TALKING IMAGES 61 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 7: WHICH IS BEST, FILM OR DIGITAL?

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

POST 6: Most photographers copyright their images and jealously guard them but, for me, Life is simply too short for all of this bother; and it is rare for digital images to be irretrievably stolen, as for example a film negative might be.
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WHICH IS BEST, FILM OR DIGITAL???

Hahaha!!! >>> well, this post has a deliberately provocative title and, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I don’t think either film or digital is better in absolute terms >>> they’re simply two different entities, each with their own positives and negatives.  That said, personally I’m very much a digital photographer, because digital does exactly what I want – which the bottom line really –  but I will still try to give a balanced comparison of these two processes.

What are my qualifications for commenting here?  Well, I shot film from the 1950s up to around 2009 or so, and processed black and white in wet darkrooms at school and university – although with hindsight I was never really much good at this processing.  The later years of my film days mostly involved shooting colour slides, a lot of Agfa CT18, some (really quite exciting) Agfa Scala black and white slides, and finally a lot of Fujichrome.  One thing about shooting slide film is that everything has to be right at the point of capture – composition, framing, exposure, the lot – and this is really good practice/discipline for photography generally.

And then I’ve been shooting digital since early 2009 >>> using DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compacts >>>and plastered many of the resulting pics onto this blog – alongside quite a few of my film images that I’ve scanned.

So, the big question, digital or film??????????

And of course one answer is that there’s absolutely no reason to restrict yourself to either >>> why not shoot both???   But let’s look at each in turn.

FILM – ADVANTAGES

  • Many say that images on film have a better ‘look’ to digital images, the latter often being considered to look rather too sterile and precise.  This may well be true.  Lots of digital image processing packages have attempted to remedy this but I really don’t know enough about these to comment.  Does anyone have any input on the effectiveness (or not) of these software packages in making digital images appear more film-like?
  • There is also talk of a renaissance of film, of its recently increasing use, and lots of young photographers apparently see it as very cool and fashionable.  Again I can’t really comment, although I have to admit to some scepticism.  Again though, any comments?
  • One thing is for sure: if you’re after a very hands on and tangible approach to photography, film is the thing.  Just think:  buying uncut lengths of film in bulk; loading your own film cassettes; developing and printing your own films in a real, wet darkroom.  Or doing as I did in later years, shooting colour or black and white slides, which I then posted off to specialist processors – all of the pictures on this blog’s front page were shot on film.
  • Its said that using film slows down our photography and makes us think more about each shot, not least because there are only a relatively small number of shots per film.   These points are very likely true, but personally I value being able to take shots – as, when and how rapidly I like – without having to think about changing the film.

FILM – DISADVANTAGES

  • But then there are the (not inconsiderable) costs of buying film and paying for its processing, or buying processing chemicals and equipment for yourself.
  • Along with the fact that very few if any new film cameras are being made any more, except in the largest formats.
  • There are still many second hand film cameras around at the moment but, as time passes, they may need repair by specialists.

 

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DIGITAL – ADVANTAGES

I was initially very sceptical of digital photography, in fact I was a die hard film user.  Until I saw a friend’s digital images on his computer – and until Nikon produced the D700 DSLR, which I could afford and which seemed capable of producing images comparable to my wonderful Nikon F6 film camera.  I seem to remember a brief transition period when I was shooting both formats, but then digital very decisively took over and I’ve never looked back.  Much as I enjoyed using film cameras – the Olympus OM-1 comes very much to mind here – it is for me unthinkable to even contemplate a return to film.  My reasons?

  • I’m attracted by the very powerful and accessible creative potential of digital photography, even when used with fairly simple processing software like Adobe Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2.
  • I’ve already mentioned not having to think about changing films and having to carry spare films with me.
  • Another very important point is the ability to shoot each frame at a different ISO, though I’ve yet to use auto ISO.
  • And then there are ISO values that digital allows me to shoot at – I can well remember the stir when the D700 (and its predecessor) allowed over 25,000 ISO, and now the Z 6 reaches up to 204,800!!!  I know, I know, there will be gasps of revulsion, and “the quality will be terrible! … you’ll be able to see the noise!! … the pictures won’t look real!! …! >>> to which I have two, very definite answers: (1) if its a case of 200,000+ ISO or I don’t get the picture, I’m getting the picture;  and (2) its certainly worth trying out 200,000+ (although I’ve yet to), because the effects may in fact prove to be creative >>> and, as in POST 5  >>> if it looks good, it is good!
  • And then of course the ability to shoot on colour and/or mono, though I always shoot top quality, full colour, Raw files and do my mono conversions post-capture, either in-camera (sometimes) or on a computer.
  • I don’t have to scan my images into digital to present them on this blog.
  • Digital cameras do many things for me, which enables me to think more about my surroundings and what I can see through the viewfinder or screen, and to think about composition.
  • Instant appraisal of images (though I did enjoy the anticipation of waiting for my developed/printed films to come back from the processor).
  • And I am totally unable here to stop myself putting in a plug for mirrorless cameras which, to me, are simply magic – once again, freeing up my mind to concentrate more on what I’m photographing and on composition.  I mean, for example, accurate auto focus (a blessing for my tired old eyes!); and live histograms, horizons and exposure adjustments visible in the viewfinder.  What do I use?  Well, the mirrorless Nikon Z 6 and Fujifilm X-T2;  and, in these days of Coronavirus, the far more portable and compact Olympus TOUGH TG-5.

