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Author Topic: What Slide Film Taught Me  (Read 5532 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: March 13, 2012, 12:00:24 AM »
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No one else has commented on this yet, but I really liked it, and I agree with much of what he says.  Having done darkroom work I can understand the 'capture is only 1/2 of photography' point of view, but with digital it's not just expected but required that images will have post-processing done.  Even though Provia 120 is getting harder and harder to find, I still keep my old double lens reflex around because it keeps me humble...

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 04:22:22 AM »
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I also enjoyed the essay. I went through similar learning steps, photographed many years with slide film plus scanner, my first digital camera was the Canon Pro1 back in 2004. My first DSLR was bought in 2009, the Canon 5DMKII.

Even now, with digital, I always apply the discipline acquired during my time shooting slide film.
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ChuckT
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 10:26:16 AM »
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He hits 2 things right on the head and I'm not sure he was even aware of saying them.

First - DSLR expose like they are loaded with slide film so place the highlights correctly.

Second - a viewer often gets a visceral reaction to a slide image. (To my mind LCD screens display like they are slide viwers.)

 cvt
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Isaac
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2012, 01:58:06 PM »
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I also enjoyed the essay, without having gone through similar learning steps - I thought it was well written.
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graphius
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 07:10:39 PM »
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I too cut my teeth on slide film. I must have 10,000 slides hidden somewhere, but since I went full digital around 2001-2002, I have hardly even looked back at them. I guess it is time to pull them out (with my flashlight app.... love that) to view them again...
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BJL
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 08:03:38 AM »
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I like the overall message of this essay, including the virtue of disciplining oneself to get the shot right at the time as much as possible, rather than relying on the safety net of post-processing. Notorious film maker Ed Wood was a great cautionary example, impatiently saying that he would fix a problem in editing, and then not getting to it.

But the idea that having options naturally degrades quality is unjustifiably cynical, as if the people who cared about photography enough to use slides rather than mini-lab prints have no capacity to discipline themselves, and so must accept the inability to deal with any scene of greater than normal subject brightness range (SBR) except through the crude and sometimes ugly tool of graduated ND filters, with the weird artifacts like brighter sky in the gaps between trees and mountain peaks.

So I think it worth mentioning some simple ways to develop the discipline of getting digital photographs right straight from the camera as much as possible:
- shoot JPEG and accept its limitations! This travesty of digital purism even partially reproduces the more limited SBR handling ability of slide film, and makes one check those highlights.
- if that is too scary, shoot raw+JPEG, with the goal of using the raw only in emergencies or for special printing situations.
- Be lazy, but in a smart way: I strive to get it right in camera partly because the extra time and effort then saves a far less pleasant time and effort hunched over a computer later. That is, I prefer to spend my quality time out with my camera. And honestly, the great majority of my subject matter does not have challenges like high SBR, and so does not need "fixing in post".
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 08:32:04 AM »
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I'm rather surprised that an article of such mundane thought and modest ambition should have stoked this thread into life; even more remarkably, rendered one neo-bully into benign mode.

Must be the time of month, the phase of the Moon.

;-)

Rob C
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prairiewing
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 09:23:17 AM »
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I read these threads to see how long it takes someone to disparage the author.  He made it to 7.  Not bad.
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Pat Gerlach
Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 12:38:24 PM »
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I read these threads to see how long it takes someone to disparage the author.  He made it to 7.  Not bad.



Just wait until your own score is higher!

;-)

Treating this seriously, though, as I feel you deserve, I want to tell you why this affects me as it does.

Nothing in the 'article' was new; nothing hadn't already been expressed here on LuLa before; there was nothing fresh or illuminating in any part of it, and no, I'm afraid the writing left a lot to be desired, though that's not something for which I'd like to blame any author who might not have English as his first language; indeed, trying would engender a certain respect, at the very least.

In retrospect, perhaps the problem was more editorial than writer, though of course, editors must rule. Unless you own the company. But then you face governments... So no, I guess nobody can win, not even the governments!

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 06:36:20 PM »
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... Nothing in the 'article' was new; nothing hadn't already been expressed here on LuLa before; there was nothing fresh or illuminating in any part of it...

Amen, brother!

Quote
In retrospect, perhaps the problem was more editorial than writer, though of course, editors must rule. Unless you own the company...

I know I will regret this, but perhaps this might explain:

Quote
Wow. I go away for a few days (PODAS workshop) and look what happens...

 Wink

P.S. This is meant as a benevolent teasing and for entertainment purposes. And yes, I am aware that I blatantly misappropriated the said quote, took it completely out of context, and all that for the deplorable purpose of satisfying my (immature) sense of humor... there, I said it first!

P.P.S. A note to self: if you ever manage to write something, make sure you get Rob as a ghost writer Smiley
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 08:07:29 PM »
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latter posts are right - nothing really new.

However, for those of us who never really shot slide film, my personal experience is limited a few dozen slides, it was nonetheless interesting.
Despite a widespread and ill-informed impression, not so prevalent on this forum though, that post-processing can "fix" any thoughtlessly shot digital image, this is absolutely not the case.
Digital photography is definately a case of GIGO with technical tolerance levels much less than comparable slide or film photography.

For all the "old salts" on the LuLa forum this is selling snow to eskimos but from my impression reading most of the forum posts not everyone realizes just how unforgiving digital capture really can be. A reminder about these issues can't do any harm.

My $0.02 worth.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Schewe
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2012, 08:39:27 PM »
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P.S. This is meant as a benevolent teasing and for entertainment purposes. And yes, I am aware that I blatantly misappropriated the said quote, took it completely out of context, and all that for the deplorable purpose of satisfying my (immature) sense of humor... there, I said it first!

Well, when you write something that gets published, let us know...we'll be sure to blow you out of the water...

I guess some people don't get it...I did. And it's something I've really noticed about my own work in recent years...digital simply doesn't require the level of technical accomplishment that chromes did.

I used to get paid a ton of money because I could make a product look good on 8x10 film. That skill set was not "common". I used to expose brackets in 1/6 or 1/8 of a stop–because I could see a difference (plus the fact I marked up 8x10 film to $50/sheet).

When I got into Photoshop (1992) I discovered post production. I no longer had to nail the shot in a single sheet of film. I could do several shots, scan and combine them in Photoshop. It was easy to retouch stuff instead of being hyper meticulous on set. My photographic skills tended to take a back seat to my Photoshop skills. Yet I still counted my self a "good photographer" if for no other reason that I still had the skills to get the shots, even if the final image was really due to Photoshop.

Move forward a decade into digital...no longer did I really have to worry about what I could get on film. I no longer shot film. I just shot digital. Auto focus? Auto exposure? Heck, screw even looking through the view finder half the time. Just get the shot regardless of what it look like at default. I could fix it in Camera Raw and/or Photoshop.

Net result? My photographic skills have diminished...I'm no longer the skilled photographer I used to be...

Yes, I can "buckle down" and be serious and call up those skills if I absolutely need to...I rarely need to. And I often see shots where I think after the fact, "what was I thinking?". Just use your skills and you wouldn't have to be spending so much time "fixing" things.

I can sympathize with the author....I get what he's saying (in a genteel sort of laid back sort of way). No, it's nothing earth shattering or ground breaking (and it's not at all a controversial style–maybe that's why the forum denizens of LuLa are pouncing).

Get a hold of yourselves...look at your face in a mirror. Don't you really miss the ah hah moment of seeing the perfect chrome? That's all he's saying. And for those youngsters who never shot chrome, you missed something....
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2012, 11:03:25 PM »
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Well, when you write something that gets published, let us know...we'll be sure to blow you out of the water...

Well, Jeff, I have absolutely no doubt that you could do that:  Grin
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 11:12:36 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

Slobodan

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Schewe
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2012, 12:19:38 AM »
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Well, Jeff, I have absolutely no doubt that you could do that:  Grin

You really want to go don that road? Really?

Just sayin' I can do Photoshop pretty good too...

:!)
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2012, 12:25:53 AM »
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Well, when you write something that gets published, let us know...we'll be sure to blow you out of the water...

I guess some people don't get it...I did. And it's something I've really noticed about my own work in recent years...digital simply doesn't require the level of technical accomplishment that chromes did.

I used to get paid a ton of money because I could make a product look good on 8x10 film. That skill set was not "common". I used to expose brackets in 1/6 or 1/8 of a stop–because I could see a difference (plus the fact I marked up 8x10 film to $50/sheet).

When I got into Photoshop (1992) I discovered post production. I no longer had to nail the shot in a single sheet of film. I could do several shots, scan and combine them in Photoshop. It was easy to retouch stuff instead of being hyper meticulous on set. My photographic skills tended to take a back seat to my Photoshop skills. Yet I still counted my self a "good photographer" if for no other reason that I still had the skills to get the shots, even if the final image was really due to Photoshop.

Move forward a decade into digital...no longer did I really have to worry about what I could get on film. I no longer shot film. I just shot digital. Auto focus? Auto exposure? Heck, screw even looking through the view finder half the time. Just get the shot regardless of what it look like at default. I could fix it in Camera Raw and/or Photoshop.

Net result? My photographic skills have diminished...I'm no longer the skilled photographer I used to be...

Yes, I can "buckle down" and be serious and call up those skills if I absolutely need to...I rarely need to. And I often see shots where I think after the fact, "what was I thinking?". Just use your skills and you wouldn't have to be spending so much time "fixing" things.

I can sympathize with the author....I get what he's saying (in a genteel sort of laid back sort of way). No, it's nothing earth shattering or ground breaking (and it's not at all a controversial style–maybe that's why the forum denizens of LuLa are pouncing).

Get a hold of yourselves...look at your face in a mirror. Don't you really miss the ah hah moment of seeing the perfect chrome? That's all he's saying. And for those youngsters who never shot chrome, you missed something....

Hallelujah, Brother Jeff. 

What he said, me too. (although I won't claim skills on par or near his, I do miss the 'ah hah moment of seeing the perfect chrome'.)

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
kencameron
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2012, 02:19:34 AM »
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lDespite a widespread and ill-informed impression, not so prevalent on this forum though, that post-processing can "fix" any thoughtlessly shot digital image, this is absolutely not the case.
I try to use post-processing to create digital images rather than to "fix" them. I have no quarrel with people who want to "get it right in-camera" and minimize post-processing, until they start telling me that theirs is the only or the superior way to go. At that point, I would argue that there is nothing wrong with (for example) taking part of an in image as a starting point and making something out of it that could never have been done in camera. This may not require "photographic skills" but surely it does require real creativity and has nothing to do with "fixing" a "thoughtlessly shot digital image". I liked the article because the author was talking modestly about his personal creative history rather than preaching the one true path. Maybe nothing much new in it, but that is setting the bar pretty high.
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Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2012, 04:34:16 AM »
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Brother Jeff, I'm not at all sure that I quite grasp where you stand on this.

I can't see where anyone not impressed with said 'article' was claiming that the ˇnformation therein was flawed; on the contrary, the observations made seem to be that what was written was correct, but painfully obvious to anyone that was around in photography a mere ten years or less ago.

Perhaps the surprise expressed is that such an unremarkable piece of material was seen suitable for inclusion within the editorial pages, is all. It's as if French Vogue were suddenly to push out an article by Mrs Poison in Payrac, le Lot, France, on knitting socks for her husband to wear with his boots when riding his John Deere across their fields. Anyone who has worn boots already appreciates the value of socks. You see the problem? It's the wrong boutique in the right boulevard des whatevers; its advertising Penthouse in the pages of Weekly Saint, flogging Vicks in The Lancet.

;-)

Rob C
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dchew
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« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2012, 05:23:07 AM »
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I made the switch to digital later than most in 2005. There were two things I missed when I made the transition:
  • The benchmark.  Shooting raw felt like I was learning to fly: where was my reference point of the ground? I was so used to a workflow of making the scan/print look like the slide. I got over this eventually.
  • The magic of opening a box of slides. This I still haven't gotten over. As Jeff pointed out, there was something really exciting about viewing a really neat transparency; like opening a present. Years ago I had a discussion with Galen Rowell about this. He felt some of that magic stemmed from the fact that the transparency was acually with you on an adventure, in the camera. In fact he described a slide show he gave once where he used his originals instead of dupes ( remember dupes?). He was surprised at how emotional he got during that presentation.

I enjoyed the article because I felt the author had points that related to my feelings.  Yes, I do miss something about shooting slide film. But I have exactly the same rolls of film in the freezer that I did in 2005!
Smiley

Dave
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Isaac
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2012, 11:52:43 AM »
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I liked the article because the author was talking modestly about his personal creative history rather than preaching the one true path. Maybe nothing much new in it, but that is setting the bar pretty high.

Yes.
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Isaac
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2012, 12:12:41 PM »
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Perhaps the surprise expressed is that such an unremarkable piece of material was seen suitable for inclusion within the editorial pages, is all.

O! you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite.
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