Thanks. Since you liked it, here's a bit more on the subject of giving yourself projects.
Why dont my pics reflect what I see?
In 2005 I restricted myself to one lens for the day, the 70-200 f/4: A walk by the river.
I also tried to shoot something I've never shot before: Radio Controlled Boats
And I've pushed myself to shoot high school volleyball & some bands.
St. Louis vs. Breckenridge Vollyball District Tournament 11/7/2008
Barbara Payton at the Carrick House Concert 11/23/08
Deer outside the window at night? Shoot 'em!
Midnight Applenappers; thieves in the night.
Is this great stuff? Mostly not, though there were a few that I liked and a ton that I deleted. But if/when someone asks me to shoot something like that, I'm ready for it.
Sometimes you have to illustrate something that you can't see & photograph & you have to have the "vison" to get the job done. Like when the client calls up on Monday & says, "I need a cover shot illustrating molecules formed from coal gassification. Maybe naphthalene, phenol, & ammonia. Try some including the coal, too. Can you show me something that rocks on Wednesday?"
No layout, no direction but the phone call. Just do it.
Except for the type which I added later, these were shot in the camera on film. You can almost see the thought process...
When we shot cars in the studio, it was mandatory to pick the angle first to match the AD's layout, then spend 1/2 day lighting it. Take an 8X10" B&W "polaroid" to make the AD happy. Then make adjustments & shoot 2 8X10" transparencies on the meter & process one to evaluate the color & density. Then, based on that result, shoot a 1 & 2 stop bracket & adjust processing on all 5 (includes the 1st normal shot) to get slightly different contrasts & color variations.
This bracketing was even more important on location shoots since we could only shoot at dawn or dusk. The middle of the day was for location hunting, & having one normal sheet processed at a local lab. Then the film was boxed with notes on the exposure & processing & shipped to our in-house lab in Detroit.
For PJ work, I'd use a variation of what Kenny does in this thread
. Look over the situation & decide what is of interest & when would be the best time to shoot it. Forget the chimping part as there was no digital then, but the process was much the same. Shoot & look for a better variation as you go.
Two more reasons why I "shotgunned" & bracketed every situation:
1. Labs & delivery services were just another opportunity to lose my work if I was stupid enough to let them.
2. I once worked with a stereotypical German photographer. He was so meticulous that he used screws on the hardwood floors of the house he was building. Verrrry precise in his exposure calculations. He came back from a 2-day shoot with 3 rolls of 36. Unfortunately, on the trip out, something glitched the diaphragm on his primary lens & it was stuck on wide open. Why he never once used the DOF Preview button, I'll never understand. The client was not amused, & who could disagree with him? After all costs for me, transportation, lodging (except for the time I billed $12.00 total for TWO nights in the "Hotel"!), etc are added up, film is the smallest consideration. So I used it - typically 60+ rolls of 36 a day.
2. Bracketing will produce "The" correct exposure.
3. Bracketing gives extra close exposures that fit nicely into your Sample files.
4. Bracketing gives extra close exposures that the art directors & clients can fingerprint & scratch.
5. Bracketing gives extra close exposures when the inevitable dust speck embeds itself onto the "money Shot".
6. Bracketing allows one situation to be spread out over several rolls.
So a typical Workflow was...
Before you go, get all the film for that job in the same batch number, hopefully from the same vendor. We had freezers filled with it. (Pro films were 'aged' to be at their peak right now!). Clean the film gate & interior of the camera. Shoot & process one roll in each body to be sure everything is OK before you go. When you get there, check everything out. DOF Preview button. Listen to the shutter. Does it sound about right?
At the location:
Situation 1: First primary subject - seven stop bracket using f-stops. First variation on the primary subject - 5-stop bracket using shutter speeds. Next variation - 5-stop bracket using another body. (OK, so I'm insecure, but I've seen it all happen. How about the time in Italy when the town photo processor was asked to make 8X10" contact sheets of B&W film we'd shot over the weekend to identify locations we'd be using that week? He used his lovely deckel edge trimmer to cut out every shot & gave us 105 1" X 1-1/2" prints... without edge numbers.)
Situation 2: Second primary subject - repeat as above. Maybe drop down to 3-stop brackets if I shoot a lot of variations & my level of confidence that I've got it is up.
After the shoot:
NEVER ship (mail, UPS, etc) more than 20% of the film out in one batch.
NEVER process more than 20% of the film in one batch.
And make sure that they aren't in sequence, either, so you don't lose everything on a given situation. NEVER process more than ½ the rolls of a variation in one batch.
Bottom line, bracketing was just carrying CYA to it's logical conclusion… the client doesn't care that "the dog ate your pics". If it's even slightly under your control, then you had better have controlled it! Now, with histograms, Gigs of mem cards, & back-up film SLRs, things can be more relaxed. Sigh!
Edit: Digital applications of bracketing in the "Exposed!"
article:: It's like Insurance for your Photos! ::
Time for another pot of coffee!