DIGITAL – DISADVANTAGES

  1. Having to buy some sort of computer or smartphone; memory cards; batteries, processing software (although free software is available, and many modern cameras and phones have some processing software inbuilt).  Many film cameras were totally mechanical (or a small battery was needed only for the light meter), whereas all digital cameras need batteries (and often spare batteries too if large numbers of pictures are to be taken).
  2. Ending up with vast numbers of unprinted images on phones or hard drives, which can be all too prone to failure;  and hence leading to the need for regular backing up routines.
  3. Using a more remote process than film, by which I mean not having the tangible, touchy feely relationship with the photographic process but, rather, using a camera, a keyboard and software.
  4. Feeling less easy about changing lenses on digital cameras, especially in windy / dusty / seaside etc environments, due to the danger of getting dirt onto the sensor.  As some kind of solution, many digital cameras now have internal, sensor-cleaning routines, and it is possible to have sensors professionally cleaned.  But the fact remains, that the sensors in film cameras – i.e. the films – were changed after every 24 or 36 shots, and a new sensor loaded;  and that it was easier to clean the insides of the film cameras themselves than it is digital cameras.
  5. Have I missed anything???

A FINAL POINT: TECHNOLOGY RACES EVER ONWARDS

I lived in Kenya 1977-89 and, if I wanted colour slide film that could be developed locally (i.e. in Kenya), then Agfa CT 18 was the sole (and excellent) choice for at least most of that time.  But when I got back into “serious” (LOL!) photography in the UK, in around 2002 or so, I was absolutely taken aback by the quality of the new colour slide films that were available, especially those made by Fujifilm – the likes of Fujichrome Velvia 50 and Velvia 100, and the totally wonderful Fujichrome Provia 400X.

My point here is that technology races ever onwards and that there have been very significant improvements in both digital sensors and electronic viewfinders (EVFs) in the past few years, so much so that many earlier digital cameras now appear crude and over large – as well as very highly expensive when they were first produced.  I realise that many reading this post will already have made their minds up about the road that they will take – film or digital or both – and it is not for me to try to change those decisions.  But I do urge those with any interest at all in digital to get an idea of what modern sensors and EVFs are capable of.

And the final, final(!) point here is that, as I’ve been reading, digital cameras (full frame and smaller) have probably become as good as they need to be, such that future “upgrades” may be driven more by marketing campaigns for “must have” features rather than by actual, hands on usefulness to photographers.

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TALKING IMAGES 60 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 6: COPYRIGHT? I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

POST 5: All that really matters is the final photographic image that you produce: details of the equipment used, the types and amounts of cropping and post-capture processing are irrelevant – if your final image looks good, it is good!

COPYRIGHT?  I REALLY CAN’T BE BOTHERED – FOR 3 REASONS

1: LIFE’S TOO SHORT! – I suppose that when thinking about copyright, I can sum my feelings up with the phrase – “LIFE’S TOO SHORT!”.  There are many, many other more worthwhile things to think about in Life.  We live in a highly materialistic world in which money and possessions govern everything for many, many people – and in these pandemic days we are seeing this even more clearly than usual, as the rush to re-open nations’ economies is inevitably leading to more people dying – it is a simple trade off between lives and livelihoods.  I’ve said many times on this blog that I’m trying to pursue a simple life, and this desire has only intensified now that I’m retired.

I would not think like this though if I were in any way a professional photographer, deriving income from my images, but being any kind of professional photographer is certainly NOT something that I ever want to be >>> being an amateur gives me total freedom to enjoy photography – how, as, when and where I chose, with no pressure whatsoever from anyone else.

