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Old 10-13-2011   #76
Gary Briggs
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What about the mindless approach ?
Sometimes just being out (woods, mtns, cities....) and looking and enjoying the day, just shoot, don't make it an intellectual thing, just a vision thing.
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Old 10-13-2011   #77
Peter Wijninga
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Quote:
I don't think aesthetics can improve.
I don't think religion can improve.

As far as pictures are concerned, most improvement takes place somewhere in-between the ears.
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Old 10-13-2011   #78
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I don't think religion can improve.

As far as pictures are concerned, most improvement takes place somewhere in-between the ears.
At the risk of offending the mods, how could it get worse? Everyone has their own beliefs, and distressingly few are prepared to contemplate the possibility that there is any truth whatsoever in anyone else's beliefs.

The only possibility for improvement lies in recognizing that religion is the consequence of universal responsibility and the good heart, not the cause.

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Old 10-13-2011   #79
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i turned 60 in may and i finally have ambition ...
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Old 10-13-2011   #80
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Roger, why would you give up any ambitions prior to being put in the ground?

All the best, Randy
Dear Randy

Well, quite. But put it another way: as you get older, your priorities may change. Not to the extent of abandoning ambitions, but to the extent of changing them.

Which relates to the point that your career choices affect your ambitions. My brother's ambitions (at ten) to become an admiral were greatly restricted by his decision not to join the navy...

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Old 10-13-2011   #81
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Originally Posted by paulfish4570 View Post
i turned 60 in may and i finally have ambition ...
Dear Paul,

As the old formula has it, "God bless you and keep you."

Love,

R.
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Old 10-13-2011   #82
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retirement opens all sorts of ambition doors. i like the one marked "photography."
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Old 10-13-2011   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Randy

Well, quite. But put it another way: as you get older, your priorities may change. Not to the extent of abandoning ambitions, but to the extent of changing them.

Which relates to the point that your career choices affect your ambitions. My brother's ambitions (at ten) to become an admiral were greatly restricted by his decision not to join the navy...
That said, if I moved closer it may have ruined it anyway .
Cheers,

R.
That gave me a laugh, thanks Roger!

If I am ever in your neck of the woods I hope you will let me take a peek at the castle you you mentioned - I'll buy afterward.


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Old 10-15-2011   #84
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I don't think aesthetics can improve.

This statement really worries me. Mostly, because I think you might be right. Example, Paul McCartney: he was a very innovative song smith in the early 60s but I'm not sure later. This disturbing fact (if it is true) would also include Bobby Zimmerman (Dylan), maybe Albert Einstein, Latrique (possibly misspelled), Watson and Crick (if they were even to one that came up with the double helix for DNA, some say it was a female graduate student), Margret whatever that wrote 'Gone With The Wind,' and many more. The only exception I can think about is Chet Atkins that improved and innovated over his whole life. Chet gets to subtract a few years because of brain cancer.

But we are all selfish so I want to think that I can still be innovative.
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Old 10-16-2011   #85
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That gave me a laugh, thanks Roger!

If I am ever in your neck of the woods I hope you will let me take a peek at the castle you you mentioned - I'll buy afterward.


Randy
Dear Randy,

The castle in the back yard (well, visible from the back yard, anyway), was built about 1020 AD by (or rather for) Fulk de Nerra (spellings of his name vary -- I don't know whether he could read and write). You need a strong imagination to get much out of it. The donjon (the big square bit that goes up a long way) has been well restored on the outside, but on the inside, it's just a huge empty space all the way to the roof, with a staircase in one corner. there's quite a view from the top.

The Forteresse de Berrie, an hour or so away, is much more interesting. The first time I saw it, I'd not met the owner, but just wandered around inside anyway. Later, when I met him, I found that he'd bought it just for the attached vineyard, where he makes some off the finest dessert wines in the world.

In the next village there's the Abbatiale Church of St. Jouin de Marnes, widely regarded as one of the best examples of XIII century Gothic in the world, but it's hard to photograph: take a look at http://www.art-roman.net/stjouin/stjouin.htm.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-13-2012   #86
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There is no reason that personal photographs cannot be quality photos, with an "art" component to them, and no reason to stop before that happens, IF one cares. Many people don't care--I understand that, and it depends on what your goals are. But "taking family photos" is not a reason that prevents one from taking good photos according to more general standards. One of the most common feelings I get going through online portfolios is "why did this person think other people would want to see this crap?"

