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  1. #41

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    FART for good photos, according to Ken Rockwell. Its an acronym that is easy to remember.

    1. Feel the urge to take a photo.
    2. Ask yourself what it is that made you want to take a photograph.
    3. Refine your photograph once you have answered the previous question.
    4. Take the picture.

    This is what KR says he does. Its a remarkably simple yet effective way to photograph landscapes at least. Feel, Ask, Refine, Take. I've noticed in my own photography that if I don't go past feel, my picture isn't as good as if I go through the whole process. Auto exposure with the in-camera meter gives me a starting point for the refine process, because I can choose the aperture or shutter speed to get the result I want without having to set that third leg of the ISO/aperture/shutter speed triangle. I would argue, if pressed, that I do understand photography, even if I choose to let the camera do some of the thinking for me.
    ME Super

    Shoot more film.
    There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.

  2. #42
    Nikanon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbromaghin View Post
    As others have said above, use good equipment and you will get good pictures. If you want to expand beyond that, you better know what you're doing because your brain has to substitute for all that electronic brain power. Do you know more than a computer? Good luck, buddy.
    There is nothing difficult about using a camera in manual, not unless the lens is difficult to turn or the camera is difficult to lift, it's not difficult. The brain power is not substituting the computer, it's the reverse, and the computer has done a horrible job if that was it's task. The computer is an interface, just as the knobs and dials are an interface. When using the camera manually, you interact with the camera, when using it automatically , you consult with the computer that interacts with the camera. That computer is incapable of the creative decisions you make for simple tasks the photographer directly wants the camera to accomplish when the shutter is tripped. The computer may know a lot, but it's not able to do very much with what it knows, and if it could, what would be the point? This is really irrelevant to the idea of using a camera "manually".

    If anything it is much more complex to get a desired result when haggling with an unintelligent machine.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by L Gebhardt View Post
    So if a beginner can let the camera deal with the exposure while they focus on composition (which in my mind includes the aperture) I don't see anything wrong with that. Now fully automatic focus is another issue.
    The problem is that many (most) never actually learn about exposure. They still get decent photos, but they don't understand how or why they did it.

    If end result is the only goal, then fine.

    I just consider it a couple steps away from being a traditional, well-schooled photographer. Then again, the same can be said for a lot of things, like development and printing - I would agree with those being a requirement for, in my mind, a "true" photographer. I don't necessarily qualify, I'm still an amateur picture taker, but slowly working on it. This, by the way, has nothing to do with selling photos. Plenty of folks sell photos, not all of them are photographers.
    Last edited by LyleB; 01-26-2014 at 06:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #44

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    all wrong borrow a box camera load it with ISO400 remember to wind on between shots it is like discarding part of bikini if you are girl…

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikanon View Post
    There is nothing difficult about using a camera in manual, not unless the lens is difficult to turn or the camera is difficult to lift, it's not difficult. The brain power is not substituting the computer, it's the reverse, and the computer has done a horrible job if that was it's task. The computer is an interface, just as the knobs and dials are an interface. When using the camera manually, you interact with the camera, when using it automatically , you consult with the computer that interacts with the camera. That computer is incapable of the creative decisions you make for simple tasks the photographer directly wants the camera to accomplish when the shutter is tripped. The computer may know a lot, but it's not able to do very much with what it knows, and if it could, what would be the point? This is really irrelevant to the idea of using a camera "manually".

    If anything it is much more complex to get a desired result when haggling with an unintelligent machine.
    When we end up "haggling" with a camera, we are really just haggling with it's meter and where it wants to focus.

    The problem isn't that the camera's meter or auto-focus system or it's processing algorithms are "unintelligent"; it is simply that the camera's meter is a reflective metering system and our preferred focus point might not be exactly where you want to point the camera for the final shot.

    The problem, like most photographic problems, is our failure to understand what the system needs to do a good job.

    Modern matrix metering systems do a really good job of setting exposure without our intervention for the grand majority of shots, but it is still a reflective metering system with all the same inherent problems. The camera has to deal with what we show it and sometimes we don't show the meter or the auto-focus system the right subject matter.

