THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

Good or Bad


I’ve watched with interest how photography has and continues to change. I love to see people taking pictures. It’s a lot more fun and easier than it used to be. Professional equipment was expensive and not intuitive to use. Low end and midrange were either poor quality overall or didn’t work well in low light.

Hold on, where is the shutter again? Photo by Mike Hartley

All those barriers and so many more have been removed. Simple phone cameras are really sharp. Even the low-end cameras now are capable of good quality images. This brings me to a point. Who uses a camera anymore? Smartphones, tablets seem to outnumber conventional cameras. Sometimes I feel odd pulling out the big Nikon now.

Old Polaroid Land Camera model 80 Photo by Mike Hartley

I like the idea that everyone is a photographer because I know the joy it brings me to create my own and look at others’ images. I like those memories being made. But I worry about these electronic memories. Do people make the proper backups? Do they just sit on their phones? Or are they shared all over social media but still nowhere physical. I’m older so I still love physical prints. So much so I purchased a fairly good Canon Pro 100 printer a few years back.

And when I decide on my best work I’ll get professional print services. There is something about a print that makes it feel special. When I see a photo I’ve taken that a friend shares online, I’m flattered. But when I see a friend has a photo displayed in their home I’ve taken in a print or asks me for a print, then I feel like I’ve done something special.

One of my first 35mm cameras, passed down from my parents. Photo by Mike Hartley

Yes, all this technology has changed professional photography. I imagine it was getting harder to make a living in any way, but the challenges today are unique. But then again it is spurring new businesses and directions at the same time. But the same old ones exist also. What is the value of your art and skill? Great work usually comes with great rewards but not always.

Me taking a picture of someone taking a picture of someone taking a picture of someone. Photo by Mike Hartley.

Fortunately, I don’t have to look at it as a business, at least right now. Mainly because I’m still an amateur but even if I wasn’t or I’m making it to the middle ground, I going to always shoot what I want, when I want and how I want.

And even if my work starts to make it to the point where someone sees some work they like and approaches me, I might ask them why they like it? Or maybe what it means to them? For instance, if anyone wanted a print from Arlington National Cemetery and had a loved one there the price is 0.

I can think of a lot of things that might just make me share a print. Because they really belong to all of us. Photography is where we live and where we go. It’s our perspective, angle, lighting, and what we focus on. And those things are unique to everyone at that point in time. That is another reason I take a lot of images. For my family, it’s kind of a record of threw my eyes at various points of time in my life.

And I guess sometimes, that point in time is what is important. I have photos of the days both floods in Ellicott City happened early in the morning before they happened. One was from a family walk that morning from my wife’s parent’s home in ChapelView. The other one was as I returned from a ride down New Cut Rd. As I turned to go up Main Street I took a shot and most of what I saw was no longer later that day.

Saturday morning 7/30/2016. I was just returning from a ride down New Cut Road and had just made the turn next to the Phonenix Restaurant onto Main Street. The top was down so just held up the old Kodak and snapped this. Photo by Mike Hartley

And while it’s dark and out of focus. It’s a point in time that is special to me. Yes, I took many shots after the floods. But I’d like to think of this town as complete all the time. Including Agnes, I’ve seen this town almost destroyed 3x and it pains me greatly because it’s the hometown of my better half, a town I started my newspaper career in, a town we started a newspaper from scratch in, and a town that I’ve enjoyed many good times in.

So to me, photography and where it is headed is good and that is the same as it’s always been, it’s very personal which makes it very special regardless of the tool or person, or ability. It’s all in the image or not.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Why does it feel inevitible that two big boys are going to box. I hope I’m very wrong about that feeling.
  • There was enough pain and suffering in the world without war. When there is war and it takes it to another level I hope its impossible to ignore. But then again mankind has surprised us before.
  • You know I’ve been thinking about the size of American portions at resturants. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big meal but more often than not I can easily get two meals out of a single serving now. So why not share things and make eating out a continued joy and compensate for increases in prices that we are seeing and more to come. Get an app and main course and share. Think of it this way, you won’t each need a plastic container to take home and throw away later. Your doing the enviroment a favor also.
  • Boy am I thankful its Friday night. I’m also very thankful for Thursday and Saturday nights. The rest of them not so much because I’m working.
  • I’m inspired to get up early and make some progress. Right now the body and mind are on the same page. But you know the body, that first ache or cramp and its becomes a game the body plays of “oh you think that is something, watch him react to this.”
  • Sometimes working hard on something else make what is bothering you a bit easier to deal with.
  • Todays post was just sitting down with nothing and starting to ramble on. Probably comes across like that also. My apologies. I’ve got to think about content more and allow some more time for writing.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

6 thoughts on “Good or Bad

  1. You’re right, we can all easily take photos now but that doesn’t necessarily make us photographers.

  2. I don’t read every blog, but often enough. When I do, I find your writing calms me, draws me peacefully into contemplation. There are times when I need that. Thanks.

  3. My younger one takes so many pictures and screen shots but he has no interest in taking a print out. I think this generation is not going to have the fun of waiting for the picture to be developed and finding that it is not what they intended!😀

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