Fellow software engineer: I run into the same thing; I need more compiler switches on my camera , I've done several things to combat this illness, a few have already been posted:
1) I bought one of those "toy" camera's, a Diana (don't shoot me people ). It actually has been really valuable because you can't fuss with it too much. There is NO METERING!!!!I can spend more time looking at the composition, getting more "candid" photos, etc.
Also, I've shot slide film in it, and I was amazed at how good it came out. Perhaps slide films are not that cranky after all.
2) Pick up an interesting read "The Tao of photography" http://www.amazon.com/Tao-Photograph.../dp/1580081940 The authors have some interesting ideas and solutions to this problem being creative.
3) Don't worry about the quality of each shot, like the shadow detail (as mentioned above) or anything else. I've got two grown sons and the last thing I think about when I look at old photos of them as children is the technical aspects of the picture; it really is not important 20 years down the road.
4) Pick a subject and shoot a roll. I like to photograph old barns in my area; they are disappearing at an alarming rate. I'll grab a new roll, and burn it in a few hours and just see what comes out. I don't allow myself much time, see the picture, take it and move on.
The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.
- Paul Strand
Excuse this philosophical musing. It comes from a dinosaur that hatched in a world where cameras did not have meters.
Eventually the technical side becomes part of you and takes care of itself. In particular your exposure decisions become instinctive and amazingly accurate.
Ironically this blessed state comes more quickly when you stop the camera metering every shot and instead set the camera (focus, aperture, shutter speed) manually. This way a chain of causality builds up; what you see determines what you do determines what you get. After a few dozen, hundred, or thousand iterations of this sequence your judgement becomes seriously reliable.
The worst obstacle to exposure assurance is a camera with exposure automation whether aperture priority, shutter priority, or programme. The causal chain fails. You know what you saw and what you got but at the moment of exposure the camera cuts you out of the process. There is little to learn that will help you with your next shot or your next hundred.
Admittedly the best metering systems are programmed to reward hope and do so well enough to keep camera sales moving. But when I really want the shot and I won't get a second chance and I want to avoid the anxiety of "did I get it or did I miss" then I will use the manual settings that worked every time before.
Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.
Many of us have taken a ride on that Creative/Technical rollercoaster. Eventually you come to a place where the ride smooths out and each side does its part well. But the ups and downs are simply part of the journey.
I second the use of a toy camera (or 3)... Holgas and Brownies are my instruments of choice. Loads of fun (if its not fun, why do it??)!
"So I am turning over a new leaf but the page is stuck". Diane Arbus
Sounds like digital on P mode works for what you shoot and what you want. I say have at it. Just realize that everything has its good and its bad. Very rarely will you get a technically ideal shot this way. On the other hand, the only thing you think about this way is composition, which is the most important and unique part of any photo, IMO.
Personally, I tend to be disappointed by photos in which the composition is good, but the technical aspects are different than I would like, however. For instance, too much or too little depth of field, not quite the exposure that my manual mind would have chosen, too much or too little motion blur, etc. That is what you get on P mode. On the other hand, many technical flaws are easily excused if you have timed the shot just right, but would not have done so if you had taken the time to manually adjust everything.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-22-2010 at 07:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
the problem with today is that cameras offer too much control.
get a box camera and just have fun. that is what they did for 100 years before now why not repeat history.
who cares if the slides aren't perfect, things that are NOT perfect tend to be more interesting.
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Creativity(art) VS Tech(sci./Logic)
and why you can't do that-------
Will craftsmanship survive--
(the software geek special)
Once you have figured out manual mode, that's great. Now you don't NEED to use it. Some film camera do a fabulous job automatic metering for slides. My Nikon f4s was one such. Other cameras with simpler center weighted metering can also do a great job as long as you are aware of what messes them up, like backlighting, etc.. I usually shoot aperture priority myself, using manual when I sometimes need to such as for flash. My first camera was an aperture priority only olympus SLR, so I learned to work smoothly with that. My wifes DSLR, I just leave it on P and it's good.
Certain automatic features are great for the kodak moments. I like autoexposure AND autofocus for photographing kids activities. I don't depend on these things because other times I'm using 100% manual TLRs and LF gear. But I do like AE and AF for 35mm for times when I am not given extra moments to prepare for a photo.
Auto-exposure plus exposure over-ride works well for me.
In most cases, I let the meter do its work. Sometimes though, it's obvious that I would want the result a bit lighter or a bit darker than "average", so I use the over-ride.
It is quick and a bit more precise, without overdoing it.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Some thirty years ago when using just Kodachrome/Ektachrome, I don't recall any bad slides. (Of course I may have tossed them and can't remember). My camera at that time only allowed for Aperture Priority. I still prefer that mode over all others. For me that's the creative mode on a camera. If the camera is selecting the correct exposure, all I really want to control is the point of focus, the depth of focus, and the composition.
Last edited by anon12345; 08-23-2010 at 12:55 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The great dilemma......technically perfect or flawed and interesting?
It's nice if you can achieve both positive outcomes but I tend to find if I try too hard on the technical side I miss the light or scene I want to capture. I suppose this is the convergence of photography as a craft and photography as an art form.
My objective (one I will probably never achieve) is to be so utterly confident with the gear I have that I can rely on my sub-conscious for the mechanics and concentrate almost 100% on getting the shot "right" in the frame...
Paul Jenkin (a late developer...)