Its true that I do put some very basic copyright metadata into each of my images, but I really have no idea whether this information can be removed or not, and I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over that.  Also, all of my images are posted at only moderate quality, which may make them less appealing to thieves, but this is primarily to avoid overloading the space allotted to my blog by WordPress, and to (perhaps) make my images open quicker.

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2: MOST DIGITAL PHOTOS ARE NOT TOTALLY STOLEN the stealing of unique film negatives or positives (i.e. slides, transparencies) can mean that pictures are gone forever.  What is being stolen has a physical presence, and can be materially removed from one’s possession forever.  But in this digital age, for example on Instagram or WordPress, the owner is still left with at least the master version, and so is still in possession of the actual image.

The concern then of course is that the thief may go on to make money or kudos from the stolen copy but, really, I can live with that.  I read somewhere recently that someone had their photos stolen from Instagram and that one of the stolen photos was entered into a competition and actually won a prize.  I can only see this as very sad behaviour; I can only feel very sorry for anyone who would even consider doing such a thing.

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3: PUTTING TITLES AND WATERMARKS ONTO IMAGES IS OUT – now here we get back to the personal preferences which I talked a lot about in POST 1: of this series.  Personally, I feel that the image is everything, and I have not the slightest inclination to deface it in any way, regardless of whether this may leave it more vulnerable to theft.  So I never put titles or watermarks onto images.  Many titles are not overly intrusive, its true, but here on WordPress I’ve been stunned to see some really heavily intrusive watermarks.

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TALKING IMAGES 59 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 5: IF IT LOOKS GOOD >>> IT IS GOOD!!!

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

POST 4: Don’t clutter up your pictures >>> use the camera’s viewfinder/screen (and cropping too) to remove unwanted/irrelevant material from images to make them simpler, more effective and more direct >>> less can be more, simple can be beautiful!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FINAL IMAGE: IF IT LOOKS GOOD IT IS GOOD!

To put it politely, there is a lot of rubbish floating around in certain photographic circles as to how photography should be done.  It all revolves around equipment, techniques, the recording medium (film, digital, etc), the type and amount of post-capture processing, whether or not prints are made, etc, etc, etc.  Well, if you know me at all, you will know what I think of such opinionated hot air – and so I am going to put the next three sentences in bold because, as far as I’m concerned, they say it all:

  • To me, all that matters in photography is the final image, completely irrespective of how it was captured (camera, pinhole, smartphone, anything at all). 
  • And completely irrespective of how much or little it has been subsequently cropped and processed. 
  • The resulting image is in the here and now, it is what we are looking at, it is all that matters.  And if it looks good for any reason at all, then it is good.

But others do hold different views.  For example, never cropping, only ever using film/digital, only ever using black and white/colour, never/always doing any post-capture processing etc etc.  All of these ways forward, and all others, are valid.  What is certainly not valid is the opinion that, unless we use certain photographic equipment or techniques,  we am not practicing photography “properly” and that, in some way, our images are invalid, inferior or unworthy of consideration for that reason.

Another real no-no here, in my view, is to try to pass off something that has been highly processed post-capture as something that is straight out of the camera at point of capture.  That is plain dishonesty.

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TALKING IMAGES 58 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY 4: WHAT CAN YOU EXCLUDE FROM THE FRAME?

 

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2: Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

POST 3: Learning to explain why you like/dislike an image: putting your thoughts into words can help you to understand your own, personal, visual preferences >>> and so help you create images that you like.

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WHAT CAN YOU EXCLUDE FROM THE FRAME?

I find the visual composition of images of great interest – just what is it that makes them attractive or unattractive to the human eye?  And, if we can discover that secret, or even a small part of it, can we put it to use in making our own images more attractive?  So, with the great mystery of visual composition very much in mind, here is an approach that I think both practical and distinctly helpful.

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Ian Bramham is an architect who also produces black and white fine art photography of devastating quality.  Writing in Amateur Photographer  magazine (8 Nov 2014 – and a mag I wholeheartedly recommend to you), he says:

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“For any of you who may be struggling to achieve simple but strong composition in your photos, I’ve found that it helps if you think of composition as a reductive process rather than an additive one.  

In other words, the next time you have your eye at the viewfinder, instead of asking yourself what you want to include in the frame, ask yourself what you can exclude from the frame, to make it simpler and more direct.”

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What good advice!  I find that a great many of the photos that do absolutely nothing for me are those in which the frame is littered with all kinds of visual junk, with so much junk in fact that its impossible to know what the subject might be, where I’m supposed to be looking – other than at all of that junk.

