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07-12-2019, 05:04 PM - 1 Like   #31
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Lots of great comments so far.

For me, perhaps going digital - you can try all sorts of stuff, without delay in getting results (and not paying ~$0.50 per shot for slides!)

And, terribly mundane, but perhaps the most critical in getting decent looking images - getting color balance correct. Many of my early digital shots have ridiculously wacky colors. I was used to Kodachrome, which was always shot outdoors and usually looked pretty good, color-wise.

07-12-2019, 06:59 PM - 1 Like   #32
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Buying a K10D in 2007 .
07-12-2019, 08:15 PM   #33
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As mentioned numerous times above -- use of a good tripod. For composition and DOF manipulation: learning to use a view camera. I'm not sure how to describe it but shooting "upside down" trains the eye to see in a unique way.
07-12-2019, 09:26 PM - 1 Like   #34
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Learning to gauge depth of field and discovering exposure compensation.

07-12-2019, 09:48 PM - 4 Likes   #35
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Working full time for a newspaper from 1987-1991.

It was a small community newspaper and I was hired as a reporter but when they found out I had a camera and knew my way around a darkroom, my workload quickly became about 50/50. Shooting 12-15 rolls a week, one can't help but improve on technique over time. Our full time photographer, who had more artistic inclinations than journalistic, was also very generous with his expertise. I welcomed his critiques because he did it in such a positive way. He would frequently tell me what was good about a photo I had taken and then give me something to try the next time to make a similar shot even better. He taught me a lot about how to use a flash effectively, including how to make a bounce card out of the top of a doughnut box. I think the last one I made is still in the camera bag with my Minolta gear.

Last edited by E-man; 07-12-2019 at 10:00 PM.
07-13-2019, 12:31 AM - 6 Likes   #36
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The thing that helped me improve my photography was the decision I took to stop reading test charts/gear reviews of online influencers and stop asking for constructive critique on Facebook groups for my images.

Last edited by Dan Rentea; 07-13-2019 at 12:41 AM.
07-13-2019, 01:26 AM - 3 Likes   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dan Rentea Quote
The thing that helped me improve my photography was the decision I took to stop reading test charts/gear reviews of online influencers and stop asking for constructive critique on Facebook groups for my images.
Man you are onto something here. Trust yourself, your own experience and use your own brain is the way to go.
07-13-2019, 05:25 AM - 1 Like   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Trust yourself, your own experience and use your own brain is the way to go.
There's a lot of truth in that. However, it works best when a photographer first educates themselves to a degree as to what good photography looks like. Otherwise, you might be really bad, but totally unaware of it. I have a friend like that. He thinks he's the best photog around, but his images are very ordinary. He's never really been all that into photography nor tried to learn much about it. He just thinks that because HE took a picture...it's great. And while I think it's imperative that you make yourself happy first, I also think we need to be our own worst critic. All in all, though...biz is right. Shooting what YOU think is good is what gives your photography its style and identifies it as yours.

07-13-2019, 06:49 AM - 1 Like   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
There's a lot of truth in that. However, it works best when a photographer first educates themselves to a degree as to what good photography looks like. Otherwise, you might be really bad, but totally unaware of it. I have a friend like that. He thinks he's the best photog around, but his images are very ordinary. He's never really been all that into photography nor tried to learn much about it. He just thinks that because HE took a picture...it's great. And while I think it's imperative that you make yourself happy first, I also think we need to be our own worst critic. All in all, though...biz is right. Shooting what YOU think is good is what gives your photography its style and identifies it as yours.
This is a great point about being your own worst critic. Since I started using a DSLR 2 years and a few days ago, I was looking at the images thinking, that the better ones were actually good. As I look back at early efforts, I shudder to recall my belief that the image was good. Self examination helps and lets you know what you really should be trying to improve.

