#1076. Happy New Year – Predictions, Directions & Wishes

By pascaljappy | News

Jan 01

2020 has been hard on all of us and harder still on some of us. Regular readers/contributors have disappeared altogether, which fills me with dread and grief. For others, while health has been OK, jobs have been lost or threatened. Few of us haven’t experienced first hand what it means to live under house arrest for months on end. And even those who escaped all of this have witnessed the suffering of others and the constriction of society as a whole.

So let me begin by thanking all of you who have continued to read, comment and support DearSusan, and by wishing you a Very Happy 2021. Shit happens. And it’s how we react to it that defines us. But it’s also by sticking together that we pick ourselves us. Here’s wishing you have solid friends around you to make your way back to normality. You’ll always have us to talk to if you feel like it (the contact link is just above).

And, in spite of growing division within the US, a new irreparable division between the UK and its former European sisters, and possibly the greatest divide mankind has ever known between what matters to global health & happiness and what makes a tiny few richer than is good for anyone, here’s wishing for greater friendship and unity. Growing friendship, more than anything else, will be the goal at DS central this year.

Gentle Provence

But we’ll also be talking about photography πŸ˜‰

Photographic predictions for 2021

Innovation is messy. Not all new ideas are good ideas. And I’m not even sure 2021 will be the year we see some young sprout break away from the herd. But there sure is a lot of stirring under the surface.

  • The Alice project relies heavily on AI and tethers to a phone.
  • The little Pixii reviewed in these pages in its very early stages, has now made some serious progress, and relies heavily on old school ergonomics and tethers to a phone.
  • The Zeiss ZX1, though it has not been received triumphantly, also attempts to break from tradition by skipping the computer step. I’d have relied on a tethered phone rather than on internal number crunching and a rear screen, but the idea is similar.

You can see where my thought is going.

Always Sunshine After Rain

Manufacturers following the growing specifications route are beginning to hit a usability ceiling. There’s not a lot to be gained over the current 61Mp, 20fps and 409000 ISO current limits. Certainly not enough to hope to convert a shrinking user base to newer fancier models on. But an expansion of usage scenarios, on the other hand, can be a solution to a collapsing market. And, at that think-out-of-the-box game, young startups are trying to nibble at the feet of the seemingly blind sided incumbents.

Let’s forget the ZX1 for now. While the premise was excellent, the execution unfortunately appears to leave a lot to be desired. A company that makes possibly the best lenses on the planet releases a camera that can’t make use of them. Really? A company whose last know camera achieved cult status releases a new – much anticipated – camera that completely turns it back to the legend. Really? A company that picks up on the mobile revolution before others releases a camera that deliberately ignores the mobile screen and computer in everyone’s pocket. Really? What an absolute shame. And it arrives two years late in a market dominated by a frantic specs race. Zeiss is without the shadow of a doubt my favourite company in the photo universe. So it pains me to witness the mess this ZX1 is. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d love to review one. I’d love to love it. Maybe soon?

But all the other outsiders so far seem to define their offerings as extensions of the smarphone. The Pixii can work solo and that was how I enjoyed it most, but its wifi connection to the phone opens up new avenues that Canisony were busy ignoring until recdently. Alice goes a step futher (too far?) by requiring a tethered phone to operate, providing it with a better sensor/lens combo for a small space and cost. And, apparently, some sort of AI thingamabob gets thrown if. Heck, even Sony acknowledges the mighty phone, these days. The a7S iii can exchange files with a phone through a simple mutual tapping, shake-your-booty style. Amazing.

Winter can be beautiful

So yes, we’ll continue to see the mainstream manufacturers roll out familiar product lines but my prediction is that greater integration with the smartphone will be an important undercurrent of 2021. And, hopefully, some of the newcomers will get a chance to see the light of the sun beneath the crumbling canopy of the big boys.

Also: video. I’m convinced we will see more and more photographers turn to video for their creative fixes. More on this below.

Directions for DS in 2021

In 2020, we were fortunate to see the number of contributor rise. And two ladies are now regularly enthralling us with their talent. We would love to see more join the ranks (so, if you’re reading from the sidelines and fancy a go, please use that contact link above πŸ™‚ )

Evening glow

We, men, love gear talk. And there will be plenty of that in 2021. But the no-nonsense artistic flair found in a woman’s article is essential reading for all of us. Lani, Nancee, call yer friends! πŸ˜‰ And thank you for being here and sharing your talent with us glass-crazed blokes.