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Now this is fine if the image’s subject is in fact “all of that junk”.  A famous image of the painter Francis Bacon in his chaotic studio comes to mind.  To make art he needed that chaos in his studio, he couldn’t be creative without it, and so in this case the photo was supposed to show that.

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Francis Bacon in his studio (photo credit: graphictide.com)

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But in many cases, things that add nothing to a photo – or indeed actively detract from a photo – are left in the frame.  And Ian Bramham is urging that, before we take a picture, we look through the camera’s viewfinder or at its screen, we try to identify such things – and by altering our viewpoint or zooming in, we can EXCLUDE them.  And, of course, in these Wonderful Digital Days, we can easily perform such exclusions post-capture too.

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A comparison that might be useful here is that between painting and photography.  The artist starts with a blank canvas and has to add things to it to create an image – while keeping aware of the fact that adding too many things may spoil the overall effect.  But the photographer starts with a full viewfinder or screen, and has to decide whether that view of “everything” is what is required (eg in documentary photography), or whether removing selected items might enhance the final image.

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Below are a couple of examples from me.  First, a Spectacled Owl.  The bird was perched quite some way back in a cage, so that I was not able to get anywhere near as close to it as I would have liked, even though I was using a 300mm telephoto.  The upper photo shows the best I could do from outside the cage.  Whereas the lower photo shows my final crop, concentrating on that face and excluding all else.

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Spectacled Owl
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Here is a picture of some waterbirds and some ripples.  Again, the first picture below here is the full frame, while the second is the end result.  I hope this is useful.

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Mallard

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TALKING IMAGES 57 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 3 – LEARNING TO EXPLAIN WHY

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly..

EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

POST 2Raw capture versus jpeg capture – it depends upon what you have planned for the photos you are taking.

LEARNING TO EXPLAIN WHY

In POST 1, I urged you to look at as many images – in all sorts of media – as possible, to add to the “visual library” in your head.  So, drowning yourself daily in pictures, where do you go from there?  Well, the second bit is not quite so easy, but it is something that puts you on the road to knowing your visual preferences, and thence to creating images that suit those preferences..

Because, let’s make this clear from the outset, I am talking here about YOU – YOUR visual preferences – NOT those preferences that anyone else, say a competition judge (oh, shudder and groan …!) says you should have.  We are all different, we all like different things, and thank heavens that’s the case >>> so this is a journey of exploration for YOU, a journey to find out what YOU like.  What you like may of course change over time, there is no guarantee that it’ll be fixed, but the point is, this is about YOU …. YOU ….. YOU …..

 

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So, how to start?  Simple.  Look at an image, its probably best to start with a photograph, and simply ask yourself whether you like it or not.  And whichever is the case, then ask yourself WHY.  The point is that here – at the start of a very long and fascinating road – you are going to start putting your preferences into WORDS..

And rest assured that this does NOT have to be long or sophisticated, not something up there alongside Matthew Collings pontificating about art or Mark Kermode reviewing a new film.  It can be ultimately simple: “Its too dark and sombre!”, or “I don’t like posed portraits”, or “The blues and yellows here go very well together”.  Because in each of these examples you have given a reason, you have translated your feelings into words that you and others can comprehend – YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY ….

And from those simple beginnings, you may start to notice other things.  For example, “I like this because the many lines in this picture all lead in towards that darling little girl”; or “do you know, having only a part of that person’s face in the frame actually intrigues me!”; or “this photo’s not in focus but I don’t think that matters at all!” – and so on..

It doesn’t matter what you say, it doesn’t have to be technical or “sophisticated” >>> but its YOU, putting YOUR thoughts into words.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?  Because it is helping you to know yourself and, in particular, to become aware of your visual tastes >>> so that when you next point a camera at anything, you will have that little bit more of an inkling as to why you like or dislike it >>> you will be more consciously on your way to developing what many see as the holy grail of photography, Your Personal Visual Style..

I’m NOT saying that being able to articulate your visual likes and dislikes will automatically make you a more creative person.  But what I AM saying is that if you are able to say something – anything – about why you like or dislike an image, you will also be able to do this when looking at your own camera’s screen or through its viewfinder, and you will be on the way to creating photographs that you, at least, like.  And that’s a step forward.

But another thing to mention here, something to be aware of.


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THE DIRE CURSE OF THE GREAT GOD INDIFFERENCE!

