Thursday, January 20, 2011

Photographic Musings

Thank you to everyone who visited and left get well wishes for me after my last post. My migraine finally left after eight days. It was very unpleasant but I’m back to my normal self now. Whatever that is. The real annoyance is that it occurred just as I was getting into my stride with my new ‘cycle-to-fitness-in-front-of-the-TV’ regime. Now I pretty much am back at square one. Never mind, I will force myself back into the saddle tonight.

Other news is that my photography website crashed. I was using Concrete5 and they ran an automatic update that killed my website and everyone else’s that used them. Getting the site back would have required over a days work and as I was due to update my site anyway I decided to start from scratch and use iWeb. If you are a Mac user I can thoroughly recommend it. It’s based on a drag and drop system, is very user friendly (as one has come to expect from Apple), and integrates seamlessly with iPhoto. The site is looking good, even though I do say so myself!

I also went to a photographic convention in London recently which had loads of traders there and I found some great suppliers and chatted to some nice people. I attended a couple of interesting seminars and came away inspired and very tired. I have observed that there are two camps of photographers and both were at the convention: those who are kit obsessed and those that focus on the creative side of things. I find the people who are focused on the photography itself, and creating beautiful images are great to talk to. They tend to see photography as an art form and not a system of rules to be rigidly followed (the rule of thirds and no part of the subject should cut the edge of the frame for example (I break both)). They like to experiment and you can get a good idea of techniques that work from them and that you might be able to apply and adapt. I tend to avoid the camera kit obsessed. They focus on what model you have (they often look down on mine as it is not top of the range) and can reel off specifications like they would the alphabet. They always have the best kit and swan around adorned with branded kit and opinions. I am rarely inspired by their photography.

I once talked to a well established and respected pro photographer who told me: If you have (say) £1000 to spend on gear then spend one third on the camera and two thirds on the lens. A camera is simply a tool (albeit an extremely intelligent one) to capture what you tell it to, it’s the lens that creates the image quality and the photographer that creates a great piece of art. Which reminds me of one of my biggest niggles: I am often told “That’s a great photo – you must have a really good camera”. It always feels like being given a compliment and then having the rug pulled out from under you as if they are saying, it’s the camera that takes the picture and you just operate it. I have a good camera, this is true, but it is not top of the line. If I gave my camera to my mother she would still cut people off at the knees and there would still be times when the photo was over or under exposed, even if used in the fully automatic mode. I often wonder if such people, on seeing a wonderfully intricately carved wooden table, would comment to the carpenter ‘That’s a really beautiful table, you must have a really good chisel’?


R. Sherman said...

Glad you make up to speed.

Sorry about the photo blog crash. My daughter swears by her Mac and all things Apple. I'm about ready to become a convert.

Take care of yourself.


kenju said...

Sorry about the headache and the site crash. I've had computer troubles, but nothing of that magnitude. And you are a great photographer, despite your camera!!

Bob-kat said...

Thanks Judy :)

Randall - I am an all Apple household now and computer troubles (external software notwithstanding) are a thing of the past on the whole. There is a reason why they initially cost a little more :)

srp said...

I have been an Apple fan since the Mac Classic... my first Mac. We have been through six versions of the computer so far. Nyssa finally migrated on over to the Mac laptop this last time. But since I had to use PC at work some.. we have both. My folks are basically computer challenged whether it is a Mac or PC. I will definitely have to check out the iWeb. Glad to hear the pesky headache is gone.

Carmi said...

I may have some questions about using your Mac and related services to build/maintain a web presence. I'm finalizing plans to replace my old laptop with a Mac - part of our plan to pave over the house with nothing but Apple as we buy new machines - and I want to have a more defined spot on the web for my media work and photography.

The more I see folks seamlessly managing it from their Macs, the more I realize this is waaaay more effective than trying to cobble it together in Windows - which is what I've been doing and hating for years.

Your friend is wise: the glass is always the most important factor in determining optical quality. And if I hear the "your camera takes great pictures" line one more time, I think I'll blow my top. My philosophy is precisely the opposite: A great photographer can coax great results out of anything, even a Kodak Brownie.

Indeed, before I got my DSLR, my favorite pursuit was pushing my wife's old point-and-shoot - a Kodak, no less - to within an inch of its life by digging into the menus and using it in ways few other regular users would ever dream of.

I generally find that those most likely to use the "it's a great camera" line are also the ones most likely to have no photographic vision whatsoever.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I so agree with you about photography...I know nothimg about rules and "technical" stuff and I rsther keep it that way. And I too find it rather strange when someone compliments you on your pictures saying you must have a really good camera....Yeah, Right!! (lol)
I think that advice about how to spend that money on equiptment is well taken, too....!
AND, I am happy to hear that your Migraine finally went "Bye Bye"....It must be a great relief once it is gone!
AND, so very sorry about your site crashing--But it sounds like it has turned out to be a GOOD Thing! That is wonderful!

rashbre said...

Glad to see you are back in the world of the migraine free.

I'm with you on the camera stuff. I'll admit that I do have a range of hardware but frequently it's the little camera that I use when out and about, simply because of the convenience.

No camera = no opportunity.

Linda said...

I think I've stated my feelings on my blog about how I feel when folks tell me I must have a really great camera. If not on my blog, most definitely on FB, lol!

Someday, I just want to say to someone who says, "wow, you must have a really great camera"...

"Nah, it's a piece of crap." And just walk away, leaving them with their jaw on the ground.

I wish I had a snazzy comeback for those "your camera takes really good pictures" folks...

Nikki-ann said...

“That’s a great photo – you must have a really good camera” - That really bugs me too! I've had to said to me so many times. I firmly believe that somebody can take a good picture no matter what camera they use.

I like the creative side of photography and don't always go by the rules. You know what? I once had somebody comment on one of my photos that there were no clouds in the sky and the picture would have been better with clouds... Like I can conjure them up at will!

Dianne said...

just checking in kiddo
thinking of you