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Author Topic: 1700 Frames - Another View  (Read 6359 times)


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1700 Frames - Another View
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2002, 10:48:59 AM »

[font color=\'#000000\']I'm distressed to hear that very few people read your more artistic articles.  The D30, D60 and 1Ds will come and go, but an article about light or composition will always be relevant.  I'm afraid most "photographers" are equipment junkies rather than imagemakers.

I do expect most of the traffic on the equipment articles comes from outside the site, from the "hungry masses" who find out about a 1Ds article from some external link and click through.

If the artistic and travelogues ever leave this site, it will be a truly sad day.  I go ahead and read the equipment reviews, but I find the other articles much more satisfying.  I'm looking forward to getting my first Video Journal in a few days and seeing more about how you do your captivating landscape work.[/font]

David Mantripp

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1700 Frames - Another View
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2002, 10:42:12 AM »

[font color=\'#000000\']
From that moment on buy not a single new piece of equipment until you have created fifty pictures that you could hang on the wall beside those of your favourite artist without them being embarrassed to be seen in that company.

Well if we all do that we should kill off the camera industry inside 6 months :-)[/font]
David Mantripp


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« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2002, 09:08:40 PM »

[font color=\'#000000\']Dale Cotton:

[It takes many, many years to mature in the visual arts, but I rather doubt that equipment diversification will accelerate the process. ;)


True, but I think I have created a misunderstanding by saying "I started being more serious about photography a couple of years ago".

I have being taking pictures for 25 years now. A nice anecdote is that at age 16, I won the first two prizes at a school photography contest with my two entry's, from my very first roll of film. (With thanks to Konica rangefinders and an excellent Kodak printing service)

As far as visual art is concerned, my first two "independent" holiday trips as a teenager included a visit to the Kroller-Muller museum (with it's van Gogh collection a.o.) on the first, and the Jeu de Paume museum (impressionists) and the Louvre (Mona Lisa etc..) on the second. Don't worry, they included other things also ;)
It is just that ca. 3 years ago, photography promoted from ca. No. 3 position on my hobby list to no. 1 position. I did know the difference between a door stop and an f-stop, and the basics of composition before that. (But not that much more in retrospect, though I still like some of the ideas I had)

  [From that moment on buy not a single new piece of equipment until you have created fifty pictures that you could hang on the wall beside those of your favourite artist without them being embarrassed to be seen in that company/QUOTE]

It doesn't work that way for me. I have a number of more or less vaguely defined projects going on simultaniously, or depending on wether, season or "inspiration". For exemple, when I have some new idea's considering a "b&w seashore project", when I have time available,  and the light, season and tides are right, I might take off towards the coast. Or I might postpone that and do something completely different like taking more color macro's of insects.

So depending on the project, the "heroes" are different. That is the advantage of being an amateur. Nobody will be interested in Salgado insect macro's. He couldn't show them if he wanted to, it would harm his "reputation".

The "ideal" equipment is also different per project. So I don't think I will be able to limit myself to just one cameratype anymore.

Back to the subject
Dansroka said

  [Well, there's always been the latest and greatest gadgets out there]

I think that if Michael Reichman says "I have sold my 645, don't know if I will use 67 anymore, oh yeah do you remember film" that this means more then just the latest gadget.

Now the difference is that a Michael R. using Pentax 67 is "reachable". Any amateur in a developped country can save up for some 30 year old Pentax 67, or similar equipment, and a couple of lenses.
Film cost is not to much of a problem, if one is shooting for artistic content. (no machinegun approach)

A Micheal R. shooting with a Eos 1Ds is out of reach for the average amateur.

Now suppose you are a rich lawyer and say "not for me he isn't". Well, no way I say.
Why? besides the financial aspect, there is also the time and knowledge aspect. Learning how to shoot with as a goal well exposed slides on a lighttable is doable, even for a lawyer ;).
Filing and searching trough sheets of slides is a piece of cake (unmounted slidefilm ofcourse)
There is no way that same lawyer is going to be able to use that 1Ds except with "standard" in camera JPG's. I don't see how our rich lawyer will ever be able to properly handle 1700 raws from a shoot, in a time frame that is acceptable. (At home, back from holiday remember)
Now I have a pretty serious scientific and engineering background, and I believe I am no idiot. (but don't we all;) )
The amount of time I have spent to learn the finesses of a digital darkroom was extraordinary, and it's an ongoing thing.

 The problem with the digital age is that instead of only expert photographers, we now also need to be expert color printers.

I also have trouble with file storage systems, backups etc... A certain Michael R. solves that by simple adding new hard drives to his computer if he runs out of storage. Can you believe that!!

So we not only need to be expert photogs and printers, but we also need way above average computersavvyness.

 Not to mention excellent long term discipline, filing sheets in a binder isn't sufficient anymore.

Ansel Adams seems the type that would still make it, but someone like HCB?

No, I am afraid that high quality "imaging" in the digital age is getting out of reach for the average amateur, financially, technologically, and  because of the time consumption involved. Ofcourse pressing the shutter button will take some picture, but I am talking about understanding and using technology to express a vision.

