Stellar jewels – And a review about photographic sites

Stellar jewels

There was a marvelous view of the coast at sunrise in Ilo city, I hadn’t my camera so I grabbed my old cell phone with two megapixels, I edited the picture in the app for tablets Snapseed and got the quality of the soft light reaching the shores while they were touched by the music of Pacific Ocean waves.

I can’t avoid to think that it’s a marvel to have tools in our pockets that can help us to document a feeling or save a memory. The rest is vanity.


Photographic sites I see for information

I had an Olympus camera, but I was reached the limit of its capabilities so I investigated which camera could satisfy me without mean a hole in my skinny pocket. After reviewing several models I ended knowing several review sites. Perhaps you already know them, and if not they could be useful for you. The most I see are:

He’s a smart man, he knows he’s driving a spectacle so knows how to get his audience interested. He uses to write in a clever way that people fall in his traps and thinks he is saying contradictory or false statements, meanwhile he laughs and have a great time seeing the buzz of the passionate crowd. As a US citizen he explains clear and directly.

From him I learned to use my equipment as tools, not ornaments; I learned everything I know about filters, tripods, cameras, accessories, terminology, etcetera. Actually I know a lot of English words related to photography but I unknown their equivalent in Spanish.

About his side as a photographer I like his naturalness to compose and the bright colors, but to say the truth I’m more attracted to his opinions.

He is a professional photographer. From him I learned to be careful with my equipment to extract the most of them; the importance to have a language in our images, doesn’t matter if you’re shooting a cell phone or medium format; and his most important lesson to me is to choose always a title for my pictures, sometimes I got good titles, sometimes not.

About his side as a photographer actually he is the perfect reason I don’t want to be ever a photographer, so my link to my pictures is called “my pictures” and not “portfolio” for that motive. It’s not that his photographs have an imperfection, far from that, actually they are perfect, doesn’t matter if he uses his iPhone or his Pentax 645Z. But when I see his photographs I feel that he’s not interested in the subject or object portrayed beyond a medium to get a photograph to show. In my case a camera just matters to save memories and to express feelings of the moment. so: No, I don’t want to be a professional photographer.

His passion for photography don’t translates in a photography with soul.

  • Trey Ratcliff from

He is an adventurer. He travels the world and get amazing views. From him I learned to don’t be afraid of software as a tool to get the photograph in the way I see with my eyes and not in the way the camera, an object, see it. He is amazing because he didn’t study photography so in a certain way he’s a Texan that has built his name with a very personal way to be not related to other photographers in the past. If you search online for “HDR” you’re going to find him for sure.

As a photographer I like very much his photographs of landscapes, but I’m not much attracted when his HDR technique is overdone (what was more in the past and sometimes in urban landscapes) because I feel like I’m having an overdose of candy. But the man is cool.

The legendary photographer. Actually is perhaps the only professional photographer I really, but really, I’m fan. From him I learned to be humble and natural, the important is what you see, not what your camera see.

Besides I purchased my Sony R1 because I saw a TV spot in youtube with him grabbing the camera in India. Of course I know that he uses a Nikon but to me was enough to see what a master like him could make with a camera accessible to me.


And that’s all. To take the photograph I had in my mind from Ken Rockwell the confidence to use my cell phone as the important tool it is; from Ming Thein a careful way to shoot with a composition; from Trey Ratcliff the liberty to edit the photograph until it matched what my eyes saw; and from Steve McCurry to capture a meaningful moment for me.

36 thoughts on “Stellar jewels – And a review about photographic sites

  1. Francis, very informative, but also eye-opening. I understand why you would not want to be a “professional photographer”. The same with me :) In any case, don’t even have a decent camera or lens now. The old is simply falling apart :)

    1. Me neither perhaps, my camera is a Sony manufactured in 2005 and the photograph of this post from a cheap Chinese cell phone, I think photographers from the end of nineteenth century would kill for your camera and for photograph the landscapes and people of your land :-)

      1. haha, I understand, usually I carry my camera in a ten cents black plastic bag with a newspaper so nobody guess if I’m with personal objects.

      2. Yes, what a strange world to live in. (By the way, I have always believed it is not the tools but the man who creates art who is important. In my case, though, I believe it is the camera and the place being good to me, rather than me being good with them).

      3. I admit that is true. However, knowing oneself well also reveals the truth sometimes and in my case, my ineptness with the camera is the truth :D

      4. Truths aren’t immutable :-) I think photography is not your main interest (it’s not mine) but it would be something bigger I know you have the curiosity to make it something bigger. I don’t have problems to enjoy your photographs.

      5. :) Thank, Francis (And may I add, I am never modest, but a ruthless realist, especially critical of myself a lot more than anyone else. So it was not some fake humble confession haha).
        Thank you, Francis. I am glad you understand. Yes, that is true. It cannot be my ONLY interest. (Lack of focus, I think, or just too much energy expended on doing everything at once).

  2. The best art is made by nature. We just have to discover.
    You have a good eye, Francis.
    Have a nice weekend, greetings,

  3. I’m so happy that Ilo offered you a beautiful view at the beach, and that you had some bit of technology to capture it. After looking at several professional photographer websites, I understand now what you mean when you say that their photos are too perfect, and more commercial than personal.
    Thanks for the rundown of websites – I have some browsing to do this weekend :)
    Abrazos y besos desde Los Estados Unidos!