    This is nothing new, it has been a problem for ALL TTL cameras, manual or auto, since they first came into being.

    Modern cameras give us a variety of focus/exposure points we can pick from so that we can refine the exposure and focus, we are telling the meter/camera what's most important. This is also why many new cameras are being designed to "look for faces". The thought behind all this is basically the old idea of pointing the camera away from the composition that we really want to place the focus point or split prism on the most important subject matter in the scene, setting exposure and focus while we are there, and then recomposing to get what we want.

    Older cameras that lack selectable points, like the N90s and a plethora of others, can do can solve this issue by recomposing.

    Many modern cameras, anything on par with say a Nikon F100 or better, have easy over-rides to solve these problems completely and even separately making these cameras potentially much faster and more accurate to use than any manual camera without ever changing the grip we hold the camera with. These cameras can be pointed away from the final composition, exposure can be found and locked with one button, then auto-focus can be used separately to track the subject or locked based on a specific point.

    I use this two button technique when shooting sports and weddings especially. Any place where there is high contrast and subjects moving between lighting situations. My daughter did junior olympic kayaking and it was very normal for one frame to have the main subject in full shade with bright white foaming water in full sun filling the rest of the frame 75 feet away, the next frame to have full sun for everything 10 feet away, the frame after that full shade for everything 20 feet away.

    I think people get overwhelmed with all the choices available on the modern cameras and their big manuals, what I think most miss though is that most of these cameras get programmed once, not every time it turns on. I also believe that most people don't know the fancy cameras like F100's and better can be programmed to be able to use exactly the same clues they already use with their manual cameras, instead the cameras are simply judged as delivered from the factory.

    As I age my eyes are getting harder to use, I recently divested myself of all my manual focus 35mm gear because of this.

    Like RalphLambrecht I have found this to be a boon, not a bane. I have more time and brain power available to pay attention to what I'm actually taking pictures of, and I can engage with and enjoy my subjects with fewer distractions.

    It's not hard to run a camera manually, but it is harder and slower than using an automated camera.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    When we end up "haggling" with a camera, we are really just haggling with it's meter and where it wants to focus.

    The problem isn't that the camera's meter or auto-focus system or it's processing algorithms are "unintelligent"; it is simply that the camera's meter is a reflective metering system and our preferred focus point might not be exactly where you want to point the camera for the final shot.

    The problem, like most photographic problems, is our failure to understand what the system needs to do a good job.

    Modern matrix metering systems do a really good job of setting exposure without our intervention for the grand majority of shots, but it is still a reflective metering system with all the same inherent problems. The camera has to deal with what we show it and sometimes we don't show the meter or the auto-focus system the right subject matter.

    This is nothing new, it has been a problem for ALL TTL cameras, manual or auto, since they first came into being.

    Modern cameras give us a variety of focus/exposure points we can pick from so that we can refine the exposure and focus, we are telling the meter/camera what's most important. This is also why many new cameras are being designed to "look for faces". The thought behind all this is basically the old idea of pointing the camera away from the composition that we really want to place the focus point or split prism on the most important subject matter in the scene, setting exposure and focus while we are there, and then recomposing to get what we want.

    Older cameras that lack selectable points, like the N90s and a plethora of others, can do can solve this issue by recomposing.

    Many modern cameras, anything on par with say a Nikon F100 or better, have easy over-rides to solve these problems completely and even separately making these cameras potentially much faster and more accurate to use than any manual camera without ever changing the grip we hold the camera with. These cameras can be pointed away from the final composition, exposure can be found and locked with one button, then auto-focus can be used separately to track the subject or locked based on a specific point.

