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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 23 Feb 2014 (Sunday) 01:22
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Being too technical with your work?

 
Alveric
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Feb 24, 2014 17:12 |  #61
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Well, spoken. We're on the same wavelength. And you bring up a point that should not be ignored: in their effort to sell cameras, the manufacturers have packed into their devices a cartload of 'aids' and automations that actually confuse the user even more than the basic exposure triangle.


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Feb 24, 2014 17:41 |  #62

dannequin wrote in post #16710130 (external link)
. . . Is there any way to overcome this, or is it something that's tied to being a photographer?

As far as I know, all varieties of art have their technical requirements. For me, intent is the important question. When an event needs to be recorded technical question take center stage. When I'm trying for enjoyment, I will play around without fear. Masters of the craft and art of photography do both at the same time.


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Phrasikleia
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Feb 24, 2014 17:47 |  #63

RMH wrote in post #16713441 (external link)
If an image is artistically great then a slight technical mis-step is not likely to break it. If an image is artistically poor then no amount of perfect technicals will save it.

One of the better contributions to this thread, but then you went on to say this...

I presume though that as you're worried about this, we're talking about technicals at the expense of art when there is limited time, ie not taking a landscape where you can spend pleanty of time thinking it all through

I can assure you that shooting landscapes often requires some very fast thinking. Contrary to what a lot of people think, landscapes do not always stand still and wait for you to get your settings sorted out. Anyone who spends a lot of time shooting outdoors knows the frustration of having to abandon everything at the last minute because of quickly changing conditions: "Ack! The color in the sky is blooming behind me now...if I hurdle that rock and sprint over to those wildflowers, I might have just enough time to frame them beneath the mountain before the sun drops behind it!" :cool:

Anyway, OP: you asked if there is some way to overcome an obsession with technical issues. Really, you just have to let go and experiment for a while. Tell yourself that you are experimenting and allow yourself the freedom of letting go. Forget about whether or not you'll ever process or share the photo that you are creating. It's just an experiment. It's just for you and nobody else. Nobody needs to see it ever, so you're free to do what you want. If you can do that much, even just for one day, it might help you to loosen up a bit.


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tonylong
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Feb 24, 2014 17:52 |  #64

dannequin wrote in post #16710130 (external link)
I have a thing that I feel I battle with.

It seems that with a lot of my work, I tend to focus on the right F stop, ISO, shutter, white balance -- to the point where I'm too technical that I feel like I don't feel like an artist.

For some people they can set minimal settings and aim their camera and produce amazing results that take little effort (in my opinion) -- I however, tend to over think and tend to obsess if something isn't perfect.

Is there any way to overcome this, or is it something that's tied to being a photographer?

Hmm, interesting...

I guess a question that I would ask (and it has been asked here previously but I haven't seen an answer from you) is what type of photography are you doing that would lead you to "obsess" about the basic exposure settings? Can you describe a scenario where this happens and describe your actual process/workflow with this scenario?

And, for a given scene, do you take multiple shots to get various views but that don't require fiddling with all the settings? What do you do in that case?


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Clean ­ Gene
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Feb 24, 2014 23:01 |  #65

StayFrosty wrote in post #16712997 (external link)
I tend to agree with Clean Gene too. Do you have any suggestions for more "arty" photography forums? All the ones I've found tend to quite techy.

No suggestions, but if you find one let me know.

But I think the main problem with many of the forums I've discovered is that the people there aren't really visually literate. And don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing stones here: I'm not visually literate either (though I'm trying to be).

But let me provide a rundown of what kind of happens when I go to a museum or something and see a new piece.

1) I have a gut reaction. I either like it or don't like it.

2) I don't really know why I like it or hate it, so I'll comment on it.

3) My comment tends to be things that I'm SURE about, such as technical things. I can comment on the image clarity or the rich saturated colors, because it's easy to be right about that. So I'll praise it for its striking use of color, while omitting to say how that use of color enhances the work. The comment then becomes just repetition of a "rule". If I praise the color while being unable to express why the color contributes to the piece, then I'm use verbalizing a rule: Use vibrant color even though I don't know why.

