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Thread: On Technique

  1. #41
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgb74 View Post
    But I'd be hard pressed to articulate where mechanics end and technique begins. The best I can do at first glance is that technique is "what" and mechanics are" how".
    And vision is... WHY.

    Vision is why Shakespeare picked up a quill, Rodin a chisel, Van Gogh a brush (his technique and mechanics were considered way sub-standard by the way... too bad, he had quite the eye) and Ronis a camera.

    I'm not knocking technique, or mechanics (or "craft") but they are pointless without the creative spark. Technique and colour theory and film curves and the minutia of the craft are great topics to debate and/or argue on the internet, but they are not reasons to create photographs. A creative vision - even a small one - is WHY we make photographs.
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  2. #42
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    In the relatively short time I've been here at APUG I have gone through various phases. I've had a variety of ah ha moments that have fundamentally changed the way I shoot and process.

    Many of the things I thought I knew about photography when I got here were skewed or flat out wrong. I look at some of my posts and wonder how I could ever have been so goofed up.

    I have grown and changed and learned. I hope that anyone who comes here can learn and change for the better, as much a I have.

    I do find it a bit odd to think that someone might expect me or someone else to follow my/our old patterns forever and call me/us out for exploring a new path or new idea.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

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

  3. #43
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    Thomas, a lot of people here, and I am definitely including myself in this list would be very happy if we had your level of technical skill and knowledge or ever got close to reaching it. I understand your point that you have reached a level where you prefer to focus on vision and seeing, but for quite a few of us here improvement of our technical skill set will positively improve our images.

    BTW I don't think Michael R tried to rip on you, he just pointed out what I try to say here. What you consider simple technique may be completely out of reach for quite a few here, just read your postings about Rodinal vs. HC110.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toffle View Post
    And vision is... WHY.

    Vision is why Shakespeare picked up a quill, Rodin a chisel, Van Gogh a brush (his technique and mechanics were considered way sub-standard by the way... too bad, he had quite the eye) and Ronis a camera.

    I'm not knocking technique, or mechanics (or "craft") but they are pointless without the creative spark. Technique and colour theory and film curves and the minutia of the craft are great topics to debate and/or argue on the internet, but they are not reasons to create photographs. A creative vision - even a small one - is WHY we make photographs.
    Well said, Tom. The plain truth is that all the technical knowledge in the world is not going to buy anyone a great image. Sometimes a bit of ignorance is indeed bliss because there is nothing to clutter the creative mind. The key is to know just enough to master your materials. That's it.

    From a personal standpoint, and just as a little anecdote about the importance of knowing a few fundamentals, which are invariably what drives so many here crazy. I've always loved APX100 and Rodinal but my results where always spotty, like I was missing it most of the time. There were no answers from everyone's opinion on the internet because it's my Rodinal, my water, my agitation, etc. Just winging it all the time only added frustration, which in turn hindered creativity, since I was always doubting myself. So, I've sent 12 rolls (6 35mm and 6 120) to Fred Newman at the View Camera Store and $90 for a film test. Exposed it with a 21 step tablet and calibrated lighting, sent it back to me, I developed with my method, sent it back to him, and he plotted everything there is to know for me now about that film. I've shot two rolls over this past weekend and it was an epiphany. Slapped some grade 2 paper under the enlarger and blasted 5 prints in 45 minutes with just minor burning for cosmetics. On the field, I took two incident meter readings to establish my average development time based on brightness range, a couple of meter readings with my Leica in shadows to establish exposure and spent the rest of the day enjoying shooting with APX100 like I had not in a while. Best $90 I've ever spent.

    Now, I know just enough about my materials to take good photographs. If they are not good, it is because my creativity or vision sucks and I can't blame it on process and waste time finding magic bullets or holy grails. Test your materials once, learn, and enjoy shooting. Simple technique at the service of creativity.
    Last edited by MaximusM3; 10-17-2011 at 08:18 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #45
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    You just have to listen to half a classic-rock album, or a famous classical pianist/violinist, to realize that, anyone can learn how to play an instrument, technically, from a sheet of paper with notes on it, but it's a far cry from actual musical and creative talent.

