My photography thoughts
Old 01-02-2017   #1
begona
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My photography thoughts

Hi guys

Before I share my thoughts/doubts I want to wish you all the best in 2017. May the force be with you.

Now, maybe some of you faced similar "problems". For a long period I shoot film, and basically I do not shoot a lot (maybe roll per month or even less) tryin to find some nice motive, always thinking how that photo will look on my wall. I am having my M2 all the time with me but not shoot a lot. Somehow I think it is a shame to spend silver on something I am not sure it is good enough..I do not press shutter button if I am not sure that I will have decent photo. And after that I am very selective and, after 10 year of shooting, I have circa 20 photos on my webpage I am satisfy with.

On the other side, few time in my past, I shoot digital, mostly documentary/street work. It makes me happy but I do not appreciate digital photo as much as film. It seems that with digital it is much more easy to make good photo than with film. When I start to shoot some documentary project it makes me very happy but after some time when I look back to that photos I do not appreciate them as analogue photos and I always get back to film. To be clear, if those documentary projects were made on film I would be VERY happy with them.

So I am somewhere in between but somehow I can not do the both in same time or put both(digital and film) on my webpage/instagram as I want to be consistent.

So...how you make yourself to shoot film as it is digital, not thinking about film, sliver, money, rubbish photos etc?

In my signature you can find links with some photos I made on film. No digital for now. I am not in that phase

Thanks

Goran
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Old 01-02-2017   #2
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Don't hold back, there's no substitute for first hand experience. Nobody learned anything about anything in photography by not shooting. You need to experiment with your film, even if you end up (and you will) with some not so very good photos. Develop/scan/print yourself to save on costs.
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Old 01-02-2017   #3
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Hi Goran.
I shoot Digital and Film also.

I began photography in the 1960's, so it was all film of course. Because I had a job during school, I had money to buy a nice camera and even turned my bedroom into a darkroom.

Through the years I used a film camera, a Pentax SLR, then a Contax IIIa, finally an Olympus XA.

Along came digital, and several small point & shoot cameras, I quit film for the lure of digital, now back to film along side of digital.

I have worked out that digital is for my work, taking pictures of my products, and film for recreation and family photos. This way I can take a lot of pictures of my work, throw away a lot and keep only the best, like I did when film photography was less expensive.
The nature of my "work pictures" is that they have a short life, not for posterity.
I think of film photography as that which will live a longer life, pictures being passed down in the family, such as that. I also enjoy the cameras and have fun with taking film pictures, but because of the cost, I try not to shoot many shots of the same subject, and a roll of film may last a month, just like my mother did when she was the family photographer.
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Old 01-02-2017   #4
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Thanks guys for your thoughts.

I just have to relax and shoot film like it is digital..Ok film is not cheap but still...It seems like only way to be fully satisfy. I am not professional photographer so I do not have to care about job or customers

And get rid of digital cameras as they are tempting
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Old 01-02-2017   #5
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This post is at the wrong sub-forum.

I have film M with me all the time, I'm taking only few photos and mostly if I like them to be printed. I'm finding it much more ideal vs digital, because it is not very expensive and prints from darkroom are much more easy to make for me. Printing from files with similar quality is terribly expensive. I see absolutely no need to use digital for documentary, projects and street. To me digital is worth of instagram, FB and forum galleries.
If I could find good printing alternative from digital, which has similar quality for FB darkroom prints and doesn't cost insane price, I will start to use digital more.

Film is not cheap? Which film? Color? 8x10? I'm finding what 30.5 m bw bulk for 40-50 USD is cheap, chemicals costs next to nothing and only 8x10 are 1$ per FB prints, but it is not so expensive as printing from files.
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Old 01-02-2017   #6
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Originally Posted by begona View Post
Hi guys

Before I share my thoughts/doubts I want to wish you all the best in 2017. May the force be with you.

Now, maybe some of you faced similar "problems". For a long period I shoot film, and basically I do not shoot a lot (maybe roll per month or even less) tryin to find some nice motive, always thinking how that photo will look on my wall. I am having my M2 all the time with me but not shoot a lot. Somehow I think it is a shame to spend silver on something I am not sure it is good enough..I do not press shutter button if I am not sure that I will have decent photo. And after that I am very selective and, after 10 year of shooting, I have circa 20 photos on my webpage I am satisfy with.

On the other side, few time in my past, I shoot digital, mostly documentary/street work. It makes me happy but I do not appreciate digital photo as much as film. It seems that with digital it is much more easy to make good photo than with film. When I start to shoot some documentary project it makes me very happy but after some time when I look back to that photos I do not appreciate them as analogue photos and I always get back to film. To be clear, if those documentary projects were made on film I would be VERY happy with them.