I'm not gonna entirely blame internet culture on this phenomenon, though internet culture doesn't help (what with the increased ability to be an anonymous self-serving jerk). I think there's just a natural tendency to avoid being wrong in a public setting, because that makes people feel like fools. People are therefore less hesitant to talk about the qualities of art that they are unsure about, because that leaves open the possibility of them looking like jackasses who don't know what they're talking about. So people instead make "safe" comments that have less of a chance of being torn down. The problem is that those safe comments often don't address why the image REALLY is or isn't working.

That's just my guess on why it happens, but I see it happening all the time. Both on the internet or in real life. I think that despite increased access to art, visual literacy is still in the gutter because people don't talk about the things that matter because they're afraid of being wrong.




  
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CoPhotoGuy
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Feb 24, 2014 23:11 |  #66

I'm very technical with settings and filters and sunrise/sunset times and tide charts and such. But I am that way because I know what I want to produce and know I need to do certain things to get it to that point. But it's all to capture the best emotion and vision of a scene and that's where the important part really is.




  
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cdifoto
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Feb 24, 2014 23:14 |  #67

DC Fan wrote in post #16710164 (external link)
That's a clear sign that your goal is not the creation of pictures, but the manipulation of gadgets. Making evocative pictures requires empathy with the subject, and not the need to totally control a situation. You can't pump the heart and vision of an artist into a person who wants to be a technician.

There may be no solution.

I'm a technician and I disagree.


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CoPhotoGuy
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Feb 24, 2014 23:14 |  #68

Phrasikleia wrote in post #16714518 (external link)
One of the better contributions to this thread, but then you went on to say this...

I can assure you that shooting landscapes often requires some very fast thinking. Contrary to what a lot of people think, landscapes do not always stand still and wait for you to get your settings sorted out. Anyone who spends a lot of time shooting outdoors knows the frustration of having to abandon everything at the last minute because of quickly changing conditions: "Ack! The color in the sky is blooming behind me now...if I hurdle that rock and sprint over to those wildflowers, I might have just enough time to frame them beneath the mountain before the sun drops behind it!" :cool:

Anyway, OP: you asked if there is some way to overcome an obsession with technical issues. Really, you just have to let go and experiment for a while. Tell yourself that you are experimenting and allow yourself the freedom of letting go. Forget about whether or not you'll ever process or share the photo that you are creating. It's just an experiment. It's just for you and nobody else. Nobody needs to see it ever, so you're free to do what you want. If you can do that much, even just for one day, it might help you to loosen up a bit.

I was out at the Fire Wave and the conditions were not right. I was setup and waiting anyway. At the last few minutes the clouds popped with some light and I got a good shot. This was while the other guy who had packed up already was frantically trying to setup again.

I've also been out where I had literally 2 minutes of good light at a sunrise and then nothing after that.

I do plan shots but you do have to be ready for the unplanned ones.




  
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cdifoto
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Feb 24, 2014 23:22 |  #69

OhLook wrote in post #16711311 (external link)
I wonder why Jackson Pollock got so famous. Oh, right, his choices about placement of paint weren't random.

The two opposite poles that you propose as analogues of approaches to photography leave out an essential difference between photography and painting: photography starts from what one sees in the real world, not from what one imagines in one's head. Anyway, most kinds of it do. The other kinds are more like painting.

Spoken like someone who has never created a scene.

Not all photography is "shoot what's already in front of ya."


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Feb 24, 2014 23:31 |  #70

airfrogusmc wrote in post #16713019 (external link)
Always little discussion of why something is created but lots of talk about how and what it was created with. I don't here a lot of painters going on so much about brushes or sculptors going on about chisels but most photography forums are mostly about gear. I love it when people want to know exif info. You could be in the same place, same time of year, same time and set the camera according to the exif and still not get the same image. How many millions have made the trip to Hernandez over the years and yet there is still only one Moonrise Over Hernandez. My advice is learn to see have something to say and then find a way to say it. You will need enough technical ability to effectively capture it but you will need a lot of visual ability to communicate what you are trying to say. Al the equipment and technical skill in the world means nothing if you can't see and if you don't have anything to say.

