Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 [2]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: The more I learn, the less I .....  (Read 15757 times)
Chris_T
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 541


« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2007, 08:06:13 AM »
ReplyReply

I'm combining a few quotes here.

Quote
Technical overload is something that can very easily occur these days. I try to learn as little new software as possible and generally try to be as low tech as possible (but that doesn't mean that I'm low tech, just as low tech as possible).

Quote
The point about PS reflects my own position, where I have managed to learn what I feel I need to know in order to do what I could formerly manage in wet printing.

Agreed. Regarding how to deal with digital technology and transition, I wrote in another thread:

...the film photo technology took 175 years to mature, and the digital photo technology is only a couple of decades old. I expect there is a long way to go before all the digital kinks are worked out, and many current "established" techniques will be dramatically different (for the better). At this stage, we are all guinea pigs. This guy tells his story in his aptly titled article "The Hamster Wheel of Progress":

http://www.huntingtonwitherill.com/

Like him, I have concluded chasing every new tool/technique is beyond my budget and time. Using what I already have and know is sufficient for most of my work, and I would much prefer to focus on photographing. I do peek at what's new, but would only pursue them if they can make a difference in my work noticeable not only by me, but by others as well.


At the risk of starting a controversy, I would venture to say that the digital photo technology today may be analogous to the times before Tri-x or Kodachrome were available, or when b/w transitioned to color. (I wasn't around then, so can't be certain.) In those days, there were probably numerous photogs and vendors trying out different film types, processing methods, printing media, etc. But that did not stop the creation of great works. When the dust finally settled, most photogs would enjoy the luxury of a mature technology and return to photographing.

Quote
So I guess what I'm dealing with, among other things, is a desire to respond to what I see that touches me, but I lack a coherent "vision" or "point of view" in how I respond.

By feeling or noting (rightfully or otherwise) shortcomings in one's work should be treated as a positive, not a negative. Those who feel that their works are perfect would stop looking for improvements.

I always come back with mixed emotions after visiting galleries. Sometimes the great works make me wonder why do I even bother. Other times I feel the challenge and become more motivated. Yet other times, the bad works tell me that mine are not the worst.
Logged
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2007, 10:20:15 AM »
ReplyReply

Walter, absolutely right - learn what you feel you need as you go along, which is exactly what I do.

Rob C
Logged

plugsnpixels
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 295



WWW
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2007, 03:12:08 PM »
ReplyReply

Great first post and many interesting observations since!

I can relate to this situation on a few levels. I first started taking photos about 1974 as a teen. It came naturally, though no one else in the family that I interacted with regularly was a photographer. I was given my grandfather's old Kodak box camera and his old negatives, and my first adventure was to make blue sun prints. After that I used the family's Instamatic to shoot 126 Tri-X, which I developed and contact printed in my own little darkroom.

Then came high school and the yearbook, then shooting and writing for the local paper, college and the yearbook and other photo adventures, teaching photography at a college, doing freelance weddings and portraits, shooting for a dot-com in the late '90s--eventually it got to be a bit much!

At the end of the '90s, after a relocation across country, I got a higher-ed IT position (which I still have) which combined computer lab maintenance with oversight of the photo studio. I took to the computer just like I once did to the camera, and spent more time with computers and software than I did with actual photography. In fact, it was seeing a student's digital camera several years ago that got me back into shooting (now 100% digital). Since then, I could say my work has been better than ever before, even though I gravitate to more artsy stock-type/fine art work than the photojournalism and wedding stuff I used to do.

So what you need is a spark of some sort, or a new perspective, or a streamlining of interests--a prioritizing of goals. As you mention, it can be daunting and discouraging to climb the learning curve that each new camera or software revision presents. I personally have just about every software product currently available for digital imaging, art, 3D and productivity (for promotional purposes), and while that sounds like a good thing, it is actually like the kid with too many toys--you can't really enjoy the special ones because of the overwhelming abundance! At this point I have to learn to use each package just enough to be able to create screenshots and examples, but naturally (due to being spread thin) I am a master of none of them.

But thankfully I can keep it fresh and keep the interest up. When I get tired of image editing or page layout I can do some 3D terrains (I'd use Painter or Studio Artist more but I can't paint!). In your case, play a little piano, shoot a little (without worrying about your level of equipment), play some tennis on a rotating basis. Discover the particular thing that really captures your imagination and focus on it. And learn from your kid along the way! ;-)

PS: I sometimes think, "I wish I could shoot/design/etc. like so-and-so", but there's really no point in that. They're not trying to emulate someone else, they're being themselves, and that's what makes them unique! So each of us needs to do our own thing.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 03:14:21 PM by plugsnpixels » Logged

Free digital imaging ezine
http://www.plugsandpixels.com
Steven Draper
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 147


WWW
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2008, 03:44:25 PM »
ReplyReply

This is a great post with some really good answers. I agree that it is very easy to overload on technical stuff, and the rate of change of equipment and software is easily frustrating to many in terms of both learning and price.

I can completely understand the position where-by someone just feels the whole subject of making a decent picture is amazingly complicated and impossible without mega $$ equipment, training, printers, computers etc.

There are IMO three aspects to photography, the issue of the artistic / visual / emotional content and then the technical level, from how the camera was set up, technique and processing, plus a knowledge of the subject.

It would be true to say that we all enter photography with a different natural level of the first aspect and some people see the artistic side better than others. But whatever our starting point we can all get better by practice, personal study and review, review from others (club competitions helped me out a lot) looking at other peoples work, and also parallel study such as drawing, painting. Many composition "rules" derive from the study of painters, which in turn often go back to mathematics.