    I use this two button technique when shooting sports and weddings especially. Any place where there is high contrast and subjects moving between lighting situations. My daughter did junior olympic kayaking and it was very normal for one frame to have the main subject in full shade with bright white foaming water in full sun filling the rest of the frame 75 feet away, the next frame to have full sun for everything 10 feet away, the frame after that full shade for everything 20 feet away.
    This is basically the haggling I was talking about. Although I'm referring mostly to personal work where you are not getting paid and not being forced to make certain kinds of pictures. This is all very complex stuff, it's really a hassle as compared to setting the camera as one enters a new lighting situation and leaving it there until you enter another one. If you're talking about 1/1000 of a second, the extra haggling matters. Cameras of any kind are unintelligent. They can acquire information but not apply it. My point in saying that is that using an automatic feature assumes the camera will understand your intention based on where you point it. Autofocus in many situations will focus on an undesired location requiring refocusing or causing defocus. "Average metering scan be easily overwhelmed by an imbalance in intensity. Yes there are times when a user will get lucky and the camera focus and expose as desired, but the fact that that is not a 100% ratio and that mistakes are then made by both the photographer and the computer, there are more headaches created. I don't care much what camera it is, relatively old or new, Nikon D4, or a Sinar P2, just setting the shutter, the aperture, and focus, and having that shutter trip when the button is pressed is essential.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikanon View Post
    My point in saying that is that using an automatic feature assumes the camera will understand your intention based on where you point it.
    It is never the camera, or the meter, or the fancy computer in them, that screws up.

    As long as our cameras/meters are in good repair and have full batteries where needed, we only have ourselves to blame.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    It is never the camera, or the meter, or the fancy computer in them, that screws up.

    As long as our cameras/meters are in good repair and have full batteries where needed, we only have ourselves to blame.
    I am saying that in a sense, but I am going further in saying that adding an automatic feature to bother with adds another point of error. If our primary mode of error is in forgetfulness, absentmindedness, sluggishness, etc, then if you add something else which has its own issues on top of those, you have a greater chance of error. If you mess up 1/100 of the time, and the automatic features are inaccurate (mis-focus, incorrect exposure automatically given, etc) 1/100 of the time, then instead of just messing up once out of a 100 times, you will have increased your chances of messing up to 1 out of 50 times. Not that these things can be measured consistently, but that is my point.

  9. #49
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    Automatic features don't not necessarily add more points of error. In many cases they actually take away points of error, like my old eyes. They do though require a bit of understanding and practice on our part.

    Autofocus has always been better than me at it's job. A lot better.
    When I have a focus failure, it is because I did not execute my part well. That is true for manual or auto, no difference, no extra point of error.

    Metering is no different.
    Every form of metering and setting exposure takes practice to master, we need to figure out what the exceptions and limitations are and how to deal with them. The tools/features built into our cameras are very reliable and very predictable. Again there is no extra point of error, we either understand the tool we are using or we don't.

    I'm not a big golf fan but I have been intrigued by the trajectory of Tiger Woods "game". Specifically what has caught my attention has been when he has opted to change his swing. These changes have each taken his game down a notch or two before they began paying off with better results.

    Photography is no different, when we choose to learn a new technique or tool we are more prone to errors. It's not the tools messing up, it's us.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    It is never the camera, or the meter, or the fancy computer in them, that screws up.
    Well, it depends on what you mean by "screws up". An averaging meter will correctly average a backlit exposure, a working autoexposure system will set the aperture and shutter speed to match that averaged result, and in the end the subject will be less exposed than the photographer intended.[1] It didn't screw up, in the sense that all the parts worked as they were supposed to work, but the automatic system failed to get the desired result.

    That's fine if you know what happened and why; you look at the settings and compensate for the backlighting. But the knowledge to do that isn't something you're born with; it's easy to grasp IF you understand how exposure works in the first place...and I think LyleB is right, above, that most people who take casual snapshots never actually learn that fundamental aspect. They don't have to know about gear ratios to drive a car with an automatic transmission[2], they don't have to know about Turing machines to use an iPad, why would they expect to have to know about exposure to use a camera?

    -NT


    [1] Yeah, yeah, I know there are exceptions where the averaged reading and the dark profiled subject against a normally exposed background would be exactly what you want. I'm talking about the normal case that bites casual photographers, and sometimes forgetful serious photographers, when they shoot someone standing with their back to the sun.

    [2] Double clutching---who remembers double clutching? I'm pretty sure most people under---I don't know, somewhere in middle age---don't know what it is or that it was once necessary.
    Nathan Tenny
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    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

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