Intuitive capture and process

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    How much do APUG members feel that image capture and process/print realisation is intuitive rather than measured and calculated?
     
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I lean toward "measured & calculated" for exposure& film processing but intuitive for capture & printing if that is what you are asking.

    I do make test strips but print more by eye.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I'd say that exposing the film is about 75% intuitive for me and exposing the paper is probably around 90% intuitive.
    (caveat: I pretty much only shoot B&W negative film anymore).
    Unless the camera has a built in meter, I'll guess the exposure and sometimes check it with a simple meter.
    In the darkroom, I don't even bother to make test strips anymore.
    If I cannot make a decent print in three or four tries, I'll move on.

    Photography is supposed to be fun.
    Obsessing about little, insignificant details is not fun for me.
    (EDIT: My work, which has nothing to do with photography, is all about the details.)
     
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  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The aesthetics are intuitive. The technicalities are measured.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Depends which process and which gear is involved. To me, the process of composing and producing images with slide and instant film is more intuitive than b&w. Shooting with pinhole on positive material is as intuitive as it gets, to me. Obviously it pretty much *all* feels intuitive now. But I'll be honest that it wasn't always so.

    Based on my interactions with young students and what I remember of my own learning process, the nonintuitive bits are things like lens effects (including inversion and depth of field effects), exposure nomenclature, negative images, b&w tonality, etc. And for some people, working with a rangefinder somehow never quite sinks in, for a number of reasons.

    I find that today's young learners pretty much unanimously think that digital is more intuitive, because they aren't exposed to the technical wizardry going on in the black box and just see what they expect to see on a screen. This is a very important selling point, to young people, and it'll ultimately drive the market toward removal of viewfinders altogether. Nevertheless, everybody seems to love to play with a big LF camera and see the image on the GG.

    It's (perhaps) interesting to note what motivated Land to invent instant film. His daughter (?) Remarked something like, if you captured the image in the box then why can't we see it? So off Land went, to the lab...
     
  6. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I lean towards this. Though I also use what I've always called the "Fisher Fudge Factor." On the back of prints, it will have the filter, aperture, and time written as well as a general description of the burning and dodging, if those were done. If it also says FFF or fff, then I guessed at something based on my gut and prior experience. These frequently turn out just fine. I'm not quite at that point with exposing film, but getting there. I definitely use my gut and seeing what grabs me when deciding which direction to point the camera in the first place.
     
  7. blockend

    blockend Member

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    In recent years I've become frustrated with composition. First, I don't think my eye is as good as it was twenty years ago, second, I find many photographs to be formulaic, mine included. While I get a much higher hit rate of good shots through the viewfinder, the really exciting ones are generally from the hip, chest, arm's length, but rarely the eye. I don't mean blasting away blindly, but liberating myself from the tyranny of the frame and my expectations of composition by 'feeling' for the shot rather than putting it in harness to my expectations. The decisive moment seems to be a combination of control and happenstance.

    Technically I'm confident enough in exposure many years' experience to know how the image will print.
     
  8. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    After more thought, I'd like to add....
    When I first used a camera, I knew very little about exposure and just shot what I found interesting. Most of the shots from back then are questionable as to technique (if there's even an image), but the compositions were fairly good. Then I realized how bad the exposures were and started concentrating on that; the composition got left behind. Now, I have (usually) enough of a handle on exposure that I'm trying to get back to how I composed back when I started. It's easier to learn exposure than to relearn composition, imo. There were breaks of several years within all of this process, too, but the last 10 years or so have mostly been spent relearning exposure and relearning composition (I had my first camera at age 5, went to 35mm at 12).
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    How about a sketching course?

    A friend got me started on woodcuts and sketches and such and that helped get me out of a prolonged funk.
     
  10. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I feel it's definitely a combination of the two. I like the term "image management" as described in The Camera because it is so very appropriate, this part of the process gives me the most fits i.e., composing and focusing a LF image on the groundglass, it's more mechanical than intuitive for me at this point for sure. I find decisions regarding exposing and processing to be largely intuitive, and more fluid, the same for printing.
     
  11. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Curiously, I do draw and make etchings and linocuts! However the photographs I prefer are chaotic, not finely composed and consequently the editing process is more exercise in discovery than it used to be.
     
  12. Maris

    Maris Member

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    There is no such thing as genuine "intuitive" in photography ; at least in my experience. People often point 'n click cameras with hope, optimism, curiosity, earnest intent, and maybe a few other motivations but intuition doesn't come into it. The nearest I've seen is the aleatory approach where everything is shot incessantly and maybe something nice will be discovered on the contact sheets.

    In my time as a gallerist looking at portfolio after portfolio from hopeful photographers I heard them say "intuitive" quite often but inevitably "intuitive" was a code word or excuse for: "I really like this picture but I don't know how I got it". "Intuitive" sounds a lot better than "lucky" but it amounts to the same thing if you shoot enough frames.
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    You are of course entitled to your own opinion but I strongly disagree :wink:

    There are individuals who can, when standing at one perspective, easily imagine the scene from another and move appropriately. (If you know an architect, you will likely find that spatial intuition in that person as well) I also know individuals who can't see a damn thing unless it's through a viewfinder. And there are photographers who have a real knack for sensing what others will find effective.

    Personally, I have a number of shots in my head that I haven't been able to take yet. We got into a lengthy discussion about 'previsualization' in this context.

    Whether you call it "intuition" or imagination or something else, whatever. Semantics are less important than knowing that there is a big difference between spray 'n pray and what most skilled photographers do.
     
  14. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I second this---good comments.
     
  15. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I have been at it so long, LF for over 70 years, that I suppose even the calculations are essentially intuitive.
     
  16. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I have been at it only half the time you have, Jim, but I agree -- the technical becomes intuitive after awhile.