I bet if you sat around with those artists as a group you'd hear a lot more shop talk than philosophical exposition..

I LOVE listening to bonus tracks of movies. The director usually talks about the whys of his decisions but if you're lucky enough to get a DP track it's almost nothing but technical stuff. They don't tend to muse over the reasons for shooting a specific scene but they do reminisce about how much of a bi!ch it was to get a light in there or that X shot was a boom and Y shot was a Steadicam.


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Feb 24, 2014 23:44 |  #71

I'm so technical that I had to drive home into the sunset this evening. I couldn't help but scream, "Ahhhh!!! f/32! f/32!" the entire time.


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Feb 25, 2014 01:05 |  #72

cdifoto wrote in post #16715268 (external link)
Spoken like someone who has never created a scene.

Not all photography is "shoot what's already in front of ya."

I've created scenes. What you quoted of mine was a response to another post. It makes more sense in that context than in no context.


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Feb 25, 2014 03:47 |  #73

Clean Gene wrote in post #16712762 (external link)
And I also think it's a little bit amusing that this topic quickly turned into a discussion about white balances and exposures and histograms. Lots of comments on that stuff, but very few questions such as "what do you shoot" or "what do you want your art to say?" And I wouldn't expect anything else from a CANON photography forum.

And look...nothing against these forums, I like them. But let's make no mistake that this place is largely tech oriented. ...

I don't talk about it much here, because it is indeed a place mainly concerned with the technical aspects of photography, but most of the time I put into improving my photography is actually spent at galleries looking at the visual arts in general (including, of course, photography, now that it has "arrived" in the view of curators). I think there are probably many similar posters here: just because we tell you something technical about photography doesn't mean we actually think it's the most important thing. It just happens to be the kind of thing easy to talk about in an online forum. It certainly shouldn't be occupying most of your attention when making a photograph.

The sub-thread arguing the niceties of ETTR is amusing and an object lesson for the OP: I repeat, it's almost never worth the effort with modern equipment. See here (external link), for a master printer (and PhD physicist) who agrees with me. I give this link not to prolong/reactivate the discussion, but to point out that it's OK not to care about such things. The sky will not fall in, and evidently you can make a living selling prints and writing about photography.

By and large, forums make the technical aspects of photography seem harder than they really are, because people like to argue about things and long ago they ran out of things that really mattered.

OhLook wrote in post #16713329 (external link)
I'm bewildered by the advice frequently given at POTN to beginners who want help with both aspects of photography. People say "Start by getting the technical proficiency because this is easier to learn.

I agree with you, and have in the past advised beginners to (i) shoot JPEG, and (ii) use Av at <insert suitable f-stop>, and (iii) use that white balance button.

I would also not be surprised if some of the museum works I've seen have been by photographers who are technically clueless in some aspect of the craft. It's perfectly possible, for example, to use cookbook exposure settings someone gave you, and be a master studio portrait photographer.




  
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Feb 25, 2014 03:56 |  #74

melcat wrote in post #16715565 (external link)
The sub-thread arguing the niceties of ETTR is amusing and an object lesson for the OP: I repeat, it's almost never worth the effort with modern equipment. See here (external link), for a master printer (and PhD physicist) who agrees with me.

The interesting thing here is that this master printer is using a curve that isn't always so nice with the Canon banding issues. Maybe he isn't using a Canon camera?


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Feb 25, 2014 07:07 |  #75

cdifoto wrote in post #16715279 (external link)
I bet if you sat around with those artists as a group you'd hear a lot more shop talk than philosophical exposition..

I LOVE listening to bonus tracks of movies. The director usually talks about the whys of his decisions but if you're lucky enough to get a DP track it's almost nothing but technical stuff. They don't tend to muse over the reasons for shooting a specific scene but they do reminisce about how much of a bi!ch it was to get a light in there or that X shot was a boom and Y shot was a Steadicam.


Yeah the shop talk would be about things like why and how the elements are supporting the statement and what it all means.




  
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