I’d also love to see younger photographers contribute. You, Yung Persohn I’m calling you out πŸ˜‰ Your comments are always astute and to the point. Why not join us and share a few thoughts? We’d all benefit and you’d have fun πŸ™‚ And, of course, new contributors are always welcome!! If you’ve been on the fence, whatever your age, gender, race, shoe size, use this Jan 1 symbolic date as impetus to click on that contact link above πŸ™‚ We can’t wait to read you!

Besides membership and authorship wishes, here are a few other ideas that could materialise in the near future. First and foremost is video.

Reaching for dreams

Before you run away, video will not become the main focus. In fact, it’s still unclear whether it will become a focus at all. And no, I am not backtracking after years of anti-video ranting πŸ˜‰ It’s not video itself that fueled those rants but the gauche implementation of video features in photo cameras that spoiled the fun for everyone. Now, here’s why I’m actually drawn to video as a complement to photography. The artistic facets are too numerous to list.

  • I’ve always been drawn to studio photography. Intentional, well crafted photography. But studio work is not my type of genre. As much as the process appeals, the subject doesn’t. Video essentially brings a studio approach to the great outdoors. Yes, I could have done the same with photography, but that never fit my run and gun style. Whereas the idea of planning a shoot and taking my time to craft a story really appeals to me.
  • Storytelling potential is simply in a whole other league, compared to photography. The passing of time and editing are what draw me in the most.
  • I’m a compulsive learner and will probably lose interest when I understand everything in video πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ Luckily, that should take a while. Put another way, I’m too happy with my photo gear and my mind is furiously looking for something else to stress about.
  • Gear. Oscar. Mike. Golf. The gear!!!! Unlimited opportunity for personal bankruptcy, gas attacks and testing. Just as in audio, the range of gear available to filmmakers completely dwarves the photo universe. And I want a slice of that, if only on loan.
  • Filmmaking incorporates a stong audio component, which is also fasinating.
  • A focus on aesthetics. Follow famous cine/video youtubers and you’ll find they are refreshingly ignorant of specifications that aren’t directly related to usability, creative options and aesthetics. I watch videos by Gerald Undone, the most tech-savvy of the bunch, in awe, understanding 10% of what he speaks and enjoying it so much I start over when it’s finished. And the others are either hilarious (Potato Jet), Inspiring (Make Art Now) or any combination thereof.
  • Composition. Wide horizontal composition is totally new, and mysterious, to me. Even if the video thing ends rapidly, that will teach me a lot for my photography.
  • Past DS contributors have made a switch to video and some of their early work has blown my mind. I’m hoping they’ll share it with us to inspire us.
  • The fun of adventure and risk-taking.
Light at the gate

So those are the reasons. But what’s the idea?

If this materializes, the first – and probably most useful – thing to do is document the transition. Photographers have learned to master composition and natural light to tell a story in a single frame. This makes them great candidates to transition to filmmaking. And I want to create an A to Z guide for navigating that transition. Technically, it feels daunting. Creatively, it feels fascinating.

Beyond that, who knows? It’s not even early days. It’s merely rumination days. And there’s your personal tastes to take into account? Would video content turn you off or, on the contrary, make you want to read and view more from us?

2021, rising from the ashes of 2020

So that’s all folks πŸ˜‰ Here’s to a friendship-rich, creativity-rich and content-rich 2021. Happy New Year. Be safe and Carpe Diem πŸ™‚


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Hi Pascal – me again – I guess everyone else is just finishing petit dΓ©jeuner, I’ve just finished dinner.

    Thanks for sharing some more glorious images with us. What a lovely start to the new year!

    You already know I share your passion for Zeiss. I am mystified by the ZX1 – all I could think of when I saw it was “street” and I do do “street”. But while everyone else seems to think “street” should be done with a small camera, fitted with an almost invisible 35mm (equivalent) pancake lens, I seem to use all sorts of lenses to shoot “street”. So – my conclusion – it may do a brilliant job – for someone else. But it doesn’t suit my photography. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it – and for the right user, I’m sure it would be brilliant.

    Ditto all this stuff about phones. I shudder. I can’t even use WhatsApp on my cellphone. The latest comment I’ve come across on cellphone photography is this line – “”. . .Β it’s possible to take photos like this with a phone that look perfectly usable (especially on a small screen) . . .”

