I am (obviously) Not a photographer !

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by John Bartley, May 22, 2005.

  1. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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    In another thread, it was discussed what makes a "photographer". So....yesterday I was out for a drive with my sweetheart and we stopped to take a picture of another church. I'm using these as learning tools to get a grip on picture size, proportion exposure etc.
    I set up, positioned as far back as a fence would allow, metered the scene and then....all at once, a van drove up, the driver asked directions, it started to spit rain, it started to rain harder, I rushed to get the picture and under the pressure of time I cracked!! yup, I cracked under pressure!!
    When I drop a wing on final, I instinctively step on the other rudder, When I was scaling underground, I "knew" which rock above was loose and which one I could stand under........what did I do as a "photographer" under pressure???
    I forgot to set the aperture down to f/32 from f/4.5 in a scene with a three stop range where the upper end was 1/125'th @ f/32
    So....I'm going to use divided d23 with 1 minute in "A" and 2 minutes in "B".
    I guess we'll see what happens eh?
     
  2. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    It happens to us all John, at least I hope it does!

    I got a new imported EF100f2 this week, and as my EOS33 is dead (long story) rather than get it repaired I bagged an EOS30v ex-Canon demo model, from their e-bay shop for a very nice 140quid.

    So Iwas itching to try them out. I wanted to head up to Stirling for the Medival anti-G8 street party, but I've hurt my back (again), so I decided to pop down and visit my sister. I figured I could handle a quick shoot of her children in the garden.
    Anyway I had checked the 'custon functions' on the 30v, but I was a little confused by the wording of the DX-coding function. I leave this on as most of the time I shoot at the recommended speed.

    So after young Andrew (9) had had some fun with the 30v, a 28-80f2.8, the grip, flash gun and a roll of HP5 (he had a job lifting it all) I ushered the kids out into the garden. There was plenty of light and I intended to shoot with a fairly wide apeture to see what the 100mmf2 could do. So I loaded a roll of APX100. Half way through the roll Kirsten (7) wanted to take a few shots of me. So I switched to fully auto for her, showed her how to press the button half way then take the shot. She did just fine. I took the camera back and continued wondering why the camera was behaving a little stangely, yup I continued on fully auto for another 5 frames (doh!). I finnished the roll in the 30v, then finnished off the roll in my other body.

    Half an hour later I remembered about the DX coding function. Oh no! Panic. Luckly when I switched the camera on and checked the ISO it was at 100 rather than 400 for the HP5. Phew.

    I have to say it's when I shoot people directly (ie not candidly) I mess up. I'm aware I have to study their postion carefully, and I know I'm not good at this. Plus I have to talk to them, put them in position, make them feel at ease, and on top of that operate the camera. I often mess up the camera settings when shooting people like this. I'm even thinking of putting a sticker on the back of my SLR's with a short check list. I do think camera settings, but with all the other stuff to think of my mind tends to freeze.

    Some people say to me 'I'm a little nervous in front of the camera', I usually reply something like, 'you think you're nervous? Wanna swap?' Often it's the truth, it gets a laugth and helps us both relax.

    I'll never make a proper portait snapper.
     
  3. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    If you were a "real" photographer, John, you'd realize that the solution is in better equipment. (lol)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    My favourite "under pressure" mistake is forgetting to reset my F80 from spotmeter to matrix. I usually remember after a couple of rolls... :sad:
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Somehow, I just don't believe that screwing up (under pressure or not) while shooting LF disqualifies one from being a "photographer". I thought that was what LF was all about...improving the likelihood that you'll screw up...no? I mean, why else would anybody in their right mind shoot LF? It's for the sport of it right?

    Ralph, Where can I get one of those Super-Program Symmars?
     
