With A Whisky #4

Written whilst enjoying a single malt, "With a Whisky" brings you the latest ramblings from my side of the world. I can't promise prominent prose, or impressive imagery, but I'll do my best to keep you entertained.

3/2 | A7R & Canon nFD 50/1.4 | 1/320s ISO100 50mm F8

I'm not one for new year resolutions. Never have been, never will be. Having said that, it's hard not to look back over the last year, especially when one spends so much time in Adobe Lightroom that new folders need to be made in which to house a whole new year's photography.

Shapes | A7R & Canon nFD 50/1.4 | 1/60s ISO100 50mm

New folders, keywords, updating the © Copyright at the bottom of the page... it's become the equivalent of checking that my school books read the correct year. One thing stood out to me, though it's hardly surprising—I have taken fewer photographs in 2014 than 2013. The reasons are twofold, I imagine. Firstly, I moved back to the UK, started a new job, and have had a very busy last half of the year. The second reason, is that I now commute by car. Compared to my commute in Tokyo, where I would bare witness to all sorts of interesting things, I now tend to only witness poor driving habits. OK, that's not true, sometimes the morning sunrise is really beautiful, but it's hard to take in at >60mph.

The Unconquered | A7R & Jupiter-3 50/1.5 | 1/500s f/2.2 ISO100 50mm

2013 was my biggest photographic year, by number, trumping even 2011 (our first full-year in Japan). Years before pale in significance; it wasn't until I got my NEX C3 in 2011 that my photography really took off.

Divided | A7R & Jupiter-3 50/1.5 | 1/500s f/1.5 ISO100 50mm

Many photographers will mention their "keeper rate" (i.e. their ratio of good to bad photos). Often, people say that working with film generates a higher keeper rate than with digital, as it slows them down, or makes them think more about composition before pulling the shutter, as each press literally costs money, and reduces the number of potential exposure by 1. Digital knows no boundaries... well, almost. My A7R creates ~36MB RAW files from images, and I need to store and process these files. I have a film-esque workflow with my digital images; it just takes less time. I only ever take a photo if I really think it's worth it. I don't chimpI usually just look at photos when I am back home.

Soaring | A7R & Canon nFD 50/1.4 | 1/160s ISO100 50mm F8

My keeper rate is increasing, but from what I would call a relatively high number to start with. In 2007 I was keeping maybe 40% of my photos, but only took around 500. Now, I'd say that I keep around 70–80% of the photos I take. And, about 99% of those are published on this website.

England | A7R & Canon nFD 50/1.4 | 1/250s ISO100 50mm F8

For the record, my (kept) photo library from 2014 is 4051 images. I have a whopping 6825 from 2013—my biggest year yet. One thing remains consistent between the two years; my most-used lens (can you guess what it is? Answers below!) It, by its nature, is also my most-used camera; the RX1.

In 2012, my most-used lens was the excellent E mount Zeiss 24mm F1.8, which just so happens to approximately render the same field of as a 35/2.8 on "full frame".

Stained Glass | A7R & Canon nFD 50/1.4 | 1/800s ISO100 50mm F1.4

I've said many a time that 35mm is my favourite focal length; one which I fell in love using in Tokyo, and enjoy to this day.

I think that the stats presented in this post clearly justifies keeping the RX1*—the real question is what to do with all of my other lenses, and the A7R. The A7R does allow for a flexibility that the RX1 cannot achieve; super-wide and telephoto. It's probably worth hanging onto, but I probably shouldn't invest too much in additional lenses (he says after having already bought 2 lenses in the first week of 2015). Well, it's a bit of fun. Who knows, I might find a focal length which suits me more than 35mm. Could it be 28mm? Or 40mm? 20mm or 135mm?

Sunset | A7R & Canon nFD 50/1.4 | 1/8000s ISO100 50mm F8

Let's see what 2015 brings.

*All of the photos in this post were taken with lenses of focal length 50mm, around Hitchin and St. Albans.