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06-06-2018, 09:59 PM   #61
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In art school, itís called foreshortening.

There are simple concepts that donít require much photography education to know and remember:

1. Perspective is controlled solely by camera position.

2. Magnification in camera is controlled solely by focal length of the lens.

3. Boundaries of the scenery visible in the image at a given magnification are controlled solely by the size of the sensor (format).

I saw a video clip from an Ansel Adams workshop where he walked around with his viewing card until he had the perspective he wanted. He said, ďThis is the spot. Now we just need the right lens.Ē For him, the perspective was most important, because it determined the visual relationships between the elements of the scene.

He was self-taught, by the way. And without YouTube. Shocking!

Rick ďeasier to teach craft than artĒ Denney

06-06-2018, 11:09 PM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
Here is an extreme example of what is being discussed here. The people are 16 kilometers (10 miles) away with the moon setting behind them. A pretty neat video. This from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website. A site I have been following for some 25 years or so.


APOD: 2018 June 4 - Moon Setting Behind Teide Volcano
Note that they also refer to it as "lens compression".
06-07-2018, 04:40 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
Note that they also refer to it as "lens compression".
I do not see the words "lens compression" anywhere in the text. At least in the English version.
06-07-2018, 05:02 AM - 1 Like   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
He was self-taught, by the way. And without YouTube. Shocking!
So was my mom. How come she didn't take pictures like Ansel Adams?

06-07-2018, 06:11 AM - 1 Like   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
So was my mom. How come she didn't take pictures like Ansel Adams?
Perhaps she had no visual sense.

It's true that it took Adams a long time to develop his technique, at a time when there was very little formal literature on the topic. But then he went further than most and created a formal literature. Yet what made him great, and what made him choose photography, was only supported by technique, it wasn't the technique itself.

But there is a lot that is written today, so self-study is a lot more available than it used to be.

It's a little like music. Some musicians at age 18 are ready for the big time. All the fundamentals came naturally to them, and in many ways their teachers learned from them more than taught them, and helped them to avoid the seductive pitfalls. None of the kids on Americon Idol had voice lessons, but then they are singing pop tunes, not opera.

Then, there are many who have a "performance" DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts, aka Didn't Make the Audition), and struggle to become minor professionals despite having deep personal training, extensive education, vast amount of directed practice, and the resulting superb technique. But there is something that is still not quite there.

I once asked my music teacher (a symphony pro) which was more important, technique or musicality? His answer: "Yes."

You made the distinction between craft and art. Professional photography (or, more appropriately, commercial photography) is more about craft than art. Adams called it "assignments from without rather than assignments from within." A proper training program can cover a lot of ground in a short time--it is a very efficient way to obtain a basic craft (i.e., technique). But it's not the only way. Those who are self-directed can find the literature out there to master the craft, especially if they have the luxury of working slowly and carefully. Part of the skills learned to become a professional is how to work quickly without experimentation--time is money for both the photographer and the client. But this can be obtained through self-study, too. It's just harder and it takes longer

But then there's the art thing. What the eye sees and how the mind interprets that into an image is much more difficult to teach. Why do some seemingly haphazard compositions work, while others never rise above chaos? There are only a few formal reasons for the difference, but mostly it's because the photographer saw an interesting aesthetic relationship and had both the vision and the craft to bring it out. That is much harder to teach, and much harder to learn.

The distinction you have made between your program at Ryerson and many art/photography programs is largely the distinction between training and education. The joke goes that if your kid comes home from school and announces enrollment in a sex education class, you might be mildly concerned or mildly amused. If the kids announces enrollment in a sex training class, you might be considerably more alarmed.

I suspect that interning with a successful pro is as good as most training programs, for those who already have a good basic technique under their belts.

Now, as to terms. There is really no reason why "compression" should be freighted with all sorts of "science". It's strictly a descriptive word used to describe a visual effect, not a technical term of art. It means that the farther the main subject is from the camera, the smaller it will appear in relation to the background. It's obvious: As the main subject moves away, it gets smaller, but the background remains the same. Thus, when that now-small subject is magnified (using a long lens), a smaller portion of the background gets magnified with it, and appears closer to the main subject than would otherwise be the case. Artists call that "foreshortening", but "compression" is a perfectly descriptive word, too.

It has lots of value in real photography. If I have a problem background, I can use a long lens and my feet to make a photo of the subject with a lot less background behind it. That way, I can choose that part of the background that is not a problem. With a short lens, I have to make the background part of the story, which is why portrait/reportage photographers use short lenses for "environmental" portraits and long lenses for "subject" portraits. Selective focus (what lack of depth of field achieves) is just one tool for managing the background--perspective is another and more important tool.

The other mental image I get from "compression" is that the subject and background has more of a two-dimensional appearance. I think that "flattening" is probably more descriptive.