So I am somewhere in between but somehow I can not do the both in same time or put both(digital and film) on my webpage/instagram as I want to be consistent.

So...how you make yourself to shoot film as it is digital, not thinking about film, sliver, money, rubbish photos etc?

In my signature you can find links with some photos I made on film. No digital for now. I am not in that phase

Thanks

Goran
well, the technical process of shooting film is where it's at for some folks. in fact both mediums have an extensive list of merits for and against.

it seems to me, from the tone of your post, that you need to ask yourself some questions. is your interest rooted in the chemical process, lovely mechanical machines etc. or is it in images unto themselves? to produce an extensive body of images you need to shoot a lot. i mean a lot. digital then becomes a persuasive argument.

i might suggest that you contact some folks here about digital workflow leading to great prints. take a look at what Larry Towell is doing with digital these days. Salgado has an interesting approach to printing that may interest you. modern digital files, when shot with a bit of care, can produce jaw dropping print quality.

either two approaches to photography don't need to be mutually exclusive. having invested a lot of energy in each camp, i choose to remain firmly planted in both.
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Old 01-02-2017   #7
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Hi Goran! Your thoughts are a lot like mine. I'm a long time film shooter and recently added digital. I love using my old classic film cameras but carry a small digital point and shoot with me daily because of small size, ease of use, easy process, and no cost for film. I get pictures on digital that I don't get with film because of these reasons. Some of my digital pictures I wish I had taken with film - wish I had a real film negative to hang on to. Backing up digital files is a pain because I'm not a computer person.

I'm otherwise happy with my digital results but I am less satisfied by the digital process. It makes me think of myself as being lazy and that I cheated by not using film. With greater effort comes greater reward, right?

I use digital as my point and shoot, but sometimes get good shots because it's with me constantly and I use it freely. When I have the intent to photograph "seriously", I use film. On my website, I have both film and digital images. I really like the quote about foolish consistency - thanks for that faberryman!

Have a great year everyone!

edit added: Listen to John in post #7. He knows what he's talking about.
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Old 01-02-2017   #8
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well, the technical process of shooting film is where it's at for some folks. in fact both mediums have an extensive list of merits for and against.

it seems to me, from the tone of your post, that you need to ask yourself some questions. is your interest rooted in the chemical process, lovely mechanical machines etc. or is it in images unto themselves? to produce an extensive body of images you need to shoot a lot. i mean a lot. digital then becomes a persuasive argument.

i might suggest that you contact some folks here about digital workflow leading to great prints. take a look at what Larry Towell is doing with digital these days. Salgado has an interesting printing approach printing that may interest you. modern digital files, when shot with a bit of care, can produce jaw dropping print quality.

either two approaches to photography don't need to be mutually exclusive. having invested a lot of energy in each camp, i choose to remain firmly planted in both.
I'll second this. It sounds like you're thinking too much about the medium itself rather than WHY you like or dislike one or the other. You make it sound like you just don't like an image because it was made with digital rather than not liking the image for it's lack of content or aesthetic value.
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Old 01-02-2017   #9
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Yep guys...I am completely aware that technology seems like more important than result..and I know it is wrong. I know that shooting with a film will not make any photograph better than shooting with digital as only a final print is important, but somehow I just do not appreciate digital photos I make. It is not about photo itself but about a process, effort.

Also, I know there is no an answer somewhere around but in myself...But it is nice to share with people to see if they face the same "problem"
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Old 01-02-2017   #10
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That's fine if you like it personally. It sounds like you should dump your digital equipment and invest in film and chemicals and a scanner. Developing at home and scanning at home really cuts down the cost to a much more manageable price/shot figure. Your photography should be for yourself and you should shoot with what makes you happy, otherwise why do it? If shooting digital for whatever reason doesn't give you the results you want then you need to shoot film.
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Old 01-02-2017   #11
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Breennan, I develop and scan at home..used to enlarge when I was in Croatia. So.. Honestly I am not big fan of developing but as there is no lab in Manchester I have to do it by my own. That's life
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Old 01-02-2017   #12
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Originally Posted by begona View Post
Yep guys...I am completely aware that technology seems like more important than result..and I know it is wrong. I know that shooting with a film will not make any photograph better than shooting with digital as only a final print is important, but somehow I just do not appreciate digital photos I make. It is not about photo itself but about a process, effort.

