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Sunday, 25 September 2022


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it takes at least 10 years to get decent (not even good) with digital photography, im sure people think they are good less than 10 years in, but its too much to learn and the cameras change fast. Nobody needs that.

Come to think of it, I am shooting quite a lot of 120 format lately. The less bullets that you carry, the more careful you are with each shot.

So the guy with the 8x10 may well be taking better shots than the 120 guy, who then take better shots than the 35mm guy, who then take better shots than the digital "Rambo" shooting style guy with free bullets.

Just saying.

This article is a metaphor for life. For six plus decades I've lived in this world and I still don't how most of it works. :)

Solid advice. Many of us are into photography partly what little bit of "community" we can squeeze out of the online experience, or at least that's what happens. This site is the best for that in my opinion. It would be interesting to go into an alternate reality where digital cameras existed but the internet didn't. TOP would have to just be The Photographer, a magazine (affectionately known as TP). Printer sales would be higher, and camera clubs would be well attended, I bet. The internet gives us the impression that we can become sorta pretty good at a lot of stuff, and I suppose we can, but should we? It also sucks up a lot of time we could spend making photographs and projects. I think of Sam Abel, his 28 and his 90 and his patience.

A good way to think about this is a "philosophy" I finally learned after working as a scientist and Six Sigma Master Black Belt during my entire professional career.

In the real world, what matters most, most of the time, is what is practically significant, NOT what is only "statistically siginificant."

This is not to say that what is statistically siginificant is never important because, occasionally, it is.

But...80-85% of the time, it's what is practically significant that matters.

Focus on the practically significant, and generally you don't have to sweat what is only statistically significant.

Wish I had learned this 40 years ago.

"Cameras" and "Photos" are two different hobbies. Sometimes they overlap, and other times they don't. (Both are okay.)

I've been doing another editing pass through photos of Mark Bode painting the new mural at Dreamhaven books, editing hundreds down to fewer hundreds or even dozens for the new gallery. I don't like this phase much, it burns me out fast. But...my brain isn't fast enough to see what's happening now and what's going to happen over the next few minutes and figure out which one photo to take. The only way to get the great ones in an active environment is to shoot aggressively and edit later.

There are various ways of shooting stupidly that you can probably learn to avoid, that helps. Some. Not enough.

So completely and utterly different from studio still-life. Or even working with good models.

It's been said about cameras and software -- each has hundreds of settings and controls but nobody uses more than five of them. The problem is that everybody uses a different five.

(Insert joke about camera instruction manuals and quick reference guides ... )

It seems that the tribalism of brand loyalty that has welled up over the age of digital photography contributes to the need to know everything about the tribe's brand and the need to defend it at all costs.

I couldn't agree more Mike, that is assuming that everyone who takes photographs is interested in the final product and how to get better at improving it. I suspect that many camera users are not really interested in that. They are interested in the technology and/or think that it is their passport to better photography (how powerful marketing is). If those people didn't exist there would be far fewer cameras and lenses produced and the cost would go up for us 'serious' photographers.

One of my favorite quotes, "You don't need all that crap to take good pictures."

I'm quoting me.

But only when it comes to people going ga-ga over the newest Mega Monster II camera with 8.6% more resolution than the previous Mega Monster I. Some people actually do need all that crap. But not many. Really.

Many "photographers," especially ones on the big D site and other forums, get all twisted up in the minutiae of brands, marketing, megapixels, ISO cheating, etc., because they aren't photographers. They are gageteers or dilettantes. But they buy stuff and support R&D, so we should be thankful.

This is a lot like asking how to throw a football. You get very different answers and depth of information when asking your High School player, Patrick Mahomes, and Mahomes' Quarterback Coach.

Good advice, but a couple of observations:
1 - If your passions or interests or hobbies or professional obligations are wide-ranging, then you must dive both deeply and widely in order to excel.
2 - In response to all the frequent bitching about how complicated cameras have become, and all the pining for simple cameras with only 3-4 things to control (ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and maybe focus), your advice is exactly what I tell those people. Learn the parts you need, ignore the rest! It’s not a difficult concept.

Particularly with respect to my second observation, I found it…uh, interesting?…that you would be offering this advice, given all the posts about cameras having too many features.

As they say, I’m just sayin’…

Thing is, that old pro was right; Studio lights are much easier to use and get correct exposure with than on camera TTL flash. It was an absolute revelation for me the first time I played with a couple of heads and a flash meter and suddenly I was controlling the light not an inscrutable microprocessor.

You're link to a modern studio flash system brought back memories of the flash units used at the first commercial studio I worked at in Chicago. While more modern Speedotron and Norman were in common use, this studio had been around awhile and had a big investment in Ascor flash units like the one pictured here (scroll to the middle of the page) https://cornicello.com/itfigures/ascor where each steel box yielded (I think) 800 watt/seconds and disconnecting and rewiring banks was a delicate task.

My other favorite flash story was when I was shooting a dad and his less than year old daughter for a class assignment when the capacitors in the flash started to sequentially explode, Dad and I were ducking for cover but the daughter just giggled through it all.

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