  6. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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  7. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I have a similar problem and it's called "family". 2 weekends ago I was photographing in the 1897 Jamestown Sierra Railway roundhouse. I was making a "quadtych" of engine 34 sitting in repose inside the roundhouse. As you can imagine it was a cave in there. darkthirty. And the only camera / lens I had was an ancient Eastman 8X10 2D with a double sliding portrait back. The lens is a 1903ish Heliar 14" and the only film is APHS asa 3 ortho. What can I say. So I begin the Quadtych. It would take 4 pictures to get the entire scene completed. Each exposure takes 8 minutes and I have neither watch nor timer. I'm counting to 60 slowly and each time I get there extending another finger on my hand. Add to this the many conversations with interested on-lookers etc. etc. Nothing phased me as I pondered on. Finally just as I'm setting up the 4rth and final picture of the quad-tych my sweet bride appears from her shopping trip and "encourages" me to not take too much longer. Shot the final and all important 4rth shot at f4.5 instead of f22 1/2. Dammit. Of course the other 3 turned out perfect just to increase the agony. Anyone interested in seeing the "34" with the cab cut in half and no coal tender?
     
  8. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    Hahahaha! That's funny right there, I don't care who you are!

     
  9. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    What you rarely see are the mistakes of working pros. I have a book of photographs taken by Ansal Adams for the Parks Service, has a great narrative, but you can tell by the prints that these were made from the negatives that Adams gave to the park service rather than keep for himself, most were way overexposed and blown out. In the heyday of Life it was often the darkroom staff and editors that really made a good print a great print.

    Paul
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Perhaps the criteria is not who does and who doesn't make mistakes but at the end of the day, did you achieve expectations and results for the assigment, sitting, shoot, or job that was done.

    Every pro could tell you horror stories of botched shoots, dropped lenses, lousy assistants and bad kids in kid sittings. Perhaps the criteria is really, how was I able to handle and rectify the situation.

    This is a hobby, business, passion that has so many things that can go wrong. Some of our own doing and some completely out of our hands.

    Michael
     
  11. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Some of my horror stories.

    Early on in my career when I was shooting weddings, I went first to the bride’s home and was doing some shots and when changing lenses, I got my Hasselblad out of sync and the lens would not come off. If you own a Hasselblad you know what I mean. So I had to shoot the rest of the entire wedding with a wide angle lens. I decided to make the most of it and did a very arty wedding.

    On another wedding I went to the Sunday wedding, after having done a Saturday one as well. I had too many drinks on an empty stomach Saturday night and on the Sunday while photographing in a very hot church, I was walking from the side of the altar through the side doors so I could take some shots from the behind the minister showing the bride and groom, as well as the crowd. Remember this is during the ceremony. Inside this little room that sometimes the register is signed, and is sometimes sort of a storage room they had those long folding table stacked against the wall. There must have been about 8 of them. I started to feel kind of dizzy and put my hand on the edge of the tables to steady myself and the first one slid out and hit the floor. Then the next and the next. BANG. BANG, BANG, BANG, All eight hit the floor. If you’ve seen the commercial “Wanna get away”. You know what I mean. So I went. Oh shit. I walked around to where I was going in the first place and everyone was staring at me. I mouthed “sorry”. And things continued. God that was awful.

    Another time the lab ruined half a wedding, about 9 rolls. Luckily I overshoot and I salvaged it and nobody was the wiser.

    I’m very anal about constantly checking the lens for f stops etc. If I screw up I usually later catch it, I merely tell the sitter, ‘ya know, I wanna do some of those early ones again. They don’t know the difference and my ass is saved.

    When I do kids (90% of my work is kids), there is a lot of luck involved. I will always redo sittings if there is not at least one great shot there. One that I can hang on my wall or display places around town. I was doing a sitting of three kids. 2, 4 and 7. I did them individually and they were pretty cool pictures but I couldn’t get the 2 year old to do the right things or at the same times as the other two in the group shots. So we reshot, a week later. Same thing. The third time was not working too well either and so I handed him my 25 foot cable release on my Hasselblad and said when your ready, you take the pictures. He thought that was pretty cool making the lites flash and we lucked out and got about 5 good ones.