Also, I know there is no an answer somewhere around but in myself...But it is nice to share with people to see if they face the same "problem"
you misunderstand. neither approach is wrong. digital makes the idea of mass communication more attractive when considering time and money. if you are at it to communicate, loudly, timely and across many platforms then digital is an attractive approach. if you like cameras and the film process and feel like that's what brings you pleasure, then the only wrong thing to do would be to abandon that.

i still advise to talk with some folks about how they get the digital prints they want. it is a steep learning curve that requires a commitment of time and energy whether you do it at home or build a relationship with a printer. if you have already put that effort in then the conclusion seems apparent.
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Old 01-02-2017   #13
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For me, one of the compelling features of digital is the ability to shoot freely, without concern for cost or processing time. For some types of photography that isn't important. But I find it particularly valuable for street shooting, where things happen quickly and so much depends on serendipity and luck.

Personally, I feel the freedom of digital is good for creativity and is a fair trade for the aesthetic of film. There's also the possibility that, with more digital processing effort, you can get a look that's somewhat closer to what you like about film.

But if you're committed to shooting street with film, I think you need to face the music and be willing to accept the higher cost associated with shooting freely.

John

Agreed.
Although I still shoot film I tend not to use where there is a need to shoot more freely.

Its not just a question of cost but also the need to deal with the material.

Possibly unlike most film shooters ,although I enjoy the cameras and the aesthetic, I dont care for the bit in between
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Old 01-02-2017   #14
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I agree with you guys...It was not questionable from beginning. A fact is that in the ocean of all opportunities these days it is hard to stick to one.


"But if you're committed to shooting street with film, I think you need to face the music and be willing to accept the higher cost associated with shooting freely."


That seems very true.
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Old 01-02-2017   #15
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Originally Posted by begona View Post

"But if you're committed to shooting street with film, I think you need to face the music and be willing to accept the higher cost associated with shooting freely."


That seems very true.
False to me. I'm using one roll, maximum two if I go for the street for several hours. Often, I'm not finishing roll at all. I'm only taking it if I'm going to print it. And I print about five from them.
I do same with digital M as well. Went on the street 31.12. took less than twenty shots.
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Old 01-02-2017   #16
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...
So...how you make yourself to shoot film as it is digital, not thinking about film, sliver, money, rubbish photos etc?
...
IMO, that's the wrong question.

If you shoot with a digital camera the same way you shoot with a film camera, and you like what you do with a film camera, you will get the same results and be happy with them. Go vice versa and shoot with a film camera the same way you shoot with a digital camera, and you don't like your digital camera results, you will again get the same results and not be happy with them.

The key isn't to 'make yourself shoot film as if it is digital' (that is, not worrying about money, consuming resources, etc). The key is to learn what it is you are doing with your digital photography that produces the results that satisfy you. Once you know that, you apply those same techniques to whatever recording medium you like and you make photographs that satisfy you.

Film is a different recording medium from a digital sensor and processing film images is rather a different set of skills compares to processing digital images. You can make them do pretty much the same thing, once you understand both mediums and become skilled at processing them, after which you can let go of the notion that one is "better" than the other. That's the point at which you can see and exploit the specific qualities of either to satisfy you best.

I work with both film and digital mediums. I work with them in pretty much the same way, taking into account as I do their different qualities and characteristics and the differences in processing flexibility that they imply. I make about the same number of exposures (and am generally pretty frugal on that score; never saw the point of shooting a bazillion exposures because it just adds overhead in the sorting/picking/processing later), and process about the same number out of a shooting session to a final rendering. A few months later, I edit down the finals and discard the ones that really didn't stand up to inspection over time, and look back at the originals again to see if I missed any that were worth processing.

Most of the time, now, I use a digital camera because the processing options are greater, there's more sensitivity and dynamic range to work with, and I can get my results more efficiently and consistently. But I still love working with film from time to time, and enjoy the randomness of its flaws and limitations. The costs are low in both cases, overall, because of the volume that I shoot and what I consider worth printing.

Good luck.

G
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Old 01-02-2017   #17
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The photos that will survive a generation, digital or analogue, are those of the ones you love...either on a screen or in a sock drawer...
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Old 01-02-2017   #18
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if you are at it to communicate, loudly, timely and across many platforms then digital is an attractive approach.
I am not sure about loudly, but "timely" can be a major reason to shoot digital on at least some occasions.

It is also too easy to worry about film vs digital (which film, which processing?) and which camera and which lens. Perhaps it is better to think about the subject matter and how you want to curate and present it - and the medium and tools should follow from that.