Now personally I have done most of the "hard work" by now, and perhaps hanging on by the fingertips I can catch the digital train. But I am in doubt if I really want to. Isn't all of this just a time and money pit. Is this a field hobby or a computer science thing. Would I be better off by keeping things plain and simple and still have good prints to show, or will I have the urge to search hours for the ideal curve for an image. Maybe I might even end up with two turquoise birds on a b&w image at some stage.
Time will tell I suppose, I'll just keep going step by step on the photography path and we'l see where we end.
Enough ramblings


erik hansen

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1700 Frames - Another View
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2002, 12:59:47 AM »

[font color=\'#000000\']>>I am reminded of an issue of National Geographic where the photographer, bored and frustrated, took 1 shot per day for 90 days, no more no less. The portfolio of 90 shots were stunning, the equal to this site, or any other for that matter. Inspiring. A different approach and no more or less valid than any other<<

reminds me of a story from "art and fear" where a ceramics class was divided into two groups.  the first group spend the entire semester working on ONE piece of art.  the second group was graded on how MUCH they made in the semester.  the end result was that the second group ended up making the better stuff because they were making so much stuff.  the same can be said for photography.  there is something to be said for getting out and shooting...

my point was that new tools are being made available to those who want to use them, and those who are using the new tools will make images that look different from anything we've had in the past.

i am certainly not anti-grain.  i actually prefer to shoot black and white landscapes with 35mm with 400ISO film rather than my mamiya rz67 with ISO50 film.  i like the look of the grain most of the time.  i think grain should be viewed as an element that can be used or avoided, depending on the photographer's preference.  i don't want it to be a necessary evil that i can't get away from.  if i want the grain i'll use it to change the feel of the image.  if i don't want it i want to be able to avoid it.  why not have control over it?

to say that gear is the smallest part of photography is just wrong.  a photographer needs to know his tools like the back of his hand and be able to use them to the best of their abilities.  does it make me any less of a photographer because i LIKE cameras and computers and technology and film developers and emulsions?  it's part of what i like about photography.  some people only use ONE type of camera, lens, film, devloper, paper, etc. and make great photos.  others have the latest whiz bang camera rig and take great photos.  there are minimalists who look down on the techies and just assume that because they like to play with new toys they aren't truly photographers.  there are techies who do nothing but buy the latest stuff to come out yet make really awful pictures.  then there are also the opposites of those profiles, and there's everything in between.  your point about how 35mm will NEVER equal 645 which will never equal 67 has EVERYTHING to do with the equipment and how the lenses see the world.  that's a valid point, but i don't really care that a normal lens on a 645 compresses perspective differently than a normal lens on a 35mm.  i care about detail and grain and how the picture looks.  i'm not one to waste my time staring at side by side comparisons, trying to find the difference between two different lenses.  if the difference is obvious i'll take note.  if you need a loupe to see the difference, i couldn't care less.

i am a big time digital fan because i like the instant feedback and the control over the final print, among other things.  but i'm also not going to get rid of my mamiya just because there is something cool about developing my own film and looking at big chromes on a lightbox!  i pretty much like everything about photography.  and i don't think that because i focus some of my attention on new tools doesn't mean i'm somehow robbing my creativity and artistic expression.[/font]


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« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2002, 05:43:43 AM »

[font color=\'#000000\']Erik,

Couldn't agree with you more, mostly. In the minds of most who post here I am sure that there is a balanced argument on the reality of what it takes to make an image. Sometimes, however this is not translated to the written word. No offence meant, I just like to play devils advocate sometimes. Photography is a joint venture of art, technology and craft.

I was taught to look at what I wanted to say first and then how to say it with the tools at my disposal. Many people still beleive that that new lens etc. will make them a better photographer. The reality is that most of us, as you said, could benifit from getting to know the toys we already have.

I love dreaming of and sometimes getting new gear and new technology. I have closed my chemical darkroom in favour of a digital one. I too have film and digital cameras. I am a great fan of digital technology, however not to the point where I rely on gear to think for me.

Someone with a small amount of gear who knows it inside out will inevitably get better results from some one who has a lot but doesn't know how to use it. It doesn't make you any less of a photographer because you like and use new technology. Nor does it make you any more of a photographer.

I still believe that what gear you use is no where near as important as how you use it and on that basis I say gear , especially the choice of digital or film is of less importance than, composition, balance, light, exposure etc., is the smallest part of photography. I don't care how different new technology allows us to make images. I care about whether I like the image and whether I appreciate what the photographer wanted me to feel and understand. A 20yr old TLR is just as capable tool for a photographer as a DSLR. To say otherwise is to broadly assume that anything except the latest technology is not capable of producing fine images. While I appreciate you understand this, apart from actually owning a camera what is so important about a particular bit of gear that it is more important than any other aspect of the craft (art). It is more important that you are shooting and thinking than what you are shooting with.

Photography by its nature is gear intensive and debates over the importance of this or that are inevitable. I still believe that a photographer who spends less time worrying about gear takes better photographs. I have far too much camera gear and I'm not giving any of it up. But I still take my best images when I go out with one camera and one or two prime lenses. I have never done my best work with the machine gun approach. Maybe I'm weird or unusual. Maybe I'm Mike Johnston's long lost brother. Who knows? After almost 20 years of photography I know this is true for me. Then again everybody's different.


erik hansen

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« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2002, 05:26:53 PM »

[font color=\'#000000\']michael,

i just wanted to say that the last three shots you've had on the front page ("two blue," the birds in front of the sun, and today's photo) are three of my favorites from you.  i'm generally not into wildlife photography and i certainly know nothing about birds, but these last few images have been awesome.  if i wasn't so #### poor right now i'd certainly buy a print of at least one of them.  but isn't it always the people with no money who say they want to buy?  ;)

with all this talk about the "machine gun" approach to photography and how digital makes it much more economical to shoot that way, i was wondering what your thoughts were on the matter.  can you honestly say that shooting digital has garnered you a few shots you otherwise wouldn't have gotten?  or did you shoot this much film back in your 35mm film days?[/font]
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