    To make a short story long, everybody screws up. It’s what you do about it.

    Michael
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2005
  12. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Some of my favourite mistakes,

    Switching to partial metering, then forgetting to switch back to matrix.
    Shooting colour with a yellow filter.
    Doing a portrait shoot with no film in the camera.
    Not having the flash correctly seated on the hot shoe and not noticing it ain't firing for a good few frames.
    Rating one roll at 320asa, then shooting the next at 400asa.
    Setting exposure comp for a few frames, then forgetting about it for another good few frames.
    Always thinking of great shots I could have set up after the shoot.
    Dropping the dry roll of film in the bath when taking it down (aaaagh I hate that one)
    Forgetting to set the lens back to f11 ater focusing the enlarger.
    Pressing focus instead of the timer on the enlarger timer.
    Knocking over the old projection screen at the end of the darkroom as I fumble for the light switch after loading film reels, then fumbling about trying to catch it and failing. This was followed by a loud crash as it collided with my old Nova processor, and in turn by the sound of running water (aaaaaagh ****** **** ****!)

    Stupid motorcycling mistakes,

    Forgetting to take the disc lock off, and as a result making a total arse of myself in front of a bevvy of pretty young girls as I try to pull away in style on my bike bike.
    Putting my foot down in a puddle at junction in the pouring rain, only to discover it's a big pot hole (aaaaaaaaaagh **** **** Och!)
    Having the police video car follow me for over two miles at excessive speed on a country road, hey my bikes got crap mirrors.
    And the best one I heard of from a friend of mine. His mate parked his bike up in the street, flipped the side stand out and leaned it over. It then disappeared (the side stand) down one of those big old drain covers with the big gaps between the bars. That one took a wee while to resolve so I'm told.

    Ach, the wee things sent to try us.
     
  13. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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    Thank you all for the replies - and the chuckles (which was the direction I had hoped this thread would go)

    I've just motivated myself into mounting my last two lenses on boards and hopefully we'll see what the sun looks like again soon and I'll go a do a few retakes.

    It's not soooo bad you know - a retake involves a drive in the country with my sweetheart, a cup of coffee and a chocolate chip muffin - all of my favourite things :smile:

    cheers all...
     
  14. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Thought of another one - On a bike touring / photography holiday in Wiltshire I'm pouring over maps in the B&B one evening when I hear... ...a gunfight?! I dash outside and see fireworks lighting up the horizon. I dash back inside, grab the camera, open the back to put in a new film and then remember that I didn't bother rewinding the old film when I finished my roadside shots earlier in the day...!

    :sad:
     
  15. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Boy I forgot that one. I've done it too. Some school girls were sitting on my back wall overlooking my house. I asked em nicely to shift. I got dogs abuse back. So after letting em know that one way or another that I would get em shifted, I went back in the house to make a cup of tea, I was just in from work.
    Over the other side of that wall was a derelict pub. They started smashing stuff up. I tried to ingore it, but then several small stones hit my window.
    **** it I thought, and ran up the stairs to grab my camera.

    Now I had just got back from France a few days before and had not sorted out my films yet, nor, as I was about to discover, had I taken the final one out of the camera. I grabbed a camera and a roll of colour neg, opened the camera back...............huh?.................what the...........****, ****, ****! Aaaaaaaaaagh!

    Anyway the girls saw the lens after half a roll of decent shots from the upstairs window. Never saw them again. Well except one.............

    Some months later I get stopped by one of the young girls mother's down the main street in the town. She was with her daughter. She ask me if I had been taken pictures of her daughter. I looked at her daughter, and said yes I do beleive I have. I patiently tried to explain. She told me that it was illegal for me to take pictures of young girls without permission. Again I patiently explained that her daughter was involved in an act of vandalism, had thrown stones at my window and told me to 'go **** myself' several times.

    She then told me she was going to the police, and that she would have me charged. At this point I told her that I still had the pictures, and that she was free to go to the police, that was, as I told her, you don't mind making a complete ******* **** of yourself.

