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What do you wish you'd realized earlier?
Old 02-03-2019   #1
retinax
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What do you wish you'd realized earlier?

Hi all,
I thought we could have a thread where we share the things about which we've muttered "damn, am I dense" or just "duh.." to ourselves. Should be amusing and maybe some late realizations can be helpful to others.
This is prompted by my sudden realizing why sometimes the film wants to curls the wrong way, emulsion side out, and is a lot harder to get on the reel. It's because some cameras wind it on the take-up spool that way! And somehow it keeps that curl even when back in the cassette, probably because it's wound more tightly in the camera. Thanks, engineers.
Another thing: It took me a while to understand how exactly to make best use of dodging and burning. Not that I was great at it now, but realizing that one should generally pick a higher contrast filter or paper grade to get higher local contrast, and then use dodging and burning to mitigate blown highlights or blocked shadows (rather than the other way around, using it to increase contrast) has helped a lot.
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Old 02-03-2019   #2
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I wish I knew I could scan film and edit it w software before I spent money on expensive digital gear.
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Old 02-03-2019   #3
Tom R
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A dangerous question to ask an old man ... My answer has nothing to do with gear or technique ....

The first thing that comes to mind is something that I was told years ago, by a well-known photographer whom I had the pleasure of accompanying on some work. Anyway, I asked him (and I paraphrase) how does one get into the fine-arts photography business. He reflected for a few moments and told me that at long as I had a full-time career that paid the bills, etc., that I'd never find the time (and fear) to succeed in his business. It was very simple, but struck me as inconceivable at that moment.

Now, many years later, I have been able to follow his advice, and you know what? Making pictures (many bad ones, which he told me was expected) I realize that he was right.

Now, the question remains: how might my life played out had I followed his honest reply to what he must have felt was a strange question.
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Old 02-03-2019   #4
Contarama
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That contax t3 was going to bring way more than $300 someday
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Old 02-03-2019   #5
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Most everything I now know that's worth knowing I wish I knew earlier.
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Old 02-03-2019   #6
Sumarongi
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Hm, first thing I can think of: When I was a young college student, I spent years cooking and eating inedible meals until I finally realised how extremely important onions are!
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Old 02-03-2019   #7
farlymac
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I wish I had realized that I should've gotten into the Leica M system way sooner than I did. Would have saved a bunch of money on all the other gear I bought instead. But then it was an experience I suppose I had to go through to convince myself it was what I wanted to do in the long run.


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Old 02-03-2019   #8
Uncle Brian
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You really only need one camera but that camera should be selected with care. For me that would have been something in large format, all those cool movements
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Old 02-03-2019   #9
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I wish I'd realized how much I would like my earlier photos. Then I would have taken more.
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Old 02-03-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contarama View Post
That contax t3 was going to bring way more than $300 someday
I did that exact same thing...
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Old 02-03-2019   #11
CMur12
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I always wanted a Rolleiflex TLR.


My first TLRs were a Minolta Autocord and then a Mamiya C330f. Later still, I finally got a Rolleicord (sold it), and a couple of Rolleiflexes (plus two Yashicas and a Ricohflex/Diacord).



My favorites are still the Minolta Autocord and the Mamiya. I should have just stuck with them.


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Old 02-03-2019   #12
Rayt
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Stick to one thing whether gear, film or chemicals and be an expert with it. Biggest regret: not taking that shot (lots of those).
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Old 02-03-2019   #13
shimokita
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Re: What do you wish you'd realized earlier?
Ans: What I haven't realized yet

That planning sometimes results a different outcome... That it's not a matter of slowing down, it's just being ready at the right moment.

Casey
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Old 02-03-2019   #14
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I wish I’d checked that the film was winding on properly that time with my M4... 36 Pulitzer Prize winners all on top of each other.
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Old 02-03-2019   #15
teddy
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... That what really matters is a camera and a few good lenses - and that's it. Everything else is clutter and chasing after the wind. And a few good lenses means (three good ones).
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Old 02-03-2019   #16
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I wish I'd realized that you can shoot as much film as you want, and put it in the fridge or freezer to develop much later. So many images were missed because I was trying to 'save' film, when I should have just shot everything and developed when it could be afforded. I kind of blame my Dad, who was annoyed when I took loads of pictures at a holiday in Hawaii. Come on, Dad. we're on the other side of the world seeing women in bikini tops and hula skirts in real life! That put a dampener on my image making back then.

I wish I'd realized the vital importance of photography and daily/weekly journaling from my teenage years onwards. Much of my journals are spotty, especially from 12-16. I got a lot better from 16 on, but there's much I wish I had photographed and journaled from 12 to 16.
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Old 02-04-2019   #17
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Nothing really, the learning process is (more than) half the fun.
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Old 02-04-2019   #18
Brian Atherton
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That taking a decent photo mostly has nothing to do with the brand of camera gear you’re using.
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Old 02-04-2019   #19
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Expose more, develop less. In other words, the manufacturers' instructions don't give the best negatives.

