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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 24 Oct 2006 (Tuesday) 21:24
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Today, a photographer does not need to know...

 
tzalman
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Oct 25, 2006 05:26 |  #16

The statement is perfectly true. They just left out a couple words. It should be, "to take [a few] great pictures, [If they're lucky]." An infinite number of chimps with an infinite number of typewriters....


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KIPAX
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Oct 25, 2006 06:32 |  #17

You can buy a top end DSLR and stick it on sport or whatever mode and take an excellent picture that will stand up next to any taken manually. A very small minority of top end proffesional photographers will know. the rest of the world will point and say... great pic.

I was at a football (uk soccer) match last night with such poor lighting I was at iso 3200 and as low as 1/250 using a f2.8 .. I don't believe anyone without a decent knowledge of cameras could have got a usable picture last night. So in that example and many others the museum is wrong. However under more normal/standard conditions the museum is right.


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mij
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Oct 25, 2006 07:56 |  #18

As a generalization it seems a fair statement to me.

I think too many people on here are treating "photographer" as if it were an exclusive term to themselves and does not apply to the vast majority of people taking photographs. A majority who do so with cameras that probably do not even let you change aperture, never mind need any understanding of what it is.

I am sure there will be more mams and dads reading that sign who will feel it applies to them, and who have some great photos in their albums to back it up, than there will be of us who take the act of photography as an activity itself rather than just a means to an end.

Michael.


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Mcary
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Oct 25, 2006 09:14 |  #19

Great for some=recycle bin for others.
F 2.8 at 20000, F.5.6 at 500 F-11 at 125 would all be proper exposures for a given scene. Knowing which one to use can make the difference between a great image and a snap shot no matter if your shooting Digital or film.


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BTBeilke
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Oct 25, 2006 09:39 |  #20

Thanks for the responses everyone.

All of the pictures posted in the exhibit were taken by a local, female photographer. There were some really good images illustrating many different techiques and, according to her bio, she has been a professional photographer for the past 10 years. However, I don't know whether or not she was the author of the quote I posted or any other comments that accompanied the photos.

Looking through the photos, there were pictures with very shallow depths of field, action pictures with the movement frozen and some with just enough blur in certain spots to convey movement, landscape photos that were sharp from near to far, photos taken with a fisheye lens, etc., etc. I was very disappointed that there was no commentary at all on how these photos were created. You know, mundane stuff such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO, lens length, lighting/flash. With the range of photographic examples on display, it could have been so much more informative.

Then, toward the end of the exhibit, I read the quote in the original post. My first reaction was to go find out who was responsible for this heresy. I mean, how could a photographer create some of the images on display without understanding basic camera functions and operation? Do we now have mind-reading cameras that just know when we want fast shutter speeds or wide apertures? Sure, a camera can come up with a combination that allows for a decent exposure, but is that the right combination to use in any given situation?

But, then a took a deep breath (or two) and considered the target audience. This exhibit was somewhat geared toward getting kids interested in photography. I suppose that getting too technical may scare away some people and maybe they were trying to say how easy it is to just pick up a digital camera and start taking pictures. On the other hand, my 11-year-old daughter is interested in learning more a photography and she doesn't seem to have any trouble understanding some of these basic concepts. I guess in the end I feel that they could have done a much better job with the commentary. Especially using the examples of different results on display, basic camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed and how those settings affect the final image could have been discussed in everyday language.


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Wilt
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Oct 25, 2006 10:18 |  #21

BTBeilke wrote in post #2167022 (external link)
...But, then a took a deep breath (or two) and considered the target audience. This exhibit was somewhat geared toward getting kids interested in photography. I suppose that getting too technical may scare away some people and maybe they were trying to say how easy it is to just pick up a digital camera and start taking pictures. On the other hand, my 11-year-old daughter is interested in learning more a photography and she doesn't seem to have any trouble understanding some of these basic concepts. I guess in the end I feel that they could have done a much better job with the commentary. Especially using the examples of different results on display, basic camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed and how those settings affect the final image could have been discussed in everyday language.

