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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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Trying to get too much in
Old 10-27-2016   #1
Roger Hicks
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Trying to get too much in

How much is too much? A classic photographic problem is trying to get too much in. Here's a reflection on how much is too much, and on where inspiration comes from.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-27-2016   #2
dallard
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It's easy to get too much in and very difficult to keep everything unnecessary out.
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Old 10-27-2016   #3
Roger Hicks
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Originally Posted by dallard View Post
It's easy to get too much in and very difficult to keep everything unnecessary out.
It's often even harder to get everything relevant in. Or, perhaps, to define "relevant".

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-27-2016   #4
dallard
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I think you have to decide what it is about a scene that you are drawn to then analyze the best way you can photograph it in a way that recaptures that feeling. Figuring out what it is in a scene that is relevant to what you wish to convey is very difficult indeed.

In your piece you made a very good point about stereo vision. I can't count how many times I've seen something (usually in the woods) I wanted to shoot and every way I approached it failed because what I was seeing was completely lost in a 2 dimensional photo.
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Old 10-27-2016   #5
sepiareverb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallard View Post
... I can't count how many times I've seen something (usually in the woods) I wanted to shoot and every way I approached it failed because what I was seeing was completely lost in a 2 dimensional photo.
X10. That crazy buzz of foreground and background seems to evaporate through the single eye. My most abundant disappointments are in the woods...

We need to hang out outside your or my (former) workplace.
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Old 10-27-2016   #6
charjohncarter
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All these trial and error changes you sum up with your last statement. Photography makes you look at the world differently than others do. Tones, light, too much in, too much out, classic composition schemes, depth of field, subjects at different depths, it just goes on and on. Some might think this is depressingly too complicated, but most of us consider it learning and challenging.
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Old 10-27-2016   #7
dallard
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Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
X10. That crazy buzz of foreground and background seems to evaporate through the single eye. My most abundant disappointments are in the woods...

We need to hang out outside your or my (former) workplace.
Sounds good.
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Old 10-27-2016   #8
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Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
All these trial and error changes you sum up with your last statement. Photography makes you look at the world differently than others do. Tones, light, too much in, too much out, classic composition schemes, depth of field, subjects at different depths, it just goes on and on. Some might think this is depressingly too complicated, but most of us consider it learning and challenging.
If it wasn't for all the complication and frustration we wouldn't appreciate the times it goes right as much.
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Old 10-27-2016   #9
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I like Robert Capa's comment. He said if your photo is no good, you are probably not close enough. He said it in a different context of course but it always struck me sound advice and suggests that what you leave out of an image is as important as what you put in it. (It is one reason I have a love affair with longer lenses not wider lenses. The latter have their place but they invite leaving too much in the image and confusing the viewer about what the image is really about.

Einstein said something as perceptive about the nature of scientific theory when he said "A theory should be as simple as possible. But no simpler". I am inclined to think something of this sort applies to good images.

Even good old Hannibal Lecter had something to say about this sort of thing (which oddly is relevant to my thinking on the subject of simplicity in images.)

"First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. 'Of each particular thing ask what is it in itself?' What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek".
Again its about focusing on the main point you are conveying.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/6a/28/c46a2813aee0c27552e35b528d9daed1.jpg

Then he talked bout fava beans and a nice chianti but that's another story :^)
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Old 10-27-2016   #10
charjohncarter
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If it wasn't for all the complication and frustration we wouldn't appreciate the times it goes right as much.
I guess (?) you are one of us.
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Old 10-27-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
"First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. 'Of each particular thing ask what is it in itself?' What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek". [/i]Again its about focusing on the main point you are conveying.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/6a/28/c46a2813aee0c27552e35b528d9daed1.jpg

Then he talked bout fava beans and a nice chianti but that's another story :^)

But I hope you don't forget his son was Commodus.
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Old 10-27-2016   #12
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My biggest disappointment while scouting around for photo opportunities is realizing I'll never get the same point of view as I had inside my truck, unless I want to stand on a ladder in the middle of the highway. So I go about getting the next best view by moving around a bit, and finding what else works. And yeah, the dimensional differences of what you see, and what you capture can be a bit of a let down. I'm working on that too, with various focal lengths and apertures.

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Old 10-27-2016   #14
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I had not thought of that. Are you referring to his (Commodus') megalomania? An early Doctor Evil.
Yes, too bad maybe (but who knows) good father (doubtful; maybe possible) and his son Commodus: a complete nut. A mere shadow of his father.
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Old 10-27-2016   #15
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It can work in both cases (too much, too little), as long as the subject is strong and keeps the viewer engaged. If the subject is boring, nothing works.

Is this too little?


Is this too much?
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Old 10-27-2016   #16
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The first photo is by far the most interesting one.
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Old 10-27-2016   #17
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It can work in both cases (too much, too little), as long as the subject is strong and keeps the viewer engaged. If the subject is boring, nothing works.

Is this too much?
...
Too much in that the second image is a copyrighted photograph by Jacob Aue Sobol. I don't know whether you have the right to use it here, but certainly not without attribution.

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Old 10-27-2016   #18
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The first photo is by far the most interesting one.
How interesting - i thought exactly the same about the second photo.
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