You show your photos to someone else and hope for a positive response.  You’d much rather have them say something positive, than utter negatives.  But there is a third possibility that is far worse than a negative – and that is INDIFFERENCE!

Its uncomfortable having someone saying negative things about your work >>> but at least its input, something to be thought about and worked upon maybe >>> unless you consider the person making the points an utter clod of course.  Because at least your attempts have made an impact, albeit a negative one.

But when someone is completely unmoved by your efforts, when someone looks at them with the complete indifference of the type that, for example, the thinking classes reserve for politicians, now THAT really hurts >>> so don’t be taken by surprise by it, always keep in mind that it just might happen.

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TALKING IMAGES 56 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 2 – RAW VS JPEG

 

(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly.

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EARLIER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

POST 1: The Main Mantra: there are no rights or wrongs in photography, only individual photographers’ differing opinions.

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RAW CAPTURE VERSUS JPEG – THE PROS AND CONS

Many cameras can capture both raw and jpeg image files, even simultaneously, and the debate about their relative merits has rumbled on for years, with die hard supporters on both sides.  However there is a very simple distinction between the two, which really centres on how the resulting images are going to be processed – or not processed –  post-capture.
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Jpegs contain only the information from your camera’s sensor that relates to the actual image at the point of capture.  And so they can provide excellent images of the scenes that you have photographed as the camera saw them at the point of capture, but they cannot be used to significantly alter those images after capture – they simply do not contain the necessary data.  So you might use the jpeg format if you do not want to subject your photos to significant post-capture processing but are happy with the photos your camera produces – which you can then post straight onto the web, or get printed, etc.  And my advice would be to opt for top quality jpegs, to get best quality images.

So jpegs are useful in various situations where:

  • you don’t want to put in a lot of time on post-capture processing of your pictures;
  • or you want to shoot large numbers of images in a short time, including using motorised shooting;
  • or your photos are only going to be used on the internet;
  • or you plan to make only smallish prints, if any.

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In the past, raw files were capable of producing much better quality images than jpegs, but this is no longer the case – many cameras can now produce very good jpeg images, Olympus and Fujifilm in particular being notable for this. 

But raw files contain BOTH the information necessary to create a top quality image of the scene being photographed, AND a lot of OTHER information too – everything that the camera has recorded in fact.  And the point here is that this OTHER information can be used, if desired, to produce a version of the image that differs substantially from what the camera has recorded, and maybe from reality too.  So raw files are really of more use to those who regularly subject their images to post-capture processing, those who are NOT looking for “something nice straight out of the camera” – and the point should be made that raw files, however well captured, can often look dreadful straight out of the camera, they often require some adjustment to make them even look presentable, let alone the work needed to transform their images into “something new”.   

I never shoot any format except raw, simply because I always want to have the maximum possible, post-capture processing flexibility, in case I need it.  Raw is also useful in various situations where:

  • low light levels necessitate the use of high ISOs but image noise needs to be kept to a minimum;
  • or images have particularly high tonal range, i.e. between very dark and very light areas;
  • or adjustments to colour temperature (i.e. white balance) may be made after capture;
  • or high quality black and white conversions are planned;
  • or large, high quality prints are planned.

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TALKING IMAGES 55 – THOUGHTS FOR THOSE NEW TO PHOTOGRAPHY: 1 – THE MAIN MANTRA

 


(Click onto any of these images to open a larger version in a separate window)

INTRO

Some years ago, I put out some posts specifically aimed at those just getting interested in photography, just starting out.  I tried to think of things that might be useful to them – and not just in terms of technique, but also in ways of thinking about photography, attitudes, questions that might arise, etc.  I most certainly do not know all there is to know about photography, but I’d like to try something similar again and – as always – I’m happy to take questions >>> with the caveat that, as already mentioned, my knowledge is not exhaustive.

But always remember, these are only my views and opinions: others may well think differently, and equally validly.

And so – there can be no question where to start ->>>>>  its the Main Mantra!

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THE MAIN MANTRA

When thinking about photography, THE main (and very liberating) thing to keep in mind is that we are all different in our attitudes and opinions to it.  We are all individuals.  This does of course apply to probably anything that you like to mention – we all may have different opinions about cheese, the clothes we choose to wear, the houses we like to live in, the books we read, those we choose as partners, those we hate – you name it!

This being the case, there are never any rights or wrongs in photography, there are only differences of opinion.  I may think my photos are wonderful, and someone else may think them dreadful.  Photography is a very subjective activity, it depends upon our personal opinions – and that is something I’ll touch on more in later posts.