Gee, if we knew the context in which the original statement had been made (trying to capture the interest of kids) I rather doubt that most of us would have reacted to the same degree. It puts the quote into an entirely different perspective, where literal interpretation is not appropriate, and some degree of simplistic statement or even exaggeration is appropriate!


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Hellashot
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Oct 25, 2006 11:20 |  #22
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You do not need to know what any parts of the camera are if you shoot in auto mode, which is likely what they are talking about. Not a professional shooter. Years ago before AF and electronic cameras everything was manual so you needed to know what to tell the camera to do.


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BTBeilke
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Oct 25, 2006 12:49 |  #23

Wilt wrote in post #2167154 (external link)
Gee, if we knew the context in which the original statement had been made (trying to capture the interest of kids) I rather doubt that most of us would have reacted to the same degree. It puts the quote into an entirely different perspective, where literal interpretation is not appropriate, and some degree of simplistic statement or even exaggeration is appropriate!

I apologize if anyone was mislead by the original post. While not stated explicitly, I did specifically say that the exhibit was at the "Family Museum" which is "hands-on science museum for kids." Doesn't that pretty much convey that the exhibit would therefore be targeted at kids?

Nonetheless, I for one have rarely been in favor of dumbing down topics to the point of conveying false or inaccurate information just because one is dealing with children. IMO, a great teacher (I'm married to one) is a person who can take a difficult subject and translate that information in way that is understandable to target audience. I would think that an organization that exists for the main purpose of bringing science down to a level that children can see and comprehend could have done a much better job on the topic of photography.


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Oct 25, 2006 12:56 |  #24

BTBeilke wrote in post #2167739 (external link)
I apologize if anyone was mislead by the original post. While not stated explicitly, I did specifically say that the exhibit was at the "Family Museum" which is "hands-on science museum for kids." Doesn't that pretty much convey that the exhibit would therefore be targeted at kids?

Yes, the OP did provide information about the location for the quotation, but it wasn't apparent about the implied motivation of the quoted text. One would have to apply a liberal amount of subjective interpretation to understand what the museum was trying to accomplish...motiviati​on of kids to try out photography. Many of us saw the statement as merely 'bad facts'. And bad facts can be spread in any location. :)


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tweatherred
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Oct 25, 2006 13:50 |  #25

While I agree that the statement in the original post could be considered misleading, it is misleading for reasons other than already stated. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic X-15 (external link) and it took perfectly good snapshots without my having to learn anything about aperture, shutter speed, and so forth. In other words, there were simple point and shoot cameras in the film world long before digital photography came along. Also, no matter how simple or complex the camera, good (or even "great" as in the original post) photographs depend more on knowledge of lighting and composition than on the technical capabilities of the equipment.


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Cybnew
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Oct 25, 2006 14:00 |  #26

Haha! I feel (as aparently all of you do) that because one has a nice camera, one odes not necessarily qualify as a photographer. That little green square on the top of the camera inhibits the creative process!


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Oct 25, 2006 18:41 |  #27

BTBeilke wrote in post #2165129 (external link)
I'd be curious to hear your reactions, if any, to that quote.


I actualy think its a pretty good quote, except for the mention of digital photography being the cause of it.

Auto exposure and auto focus cameras have been around for more than 20 years now. I remember useing my parents 35mm compact which only had an on/off switch beside the shutter. My better half has a 35mm SLR that is at least 15 years old, and only has a couple of full auto shooting modes. Not even Tv or Av.

The ablity to capture photos and let the camera do all the technical work has been around for a long time, its just the recent mass marketing and production of Digital cameras has bought it back to peoples attention.
Its nothing new, is just recycling old ideas and concepts useing new technology.