    1. Your words are so correct…! I had (in past) a bit of technology, bc today the battery of my old cell phone died :’| it seems that now I’m going to rely in pen and paper XD

      I remember once in Santa Catalina you asked me if the light was the right, if I’d be a commercial photographer I had say you that the best would be the sunset and sunrise (they sell more) but I’m not so I was happy that I had photos to remember our visit to there and nothing more, so the light was a perfect one :-)

      BTW I’m processing the photos I took with my film camera; spoiler: you look beautiful ;-)

      Gracias por tus abrazos y besos, te envío otros desde Jerkland, I mean, Peru! xP

      1. You’re not having much luck with camera equipment lately :S
        Well, if your resorting to pen and paper, I still want to see your drawings and read your words :) I’ll bet that you could scribble off a title of a picture and I’d have a good idea of what you were alluding to because I’ve seen so many of your photos.
        ….And hopefully more soon. You’ve been processing those photos for weeks now! Let’s see ’em :D
        Peru no es “Jerkland” porque mi amado Francis vive alli :)
        (“Locoland” es un mejor nombre) ;)

      2. It’s ok, I had that cell phone for several years… lithium batteries tend to expire, I’m well and that counts more than another thing…
        About the photos the problem is that my work for Ilo has taken much of my time and the flu didn’t help -_- with luck next week every photo is going to be processed :-)
        Locoland sounds funny!, like a song for Cypress Hill “Loco en el coco” perhaps you know but coco is head.
        Besos y gracias ^_^

      3. Yes-I’m so happy to hear that you’re well! I was just giving you a hard time about the photos….I’m glad you rested while you were sick :)
        “Loco en el coco”! Sounds like my jam :P

      4. Oh sí, gracias :) I hope you’re enjoying your time as well! I’m enjoying certainly to know it across your messages… peaches and grass as I’ve ever seen. And in summer I’d like to imagine you lying in the grass smiling to the sky…
        he, Cypress Hill has a funny accent (I guess my English accent is similar to Sofía Vergara)

      5. Sofia Vergara? Ummmmm – no :) Her accent is very Colombian and exaggerated. Yours is much softer…more suggestive than insistent. A nice accent for a quiet talk between two friends :)

      6. Glad to know it, her voice put me nervous! in the sense that seems to always being yelling -_- “oye Melissa! the dinner is ready! come here and move that back!”
        Well, of course I’d like to have a Kansas accent ;-)

  4. Wow, i thought I would be reading about cameras!!! I almost skipped it… Instead, you talk about soul, beauty, and the art of capturing moments! Thank you Francis. A nice post and a nice surprise for me. And I will go take a look at those other guys that inspire you each in their own way… especially McCurry since you’re a fan.;-

    1. And of course, as I would have guessed, I feel much more in tune with McCurry’s work and approach. Thank you Francis. I will keep remember this page of yours when I want info on photography or photographers…
      My first feeling when I look at McCurry’s pictures is that he uses contrasts in a powerful and very intelligent manner… without overdoing it. There’s also a lot of humanity in his pictures…
      On a lesser side… though his work is always beautiful, I have to admit that I don’t go so much for “portrays”, i.e. the ones where people are looking at the camera, or “set ups”…
      I much prefer “stolen” moments, those that are caught as they unfold… People in movement… Natural elements in moments of peace or fury.
      And of course, when I look at his pictures, I know that photography is pushed by some in a direction where I will never go… my little camera remaining for me a little eye to capture images and get inspired by them.
      Thank you again for sharing all this.

      1. McCurry, famous for his Afghan Girl portrait for National Geographic, takes a photograph and, I understand, he has a team that modify the colors and contrast to match the ones he got in the time he used film (Kodachrome if I’m not wrong) he worries just about capturing the moment. He has some nice stolen moments, as the mother and her child seeing him across the window of the cab where he is sit under the rain.
        I don’t go so much for portraits either, I prefer to shot my parents while they are naturally talking or thinking; I guess is like see a sport, not necessarily is something we could make to do.
        I love so much your photographs, among them I remember these: Absolutely magical… she is the forest too… opening her arms as the trees behind her. I can feel her shivering like an autumn leaf. She is a queen waiting a story. Magnificent as the landscape she dominates, but at the same time fragile… phantoms of night populating that dream we call reaity. Just a glimple…. pure happiness, a perfect time. the light is caressing her, as a ghost trying to catch her attention… an always sad Orpheus because she cannot go there up nor feel his touch. that contrast and expression… as a kind of stress in her thoughts, a net trapping her. she is perfect to your story… and she herself seems to be a treasure of stories.
        And of course your self-portraits… they are beautiful portraits of you. Thank you, Caroline.

      2. Thanks for all your good words Francis. As time goes by, I look at my pictures more as “images” than photographs… but I am sure you know what I mean.
        And yes, I remember very well that picture of the Afghan girl… with the incredible green eyes, right? I also remember how they found her a few years ago, after all this time.

  5. A “stellar jewel”.. this post of yours. ^-^ I wonder how, or why, I missed it. Shame on me! :)) To me it’s like a piece of ..amber. Adding yellowish orange beauty to life.. and our “documenting of feelings” : )

    1. It was shot with my poor cell phone, I think 2 megapixels, quite old. Edited in Snapseed to show the warmness of the morning, you could give it a try in your Samsung. ^-^

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