    A while back, I did have a flirtation with video. I don’t really see myself doing any much more of it, though. Too many reasons “why not”. The principal reason is that the whole lens thing, and relationships between cinecam operator and subject, are fundamentally different from still photography.

    But I did have a lot of fun – and got perilously close to the stage of adding a decent sound recording system, too. So I hope you manage to enjoy it to the hilt – write your own stories – engage suitable friends and relatives as “extras” – and go for it!

    Of course, you’ll still have to keep exploring the wonderful world of the Hassy, or it will feel like an abandoned child. But the french are mostly responsible for the invention of photography and the development of movie, so you’ll be following in a fine tradition.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Oh, the Hassy is going nowhere. It’s become my close buddy and I really don’t see what could come close in today’s market πŸ™‚ Filmmaking is a complement, not a substitute πŸ˜‰ Cheers

  • Lovely thoughts, Pascal.

    Hope to read more of them throughout the coming year. Ditto those fabulous images from DS contributors across the planet.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Bonne AnnΓ©e, Pascal! Lovely images, especially β€œAways Sunshine After Rain”. I look forward to many more posts on DS in 2021!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Bonne AnnΓ©e, Nancee πŸ™‚ Thank you for the kind words and the brilliant contributions. I’m looking forward to a rich 2021 too πŸ™‚

  • Mel says:

    Happy New Year! Pascal. DearSusan posts are always provocative as well as pleasurable — I enjoy the commentary as much as the photos. I don’t attempt to post because the bar seems so HIGH. Here’s a thought for 2021 that might motivate people like me. The concept: JUST ONE. You post one photo and two sentences on the thinking that went into it: perception, emotion, resonance. Perhaps that will alleviate the intimidation factor of sharing. Because all you need to do is: Just One!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Happy New Year Mel πŸ™‚

      That’s a great concept! How about a monthly collection of JUST ONE contributions? Or bimonthly if more come in than is reasonable for one post? Let’s announce that and get started, I love the idea πŸ™‚

      All the best,

    • Sean says:

      That’s a solid idea that’s definitely worth pursuing, Mel & Pascal.

  • Sean says:

    Hi Pascal,
    Happy New Year to both yourself and family, and to all DS readers, participants, contributors, owners, planners and maintainers. I really like your images ‘Gentle Provence’ and ‘Always Sunshine After Rain’ – they’re wonderful emotive viewing – shouldn’t they be? How true what you’ve stated, that “… We, men, love gear talk …”. Of course we do: It gives meaning to the trials, tribulations and difficulties in the pursuit of a rewarding photographic experience, doesn’t it? It’s like sailing; it’s more demanding and experiential based than meets the eye – the waters can be rough, becalming or fair weather sailing. I’ll stick to ‘proper cameras’ as I’m allergic to TwitFace, WhatsDatApp, ThemPipe, etc.
    Anyway, enough negativity. All the best everybody for 2021.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Sean, that’s a very interesting comparison in more ways than one! Modern vs traditional, risky or not, and yes, the joy of lovely gear!!!! But enough of that, dreaming about sailboats got me into a lot of trouble at school, so it’s best I don’t fall back into that now πŸ˜‰

      Happy New Year to you too πŸ™‚

  • PaulB says:


    Quite the prognostications and another set on images worthy of them! I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

    Concerning motion, I think Dear Susan should welcome it. Regardless of if it is panning, shake, video, or time lapse. If we are exclusive, we run the risk of being left behind.


    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you Paul. It’s great to know you see filmmaking as an interesting way to expand the experience. The two are often opposed but, to me, photography and filmmaking have a lot in common and share a fascinating relation to time. I’ll definitely try to get my act together and find something worthy to present πŸ™‚

      Cheers, Pascal

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    Gelukkige nuwe jaar almal. A Big Thank you to Paul P for inviting me to share my humble offerings last year even though I am not a member of the men’s gear appreciation society. A big shout out to my gracious editor for casting a beady eye over my submissions. And thanks to all of you who have taken the time to comment and provide feedback – as a relatively inexperienced photographer it is much appreciated. Now that 2020 is officially hindsight lets hope for a prosperous new year.

  • Dallas says:

    Great post, Pascal, alas my crystal broke.

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