are also very touchy nowadays.
Around a month back, one gentleman was clicking some interesting photographs using long shutter speeds. He was with me on a photowalk and wanted me to mentor him. On being asked, I gave two minor suggestions. One was to change the Auto-ISO to a fixed value so that he could control the shutter speed and aperture as required. As it is he was trying to capture motion blurs. This suggestion was well-accepted. The other one was to change the camera location a little to get a stronger composition. This hurt his feelings. And this was after being asked to help.
Another similar incident happened when a couple was trying to photograph alpenglow and were not getting the right color. My suggestion to switch the Auto White-Balance to Daylight, didn’t go down very well. This again was a suggestion offered when I was asked to help.
The photography students / learners are quite touchy now a days. A lesson learnt. Now I show only what I am doing and how. I let the students take their own call if they want to understand my point of view or not. From photowalks that were full of interactive discussions, nowadays, I discuss only the things that I am doing and answer the direct questions that are asked of me.
My computer, which was configured to specifications that even vendors could not understand, seems outdated now. It is huge and my new apartment is small. Every square meter of the floor area is precious. I am now considering upgrading my computer to a low-profile one. I visited a computer dealer to see what he had to offer. (Yes, I still visit physical stores). The computer that I liked had such a small size that I could easily keep it in a corner of the desk. However, along with it the monitor that I liked is so much larger than my existing one, that I may still have to keep the computer on the floor even after upgrading to a smaller size.
One reason to consider upgrading is that I am now forced to work on videos too. I have recently started using DaVinci Resolve, and I need a slightly more powerful computer. Affinity has released their new version but that seems to work well on my existing computer. So, for me, the upgrade will be due to three reasons – video processing work, smaller form factor (hopefully something that can sit along with a monitor on my work desk), and the capitalist influence on my minimalistic mindset.
Books and Music – Two of my Other Loves
I still read books. For me, reading is far more interesting than watching the same on video. Even simple things like ‘how to grow your own vegetables’, make more sense to me when I read than when I watch a YouTube video. Since I read, I continue to write too. For the benefit of photographers who may learn a thing or two from me, I still keep this blog running.
Even when I listen to music, I still prefer a full-size music system to tiny Bluetooth speakers. For me, flat response and uncolored music reproduction are important. I listen to albums that I physically possess rather than streaming them on the internet. Yes, at times I do stream music using high-quality flac files, but those are also locally stored. I know that my hearing would have started deteriorating some decades back and I may not be able to tell the difference between a streamed lossy music file. Still, I stick with physical media and occasionally flac files.
Change is a Constant – but these overcooked photographs, the mindless short videos and reels, the endless scrolling, the short attention spans? I just hope that even these will change. It is just a matter of time.