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06-15-2016, 09:35 AM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
It's harder these days than before. We all feel the bruise on our egos when someone criticises our efforts, but these days it seems that some people's adrenaline is too quick to rise into the stratosphere in response to even the most genuine of constructive criticism.
The social portions of the Internet thrive on umbrage.

QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I would narrow it down even further and say currently photographers value sharpness most of all, I don't see anything to indicate that people who only view photographs get turned on by sharpness. If I try to objectively analyze my photos that other people seem to like, three things seem to matter: subject matter, composition (including subject isolation) and colour. No one gives me credit for getting difficult shots technically right, if anyone notices, it is attributed to having a good camera and being in the right place at the right time. As an amateur, I can accept that my success, if any, is due to luck; but it must drive professionals bananas.
Some time ago, a member here posted something to the effect that when he looks at a photo of an animal, he doesn't care if you took a snap at a zoo or battled the discomforts and dangers of the jungle. The authenticity of the photographic experience didn't matter to him, and I imagine that is true for the majority of the viewing public. This is just an assumption on my part, of course.

I am lucky enough to have people interested in my photos - individuals who use/acquire/buy them - and they are interested in the stories and details and equipment behind the shots, to the extent that they want it written down with every photo. It's gratifying.

06-15-2016, 09:36 AM - 2 Likes   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
It's not just online, as in person, I've been to several Meetups where everyone wants to just talk gear, how much they spent, and what their latest toys can do. Talking exposure and composition seems almost passe´.
At my Photographic Society here in Strathclyde, Scotland technique dominates discussion. Lenses used generally only come up in association with the technique used to take a picture or if someone is looking for advice or if they are being sold to a fellow member. Cameras are very seldom seen other than at the Beginner's Instruction Group or if an official photograph is required or if a problem needs to be solved requring its presence. Price of gear is virtually never discussed except in the conjuction of buying or selling.
06-15-2016, 10:27 AM - 1 Like   #18
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Not all threads are about gear. Some threads are more philosophical, no need to go very far, the proof is in this thread itself :-)
OTOH, I don't think anyone is interested in sharing their secrets of composition and lighting in a public place, otherwise it's not a secret anymore. We have to keep people believe that the newer cameras will help them become famous photographers. Some of them, when they realize that cameras are for nothing in the good view of finding photographic opportunities, either say they'll not buy a Pentax K1 because they don't see how it can improve their bad photos (sort of giving up), or they are so good at composing that they don't need a K1. Anyway, it's up to you, you can have both: looking to improve composition technique and buying a Pentax K1 as well.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 06-15-2016 at 10:42 AM.
06-15-2016, 10:41 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
If you go to our beginner's help thread here, it's almost entirely technical related questions.
Most of the posts to that section are technical in nature because of the nature of the tool. If a beginner needs advice, it usually relates to how the camera works. Troubleshooting (the other side of that section) is almost exclusively technical (duh).


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06-15-2016, 12:19 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quartermaster James Quote
No. Sharpness is "most important" because currently people value sharpness most of all. Currently. There are many great photographs that aren't particularly sharp.



Yes. To be fair, however, it takes some experience to develop to a sense of style.
Actually, I prize sharpness. That's just me. That's why I wrote "PERSONALLY, sharpness is most important because....".
As far as what others may like, that is a personal preference.
I don't presume to speak on anyone's behalf!
06-15-2016, 12:25 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by amp Quote
Actually, I prize sharpness. That's just me. That's why I wrote "PERSONALLY, sharpness is most important because....".
As far as what others may like, that is a personal preference.
I don't presume to speak on anyone's behalf!
You can buy sharpness.... photographic intelligence, not so much. One you have to work at, the other is just having the money, and the desire. No critical photographic skills are needed.

A good photographer can create the illusion of sharpness, with lighting and a poor lens. You don't even need a sharp lens for that. And a poor photographer can unintentionally create the illusion of flatness and softness, with a sharp lens.

Buying sharp glass in no way guarantees sharp looking images.

If you prize sharpness, you should be studying the techniques used to create it.

Soft image. Some sharpening applied.


Sharp image. No sharpening applied.


