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Jim Mountford Contact

Estados Unidos
I'm 53 and been a photographer off and on, both as an amature and professional since I was 12.

Probably the biggest thing in the last decade that turned me off to photography was the hours spent in the dark room. Plus the lack of control I had in post image color processing. Unless I wanted to invest thousands more in setting up a color darkroom, I'd have to put up with an approximate rendition of the final image by the lab personal. As it stood, to turn out one decent black and white print in my lab could involve hours of darkroom work and expense.

Ansel Adams said in his autobiography that he was looking forward to the digital age. I suspect, Ansel felt the same way about the dark room that I did. Digital Photography has changed that. Post image processing has been reduced from hours to minutes, plus I now have the gratification of seeing a final image with vertually no expense. And some images in the past that would have gone in the trash, can now be minipulated into a fine image.

My photography philosophy:

I believe in two things when it comes to photography.

The first one, Keep it Simple. Unless I'm doing specialized photography, I carry no more then two lenses, a moderatly wide, and a slightly telephoto lens for portraits.

My traveling photopack consists of:
Fuji S2 set on RAW
24mm (35mm equivelent) Nikon AF D Lens
50mm (80mm equivelent) Nikon AF D Lens
60gb Image Bank
3 1gb IBM Micro Drives
4 Sets of high capacity NIMH AA Batteries
I wear all of the above on two pouches on my belt.

In addition I pack
2 Panasonic International type battery chargers
1 small sony laptop, with charger, just in case I need to do some micro disc maintence or photoshop work on the road.
CCD cleaning kit (made by Pec Pad)
Small can of canned air
Lens cleaning cloth
International plug adapters for all.

My post image processing I use Adobe Photoshop 7.0.1
To convert to B&W I use one of three methods, the Imagingfactory plug in, or Digidans plug in, or the channel mixer, found in Photoshop and use the monochrome setting. Then play with the sliders. With color, I've found that I can bring more attention to the subject by holding back or saturating more with individual colors. Sometimes I turn one area of the photo into B&W while working with the colors in other areas. I also use the unsharp mask, set on low to bring out just a tad more detail. I rarely use any other special effects and depend on the above for 99% of my work.

The second thing I believe in, is it doesn't matter how we get there, but the final photo. I don't care if someone uses a pin hole camera to a state of the art digital system, what matters is the final result. Nor do I care if the photo is technically perfect or even the equipment they are using. We've all seen images taken by "inferior" equipment that are wonderful to state of the art equipment where the photographer is so caught up in the "equipment wars" that they loose the focus on the final results. What I do care about is if the photo is "telling" or pleasent to look at, yet doesn't give me the feeling that I've seen it a thousand times before in any number of coffee table books, calanders and on the web.

Part of my philosophy of less is better goes into the simple fact, I don't use zoom lenses. I can't get to know a zoom lens nearly as well as a fixed focus one. Plus, when I was a professional photographer, I found 90% of my work was done with a moderatly wide lens, the other with a slightly telephoto. The zoom lenses simply gathered dust. I've had people ask me "don't I wish I had such and such, to get that special shot?" The answer, "no." If I can't get it, then in all likelyhood, if I have to take the time to change lenses, I'd probably miss the shot anyway. And it doesn't really matter, nor do I care. There are a million photographs within 100 steps of my front door, why would I need to feel I can't be a decent photographer without a bevey of lenses and a photo gadget bag spilling over with a bunch of useless stuff? The fact of the matter is, I'd rather be photographing then worrying about what lens or filter I should use. Which doesn't mean anyone who is into lots of lenses and gadgets are bad photographers, it's what works for me. However, as I said, the more stuff you carry, the more we are distracted and the bottom line is, is the final result, not how we get there. In short, learn to live with less--you may turn out to be a better photographer.


Jim Mountford
[email protected]
Member Since
Fuji Finepix S2 Pro

Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 29 N: 27] (201)
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