    Dare I say..... If Ansel Adams, Cartier Bresson, Cappa or any other "icon" started out today, they would never have been the icons that they are conceived to be, they would simply drown in the massive amount of better talent that exist today.

    Decisive moment...hmm...most things that I find interesting with Bresson's photos, are the times he documented, what they wore, how the world looked back then. I cannot see this "perfect moment" in many of his photos, other when some curator's sub-text over-explains how the photo "is supposed to work" for the viewer. You can critique a photographic image any way you want, you can crush it trough finding all it's faults, or you can start seeing things and start praising them, things the photographer may never even have realized while taking the actual photo.
    - You can critique by saying that the corn-fields straight lines, creates an unbalanced photo, and thus it's a bad composition, or you can say that the corn-fields straight line, creates an unbalanced photo, giving it a more dynamic impression and thus helping the eye to move around and follow the photo better.

    Funny isn't it? =)

    I've seen A. Adams photos and I find most of them utterly boring and lifeless, the man totally lacked (in my view) a closeness to his subject. Sure, a pioneer, creating the zone system, but an artist...no way. So what if you can have all the zones in the zone-system in your final print, it's utter crap if it doesn't move the viewer/you/people in general.

    I've also seen many war photograps depicting various situations much more telling than the melted photos of Cappa from D-Day, or his photo from the Spanish civil war(?), the soldier getting shot. The thing is, Cappa's photograps are historical documents, the melting of the D-day photos added to their nature somehow (as luck would have it, imagine if they turned white instead).

    (Am I getting to anyone yet? because I can go on and on about these so-called "great icons of our time" ).

    I bet you that on Apug alone, there are literary hundreds of "Bressons", "Ansels" with more creative talent, more technical know-how and expertise than the old icons that everyone is looking so much up to.
    - Being a magnum photographer, wasn't about being the "best", it was basically a workers-union for photographers. Nowdays, when you hear that someone is a Magnum photographer, people assume they can make water into wine, walk on water and fly.

    And you can never calculate your way to a "good photo", a good photo has nothing to do with the technical expertise therein, as long as it moves the viewer/you/people in general. BUT, I think that if you got the talent, the creativity and the will to learn all the "tools" and "techniques" you can, you will have a much broader repertoire to create and that will be amazing....but without TALENT and CREATIVITY, you can read all the books you like, it will still be crap.

    -
    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

  6. #46
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    Very well put HelinoP... and I couldn't agree more.

    I have much to say on this topic as well and will add to it.
    Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!

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  7. #47

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    Ansel Adams did not "create" the zone system. The Zone System is a rough and very useful practical approximation for sensitometry, inherent in all film photographical. Not being concerned with exposure is bizarre; for a start it makes printing much more straightforward.


    Tom

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helinophoto View Post
    You just have to listen to half a classic-rock album, or a famous classical pianist/violinist, to realize that, anyone can learn how to play an instrument, technically, from a sheet of paper with notes on it, but it's a far cry from actual musical and creative talent.

    Dare I say..... If Ansel Adams, Cartier Bresson, Cappa or any other "icon" started out today, they would never have been the icons that they are conceived to be, they would simply drown in the massive amount of better talent that exist today.

    Decisive moment...hmm...most things that I find interesting with Bresson's photos, are the times he documented, what they wore, how the world looked back then. I cannot see this "perfect moment" in many of his photos, other when some curator's sub-text over-explains how the photo "is supposed to work" for the viewer. You can critique a photographic image any way you want, you can crush it trough finding all it's faults, or you can start seeing things and start praising them, things the photographer may never even have realized while taking the actual photo.

    I've seen A. Adams photos and I find most of them utterly boring and lifeless, the man totally lacked (in my view) a closeness to his subject. Sure, a pioneer, creating the zone system, but an artist...no way. So what if you can have all the zones in the zone-system in your final print, it's utter crap if it doesn't move the viewer/you/people in general.

