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05-25-2016, 08:54 AM - 4 Likes   #1
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What photography Rule-Of-Thumb have you quit (or you are trying to quit) following?

What rule-of-thumb, or guideline, or common practice, or "truism" have you -- perhaps after subscribing to it for years -- abandoned or tried to abandon in your photography? How did you get hooked on that idea? What got you turning away from it? Do you still struggle with it? What has freeing yourself from it meant in your photography? Are there any lessons for others?

Now, I don't just mean to refer to issues of photographic technique. Your abandoned rule-of-thumb might have to do with equipment you need or carry, conditions, subject choice, level of automation....darned near anything that made up a regular part of your approach that now you have (or want to) let go of.

I'll give your two examples for me, one about technique and one about the question of even doing photography.

(1) For a number of years, I was in the habit of trying to determine and make maximum use of the hyperfocal distance setting on my lenses (in combination with small apertures), trying to get as much of the field of view in sharp focus as was possible. It was my standard operating procedure. I've been trying to give it up, partly because of so many pictures I have seen here on the forum by people who seem to shoot their lenses wide-open much of the time. Now....I am trying...to ask myself, "What is the least I need to have in focus for this picture?" That is a big change.

(2) Years ago I was visiting an old college friend who taught me a lot in the first months I had a 35mm SLR. We went on a hike together, and surprisingly he didn't have his camera with him. This was baffling to me, and I asked him about it. He had found that if he was mainly looking at nature through a view-finder with the aim of making a picture, he wasn't seeing it as well as he wanted. So sometimes he chose to leave the camera behind. Since then, even when I have my camera with me, I try to remember to look carefully, to gain the non-viewfinder perception, knowledge, experience -- before, in addition to, or even instead of the through the camera and image collection oriented one. I want to carry back and learn more than what I got on the film or on the sensor.

Okay, lets hear your examples -- something you have or are trying to give up in your photography -- what, why, what the change is meaning? Do include images if they help illustrate your narrative.

05-25-2016, 09:13 AM   #2
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"With enough practice and skill I can produce any image with an APSc camera (K-3) and lenses I could produce with a FF camera (K-1) and lenses."
05-25-2016, 09:15 AM   #3
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Image stabilization has impacted me a bit on old rule that you shutter speed should never be slower that 1/focal length of the lens when the camera is being hand held.
05-25-2016, 09:18 AM   #4
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I don't think that's necessarily a falsehood mono.

I also lean on SR more than I probably should, but it works...

I tend to use my zooms as if they were 2 focal length primes (both maximums) instead of embracing the flexibility.

05-25-2016, 10:05 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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I have modified a few of my practices, but all-in-all I have benefited from good associations, excellent books, several good mentors (many on this site), and many years (45+ and counting) of shooting. Most of my rules of thumb persist in practice/theory. That being said, although I subscribe to the twin maxims...
"He who has no camera gets no pictures"
"F/8 and be there"
...I have learned that living through the camera's eye is damaging to friendships, true artistic expression, and the ability to exercise one's aesthetic sensibilities. More often than not, at this time of my life, I leave the camera at home and the phone (cam) in the car and do my photography as a dedicated activity and not a way of life.


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05-25-2016, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #6
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The rule of third, so engraved that I can't get rid of it even after I visit a gallery of paintings where all subjects are centered in the foreground.
05-25-2016, 10:18 AM   #7
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Every image has a main subject. If it's a landscape, then probably everything should be in focus. I'm learning the benefit of using out-of-focus areas to draw attention to the main subject for other types of shots. Not a new concept, but an area of re-thinking a composition for me. Just like a speaker can use a pregnant pause to add impact to something he just said, blurred areas can be very important to help emphasize the subject. The old adage "less is more" can be true for how much of a shot is in focus.

QuoteOriginally posted by skierd Quote
I tend to use my zooms as if they were 2 focal length primes
I'm learning that having one good quality zoom can save me from carrying two or more primes in my everyday camera bag lineup. This saves weight, and the IQ from the zoom is good enough for most shots. Then, in special circumstances, I'll get out a prime if top IQ is required. My bag still weighs a lot, but I'm working on re-thinking what I REALLY need to carry all the time.
05-25-2016, 10:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The rule of third, so engraved that I can't get rid of it even after I visit a gallery of paintings where all subjects are centered in the foreground.
I give thanks daily that I managed to dodge the "rule of thirds" bullet.


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05-25-2016, 10:48 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I give thanks daily that I managed to dodge the "rule of thirds" bullet.


Steve
Preach!
05-25-2016, 10:53 AM   #10
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I have given up taking my camera every where. When I first got back into photography, I felt like I had to carry it all the time or else I might miss a really cool picture. Now I realize I'd much rather go out and look for photos and make use of what I have or go shot what is my mood then trying to always be prepared for that "awesome" shot that I may stumble upon. There has only been one or two times in the past year I wish I had my camera with me.

and whether or not this is a truism or not, but I have accepted the fact that I will never ever wake up early to take a sunrise landscape photo and I no longer feel I must do that
05-25-2016, 11:09 AM - 3 Likes   #11
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No longer obsessed with sharpness
05-25-2016, 11:18 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lakai Quote
No longer obsessed with sharpness
Yes...highly overrated...


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05-25-2016, 11:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murfy Quote
and whether or not this is a truism or not, but I have accepted the fact that I will never ever wake up early to take a sunrise landscape photo and I no longer feel I must do that
photograph it in the fall...winter or spring...you dont have to get up early...although I have an allergy to winter...cold you know...
05-25-2016, 11:33 AM   #14
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I used to fine tune noise reduction on every image, now I use my defaults for every ISO, and don't care if, I change the exposure in post.
05-25-2016, 11:39 AM   #15
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I am using ISO 1600 a bit more after years using film, when 400 ASA was fast.
I still expose the vast majority of my images at 800.
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