I will say that Reading the forums here and paying attention to what the good shooters say, has helped the most. You can tell them by looking at the quality of images here and their willingness to answer questions on how they got the image.
07-13-2019, 06:51 AM - 1 Like   #40
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learning / understanding the exposure 'triangle' and light metering whether spot center matrix

with that in hand I can make better decisions on how I want to dictate the shot through practice / experience and try to improve from there

in the beginning I did not know the 'triangle' and thought better camera better pictures but did not begin to grow 'til I starting grasping the 'triangle'
07-13-2019, 07:34 AM - 3 Likes   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
I will say that Reading the forums here and paying attention to what the good shooters say, has helped the most. You can tell them by looking at the quality of images here and their willingness to answer questions on how they got the image.


I remember coaching basketball, if players shots were consistently short you'd tell them to aim for the back of the rim. You could go in to all the physics involved, discuss the link between the hand and th eye, through the connection through the brain, but that's not necessary, all that's necessary is "aim for the back of the rim." That will get the kid back on track. And there are cheats like that for every shooting situation, and a guy I coached with, one of the best shooting coaches on the planet, knew them all.

Photography is the same way. Find the guy who does what you want to do, try and discover his "cheat." Not all the theory, not the science what you need is how he thinks about his images that enable him to prioduce the things he does. There is the theoretical and there is the practical... photography is practice. The theoretician is going to say, "if you consistently aim for the back of the rim, sooner or later your balls are going to be hitting the rim and bouncing out." My buddy had another way to think about that problem too. It's all about results. He had a thought for you to keep in mind, for every conceivable shooting error.

QuoteQuote:
I shudder to recall my belief that the image was good.
I shudder to think people bought some of those images. If you liked it, someone somewhere else liked it too. You may have evolved into a different style, shooting philosophy and ethos, but essentially, you've changed how you think. Others who think like you used to think will still find value in those old images. You have to be careful when growing, not to dismiss the value of your earlier work. It's evolution, it was important. It's importance is not diminished by the fact that you've moved on.

Have an image taken with a K20D of a sunset with the oddest looking shadow detail you may have ever seen. The ground is actually speckled between where the light just barely crossed the threshold needed to record an exposure. As technical photography it's awful. it's hanging on a huge kitchen wall with about 20 other large prints and paintings. I don't like it any more. That guy loves it. it's art.

Last edited by normhead; 07-13-2019 at 09:31 AM.
07-13-2019, 07:48 AM - 1 Like   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by loveisageless Quote
Learning to gauge depth of field
yes! this is what I have and currently been working on a lot lately.......fool around with a dof 'calculator' even when I am not taking pictures so helpful to have ideas of focal lengths and distances to try and get something later .....its fascinating
07-13-2019, 08:30 AM - 3 Likes   #43
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I think my biggest step up was when I started really paying attention not only to what I wanted in the frame, but also to what I did not want in the frame.

Apart from that, Pepperberry got it right:

QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
two simple things have helped me tremendously over the last few years: Pentax Forums and shooting every day...

signing up for both the Single In and the Daily Challenges here at PF have given a day-to-day, month-to-month education... the level of proficiency and camaraderie found in those two communities is second to none...

if you want to know your gear and be able to use it, almost without looking, shoot every day - no matter what, committing to the daily shot, will have a profound effect on your abilities...

shoot for a year, without missing a day, and compare your work on Day 1 vs Day 365...
07-13-2019, 08:43 AM - 6 Likes   #44
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To me it was the realization I was not photographing a scene, rather I was capturing the light being reflected off the objects in the scene and its' interaction with the difference surfaces, textures, etc. This came to me while watching the Bob Ross TV show, "The Joy of Painting", (aired in the 80's and 90's on PBS in the US, and still aired in reruns today.). He always kept saying you must have dark to show light, and you must have light to show dark. This is so true in photography also.
07-13-2019, 12:00 PM - 2 Likes   #45
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Reading and digesting the Time Life Photography series - all 16 volumes. Plus Field Photography, Handbook of Scientific Photography, Kodak Professional Photoguide and National Geographic Photography Field Guide. I still refer to all of them from time to time.
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