What many (most?) of the film camera advocates in this thread seem either unwilling or unable to acknowledge is that, while many don't learn with digital, many others do. Lots of people who never picked up a film camera have somehow managed to learn, while they're "fixing it in post", that they could save themselves a lot of work and get better results if they shot it properly in the camera the first time. And guess what? "Fixing it in post" is a pretty good tool for figuring out what you did wrong in-camera, and doing it right the next time. And when that doesn't work, they experiment, or they ask questions, or they do research.
Originally Posted by RPC
This thread is just more proof that some APUGers can't face the fact that there are a lot of digital photographers out there who are producing work that is equal in quality to the best film photographers, and who are equally adept at using the tools of their craft.
If you are learning a practical skill, with whatever tools, I think there is a lot to be said for practice and repeating technique over and over and over again.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
I don't know about other people learning, I can only say about myself.
Trying to learn from the digital or analog side probably makes little difference. For me, I cannot "see." I am trying to learn to see and I think I always will be. Learning technique might be better on digital since you can easily do "what if I did this" or "what if I did that, " iff, in my opinion, you can extrapolate the "this's" and "that's" back to seeing and getting it right in the first place - digital or analog. But since I work at a computer all day, I don't do that very often on my own time.
My approach, and I have no formal photography training at all, has been to find a photograph I like and then try to reverse engineer it and then produce one that brings out whatever I liked in the original in my own subject. And even though I have learned a bunch of technique, I still can't get what I want. My picture never looks like "Grand Tetons and the Snake River." That's when I learned that my pictures suck because I can't see and I can't see because I'm in too much of a rush and don't think.
So for my learning process, it's become about "what did AA "see" when he made this picture?" And now what do I "see" here? And what technique can I use to get something from this situation to look something like what Ansel got that I like so much. And because with film there are no instant results I have to learn to see or I just make crap! (and I make a lot of crap - but less than I used to) Film makes me THINK. And that's made me slow down just a little in life and apply that same sort of thinking to just about everything else.
Of course, you could do this with digital, too, except chimping is boring.
In the end, I think film just makes you smarter.
So, this probably has nothing really to do with the OP but, so what! lol!
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
Of course, practice is never enough -- it has to be proper practice. Repeating bad technique over and over again (and/or not knowing what the proper technique is) just reinforces bad habits. This goes with film and digital photography, playing musical instruments or playing basketball.
Originally Posted by cliveh
Some folks can figure out the proper techniques through experience, readings, and applying intelligent reflection. Others need an understanding teacher. Some need a little (or a lot) of both.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
Folks- this thread is heading downhill and turning once again into a digi-vs-film mutual bashturbation session. In the end what's important is that whatever tool you choose to learn from, you actually LEARN from it. If you insist on being a one-trick pony and repeating the same thing over and over again, it gets tedious. And it doesn't matter if it is film or digital. Let's move along and get on with our lives. Go out and make some images instead of trying to decide if one side or the other is 'pure' or 'impure'. The Salem Witch Trials have been over for almost 400 years.
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Of course we have to remember here that photography is a multifaceted pursuit as I mentioned a few pages back. The craft of using the tools vs the art of the finished photograph.
In this thread we have heard from a number of people that get great joy from the craft of the camera. The joy of the tool. The zen of the act of making photographs. The time spent taking the shot. The setup. The process.
There are other of us that are far more into the art of the finished product. The camera is merely the tool to get there. We care about the print. Not the camera. Not the system. Not whether it's analog or digital.
So for us the repetition of using the tool is nothing more than muscle memory, getting to the point so that the camera is no longer relevant to the mental process of making the art.
It is no more important to us than the brush that a painter uses.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
My point is, if you don't know how to hold a brush, you won't use the technique of painting to the fullest. You can paint-by-numbers and create a wonderfull painting, but that doesn't make you a painter. You have to learn the basics.
You can learn the craft of photography with digital, settings to manual, limited shots and no peeking. But that would be the same as using an old analogue camera without electronic aid. Perhaps a combination of both could learn you the craft of photography. As long as you learn a bit about the story behind the technology. My approach would be, and has been, analogue/manual camera than digital/full aided.
you can be a "student of photography", and take perfect shots on film, chromes, c41, b/w whatever
hand it to the lab to have them do their magic and get the images back in a few hours ...
the lab cooks the film, cross processes the film so it looks like velvia whatever...
you have no idea that you did everything right, and the lab everything wrong.
( you can do a search here on apug
and find countless threads about how a
lab and/or user-error (in the darkroom)
screwed everything up )
with a numeric box you have a way of instantly seeing how over exposing, under exposing
using fill flash, over powering the sun with flash, dragging the shutter, not long exposure &c does
instantly so you can see, practice and move on without a lab screwing with all your efforts.
it has nothing to do with holding a paintbrush, or learning the basics with a fully manual analog camera...
but it has to do with paying attention, and learning...
too much emphasis on the machines, not enough emphasis on anything else ...
Last edited by jnanian; 06-08-2012 at 07:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I used film through the 1990s, then fell out of photography, then took it up again about 5 years ago, first with digital, now with film. I think that since I use speedlights and strobes together, I needed that instant feedback so that I could get enough experience to see what I was attempting to do before I did it. Digital, and the immediate information it provides, gave me several times the amount of information than film would have during that time.
Now, my reason for switching to film is that I can now use it because I'm disciplined enough to take notes about each exposure and diligent enough to actually go back and look at my notes while looking at the negatives or scans. (not doing color process optical enlargements in my house any time soon). Film is useful, and its use seems to refine my technique and the amount of care I take during composition.
Not sure of you know this but the majority of pros in my field use their digital cameras in manual mode and expose to the right ETR. (much like slides in the old days)
Originally Posted by Steven L
The histogram is your friend.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.