Of course, if I moved the camera back to use a long lens to isolate the subject, and then put a short lens on the camera, that small piece of the resulting image that contains the subject will have the same flattening as what was seen by the long lens. To make that work, I have to apply the magnification after the photo is made, whereas the long lens provides the magnification before the photo is made.

I'm a professional trainer/educator, and terms are important, but they are only important to conveying underlying meaning. I'm also an engineer, so I understand jargon, and how technical jargon may have specific meaning far removed from the common definition of the word used in the general language.

My beef with the video is that it brings the argument about jargon in front of any useful discussion of the meaning. That generates buzz more than illumination.

Rick "in a branch of engineering where most practitioners are (supposedly) self-taught" Denney
06-07-2018, 07:34 AM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
The distinction you have made between your program at Ryerson and many art/photography programs is largely the distinction between training and education. The joke goes that if your kid comes home from school and announces enrollment in a sex education class, you might be mildly concerned or mildly amused. If the kids announces enrollment in a sex training class, you might be considerably more alarmed.
The use of an emotionally charged example doesn't really help your cause. As a high school teacher I've known parents who want their kids having sex in the house, because they don't want them doing it in less secure environments, and in one case before their daughter wasn't even 16.. That is pretty much as irrelevant to the topic as your sex ed. analogy.

This comes down to, when it's time to wire your house, do you want an electrical engineer to do it? Or do you want an electrician? Having worked a number of years in the trades, I can tell you, you want the electrician.

I you want someone to take a picture?.... anyway, you get it.

This would be the same argument architects and tradesmen go through all the time. Some concepts are unworkable. My daughter, a chemical engineer at a steel plant, knows better than to try and alter a water flow system without talking to her tradesmen.

So my question is, what is it better to be self taught at, photogprahic technique or art sensibility? There is a lot of developing an artistic eye that come naturally. There is a lot of photographic technique that is not at all intuitive. One uses the innate hard wired parts of the human brain that relate endorphins, equally available to all. The other involves understanding the workings of more and more complex cameras and incorporating practices that are not always intuitive.

So that's a whole series of arguments I'd rather stay away from. I see them from both side, both side have their point, anyone who wants to argue one side is right and the other is wrong, there is ample evidence showing they are in error. Educated designers with all their insight and knowledge mess up, trained tradesmen mess up. They can bash each other forever. Both side have great stories in which they relish how stupid the other guy was.
That wasn't the point.

The point was, optics is not photography. Some things relevant to optics are not needed to understand their photographic practice.
The optics understands what goes into lens design. Photography makes use of the finished lenses.
The article at the top of the thread, is relevant to optics, but ignores photography practice.
In that sense it doesn't help either the university trained photographer or the technical school trained photographer.

The fact that this type optics discussion may be of interest to optical engineers, in no way means its of any interest to photographers. For most photographers were they to take it seriously and without a bit of training separating the wheat from the chaf, it would just lead to confusion. Optical science can be, photographic gooblygook.

I remember an optics teacher asking me how I'd evaluate a lens. I said, I'd take picture with it and evaluate the picture.
IN the art section of my Ryerson course we had a studio assignment where we were supposed to sketch a nude model. Because there's no art training in technical school. )With no sketch skills at all, I grabbed a second year student and asked how he did this. He said, take her picture, put it up on an enlarger and trace it. I passed. Photographers need to know the information that best enhances their photographic development and very little fo that involve theoretical optics beyond reading CA values and distortion values off lens chart.

That's my point.

I know university trained photographers with great self learned technical skills and technically trained photographers with great artistic skills which incidentally were also part of their programs despite your inference otherwise. You're going down a road that goes on forever.

Last edited by normhead; 06-07-2018 at 08:12 AM.
06-07-2018, 08:32 AM   #67
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Fstoppers - "Lens compression doesn't exist"

And you are inferring far more than I wrote. Thatís fineóyou apparently have a point you want to makeóbut if you read what I actually wrote, you might find that I donít particularly disagree with you, and Iím fact much of what I wrote reinforces much of what you wrote.

By the way, I want the electrician wiring the house, but I donít want him designing the electrical plant for a building. And that is about as relevant as my training vs. education joke, which, by the way, was a joke that means nothing more than training includes skill practice while education may not. Which, I believe, was the point you were making.

That said, my house was wired by an electrician, and boy have I found some mistakes. But then not all engineers lack screwdriver skills, just as not all artist photographers lack technical skills.

I guess your response tells me I must have Iíve lost track of the point you were making. Iíll have to leave it with you.

Rick ďwho canít lay a brick straight but had to teach a master mason how to read a plan sheet just this weekĒ Denney
06-07-2018, 08:45 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The point was, optics is not photography. Some things relevant to optics are not needed to understand their photographic practice.
The optics understands what goes into lens design. Photography makes use of the finished lenses.
The article at the top of the thread, is relevant to optics, but ignores photography practice.
In that sense it doesn't help either the university trained photographer or the technical school trained photographer.
Too much meandering obscures the point.

There is nothing you need to know photographically in optics, you can't learn by evaluating the images lenses take. It is not necessary to learn optical physics to be a great photographer. It's not about who's better designers or technicians.., which is particularly useless in photography, because most photographers are both. They both conceptualize the image, then use learned techniques to capture it.

The above video can't distinguish between what from optics photographers should know, and what is extraneous. The fact that optical engineers are hard scientists and photographers are techichninian/artists, is just peripheral information, not essential to the point. The creators of the video don't know enough about photography to understand that.


Last edited by normhead; 06-07-2018 at 09:07 AM.
06-07-2018, 09:00 AM - 1 Like   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
I do not see the words "lens compression" anywhere in the text. At least in the English version.
Oh, sorry, I saw the video on Petapixel, where they did use the term:

This is What the Moon Looks Like with a Ginormous Camera Lens
06-07-2018, 12:51 PM   #70
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Seems my to-be-a-successful-photography-you-can-be-self-taught as opposed to a class room education route has generated some heat. Pretty similar, to the age argument, is-photography-an-art-or-a-craft ? In the US & Northern Europe photography seems to be more easily accepted as an art, whereas in the UK it's a struggle to win that argument. I wonder why the difference ? Art school snobbishness ?

In a world that is becoming increasing regulated with qualifications required for the most trivial type of work, it's re-assuring that there're still opportunities for amateurs to become professional (ie earn a decent percentage of their earnings in a professional manner) - photography is one of them. A client, when faced with a photographer that has stunning work, is hardly bothered whether they've a photography 'certificate' - all they need to know is whether they are insured. How they arrived at that point is largely irrelevant.

As I write this, one skill that a formal photography education should teach you to be successful is the client facing and negotiating skills. This *is* something that a self-taught photography is most likely to struggle with. Choice of lens, in my view, is easy: dealing with clients is not. This gives the taught an advantage. But maybe, this is more just a generic business skills requirement, to be honest ...

I've just had a re-look at the fstoppers video again - I still think it is unimaginative, too long, dull and un-creative. Lynda.com photo instructors, for instance, are far superior educators, I particularly enjoyed Ben Long's courses. He's a natural teacher, self-effacing, natural, entertaining, and when he realises he's made a mistake, he admits it and tries again - quite a refreshing change from the oft didactic, know-all approach of many on the web.
06-07-2018, 01:33 PM   #71
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I have no objection to people self teaching themselves photography. As long as they understand it is not the fast lane.

And I have to say, I have heard some really weird messed up opinions coming from the self trained. The biggest advantage to a teacher is having someone to explain you aren't looking at something the right way, without taking 6 slow painful months to figure it out yourself.
06-07-2018, 01:48 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I have no objection to people self teaching themselves photography. As long as they understand it is not the fast lane.

And I have to say, I have heard some really weird messed up opinions coming from the self trained.
Just to counter that, I will say that we have more than one member here who claim to have formal photography training and qualifications, but clearly don't understand as much as some self-taught individuals. In fact, in at least one case, they appear to have some problems with even the fundamentals. That's not a slight on those individuals, but merely an observation (in my earlier days, I was just as confused!). Perhaps it speaks to the quality of some formal trainers and educational materials, not to mention the examination and course-marking.

That said, I'm generally a fan of structured education and training. As a young kid, I taught myself computer programming - starting with various high-level languages, then assembly language for various processors. Some years later, at the age of 17, I got my first job as a programmer for a software company - mainly on the basis of the technical knowledge and problem-solving skills I was able to demonstrate, which were probably above-average for my age. But it took me years to rid myself of bad programming habits that I'd picked up as a result of self-teaching, and form new, better habits

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-07-2018 at 02:03 PM.
06-07-2018, 02:47 PM - 1 Like   #73
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We don't need no education...........

....We don't need no thought control
06-07-2018, 03:09 PM - 2 Likes   #74
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Lens compression does exist and here is a video to prove it.
06-07-2018, 03:27 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by timb64 Quote
We don't need no education...........

....We don't need no thought control
We can always depend on you Tim.

---------- Post added 06-07-18 at 06:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Just to counter that, I will say that we have more than one member here who claim to have formal photography training and qualifications, but clearly don't understand as much as some self-taught individuals.
Must have gone somewhere where you weren't competing with 75 other students for 20 spots. As noted, most of my course were university grads, all were already largely self taught amateurs. To get into a top notch program you have to have pretty good understanding before you get in.
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