    Chirst some people!

    But what really did bug me, was that I was sure one of the best shots of my trip, if not the best, was on that last roll the one left in the camera. Doh, doh, doh.
     
  16. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    The one that still gives me nightmares is taking the Pentax LX out for it's first real outing to cover a pancake race sponsored and competed in by all the local stores. One really great shot was everyone skidding and falling over on the wet cobble stones. When I got to frame 38 I thought no way, at frame 39 I pulled open the back swearing to myself. Well I had almost loaded the film but I hadn't given it enough leader and the film was still happily sitting at the start. Happily for me it was so wet that there were other fun moments to capture.
     
  17. mark

    mark Member

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    This has never happened to me. I am ashamed of you! You are definately not a photographer and will need to send that illused and abused 8x10 my direction....... :D

    You can say you are not a photographer when you go home, process five sheets of film and realize nothing is on them. Then you realize that you did not process the exposed sheets just the ones you did not expose. That is a stupid mistake....um...I never did that either.
     
  18. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Just as well it wasn't a roll of Patterson, you get 39 shots with 35mm on them. I'm sure you felt really bad, but I'm just pointing out it could have been even worse, well sort of.
     
  19. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    In a way it was bad enough as I was shooting this new fangled colour stuff, I hate shooting colour unless it's nature stuff :tongue:
     
  20. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    You can say you are not a photographer when you go home, process five sheets of film and realize nothing is on them.

    I did do a press conference once. I did it as a favour/to support a well known Glasgow charity. The TV guys were there, the press, loads of pro snappers etc etc. I shot about 5 rolls, probably I was a little trigger happy and nervous, plus all those other cameras going click, click, click, flash, flash, flash,.......hey you have to try and keep up, look the part (ha ha).

    Anyway, one roll I got back from the lab had 5 frames on it, then nothing, absolutely nothing. I've no idea. I still can't figure it out.

    Who the heck started this?
    John!
    You've reminded me of almost all the mistakes I've ever made. I'm getting depressed, maybe I should chuck it. Look at that lot, I'm useless, a failure. Who am I kidding? Artist? Photographer? Plonker maybe.....

    At least Mark figured out what he did. I still ain't worked out what happened to that roll.
     
  21. eagleowl

    eagleowl Member

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    My most embarrassing mistake...

    ...was when I was walking along a river in a nearby town.
    I saw a Crested Grebe,and being keen on nature in general and birds in particular,I took several shots...before I realised I didn't have a film in the camera!!!!
    By the time I loaded,the...bird had flown off,and I haven't seen a Grebe since!
    DOH!!!!
     
  22. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Um, I've sort of done this one too...!

    I was shooting around Liverpool city centre on a quiet Sunday morning and happened across a movie set! They were filming something called Al's Lad's (I think) and had a load of old cars and a few familiar faces (including Ralph Little). I asked for permission to shoot and they kindly told me that as it was a public place they couldn't stop me even if they wanted to!

    I banged off what was in the camera (the end of a roll), reloaded and started shooting again. After a (long) while it dawned on me that this appeared to be a *very* long roll of film.

    Wound on.

    Left hand spool didn't rotate.

    *******!

    Turned out I'd been a bit vigourous with the wind-on while loaded and had bust the sprocket holes on the leader....

    Yes, I can be a real pillock at times! :sad:
     
  23. Magnus

    Magnus Member

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    Pressure ... Presure ?

    You mean like loading the paper of a 120 film onto the spool (and takijg about 30 minutes to do it!) and continuously complaining about how difficult this D***** proces is .... ony to find out after you went through the whole process ???

    And the presure being caused by the will to see the pictures that you had taken that afternoon, which according to yourself would be the best thing since sliced bread ... (and concurrently destroyed the film, treating it like paper, so never finding out if they were any good)

    .... nahh I don't have any of that (humphhhhh)

    :smile: