#1223. Week Links of Photography (20 Aug 2022)

By pascaljappy | Newsletter

Aug 20

Bucket lists vs adventure vs exploration, creative scientific photography, defining and understanding the Netflix look, Brenizer portraiture, the difficulty of shooting monochrome with a colour camera, a film photography star’s favourite camera (and it’s not a film camera), Kodak Gold in 120 celebrated, photography-centric smartphone announcements, AI in the arts, and a homage to Robert Adams. Plus more.

Evening light, Jersey

Bucket lists, adventure and exploration, so much to unpack.

Two sources of exotic travel images have come my way recently: one overlanding blogger traveling the Canning Stock Route, in Australia. And a close friend’s images from Namibia. Years ago, I’d have given a lot to be there, in those two bucket list locations, photographing them for myself. Now, watching from afar is just as pleasant, though only one of the two actually feels right to me.

It’s hard to explain why without sounding old and judgmental. But here’s the gist of it.

Bucket lists are just plain wrong. They never pan out for anyone, being based on photographs and recollections of events that will never happen exactly the same way for you. You might end up happier than expected at a specific location, and very disappointed at another. But, mostly, is it really worth traveling days in a plane, then in a boat, then in coaches, then in queues to grab that photograph of the blue dome over the blue sea when, all around you is just one huge crowd of tourists swarming to grab the exact same shot, that you can find in thousands of copies online? Is there no better use of our limited and precious vacation time than to rush to places that are no better than others nearby, only more famous?

To be continued below …

Jersey shoreline and beach


Jersey tunnel


Heartbreak Hotel (Jersey) – PP inspired by old filmstock

Gear (including film)

St Aubin harbour, Jersey – #MonochromeAugust


Jersey War Tunnels – #MonochromeAugust

… discussion continued from the top

Bucket lists encourage us to lie to ourselves and to others, because their very existence hinges on the predictability and repeatability of experience that travel specialists bend over backwards to ensure, but either fail to, or achieve at the expense of all sense of adventure or accomplishment. When I crave that sort of experience, I go to Disneyland Paris (I do, and I love every minute! 🙂 )

Adventure recognises the unpredictability of travel in the real world, and in other activities. You start a hike with a specific peak view or other goal in mind, but end up falling in love with this little lake instead. Fallen rocks have made the trail unpassable, but the other one pushes you to your vertigo limits, from which you emerge feeling victorious and proud. Maybe you hurt your knee the day before the hike, and stay in the village instead, savouring an incredible coffee from the corner cafe you’ll remember all your life and you great-grand children will return to as a family pilgrimage much later. All that is so much more meaningful and lasting.

Adventure not only acknowledges the unpredictability of travel, but thrills you and excites you for it. By following bucket lists, often created by others, we leave ourselves little room for serendipity and a lot of room for disappointment. Adventure, however, opens us up to more opportunities.

Jersey Horizon – #MonochromeAugust

But adventure is about the person experiencing it. There is little in it for others.

The type of travel I find most interesting is exploration. That is, traveling to less frequented areas and reporting to others about them. The two elements are essential. Some guys skied to the pole for their own gratification (adventure) or their king’s (and often lost their lives for it). Others explored the pole to bring back information and images for those who can’t visit themselves, for science, for the arts, litterature, and the world’s imagination.

That’s the main difference between my friend’s experience, flying choppers over the Namid at sunrise, riding huge 4x4s on dunes, walking up to big rhinos, and the youtuber visiting a track that’s not been used since the covid breakout, repairing wells along the way, and documenting the trip for those who can’t be there. My friend’s very dear to me, and I’m not criticising. But I can’t help feeling that, given today’s limited space for environmental resource consumption, travel seems a whole lot better when it serves a purpose for more than the traveler alone. Someone like Dallas Thomas, for example, will visit tranquil Normandy, after a one hour train ride from his home, or will sail to very very remote antarctic islands in rough seas, and always shares the photographs and details with us. This means one trip enlightens hunders of readers. At a less lofty level, that’s what I tried to do with the Jersey post and photographs. And from today onwards, I want to explore more and adventure less 🙂


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  • Peter says:


    Thanks again for the links but more to the point , your question on travel. To me, as an enthusiastic amateur snapper, travel is all about the experience. Experience of place and of people.

    I’d always wanted to visit Provence and having a partner who is fluent in French enriched the trip immensely. An engaging extrovert she usually had the shopkeeper/gite owner/waiter’s life history within minutes.

    We wandered with no set agenda stopping where we wanted or where there was accommodation available.

    It was about 20 years ago and my camera was swiped in Agde along with my images of Petanque in Taillard, oysters and mussels in Bouzigues, Carcassonne and others. Fortunately I was using film and some survived.

    However, to me the point is that had I been relying on pictures to make the trip memorable it would now be very vague. Having had the interaction with the people we met has stayed with both of us since then.

    As in fishing or birding, there is nothing worse than arriving at an iconic destination to be disappointed and to be told “you should have been here yesterday ” 🙂

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Peter,

      That’s unpleasant, having your camera stolen in Agde!! I know the town, having spent most of my university years in Montpellier. I’m glad you you salvage some rolls.

      The impact of photography on travel is very interesting. As you say, if you focus too much on the photographs, you miss a lot of the interaction. I agree entirely, it’s firstly about the experience. I find that photographs help me remember the moments I photograph, but detract from the general thread, if that makes sense.

      Yes, traveling with a goal in mind is problematic. We went to a B&B in Western Scotland that is reputed for otters. They come almost every day to the beach just below the terrace. We stayed 3 days and didn’t see a single one. So, expectations are easily turned into disappointments … 😉


    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Very often, Peter, the photos we took help us to remember the times we spent on our travels – refreshing our memory. And of course they helps us to share at least part of that enjoyment with our family and friends.

      But as you say, there’s something beyond that, which our cameras cannot capture. The sharing of history – knowledge – cultures.

      The couple who owned the B&B where we stayed when we went to Blois, in the Loire valley, who went out of their way to make sure we had a wonderful time. Even to the point of ringing ahead, to a restaurant where we intended to dine, to make sure the manager looked after us. And getting us invited to a barbecue in the garden of the house next door, to watch a football match between France and Switzerland, in a large tent, with about two dozen other people – our host for the evening being a retired chef, so the barbecue was five star!

      The lady on the tram in Nimes, who noticed us scanning the map and came down to where we were sitting, to find out what we were looking for – and, when she realised that my wife had managed to decide to board the tram going in the wrong direction, offered to waste an hour of her time, staying on the tram with us, to make sure she saw us get off at the correct stop.

      the restaurant manager in Paris who found out we’d just married there a few days earlier, and produced a bottle of champagne, insisting on giving it to us to help us celebrate.

      Or the night we went to a Vivaldi concert in Saint-Chappelle – listening to that beautiful music. in such a stunning location.

      You can’t photography experiences like that. And they stay with you for the rest of your life.

  • Allan Dew says:

    A very interesting and informative post. A nice way to start the weekend. I always enjoy viewing the images you use to illustrate your writing. May I ask what camera you shot these with.
    All the best

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you, Allan 🙂

      The camera is a first generation Hasselblad X1D. Battered and very tired, by now, but still producing really gorgeous images 🙂

      All the best,

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    1 – Huge 145MP Photo Shows Two of the Sun’s Atmospheres at Once (PetaPixel)
    Some will dismiss this, as “technical” rather than aesthetic. “Dismissive” – feeling or showing that something is unworthy of consideration. Really? Anyone who feels that way about this man’s photo of the sun should start by stumping up with his own contribution, to prove that he can do better. Alternatively, he should shut up. My reaction? – when I saw it, I was over the moon – speaking of which, I have yet to get a shot of the moon that’s anywhere near as good as this man’s shot of the sun – and the moon’s nowhere near as difficult to photograph!