Effects created with the same bird and the same lens. One hard, one soft depending on the angle of the light to the subject. People have been totally conned into thinking buying a sharp lens will help them get sharp looking images, or even sharper looking images than a trained photographer using a softer lens. It takes a bit more than that.

Last edited by normhead; 06-15-2016 at 12:41 PM.
06-15-2016, 12:38 PM   #22
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For people like me you have to tackle the technical stuff before you can think about composition. Personally, I found I never really understood exposure, so I had to learn it, then focus, then compose. I don't want to dwell on the tech parts but I want it under my skin so I can just shoot without thinking. I don't want to dwell in the tech stage, but to get where I want to be I have to go through it. To be the best you have to know this stuff, then its all about the higher stuff.
06-15-2016, 12:45 PM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by jack002 Quote
For people like me you have to tackle the technical stuff before you can think about composition. Personally, I found I never really understood exposure, so I had to learn it, then focus, then compose. I don't want to dwell on the tech parts but I want it under my skin so I can just shoot without thinking. I don't want to dwell in the tech stage, but to get where I want to be I have to go through it. To be the best you have to know this stuff, then its all about the higher stuff.
In school, exposure was covered in the first week. DoF was never explained after the 2 cnd. If you took the course I took you would have understood everything you needed to know about exposure after a week. And we were using hand held light meters, with the option to use spot metering or incident light. So, ya, of a 3 year course, if you don't have exposure down after a week, you're pretty much toast. It's important, because if you don't have it you can't understand what's happening, but it's a very small part of the overall process.

06-15-2016, 01:16 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
In school, exposure was covered in the first week. DoF was never explained after the 2 cnd. If you took the course I took you would have understood everything you needed to know about exposure after a week. And we were using hand held light meters, with the option to use spot metering or incident light. So, ya, of a 3 year course, if you don't have exposure down after a week, you're pretty much toast. It's important, because if you don't have it you can't understand what's happening, but it's a very small part of the overall process.
To that, I'd add, with hardware generated images and software processing, exposure is a little more complex now. It's digital compared to analogue. With my K1000 I'd just turn the aperture ring and shutter speed knob until the needle was somewhere in the middle (because the iso was fixed by the roll of film I'd loaded) for the portion of the scene I wanted to meter. Maybe a little less than middle for prints and more than middle for slides (or vice versa, I forget now since it's been 10+ years).

But one only has to look at the debates swirling around ETTR to understand exposure in a digital world is different. Add in choice of JPEG or RAW post processing and it adds another layer. One of the most repeated pieces of advice I hand out is "learn to read your histogram." 75% of the time I get a blank stare, "What's a histogram?"

There's more to exposure than blinkies in the LCD. For any given image I may end up with 5-8 shots as I dial in my exposure for later processing. Shutter speed and aperture and iso are still the basics building blocks, but "what is proper exposure"? is now a valid discussion.
06-15-2016, 01:23 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
To that, I'd add, with hardware generated images and software processing, exposure is a little more complex now. It's digital compared to analogue. With my K1000 I'd just turn the aperture ring and shutter speed knob until the needle was somewhere in the middle (because the iso was fixed by the roll of film I'd loaded) for the portion of the scene I wanted to meter. Maybe a little less than middle for prints and more than middle for slides (or vice versa, I forget now since it's been 10+ years).

But one only has to look at the debates swirling around ETTR to understand exposure in a digital world is different. Add in choice of JPEG or RAW post processing and it adds another layer. One of the most repeated pieces of advice I hand out is "learn to read your histogram." 75% of the time I get a blank stare, "What's a histogram?"

There's more to exposure than blinkies in the LCD. For any given image I may end up with 5-8 shots as I dial in my exposure for later processing. Shutter speed and aperture and iso are still the basics building blocks, but "what is proper exposure"? is now a valid discussion.
And it still is, but in the context of "what are you trying to accomplish". For example if I want high contrast on a cloudy day, I'm going to shoot histogram to the left, maybe leaving the whole right side of the histogram empty. If I want flat on a bright day, I'm going to shoot histogram to the right, even if I leave the left half of the histogram empty. If I wanted high contrast on film, I under-exposed and pushed. If i wanted low contrast in a high contrast scene I over-exposed and pulled. It has never been just "what is good exposure?", it has always been how do I accomplish what I want with what I've got. The only thing that's changed is the "what I've got."

So to turn it around, if you don't understand what you are trying to accomplish artistically, you can't understand exposure. Exposure, like everything else needs context.

Many people who say things were easier with film, were just never proficient with film. You still had to know a lot more than the average Joe, to produce better than "Average Joe" results.

People seem to not understand, photographers were, experimenting with saturation, contrast, exposure values, dodging burning, masking and doing all those things in the darkroom, before the digital age. It was just a lot more time consuming, but there's not much available now that wan't available then, unless you want to get into all the gimmick filters. There are more of those now.

Last edited by normhead; 06-15-2016 at 01:35 PM.
06-15-2016, 01:59 PM - 1 Like   #26
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I have seen all sorts of comments from learning and understanding the technical aspects of exposure, focus, and the technical sides of different techniques, even to things like the rule of thirds etc for composition.

As far as I am concerned, these all encompass the technical side,

The artistic side is how you elect to apply or not apply the technical rules. A shot can be perfect technically, sharp, well exposed etc, but can fail artistically. A shot can be artistic, while failing totally technically, if you look at the overlap between technical and artistic, there is likely a happy median where perhaps there is a 50% overlap in rules vs art. BUT I don't think you remain shot after shot consistently artistic AND interesting, if you don't know the technical side of things, because you need to value how and when to brake the some or all of the rules.
06-15-2016, 02:33 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by amp Quote
Actually, I prize sharpness. That's just me. That's why I wrote "PERSONALLY, sharpness is most important because....".
As far as what others may like, that is a personal preference.
I don't presume to speak on anyone's behalf!
Apologies. No offense intended.
06-15-2016, 03:21 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
several Meetups where everyone wants to just talk gear, how much they spent, and what their latest toys can do
Trying hanging with some pros, the last thing ever discussed is gear, it's all about the finished image.
06-15-2016, 03:22 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The artistic side is how you elect to apply or not apply the technical rules.
Technique is used to achieve effect. It is a combination of the artistic and the technical, they must be learned and applied together. There are simply no technical rules that can be learned and applied without reference to what you are artistically trying to accomplish.

For example long lens from a distance or short lens close up. Both images are technically correct. There is no technical consideration as to which way to do it. Only when you break it down artistically do you develop technique. For this type of image you use one, for that type of image you use the other. Technique is what allows you to match the technical to the artistic.

So technique or technical? Technical is part of technique, but technique is much more than technical. In fact you could argue technical exists, only to support technique. Whether or not it has an independent existence worth studying on it;s own is completely debatable.

I remember debates between my math and physics teachers. the physics guy claimed math existed only to support physics and the other sciences. The math guy claimed math was a subject all it's own. I suppose there could be a science of technical photography devoted to examining the technical capabilities of the camera as a piece of technology, or something, independent of photographic technique as some kind of "pure" science. I am not at all certain that it would be in anyway useful except when developed as part of an artistic technique. Do you want theoretical physics or applied physics. Sure you need the theoretical guys, but it's not really useful until you find an application. The difference between applied science and theoretical science. Photography is cleary an applied science. Not theoretical. Although some behave as if it is a theoretical science in which their pronouncement on their analysis of various things is more important than developing integrated techniques with demonstrable results.

Or to put it anther way, if you can't demonstrate technique that combine technical knowledge used to create artistic effects, your technical knowledge isn't photography. It's some kind of academic endeavour. You may be knowledgeable about the technical side of photography, but you aren't a photographer.
06-15-2016, 05:36 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
For example if I want high contrast on a cloudy day, I'm going to shoot histogram to the left, maybe leaving the whole right side of the histogram empty. If I want flat on a bright day, I'm going to shoot histogram to the right, even if I leave the left half of the histogram empty.
I wish someone would explain the nuts and bolts of this who can do so succinctly - I have seen too many YT vids where the presentation was so confused that I comprehended the topic worse at the end than I had at the start. They talk about "exposing to the left/right", then they forget that some of their audience are (or in my case still consider themselves, despite tens of thousands of exposures) rank amateurs.
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