Last edited by john_s : 02-04-2019 at 17:10. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-04-2019   #20
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I mostly wish I'd kept gear I was selling until later. Sold one of those daft Tomioka 55mm 1.2 lenses a couple of years ago, and they're now selling for 3 times what I flogged it for.

And I wish I'd realised earlier that Pentax are the SLR brand for me. Started with Pentax, sold a perfect, serviced ME Super and tried Canon, Nikon and Olympus before going back to Pentax. Trying to find an ME Super as perfect as my first one...

Also wish I'd realised that my Canon VI-L without a lens attached is the perfect shape to slip nicely out of my jacket pocket and onto the tarmac.
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Old 02-04-2019   #21
Ted Striker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contarama View Post
That contax t3 was going to bring way more than $300 someday

Brutal. Those things are bringing in $1600 or more these days.
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Old 02-04-2019   #22
Yokosuka_Mike
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What do you wish you'd realized earlier?

Maybe that getting married at a young age is a big mistake. But then if I hadn’t made mistakes earlier in life I wouldn’t have learned from them and perhaps I wouldn’t have met my current wife (of 30 years now) who makes me so very happy.

What do I wish I’d realized earlier? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Everything is working out fine.

Mike
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Old 02-04-2019   #23
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How much fun shooting and developing black and white film is.
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Film amateur with a few rangefinders - Leica III, M2/M3, Werra 3 and Zeiss Super Ikonta 534/16 medium format.

Apart from that have a Rolleiflex 3.5F, the odd Minolta XD7, Hasselblad 500cm, a Topcon Super D and an Intrepid 5x4 large format (not the half of it but I am clearing them out, honest).

I do all my own black and white developing at home.
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Old 02-04-2019   #24
leicapixie
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Not taking good free advice from an older pro!
Not reading instruction booklet.
Believing that a camera and or lens would be magic grail, to better photos..
Pro advice ('60's) work with 6x6 and not 35mm.
I would have shot way less, learnt real quicker!
Less negatives..
Instruction booklet left when all else had failed..
The magic camera!
Shooting film, folks have donated, given and or sold at minimum cost,
their cameras and lenses.
I "discovered" that Canon Ae_1P,Ae-1,Av-1; Minolta X series(leica r); Nikon-F,
Nikkormat, Nikkor lense, Pentax and Takumar lenses were all superb!
Even unknown SLR, Chinon K-mount, Ricoh lenses were lovely.
My Leica M and older Leitz lenses as good as the new..
Prefer look of Non-Asph lenses.
It all means one gotta work at making images..
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Old 02-04-2019   #25
markbakovic
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there is a "start" line on 120 backing to line up with that arrow. zoom lenses are not for me. cheap lenses are (mostly) not worth buying. cheap zooms belong in the foul smelling boxes they live in at fleamarkets. filters are useful. i like contrasty b&w. black skies. depth of field preview + focus short to knock the background into the distance. I don't automatically take a straight photo. people will sell things as broken that really aren't, they just cbf investigating. sometimes it's not worth the effort.

on that cheery note, some things I'm super chuffed I realised early (or even late but at least "in time" & all by myself) are: most labs effectively push process E6 (so rate up a stop). Rayt's point about dabbling less and refining more (at least with process). take notes. rule of thirds. slanty light. I'll never sell a photo (and that's ok).

Last edited by markbakovic : 02-04-2019 at 06:57. Reason: LINE BREAKS!!!!
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Old 02-04-2019   #26
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I wish I hadn't listened when I was in my teens and twenties when people told me, "Photography can be a fun hobby, but you can't make a living at it."

And I wish, in the ensuing years, when I lived all over this country, and moved more times than I can count, I hadn't lost most of my negatives from the 1970's.

Other than that, I'm cool.

Best,
-Tim

PS: Oh yeah, I wish I hadn't sold my Canon F-1 kit when I moved out of NYC. I had some incredible times with that package, and made a good snap or two along the way.
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Old 02-04-2019   #27
lynnb
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I wish I'd realized that selling good lenses is not a good idea. Ever.
That pictures of my everyday life when I was young were worth taking, and I should have taken a lot more.
That cost of film is nothing compared to the regret of not having taken the picture, to save money.
That it's a really, really good idea to make sure developer and fixer bottles are clearly labelled and not easily confused in a darkroom
That there's a reason why many cameras have a film type reminder tab holder on the back cover. Now what was that I loaded in that camera?
That it's cheaper in the long run to buy exactly what you want!
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Old 02-04-2019   #28
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That I was about to pour stabiliser into the developing tank rather than BLIX.

Oh well, nothing of any note gone and I really should let the professionals do my colour developing as I hate it!
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Film amateur with a few rangefinders - Leica III, M2/M3, Werra 3 and Zeiss Super Ikonta 534/16 medium format.

