I’m Reuben Stanton. This is an intermittent blog of relatively random things: thoughts about technology, reflections on my life and work, and some historical stuff.

My ‘real’ website is here, and I tweet intermittently @absent

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cameras I own: Pentax K10 D

Part five in a series. Read parts four, three, two and one.

On top of the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

Climbing Mount Takao

This camera is a beast. I bought it because I wanted a real SLR again (my last film SLR, a Pentax MZ50, had been stolen years earlier). It was a big step in my move to digital photography, the other digital cameras that I’d owned up to that point were all travel cameras, point and shoot. This is a “prosumer” camera: interchangeable lenses, RAW, fully manual modes. It’s big. It’s noisy too. It wasn’t until I used a friend’s Canon a few months later that I realised just how loud the shutter on the Pentax was. And it was my companion.

Looking back through the photos, I can attach this camera to two major points in my life: the first is 6 months living in Tokyo, the other is a trip with my sister to India and Nepal in 2008.

* * * *

Hanami in Saitama

In a bar in Shibuya, Tokyo

While in Japan I carried this camera everywhere, despite it’s weight and bulk. Although I had my Hexar with me, and bought the Yashica while I was there, the Pentax was the camera I used to document my life. In the bars I frequented in Asagaya I became recognised as the strange foreigner with the camera (to the point that when I left Japan, one of the bartenders gave me a t-shirt with a camera on it as a going away gift).

One of the major selling points for the Pentax over Nikon or Canon (apart from the price) was the lens: a lovely, small, 50mm 1.4. It was perfect for shooting at night in the lights of Tokyo, and gave the camera a very low profile which made it great for street photography.

The Pentax was reasonably versatile (interchangeable lenses will do that). While in Japan I had two lenses (the aforementioned 50mm 1.4 auto, and a manual 28mm 2.8), once back in Australia I was lucky enough to win a photography competition with one of my Yashica photos and won a Tamron 18-250 lens that I took with me to India, along with the 50mm. My sister had a Pentax too, so we shared lenses, carrying one each.

* * * *

Gosaikunda pass, Nepal

Chamki, Nepal

Somewhere near the Taj Mahal

Although its been almost four years now, I’m yet to go through all my India and Nepal photos. I’ve printed a few of them, but I took thousands (part of the danger of digital photography). The camera has some fond memories attached to it: surviving the Mumbai bombings (we were stuck in a hotel across from the Mumbai hospital), being accosted by small children in Tirivunamulai (who all insisted that we take photos of them, their families, their houses), the frozen lakes and bright yellow hand-painted signs high up in the Himalayas, the Taj Mahal totally hidden by fog.

I barely use the Pentax anymore. It’s too big, heavy and noisy for the kind of photography that I find myself doing now. I do pull it out occasionally when I want to do some more “pro” photography than my Lumix GF-1 can handle.

* * * *

It’s funny how you attach memories to objects. I didn’t realise until I started writing this post just how many important memories are associated with this particular camera, how I remember the events through its lens.

“You don’t need a methodology”

This would have to be some of the best and (in some ways) oddest advice about doing PhD study that I’ve yet heard.

It comes from Margot Brereton, and was part of some of the wonderful feedback that I received at this years doctoral consortium at OzCHI 2011. (And this is certainly not to discount the excellent and insightful advice from Gerhard Fischer 1, Lian Loke 2, and Toni Robertson 3.)

Ok, so. You don’t need a methodology. What does this mean?

The way I understood it is this: To do research, you need a question, and way of getting data to respond to that question. You then need a way of analysing that data to answer your question. Your question drives your methods. Your methods for data collection and your methods for data analysis are different.

Once you have some data you can begin to ask yourself: what does your data tell you about your question? This is an iterative process: a PhD is about question reframing in response to you data.

But you don’t start with methodology. What you need is a good question.

 

  1. “if you do not like what you are are doing then it is a bad idea” 
  2. “treat a PhD like an apprenticeship: find a good supervisor” 
  3. “The PhD is the side effect of the person you become” 

Archives