That said I think I shoot mainly film partly because of the result, but also because the effort and cost gives a greater investment in each image. This is a kind of cognitive bias which sadly makes me prefer my hard-won film shots over far better but much less invested digital images. The tactile pleasure of a nice film camera only adds to this delusion.

Ultimately, as others have said, I think understanding why you are shooting is comes before everything...
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Old 01-02-2017   #19
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You seem to have a bias toward a romantic image of film - you would like digital images if they were shot on film. Maybe you like the distortion of the grain.
I also see you say 20 good images in 10 years. That is a very low ratio.
I think you have to follow what makes you happy - both shooting and results. If shooting film makes you happy then do that. If getting results makes you happy than you have to figure out how to get more keepers. To me the way to increase keepers is to shoot more. Less than a roll a month is a very small amount of shooting.
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Old 01-02-2017   #20
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The photos that will survive a generation, digital or analogue, are those of the ones you love...either on a screen or in a sock drawer...
quite well said
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Old 01-02-2017   #21
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Reread my statement in the context of the OP's post. He said he has averaged two acceptable shots per year for the past ten years. Surely you would agree he needs to loosen up and shoot more freely.

John
I must have missed something between lines. OP didn't specified how much rolls, negatives were taken to achieve this goal, which seems to be fine in numbers of final prints, fine and final. The only complain I read from OP is what film is expensive. Does it mean OP actually takes a lot of exposures to get two fine and final prints per year? I can't imagine what someone on this forum and in USA would call bw film as expensive. Fixed, low income to afford 100 $ for 60 meters of bw film? And another 100$ for chemicals every over year?
Or is it about color film? I quit color on film long time ago, too expensive.
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Old 01-02-2017   #22
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This small discussion gave me some answers so thank you guys.

I do not shoot a lot...number of keepers is really subjective...someone would choose much more keepers from my negatives than I did...but as I said, I am very selective trying to keep ones I think are the best.

Everyone has his own way so it was nice to read how you guys thinking...although thinking and knowing is one thing...

Cheers
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Old 01-03-2017   #23
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This small discussion gave me some answers so thank you guys.

I do not shoot a lot...number of keepers is really subjective...someone would choose much more keepers from my negatives than I did...but as I said, I am very selective trying to keep ones I think are the best.

Everyone has his own way so it was nice to read how you guys thinking...although thinking and knowing is one thing...

Cheers
Sorry, second post. Nice work in your website, Goran. Nothing wrong with curating tightly the photos you show. Actually it's the converse that is usually a problem (I mean for me as a viewer). Choosing film photographs is another way of curating your output, this time with regard to their presentation. I agree with the posters above: You could do it differently and successfully so. But then it would be different and that's (apparently) not what you want in the first place.

I'd still say to loosen up when shooting film. If you only shoot what you anticipate will work, you shoot a specific kind of photo, also (btw) made by others who also anticipate that that sort of situation will work. Loosen up and throw yourself in the stream of life around, it's the only way to actually get photos with a more improvisatory/spontaneous feel, the kind that is unanticipated and, at the bottom of it, unexpected even for the one who made it. There's curious exhilaration when one of these rough gemstones land on your lap. Maybe that's not your cup of tea, and that's fine, so take these words as just another photographer's point of view

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Old 01-03-2017   #24
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I lost my darkroom and access to another and I don't have the space now so I went digital in 06. I love film and if I still had a darkroom I would still be shooting it in some capacity.

I really like digital to. I shoot with a Leica MM and I love the flexibility and the look of the files. The ability to take one frame at 320 ISO and the next at 6400 ISO I just love. The look of medium format at high ISO and also the flexibility like shooting with a 500 C/M and different film backs with different ISO in a much smaller package.

I think one needs to shoot a lot. Bresson said something like you have to milk a lot of cows just to get a little cheese and when Winogrand was pushed about how much he shot he said that art was not a product of industrial efficiency.
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Old 01-03-2017   #25
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It seems that with digital it is much more easy to make good photo than with film.

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Old 01-03-2017   #26
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I have been trying out a strategy by which I use film and digital equipment. I mainly use the M9 and M8 for digital, with Olympus E-P2 and E-PL1 as back-up, with the Hasselblad SWC being my main film camera for the time being. I set aside the M3 and M6 (and many other film cameras) until I decide what to do next.

Happy New Year!
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Old 01-03-2017   #27
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Yep guys...I am completely aware that technology seems like more important than result..and I know it is wrong. I know that shooting with a film will not make any photograph better than shooting with digital as only a final print is important, but somehow I just do not appreciate digital photos I make. It is not about photo itself but about a process, effort.

Also, I know there is no an answer somewhere around but in myself...But it is nice to share with people to see if they face the same "problem"
I totally know how you feel, I'm in exactly the same situation. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have bought a digital camera, but I would have missed so many pictures of my niece.

When I was looking for a picture to post in the 'Favourite of 2107' thread I realised how little photos I've taken over the year. I guess that can be this year's goal!
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Old 01-03-2017   #28
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I lost my darkroom and access to another and I don't have the space now so I went digital in 06. I love film and if I still had a darkroom I would still be shooting it in some capacity.

I really like digital to. I shoot with a Leica MM and I love the flexibility and the look of the files. The ability to take one frame at 320 ISO and the next at 6400 ISO I just love. The look of medium format at high ISO and also the flexibility like shooting with a 500 C/M and different film backs with different ISO in a much smaller package.

I think one needs to shoot a lot. Bresson said something like you have to milk a lot of cows just to get a little cheese and when Winogrand was pushed about how much he shot he said that art was not a product of industrial efficiency.
With 28mm and in the crowd continuous shooting makes sense. It also makes sense if your income depends on amount of exposures you need to be accepted as the more less single source of the income.

If we skip this factor of income money as the serious reason for taking pictures and look at approach of John Free, the "shoot a lot" becomes as negative factor to get more keepers. I took this approach and have more frames to print.
It is same as going through the forest next to large city and getting mushrooms for cooking. You walk a lot, you look around a lot, but only few mushrooms are taken. Photography becomes similar to it these days. In HCB glory time, almost every handheld photo was discovery and next to the art. Now photography is something where just going to remote place or taking it with sitter in the corner and huge empty space above doesn't count as novice.

I think with digital-film mix it is convenient to have same gear. Those with CanoNikons are blessed. My EOS Rebel takes same lenses and flashes as digital EOS Rebel camera. The cost of cameras if purchased used is next to nothing, while my digital Rebel does have ISO 6400 with not only bw capabilities, but usable colors.

The problem comes with M word. Leica did great job for how old and not only Leica, expensive lenses works on digital M, but it is much more expensive for bodies.

The part where digital and film can't be always seamlessly merged comes with printing. Prints from scans are done in same matter as prints from digital M, but lith printing is something I don't know how to get digitally.
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Old 01-03-2017   #29
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Originally Posted by faberryman View Post
One of the obvious questions you need to ask yourself is whether you prefer working in the darkroom with chemical processes or working in front of a computer with an inkjet printer.
In the past computer and regular inkjet was nothing, but bad experience to me for bw, and so-so for color. This is why I was happy to learn wet printing. Now, after getting of M-E, I'm trying my luck with inks again. The order for printer, paper and ink was placed this morning...
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Old 01-03-2017   #30
airfrogusmc
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I'm not sure what keeper is. I mean I lay things out and see how they fit into a project I am working on. Maybe it's the start of a new body of work or maybe it will fit into a new body of work in the future.

I think we need to shoot how ever many we need to shoot to get to where we need to get to. No one talks about how many sketches and how many times a painter has sketched a scene before painting it or painted over parts of his painting to get to where he needs to be.

As far as B&W man the MM is the only digital B&W I have warmed up to and the prints I get from that and my 2880 are as good as B&W digital gets.

If you are processing and printing yourself then the price of film is not all that bad. There are ways tp cut down on the cost.
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Old 01-03-2017   #31
FrankS
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The important thing about professional photography is satisfying paying clients.

The important thing about amateur photography is satisfying yourself. Use and do what makes you happy.
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my little website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

photography makes me happy
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Old 01-03-2017   #32
airfrogusmc
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Agree Frank.
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Old 01-03-2017   #33
Ko.Fe.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airfrogusmc View Post
I'm not sure what keeper is.
I'm taking pictures to see them on prints. And I'm taking pictures to document.
If I'm looking at same print from time to time and I don't want to shred it - it is the keeper. But I might reprint it.
If I see picture on the screen and it represents the moment well - it is also keeper. But I might to revisit same event or retake this portrait.
My few and only projects are inline with this concept.
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Old 01-03-2017   #34
airfrogusmc
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For me a photograph isn't a photograph until it's a print. What may be something that doesn't fit into project A could very well fit into project B or C.

Adams ( and I know he was working with large format but he still shot a lot) said that if he got 12 significant negatives a year it was a good year. Some days I go out and it's just a walk LoL and somedays there are images everywhere. I think the important part is taking the photograph. I always learn in that process.

Ko I think in a round about way we are saying pretty much the same thing.
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