Could high-tech, high-brow equipment be failing us

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Matt, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    A few threads below mine is a large discussion about where the street
    photographers are. I Since this is a system board, it came to me that
    maybe, perhaps people don't photograph candidly as much is because with
    each new high tech advance (micro lenses, super zoom lenses, manual
    settings, flash attachements...) photographers are expected to come up
    with technically adept shots.

    These types of shots take time to set up (not to mention have some
    sophisticated equipment) such as those silky streams, glowing flower
    petals, and the veins within leaves.

    Candid shots can be less technically adept (Cindy Sherman was no master
    of technicalities); but her shots were artful, thought provoking if not
    downright bizarre.

    Look up Dorthea Lange on the Internet and practically no one talks
    about what type of camera she used, yet her feelings about the era in
    which she lived--the struggles of everyday people created a hauntingly
    "could-it-happen-to-us" syndrome.

    Yes, equipment is important; but I have to remember that there's a
    consumer trap that has me often buying more than I need.

    There's nothing sweeter than a child licking a lollypop with the candy
    larger than the child or the cable car ringer shaking his bell.
    Matt, Sep 10, 2006
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  2. Matt

    Alan Browne Guest

    The equipment has never failed us at all in the past nor in the present.
    Most people who buy cameras buy them for snapshots even if they have
    some intention to get better at it in all respects at some time in the

    A photographer can make a competent or better photo with a cheap P&S
    digital or recyclable film camera; a snapshooter cannot make a great
    photo with the best equipment except by fluke.

    Of course it's so easy to abandon the KISS principle...

    Alan Browne, Sep 10, 2006
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  3. I disagree with the question posed by the title. I'm a long time
    landscape photographer who usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to
    set up a shot with a large format view camera. I did the
    occasional wildlife photo with 35mm. Then I started becoming
    more intrigued with wildlife (late 1990s). The reason: you
    must make split second decisions on focus, composition, f/stop,
    and exposure. Then as cameras improved, and image stabilization lenses
    came along, the camera could do more (autofocus, focus tracking on
    moving subjects), and new possibilities opened up. Digital
    opened up more possibilities with higher ISOs with no loss
    of color, and (in the higher end cameras) lower noise. Wildlife
    action as well as sports photography have reached a new heights
    never before possible. I often find that I am the limit
    to what can be done, not the camera (e.g. I'm not fast enough
    to follow that diving eagle when is fills the frame).
    So technology has improved the ability to get images not possible
    15 years ago. Now, I'm replacing
    large format film with digital mosaics, and improving spatial
    resolution, dynamic range, and signal-to-noise. See:
    Large Digital Mosaics as a Substitute for Large Format Film

    Then there is low light photography. Digital is enabling
    new heights to be scaled there too. A small telescope and DSLR
    achieves lower light astrophotos than were possible with
    much larger telescopes and film.

    That along with fast action wildlife photography, I'm having
    a lot of fun and making images that were impossible 15 years
    ago. Technology has opened new possibilities to get better
    images faster.

    Fortunately, I am at a place in my career that
    I can afford some of that technology ;-).

    Photos at:
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Sep 10, 2006
  4. Matt

    Greg \_\ Guest

    I think you missed the point, Matt was commenting on the lack of
    meaningful social commentary. Something different from being ARAT
    Greg \_\, Sep 10, 2006
  5. Matt

    Greg \_\ Guest

    You'd be happier reading Lenswork instead of this NG :)
    Greg \_\, Sep 10, 2006
  6. Matt

    Greg \_\ Guest

    & Yet: being perceived as a good photographer in part is elimination of
    the chaff "being a good editor as well", perhaps taking lots and lots of
    images and boiling them down. Think Gary Winogrand. Never the less the
    good photographer hopefully becomes adept at that Pointing, shooting
    and editing.
    Greg \_\, Sep 10, 2006
  7. Matt

    Scott W Guest

    I get much better candied shots with my DSLR then I ever did with my
    SLR. The reason it pretty simple, people act differently when you are
    taking their photo, they want to look at the camera and smile. But
    with the DSLR I take hundreds of photos and people soon ignore me and
    then is when I can start to get the truly candied shots.

    And because each shot is not costing my money I don't worry if each
    shot is perfect, and in the end many of the not so perfect shots end up
    being the most satisfying.
    Scott W, Sep 10, 2006
  8. Matt

    Frank ess Guest

    Not to exclude
    Editing, pointing and shooting or
    Pointing, editing and shooting.
    Frank ess, Sep 10, 2006
  9. Matt

    Alan Browne Guest

    & Yet: even when applying the most considered composition and most
    carefully applied technique, even an accomplished photographer will have
    many, many, many images to cull to yield the best. A photographer will
    experiment and try and explore and in doing so will inevitably fail at
    images. A fauxtographer will occasionally stumble upon a great phot.

    And equipment still has nothing to do with it anymore than fine cooking
    is the result of the battery of pots and pans, knives and ladles.

    Alan Browne, Sep 10, 2006
  10. Matt

    Greg \_\ Guest

    I agree, although sometimes having the right stuff makes the journey
    more enjoyable.
    Greg \_\, Sep 10, 2006
  11. Matt

    Paul Furman Guest

    You know what's funny is often I'll see a unique scene, grab a quick
    shot then knowing it's special, I'll mess around with different framing
    & apertures but when I get home the keeper is usually the first grab.
    Ha! Well I guess I shouldn't complain, occasionally I'll improve on it,
    just pisses me off to have wasted time & go back to the original. An I
    the only one who does this? Somehow it's just unnatural for me to take
    time setting up a shot. I do make adjustments before that first snap as
    part of adjusting to conditions but often before I raise the camera to
    my eye.
    Paul Furman, Sep 10, 2006
  12. Matt

    Greg \_\ Guest

    I call it controlled destiny, your see the scene, you have a camera and
    your skilled enough to get the shot. You know from that point the image
    is worth something. I have won several contests because of these
    Greg \_\, Sep 11, 2006
  13. Matt

    Alan Browne Guest

    Usually when I do studio shots, that's exactly what happens. A lot of
    care oges into the very first one, and the others are foooling around,
    so the first one (or few) are useful and the rest get dumped. But the
    fun is in exploring other things, trying, and occasionally discovering
    something new. Actually as we already know digital (boo, hiss) lends
    itself to exploring much more than film.
    Alan Browne, Sep 11, 2006
  14. Exactly: Familiarity breeds contempt. I use this trick too: Shoot and
    shoot and shoot, until everybody gets fed up and ignores you; then, you
    can concentrate on getting what you want.
    achilleaslazarides, Sep 11, 2006
  15. Matt

    Paul Furman Guest

    OK I'll count those as valuable learning for the next shot!
    Paul Furman, Sep 11, 2006
  16. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Matt, Sep 13, 2006
  17. Matt

    Matt Guest

    It's Matt--my title referred to candid photography. But I agree that
    the equipment has created some amazing sports and landscape
    photography. My point was that you can't get candid shots with long set
    up times, or you'll miss the action.
    Matt, Sep 13, 2006
  18. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Matt, Sep 13, 2006
  19. And my point was that with modern technology, the equipment
    is so fast and accurate you can do candid photos much easier,
    than ever before. Technology frees the photographer to concentrate
    more on composition, and telling the story they want to tell,
    and less on the technology of getting the shot.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Sep 13, 2006
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