James R. Lemon – Featured IPA member
I am an amateur photographer who enjoys photography in my free time. I’ve been deeply curious about photography since childhood, when I first witnessed a Polaroid producing a picture. Although I’ve been an infrequent photographer since high school, I have always been intrigued by the fact that one can record something that he/she sees (with a camera). Although I missed out on photography classes in school (as the course filled up so quickly), and I lacked the basic understanding of such things as the exposure triangle, I never lost interest or gave up on the idea of pursuing photography.
Since 2010 I’ve devoted much more time to learning and experimenting with different genres of photography. Following the purchase of a Canon DSLR (with a cropped sensor and a 24 105 L lens) I quickly moved to a full-frame and started purchasing prime wide angle, macro, telescopic and middle-of-the-road normal view lenses, flashes, etc.
From landscape to flowers and insects – I eventually tried some street photography with a 135 mm L lens attached to a 5d11 but I quickly settled for a 35 mm Zeiss attached to the camera which I continued with for about two years.
During that time I processed my images in Lightroom and used the silver Efex plug-in for conversations to black and white. Although it seemed that this provided endless options, the main difficulty I had, was that I had too many options and was unsure of where to stop processing before it became destructive.
I eventually became more curious about black and white and the relationship that colours have with black and white. I also desired something more straight forward and I thought of going to a film camera. However, coincidentally at around the same time, Leica introduced the monochrome.
After a bit of research I acquired my first Leica monochrome and Summilux 50 in the spring of 2013 and soon purchased the Summicron 50 mm APO as well. My processing was now more consistent, I was getting more of the results that I was looking for and I had no need to work on conversions. The new monochrome was like a dream come true! No more complicated menus and just the essential controls – something I really appreciated. I no longer felt the frustration that I had in the past with other cameras, which had felt like a real barrier to learning anything useful.
At the same time, it was still “pretty dark” in Lightroom and my work-flow was a wreck – a difficult and very untidy place to be in, without any ideas on what to do about the mess. I attended two of Thorsten von Overgaard’s workshops in 2014, and as a result, I now enjoy a professional work-flow that can be described as a super structure of efficiency. I am now disciplined in staying current with my work-flow and do not allow it to fall behind, as I diligently download images, back them up and archive after every shoot. I also feel much more confident at photography.
I enjoy the process of making pictures with my Leica almost as much as I enjoy the end results. If the photograph turns out to be something that I like, it just adds to the total experience. I always look forward to downloading images after each shoot, to determine what is worthwhile.
I derive much satisfaction from the selection process and final editing as well, but the tagging of photos is something I simply ‘put up with’. I make basic adjustments to my photos in Lightroom alone, and I do not bother with other programmes.
Although I sometimes visualize images in my mind prior to a shoot, most of the time I enjoy spontaneity. I like having unstructured time to bum around and take pictures and to hopefully glean or learn something in order to make improvements. My camera has nothing to prove and it is simply a tool to express my individual freedom of mind.
I’m excited to have my work featured among such great photographers. Special thanks to Spyro Zarifopoulos for creating the International Photographers Alliance. It’s great to have a place to share my images and to see so many wonderful photos.