    I've also seen many war photograps depicting various situations much more telling than the melted photos of Cappa from D-Day, or his photo from the Spanish civil war(?), the soldier getting shot. The thing is, Cappa's photograps are historical documents, the melting of the D-day photos added to their nature somehow (as luck would have it, imagine if they turned white instead).

    (Am I getting to anyone yet? because I can go on and on about these so-called "great icons of our time" ).

    I bet you that on Apug alone, there are literary hundreds of "Bressons", "Ansels" with more creative talent, more technical know-how and expertise than the old icons that everyone is looking so much up to.
    - Being a magnum photographer, wasn't about being the "best", it was basically a workers-union for photographers. Nowdays, when you hear that someone is a Magnum photographer, people assume they can make water into wine, walk on water and fly.

    And you can never calculate your way to a "good photo", a good photo has nothing to do with the technical expertise therein, as long as it moves the viewer/you/people in general. BUT, I think that if you got the talent, the creativity and the will to learn all the "tools" and "techniques" you can, you will have a much broader repertoire to create and that will be amazing....but without TALENT and CREATIVITY, you can read all the books you like, it will still be crap.


    Boy aren't you correct on all counts You may ruffle some feathers here but it is the truth. The interesting part is that people like Bresson, never thought of their photographs to be anything more than "good"..sometimes. They snapped, sent them out to be processed, someone else printed them. The viewers, galleries, art collectors, are the ones who elevated them to legend status. For them, it was their bread and butter, if that. It is all so subjective that it is impossible to slap any labels on anything. For me Ansel Adams's photographs are glorified vacation snapshots made by a guy who really knew his materials, how to expose, and most of all, how to create the WOW factor in the darkroom. He was a Photoshop man of his time all the way. Yes, there is better talent today but it is hard to discern because it is largely diluted by incredible amounts of junk, which makes it harder to sift through.
    Anyway, Steve Jobs never finished college, John Lennon didn't know how to write or read music, and Hendrix didn't know what a pentatonic scale was. You get my drift

  9. #49

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    [QUOTE=Thomas Bertilsson;1248579]
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post

    So we're down to personal attacks now, are we? I was beginning to like you.

    Did it ever occur to you that I might be printing old negatives? Did it ever occur to you that I might have not always reasoned the way I have for the last three years, trying to get away from using too many materials, which I feel got me nowhere? Can we get back on schedule now, discussing something important, like not counting how many developers Thomas used to use?
    Sorry about that Thomas I really didn't mean it as an attack or anything negative at all. Apologize if it came off that way. Hopefully I can get you to resume beginning to like me
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 10-17-2011 at 09:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #50

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    It's in vogue to slam Ansel. He's an easy target. I think a significant part of the reason people find Ansel boring is they've seen the work of the million and one rip-off, knock-off photographers who've come since. It's a shame, really. I'd also point out many people judge Adams's creative talent based on a relatively small selection of his images that have become ubiquitous.

    Helinophoto's comments hold no truths. All it is, is personal taste. I really don't think there are more "better" photographers now than there ever were. It might just seem that way because for every Ansel Adams or Paul Strand or (pick any name from the first half of the century), there are now thousands of copyist photographers.

    Frankly, I'm a little disappointed someone like Maximus agrees with all that nonsense. When you talk about the WOW factor in the darkroom, have you looked at earlier printings of Adams's work? It seems to me people are most familiar only with his late 1970s prints, the ones that appear in all the books and have all the zing. And when you say there is better talent today, what exactly are you basing that on? How is that defined? What does a statement like that even mean?

    What a disappointing turn this thread has taken.

    Statements about how Lennon couldn't write music, etc are such tired arguments. Sure, Hendrix wrote good stuff without knowing what a pentatonic scale is, but Bach also wrote great music, and he knew everything.
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 10-17-2011 at 09:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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