As for there being photographic or artisitc merit in only ever shooting in Auto mode, I don't have a problem with it.
I think a lot of us who shoot in M, or Tv or Av all the time would find that if we switched to full Auto (P for the 1D users) we would find that not a lot changed in our images. A lot of members here, who are masters of composition, could take very captivating photos with out having to think about DOF and shutter speed. But they still do.
Of course Im not saying go out and use Auto, or that shooting in manual is a waste of time.
There is something to be said for having total creative control over an image, not only as a way of achieving technical perfection, but as a way of having personal involvment in the process.
When viewing an image I place no value in it because of how it was shot, but when shooting an image I like to shoot in Manual for my own satisfaction (and I because I have thing for shooting in difficult light).


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MitsuJDM
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Oct 25, 2006 19:39 |  #28

BTBeilke wrote in post #2167022 (external link)
...Do we now have mind-reading cameras that just know when we want fast shutter speeds or wide apertures? Sure, a camera can come up with a combination that allows for a decent exposure, but is that the right combination to use in any given situation?

That's what the "Basic Zones" are for. You want to shoot portraits blurred backgrounds? Move the dial to the little head of the lady. Landscapes? SURE, turn it to the little mountains. Want to shoot sports but have little to no blur WHY THE F NOT?! Turn that baby to the little dude running....

Of course these functions are only on the entry level and semi-advanced cameras such as 300D/350D and 400D's and 10D/20D and 30D's.

Cameras such as 5D's and 1D's are obviously, as everybody knows, aimed for the more advanced/professional photographers. Therefore they don't bother with the basic zones other than full auto.

My personal opinion would be that, if you want to get the most out of your photography, knowing camera functions is a must. Sure you can use the basic zones, and get some what close to what you want, but having total control is what it's all about. And understanding composition is HUGE!

I shoot 80% of the time in Av mode. Mainly because I tend to need control apature rather than shutter speed, or in most of my shots, I have a certain desired DOF. I also like to use Av, because when shooting moving objects, such as my dogs, sometimes the slightest movement can change exposure and it's nice to have the shutter speed change automatically. I shoot in M if I'm shooting stationary object likes cars (with a tripod) and Av handheld. I'll shoot in Tv when doing any sort of panning or if I want to control motion blur, but thats all obvious, haha.

But using a camera well, it's almost like driving a car. Using a manual transmission and understanding whats happening when you do what (ie: rev matching/heel toe) helps you drive the car better. Sure you can learn how to rev match, but understanding what you're REALLY doing helps in learning the process. Having total control over what your doing helps the experiance and the car (or camera) does exactly what you want it to. Driving an automatic, though it can be nice at times, is boring and they never shift/downshift when I want them to, and don't get me started on "tiptronics". I'm a purist car enthusist as you can tell :D Now that I'm getting terribly off topic, I'll stop.


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Morgandy
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Oct 25, 2006 20:04 |  #29

Wilt wrote in post #2165719 (external link)
Sorry but there is everything wrong with that statement when applied to digital cameras...it is not new! See my post before this one, to see that the statement they made was true FORTY years ago!

Nobody said that the statement had to be "new" -- the original post merely asked for reactions to the statement. I only said the statement was true, within a certain context.

The direction in the thread has taken a techie approach: that better pictures can be taken by more expensive feature-laden cameras. We all know (or should know) that just having a better camera doesn't make you a better photographer. But that's not what the statement is about. The statement merely says that with today's digital cameras you don't need to know about apertures and f stops to be able to take a great picture.




  
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MitsuJDM
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Oct 25, 2006 20:09 |  #30

Morgandy wrote in post #2169504 (external link)
...The statement merely says that with today's digital cameras you don't need to know about apertures and f stops to be able to take a great picture.

Though, that is 100% true, with knowledge of both composition and camera functions, you can take your "great" pictures to a new level.

A better camera, you're right, does NOT make you a better photographer, especailly if you're going to shoot in auto modes.


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