Many artists have drawn their subject matter directly from their intimate surroundings and daily lives. A common subject shouldn't necessarily or inevitably result in common photos.
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Old 01-13-2012   #87
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......................... i propose we start talking more about how we can improve our skills. just HOW that would look i have to leave for the smart ones out there in rf land. ...........................
Sorry I am arriving at the party so late. Possibly it has already ended. My 2 cents FWIW:

1) stop devoting any time and/or energy to worrying about lenses, cameras, developers, ect. They are so much better than we are that there is minimal area for improvement.

2) spend 100% of your time and energy worrying about what you photograph and the decisive moment you press the shutter. This is the fertile area that is ripe for unlimited improvement.

3) have some idea what message you want you photographs to convey. Then rapidly and critically edit what you have done. Focus on how well it delivers your message, not how much time and effort you put into it. Learn to set aside your emotions from the moment and focus only on what the photograph tells the viewer. Don't confuse the most interesting person you ever met with an ordinary photo of the same that conveys none of that feeling.

4) take chances! Realize no one cares is you shot 1,000 or 10,000 pretty good photos last year. No one cares if you edit out 98% of what you shoot. All that matters is the top 10 or 20 photos you shoot each year. Accept there are only two classes of photos: really great ones and everything else.
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Old 01-13-2012   #88
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Learn to set aside your emotions from the moment and focus only on what the photograph tells the viewer.
Cool, Bob. That's it.

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 02-28-2012   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
Sorry I am arriving at the party so late. Possibly it has already ended. My 2 cents FWIW:

1) stop devoting any time and/or energy to worrying about lenses, cameras, developers, ect. They are so much better than we are that there is minimal area for improvement.

2) spend 100% of your time and energy worrying about what you photograph and the decisive moment you press the shutter. This is the fertile area that is ripe for unlimited improvement.

3) have some idea what message you want you photographs to convey. Then rapidly and critically edit what you have done. Focus on how well it delivers your message, not how much time and effort you put into it. Learn to set aside your emotions from the moment and focus only on what the photograph tells the viewer. Don't confuse the most interesting person you ever met with an ordinary photo of the same that conveys none of that feeling.

4) take chances! Realize no one cares is you shot 1,000 or 10,000 pretty good photos last year. No one cares if you edit out 98% of what you shoot. All that matters is the top 10 or 20 photos you shoot each year. Accept there are only two classes of photos: really great ones and everything else.
I was going to add my thoughts, but this posting outdid anything I could write.
Let me simply add . . .

I will study a set of similar images I've made and endlessly question myself why this one is "better" than that one (though they are all very similar). This process helps me to understand what feelings I hope this particular scene impresses on the viewer. Often I learn that what I am really after is not exactly what was on my mind when I shot the image.
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Old 02-28-2012   #90
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A great idea! The first piece of advice I give my students is "when you're shooting think about what you are photographing, why you are photographing it and what you're trying to communicate." When looking at the photograph you produce compare it to what you had in your mind and see if the two line up...
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Old 02-28-2012   #91
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This is such a terrific thread. I'm not sure how I overlooked it before today.

Earlier is was mentioned that a common problem is not getting close enough to one's subject. I am frequently guilty of that. I started off using a 50mm lens most of the time, then went to a 40, and lately I find myself sticking with a 21. I tend to shoot a lot of architecture and in tight city streets, so the 21 makes sense for me, but I also wonder if it isn't a convenient crutch. I'm not a shy person by nature, but I also can't imagine walking up to people in a city like Boston, which doesn't always have the most friendly folks, and engaging them that closely with my camera. It doesn't help that I prefer mostly manual cameras and eschew anything with automatic exposure/focus.

Anyone have any suggestions? This week I plan to dust off my 90mm and take some portraits of friends and family, which I realize is not the same as getting out there in a more public space and stepping up to subjects, nor the same "genre" of photography even, but it does feel at least like somewhat of a start. Or I am off base?
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Old 02-28-2012   #92
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I've been looking at the photos of everyone who's posted here who has something accessible. From that, and from what goes on in my mind when I'm taking pictures, here's what I think/do before I press the button, that I think other people should also do, no matter what style of photography they're doing:

1/ That's a great setup but is it just a cheap visual pun or cliche? If it is, skip it--don't get too invested in your own cleverness.