    2 – Many thanks to the Jersey Tourist Bureau for sharing such fabulous images of such an exotic location.

    3 – Bucket lists – I agree with your sentiments, if the bucket list takes the participants on an Abercrombie & Kent guided tour. But having spent my entire life as a maverick, I’d be waiting till they were all safely tucked up in bed, and sneaking out the bedroom window, to disappear into the midst of wherever & do my own exploring. Nothing wrong with keeping a list of places you’d like to see, things you’d like to do. It’s the”group activities” syndrome that I can’t deal with. How can anyone possibly claim to be creative, if they are simply one of a dozen or so people standing in the same place, taking the same photo?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Pete, yes, that photo of the sun is really appealing. Of course none of it is that colour, but you can isolate H-alpha (which is red) for the details on the surface and the corona tends to look pale blue. The idea of reinforcing those colours and putting them together was brilliant.

      2 – Thanks 😉

      3 – Yeah, it’s cool to have a list of places an goals. I want to go to Costa Rica, to see how they farm inside forests. I’ll document that when we go. But that’s very different from wanting to recreate the same photo of this or that instagrammer. Having seen the crowds in such places, it just baffles me that anyone would want to do that during their vacation. It’s nuts, to me 😉


      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        3 – ROTFLMHO – nicely put! My last shot of the Eiffel Tower was from the Parc du Champs-de-Mars. Well actually it wasn’t a photo of the tower – it was my wife and me picnicking in the park. The tower was just the backdrop to our picnic. Somehow that struck me as far my like the view that “real people” have of the tower, rather than excluding everything else and photographing nothing but the tower, like all those Instagram shots.

        A good “hint” is to watch what everyone else is doing. Then doing something they didn’t. It IS possible. And the result is far more interesting.

  • Steve Mallett says:

    Pascal, the pic of the sun is wonderful and I love your 3D Jersey Horizon.

    Never really understood “bucket lists” as a concept. Sure I have ideas about things I’d like to do, places and people to visit etc. but I really love the unexpected stuff that happens along the way, the journey not the destination. Didn’t someone write a poem about the Journey To Ithaca? Been a long while since I read it and seem to have forgotten the poet!

  • philberphoto says:

    Pascal, while I find you post vey interesting and your pictures captivating, I beg to differ with your opinion re: iconic tourist destinations. Whether we like it or not, whether excess tourism is a blight, there are still reasons why Venice is an extraodinary destination, and nearby Marghera is most definitely not. Furthermore, that there are a hundred photographers shooting the same site, more or less, in no way makes it such that all will come back with the same images. If they did, this would mean that photography needs no creative/artistic vision, and no amount of competence to execute it, let alone no level of gear performance. Sorry, but I don’t agree. One has but to look at the extraordinary book of landscape photography by Boris Buschardt to see the difference between and postcard and a Buschardt…. And BTW, your gorgeous image of Saint Aubin Harbor proves my point. A hundred photographers could shoot it, but not come up with this….

    • pascaljappy says:

      Philippe, I think we agree, and maybe I didn’t make my point clear. It’s not so much the location that’s a problem, but the mindset and *why* we are visiting it. After all, I am a huge fan of London, Istanbul, Tokyo, each major tourist hotspots. But, as you explain, I – and many other photographers – are there to make their own decisions, find their own spots, potentially get a bit lost. And most of all, to try and understand the place a bit better, and to communication that to others. Whereas some people are just there to check boxes. Boxes they haven’t even decided for themselves but somehow have made their way up to a universal list of “things you must do before you die”. Utterly ridiculous. Utterly unfulfilling. Utterly unsustainable. I’m just saying we’re all different and should decide for ourselves what we enjoy rather than follow others, and that travel shouldn’t be a purely selfish activity. Cheers

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