Apart from that have a Rolleiflex 3.5F, the odd Minolta XD7, Hasselblad 500cm, a Topcon Super D and an Intrepid 5x4 large format (not the half of it but I am clearing them out, honest).

I do all my own black and white developing at home.
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Old 02-04-2019   #29
Steve M.
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Well, since experience nearly always comes from doing what didn't work and then going "I'd better not do THAT again", I'd say I've learned more things than can be listed here.

If it had to be one thing (picked totally from random) its that if you have the right $20-$50, 90/135 SLR lens, it can make portraits as well as an $800 90 Summicron. Don't like the bokeh on your lens? Get a longer focal length, stand back further and watch the background get nicely blurred. A soft lens shot wide open is your friend for portraits.

One more: fixer makes a lousy developer
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Old 02-04-2019   #30
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How understanding light will make your photos look better.
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Old 02-04-2019   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarongi View Post
Hm, first thing I can think of: When I was a young college student, I spent years cooking and eating inedible meals until I finally realised how extremely important onions are!



This made me laugh! I was the same, though I will add mushrooms also. I can honestly say that learning to saute onions (and garlic) and mushrooms has had a greater impact on my life than any camera/film/lens could ever hope to compete with. lol. Photography is a hobby but onions are life!
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Old 02-04-2019   #32
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I wish I had realized how truly great Kodak HIE was before they stopped making it.

I also wish I had learned earlier to take good notes in the darkroom. I had been told to but it didn’t penetrate my thick skull until years later.
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Old 02-04-2019   #33
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Stop your enlarging lens done to f8, my father advised. I did this for year with my EL nikkor 50mm f4. Which cost £50 second hand. Wished I had got the f2.8 for £75, done test prints and pint at f5 or f5.6. All my prints would have been sharper.
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Old 02-04-2019   #34
filmtwit
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Please substitute "Xpan" for "Contax t3" in your quote.
8-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Contarama View Post
That contax t3 was going to bring way more than $300 someday
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Old 02-04-2019   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnb View Post
I wish I'd realized that selling good lenses is not a good idea. Ever.
That pictures of my everyday life when I was young were worth taking, and I should have taken a lot more.
That cost of film is nothing compared to the regret of not having taken the picture, to save money.
That it's a really, really good idea to make sure developer and fixer bottles are clearly labelled and not easily confused in a darkroom
That there's a reason why many cameras have a film type reminder tab holder on the back cover. Now what was that I loaded in that camera?
That it's cheaper in the long run to buy exactly what you want!
Exactly that. How did you know what I was thinking? :-)
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Old 02-04-2019   #36
Phil_F_NM
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I wish I knew "then" that my first camera, a Pentax ME Super with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, was enough. Rarely since have I needed more camera or lens. Maybe a 28mm and a telephoto zoom but no more. Instead, I have used many different cameras, chasing a photo through gear instead of just shooting.
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Old 02-04-2019   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benlees View Post
This made me laugh! I was the same, though I will add mushrooms also. I can honestly say that learning to saute onions (and garlic) and mushrooms has had a greater impact on my life than any camera/film/lens could ever hope to compete with. lol. Photography is a hobby but onions are life!

I have found that most recipes could do with more onions than specified (e.g. minestrone, curries, stews...). Another trick is to cook most of the onions close to the required amount then add some more which will cook for less time. This works particularly well with tarte à l'oignons.
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Old 02-04-2019   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john_s View Post
I have found that most recipes could do with more onions than specified (e.g. minestrone, curries, stews...). Another trick is to cook most of the onions close to the required amount then add some more which will cook for less time. This works particularly well with tarte à l'oignons.



Agreed. Excellent tip; increases variety and depth of flavour as well as adding textures.



Not that different from developing b&w, in terms of contrast and grain...
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Old 02-04-2019   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmtwit View Post
Please substitute "Xpan" for "Contax t3" in your quote.
8-)
Yes! I wish I would have realized how exactly digital was going to affect everything...

I've done well at any rate however but jeez...

100 shares of Microsoft and 100 shares of Apple bought in 1986 would be worth what nowadays?
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Old 02-04-2019   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
I wish I knew "then" that my first camera, a Pentax ME Super with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, was enough. Rarely since have I needed more camera or lens. Maybe a 28mm and a telephoto zoom but no more. Instead, I have used many different cameras, chasing a photo through gear instead of just shooting.
Phil Forrest

Years ago, Dad gave me his Pentax ME with 50/1.4, and some years later, after many cameras and lenses, I bought a Pentax-M SMC 28/2.8 to go with it. That combination can do about 90% of what I want in film photography. It's funny that sometimes, I'll pick that up over the Leica M7 with 50 Summicron and 28 Elmarit. The main reason why I'd shoot with the Leica is the much more quiet shutter. But if noise isn't an issue, Pentax ME, baby.
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