And so to Stuffed Shirts.

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STUFFED SHIRTS

How YOU choose to approach photography, how you take your photographs, is entirely YOUR choice. And so, if you never take anything else away from these posts, never, ever, let anyone else – any Stuffed Shirt –  tell you that you are not a “proper” photographer because you do not do something which he or she thinks “proper” photographers should do.  We’ve all heard it – that we must/ must not use a particular make of camera; or NOT use a mobile phone; or always/never work in black and white; or always/never use a tripod;  or always/never use our camera on manual settings; or always/never use certain processing software; or only photograph in the blue and golden hours; or always/never obey the photographic “rules” >>> on and on and on >>> ad nauseam!

LOL! >>> David Noton, a photographer that I certainly admire, once said, in print, something at once both hugely important and really quite rude – “ignore all the bo**ocks, get out there and expose.  Take your camera for a walk. Use your eyes.“.  Very simple, very blunt and hugely relevant.

And so to one way forward.

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ONE WAY FORWARD

Take photographs, and then look at them and think if you like them and are satisfied with them.  If you are NOT satisfied with them, try to think – to articulate/explain to yourself – why this is so >>>>> and then learn from that.

By all means look at other photographers’ pictures and try to learn from them – what is there in them that you would like to see in your pictures?  But note that simply copying others’ photographs – e.g. by simply standing on the same spot as they did to photograph Stonehenge – is unlikely to bring lasting satisfaction or expertise.

But there are many resources to help you, e.g. looking at images in museums, art galleries and books, and on the internet; joining tours and workshops led by expert photographers (see for example the link to David Noton, above); joining a camera club; reading photographic magazines; searching for info on the internet, including youtube; watching the (relatively few) photography programs on TV, etc.  Generally speaking, the more images that you can see, the more you will add to the “photographic library” – the visual experience – within your mind.  And do keep in mind that these can be images in all media – photographs, paintings, pencil/charcoal drawings, computer-generated graphics, advertising pictures, pictures on Cornflakes packets (naturally, I admit all links to the firm …) – all types of images!

First, you ought to like/ be satisfied with your own pictures.  And second – if you choose to go in this direction/ if this matters to you –  it would be nice if (at least some) others liked them too.

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TALKING IMAGES 54 – THE NEW WP POST EDITOR: LET’S JUST HOPE ALL GOES SMOOTHLY …

 

WordPress is going to introduce a new post editor tomorrow, 1st June 2020, along with options to continue using two older editors, including the original Classic Editor, which is the one I use (and treasure).

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I’ve already posted twice about this.  Those posts are here and here .

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I’d just like to say, let’s all just HOPE all goes smoothly tomorrow.

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I’m going to schedule some posts in advance – I actually schedule ALL of my posts in advance anyway – so FATman Photos ought to continue erupting into cyberspace on its own for awhile regardless.  Let’s see what happens.

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Adrian

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TALKING IMAGES 53 CLARIFICATION – THE ORIGINAL, “CLASSIC” POST EDITOR WILL STILL BE AVAILABLE

 

Following my post on the appearance of a new version of the WordPress post editor on 1 June – which is here –  I have already received a couple of comments vastly regretting the loss of the original “Classic” editor.

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PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

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Please read right down the link that I provided in my first post – that link is here – and quite a way down you will find that WordPress will also continue to offer the option of using two older versions of the editor, including the original, “Classic” editor.

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Adrian

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TALKING IMAGES 53 – WORDPRESS IS MAKING CHANGES TO ITS POST EDITOR

 

On June 1, WordPress is making some changes to its post editor.  Now I’m certainly no expert on this and I certainly don’t want anyone sending me questions – WordPress Support is the place to learn more.  Here is a link to WP Support which will tell you more – here .

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I’ve been using WP’s original editor, which I think WP calls the Classic Editor,  for over 9 years, and its second nature to me.  Moreover, and equally importantly, it does everything I ask of it and more, and I especially appreciate the ease with which I can visit and edit the HTML code that underlies posts.  So its a no-brainer for me, I’m simply going to continue using the Classic Editor and hope for the best.

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However, all may not go smoothly on/after June 1, and my posts, which are fairly regular, may suffer significant interruption.  Now I know this is something of a bizarre thing to write (but when have I ever balked at the bizarre???), but if  FATman Photos ceases to put out posts, then either (a) I’m encountering problems with WP or (b) I’ve come down with the virus – which is not something I could say in times other than these!

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Let’s hope for the best – fingers crossed!!!

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Adrian
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