2/ Will anyone else find anything in this picture, or does it depend too much on having been there, either physically or more importantly, emotionally? (Not a big one if other good-photo rules get followed, as always--hopefully these just get edited out later when you can't remember why you shot them or don't think anyone else would care; but too many Flickr pages are filled with 20 almost-identical pix of your kid or your dog or your cat, etc. where one, or better yet, none, would have been enough).

3/ Is there a better place to stand to pack it all closer together so that it makes a stronger point? Notice that movies are almost always shot with people standing much closer than they would be in real life--that makes everything clearer and more intense. While you're at it, is there some way to clean up that background full of irrelevant clutter?

4/ How much closer can I stand before important things get cut off? One of my students told me once that a previous teacher had said frame the shot, and then take one big step closer, and that's not a bad idea. Just putting something off center to put it off center does not a great photo make; it needs a reason to be off center, or it's just a waste of good space. It's especially irritating if there's too much space in one place, yet something important has been cut off elsewhere (one person's Flickr stuff here has that problem way too much). Frame so that it would be impossible for someone to come along later and crop your picture without ruining it.

5/ For god's sake, try to keep your camera level. If that's not what you want, tilt it more to make that totally clear.

6/ "Pretty" is not enough reason. Not ever.

7/ Try to develop a style. This guy got hammered by the critics not because of his skill, but because (due to his family history) he was being exhibited while he still didn't know what style of painter he was, so each painting looked like it was done by a different person.

For myself, I've come to realize that I don't like pictures that objectify people. I never really understood what women meant when they said they felt objectified, until I thought about it in my photos. At this point, I don't believe in using people as props, then. That pretty much limits me to people I know, or at least have met and know something about. The best thing about being a newspaper photographer was having the excuse to walk up to people whose picture I wanted to take and introduce myself, talk to them about what they were doing, and then make some sort of photo that communicated something about who they were and what they were doing. It gave me a constant flow of subjects, people to meet, know something about, and then, finally, photograph in a way that was personal and relevant to that individual. Consequently, "street" photography has never held the slightest amount of interest for me, not doing it, nor looking at it. Far too many street photos violate point one, above, and often the others, too. I'm a big HCB fan, but mostly of his portraits. Notice that when he quit, it was portraits that he kept doing.
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Old 02-28-2012   #93
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Henry Cartier-Bresson was asked: "Can one learn to look?"...his first answer: "Can one learn to have sex?"

Henry Cartier-Bresson: Learn to see ..........find the legend yourself....
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Old 07-30-2012   #94
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just a question .. how to use iso ranges in digital cameras , and how to adjust them / how could they impact proffessional photography. thanks in advance
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Old 07-30-2012   #95
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just a question .. how to use iso ranges in digital cameras , and how to adjust them / how could they impact proffessional photography. thanks in advance
Its like choosing what speed film to shoot. Lower ISO settings give the best quality. Higher ISOs give more noise and a smaller dynamic range, but they allow shooting handheld in low light. I shoot with a 5DmkII when I shoot digital. Its base ISO is 100. I use that anytime I use a tripod, even in dim light, because of the higher image quality. If I'm shooting handheld, I'll often use 400. I've used the 1600 and 3200 ISO settings in dim light where I was shooting handheld, but the image quality is far lower at those high settings: lots of noise, less detail, and less dynamic range.
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Old 10-16-2012   #96
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This is exactly the thread that i need. i think it's time to relived the discussion once more.
Another photographer taught me to pay attention to composition, edges, corner, spaces, straightness, horizon & vertical elements in a shot. That one advice really improved my photography.
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Old 11-20-2012   #97
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So after 100 posts does anyone feel like their photography has improved?
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Old 11-20-2012   #98
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If anything I'm getting worse.
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Old 04-28-2013   #99
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It's a great idea to talk about improvement, about growing. Of course, it depends on your ambitions, why you want grow?... To make a better picture then somebody else, to 'beat' someone, or just to express yourself in the best way with rf camera, of course ? I think, the best tutorial is to start to know yourself.
Duane Michals, one of my favourite photographers talks about it very well:


'You must find your real thing,
you must find your passion, your must find your fear,
it's not outside, its not in Africa, its not in somebody else,
it's in you.'
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Old 04-28-2013   #100
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knowing oneself is the key to all greatness...that's why it's so hard to know yourself...
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