Technically we all have to start, but my philosophy is that a basic understanding of a few general principles will take any photographer a long way very quickly. Like most things the output v knowledge level is not linear and it is true to say that the last few percentage of overall quality will often require an exponential level of equipment, knowledge, time, devotion etc.

Whilst the web is a great resource it is one to use carefully as for every well presented, honest and openly informative piece of information there are many others that may not be accurate, are misleading or are more about the poster and the promotion of themselves than really being truly helpful. So often when please CC, you'll see Great image without any supporting comments when honest reflection of the strengths and weaknesses would be much more helpful.

Also it is worth noting that it is much easier, although still a skill, to make a poor - OK image look a million $ on the web and then not be totally truthful so as to make others wonder why they cannot get the "honest" result from similar equipment.

There is a third aspect to photography and that is subject knowledge. For example I have a knowledge of meteorology and therefore I find a deeper level of interest in clouds than many. I have found that the desire to improve pictures of a subject has often involved learning more about the subject and I guess this leads to a richer view of the world as I journey along a path of life long learning.

Wow, I've gone on a bit, but in conclusion, you can do a lot with a little and from a hobby / pastime aspect, photography is also a journey of exploration and discovery with adventure, joy and heartbreak as we all secretly quest for those elusive defining images of our photographic talents.
Logged

image examples are at my website  stevendraperphotography.com   and Polepics is      "Here"
Russell Price
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2008, 11:42:56 AM »
ReplyReply

Sometimes when I look at this site, along with the Galbraith site and Sportsshooter forum than a dose of PDN or PDNpulse.com, maybe throw in a few minutes of aphotoeditor.com and I want to crawl back into the hole and throw a few rolls of tri-x into my trusty Nikon F.

Yes, I also suffer from information overload.  The web and this site are enticing. Easy to get lost in all these mundane conversations or arguments.  To me it feels like digital gossip.  People holding court about this or that technique or piece of gear.  I would like to forget I ever read the medium-format versus DSLR camera conversations in the medium-format forum.  That forum is enough to swear off this site permantely.  The "experts" in that forum have all the answers to questions not being asked.  If they only had the images to back-up their ego's, than it would be worth reading.

Everyone is talking about the tools and not about the content.  Glad I can shut it down and go for a walk in my beautiful city
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 12:01:01 PM by Russell Price » Logged
plugsnpixels
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 295



WWW
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2008, 01:32:43 PM »
ReplyReply

Russell, great comments! I can identify with what you say. I began shooting as a teen in the mid-70s, working my way into local photojournalism, and from that point ran into a number of unpleasant characters behind cameras! Later, I shot weddings; same thing.

I guess the same is true of musicians (to pick one of many other similar situations). Lots of ego, emphasis on hardware, not always the chops to back it up.

I learned long ago that overall it doesn't matter what camera you use, it's how you use it. Of course there are quality considerations and minimal technical specs to be considered, but for aesthetics think about a monkey with a DSLR vs. a kid with a Holga... The kid surely takes the better photos, and has fun doing it!

There's something about business that can suck the joy out of any field (photography, music, painting, etc.). That's why I wouldn't pursue photojournalism again; fine art is more attractive and personally fulfilling (but let's not get started on gallery attitude-!).

It's up to each of us to retain the innocence in our creative endeavors and ignore the nastiness.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 01:36:34 PM by plugsnpixels » Logged

Free digital imaging ezine
http://www.plugsandpixels.com
Stuarte
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2008, 06:58:50 AM »
ReplyReply

I am bowled over by the quality and the warmth of the postings in this thread.  Thank you to absolutely everyone who has posted.  I've been following the thread and reflecting a lot on it all.  I checked out the Richard Zakia book recommended by James G and have ordered it because it seems to address some of the things I'm interested in right now.

For the action-oriented JFDI types here (Jonathan W?) I must confess I've barely taken any more photos or even looked at any of my existing library.  In fact it's been a hard few months for hobbies - not least because my wife is in her second year as a mature medical student away from home, and she and the three kids (and the au pair) have needed quite a lot of attention.  Not to mention the paid work.

By way of background, I've been a journalist, translator, market researcher and "trend spotter" and I earn my living writing commissioned "think pieces".  I'm fascinated by how I/we experience being alive and make sense of it.  I'm blessed/cursed with a boundless capacity to reflect on and write about virtually anything that crosses my path.  My meanderings have taken me into various areas of psychology both theoretical and practical, as well sport, music, religion, technology and - well, you get the gist.

My original post was really an "out-loud" reflection on some things I was noticing in my life.  And on reflection, one of the things that strikes me is that for the people who populate this forum, photography and imaging seem to be axiomatic activities in life (doh!! Stuart, it's a photography forum!!) - as natural and necessary as conversation.  Whereas for me, looking back over thousands of analogue and digital images, I more often than not wonder "What was I doing and why did I bother?".  Quite a few are/were to capture a moment to share with other people (=snaps) and a very few have got a certain something special.  And the rest - I don't know.

I suspect that for me, the next level and the next motivation will be to work on specific projects rather than wandering round randomly with a camera.  And part of that will be to work towards specific outputs, e.g. a dozen 8x10 prints or something similarly tangible.
Logged

Stuarte
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2008, 08:54:59 AM »
ReplyReply

Update:

I took up at least one of the suggestions in this thread (!!!) and have engaged a LL forum member to tutor me remotely.  We've had one session so far but already I'm feeling more inspired and optimistic.
Logged

Pages: « 1 [2]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad