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Selectivity in photography . . .
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:16 am    Post subject: Selectivity in photography . . . Reply with quote

This thread is inspired by another thread I was unable to participate in - RF vs SLR for obvious reasons.

Within the thread it was mentioned by several posters about machine gunning on digital . . .
peterqd wrote:
Yes me too. I think the term "machine gun" for digital is perfect. You can make a hundred shots and trust one of them will be the killer. In comparison, using film is like a sniper's rifle with one silver bullet.


http://forum.mflenses.com/reflex-vs-rangefinder-t8066.html

I've noticed this trend my self in people talking about why digitals are superior Shocked They cite the cheapness etc. I've also heard people use an indirect variation of peterqd's comment - I took so many pictures and with PS I'll get a killer shot out of the batch . . .
Embarassed On to my question before people think this is an anti- digital soap box . . .

I find that when I shoot film I've gotten past the necessity of shooting a huge volume of images and more often that not I try to think about the shot and make it count. The exception to this is when I make a foray into the realm of artistic experimentation or practising a technique . . .

This is just as true if not more so with being the recipient of Larry's generosity in regards to the Contaflex 126. Due to its rarer format I try not to go too crazy - even though its a sweet shooter that makes you want to keep shooting Very Happy

The funny thing is that I seem to be rubbing off on my wife because she's commented on deleting a number of shots off her P+S digital - trying to keep only the special ones.

So my question is which is better to fire off at everything - either via digital camera or by cheap film and processing - or to be selective in your shooting?

I guess its the old quality vs quantity.

Jim


PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think shooting style depends both on the type of subject, and on the personal preference of the photographer.

Live events require you to shoot sequences. You just would not be able to do otherwise. I don't use motor for sequences because my finger is fast enough and I can control it better than the motor. Yet I do shoot in sequence when the moment requires it.

Other type of situations instead allow for quiet posing and composing.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim wrote:
So my question is which is better to fire off at everything - either via digital camera or by cheap film and processing - or to be selective in your shooting?
I guess its the old quality vs quantity.


The quantity of shots doesn't have to do with the quality.
If someone have a photographic eye and shot 1000 photos in one day, he will have a high percentage of keeper.
If someone is blind, the percentage of keeper will stay near to 0 regardless of the quantity of shots.

I am in the blind group and it is the reason I like digital.
I can shot whenever and whatever without second thought.
I don't think that selective shooting would improve me.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

j.lukow wrote:


So my question is which is better to fire off at everything - either via digital camera or by cheap film and processing - or to be selective in your shooting?

I guess its the old quality vs quantity.

Jim


Even with cheap film and processing there's still a cumulative cost which I find drives a reluctance to waste film and/or money. The only film cam I had a motor winder on was an OM1 and it was useful to allow me to keep my eye on the ball/car/bike/sportsman/whatever. Even though it was very tempting to keep on pressing the shutter button, the actual number of times I really needed to do that was quite small.
During the years I was shooting motorsport and other activities, mostly as a pastime, I spent a helluva lot on film and processing - a significant proportion of which was wasted, but it was buying experience.

So now; I would say for anyone starting out with digital and has a hankering to get into film - do your learning and wasteage on digital first and then do film; your wallet will thank you.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I shoot on film, I think more about what I do, for sure.
But actually, I do not shoot the "machine-gun" style anymore (aprt from when taking pics of my running daughter for example). I used to do that a lot when I started with digital cams. I guess that shooting on film again has changed my way of shooting with a DSLR.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses . . .
@poilu, we all learn in our own way, you're probably not as blind as you may think! Time will often shape ones "marksmanship Smile " and hone the eye!
@farside, I think you've brought a good concept to this thread, on the use of digital for learning. (Though can't one develop bad habits that would make film frustrating?)

Though I'm wondering if I may have goofed on my phrasing Confused
I do have a motor drive which is more a thing of convenience.
The key point that was somewhat missed is, can one be a good photographer through sheer volume? If there is no cost attached to the pictures how does one invest value?

Jim


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim wrote:
If there is no cost attached to the pictures how does one invest value?

if you shot with a expensive glass like Zeiss it will surely attach cost to the pictures, and also value


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tihnk that if I'm an acceptable photographer today it's because I have learned how to photograph for many years on purely manual cameras. I could not, in fact, afford any automated electronic camera until I was already experienced. And I did not have a camera with matrix metering - only average central (FM2) or nothing at all (Super Ikonta).

So I was forced to learn how to use an external light meter. I was forced to learn where to measure the light manually in a backlit scene, or when you have light sources in the frame. I was forced to learn how to compensate when shooting snow or black subjects. And so on.

I think that this has been an even more decisive factor for me, than the use of film.

Today, for speed, I almost always use the AE mode. With moving subjects, it's a great help. AE is in fact a "semi-automatic" mode because you still need to make some choices. However the Manual mode is where you really learn how to photograph - in my opinion.

Obviously, this is only half of the way - because you don't only need to learn how to photograph, you also have to learn photography Wink


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I shoot most of my pictures using AF lenses. But using M42 MF and full manual has for sure improved my knowledge, AND my skills about photography. An other thing is that when using M42 MF I fell more like a photographer compared to AF - It just more fun.

I believe that I think more about all aspect of my pictures when using M42 MF, and I am really looking forward to try out film soon Smile


Last edited by lahnet on Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:11 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lahnet wrote:
I shoot most of my pictures using AF lenses

Shocked
I am not able to shot AF Embarassed
I try last week and more than 60% of my shots was missed and I could not frame the way I wanted
I directly switch to MF and didn't miss any more shots.
You are lucky if you can use AF

the AF selected the background and not the dancer, this one in MF


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'So my question is which is better to fire off at everything - either via digital camera or by cheap film and processing - or to be selective in your shooting?

I guess its the old quality vs quantity.'

For me the simple answer is both.
I shoot as many shots as I can 'See' in that subject. If time allows I will also try different ways of doing the shot. Another lens a different exposure as well as a different angle viewpoint.
IMO the idea that people shoot more shots of the same subject in hope of a good one is rubbish.
Those who have little idea only shoot the shots they see in front of them and quickly run out of ideas to shoot more.
If I can manage to shoot a couple of hundred shots of one subject I would be delighted and consider I was really on form. As it is I often run out of ideas after the usual 5-10 shots and later kick myself for the shots I missed.
You can always see it by looking at peoples photos. If you or others can see the shot could have been improved by a change of angle or viewpoint then the photographer didn't have the skill to see a good shot or in most cases didn't bother to spend time getting the right shot.
Most very poor photographers actual spend their time taking lots of shots of different subjects I some cases they may not even move and just shoot the view that comes to them and the shots show nothing, they have no subject. Their time would be better spent taking lots of shots of one subject and trying to get that right.
Quantiy has little or nothing to do with it a snapshot will always be a snapshot no matter how many or few are taken. Good shots are made by seeing all the posabilities and shooting them.
E.g Would you expect a large format view camera user to always get the perfect shot with one exposure or would three or four be the better option? But would the very average LF users consider the cost and take three or four different subjects with his expensive film?
He must be brilliant if that one shot is always the best that could be got from the subject.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it's mainly a false question because it heavily depends on which kind of photography I'm doing.

For still life I usually start with an image in my mind and, even if sometimes I end up with a different perspective and framing, usually I just take 2-3 different final shots. I say final because there is a lot of preparatory work to get the right light, colors and exposition but these shots are mostly like the old test polaroids.

When on the street I usually try to think ahead and wait for a good focus and framing, when in digital I just have the luxury to get 2-3 more shots with slight different fous (mainly because it's hard to judge focus in the digital cameras viewfinder). In digital also have the chance to "risk" some more shots even when I'm pretty sure they'll be awful and, to be honest, 99% of the times they are and the more I'm using digital the more I shot the same as with film camera so to avoid the hassle to delete them later.

Panorama and nature shots are pretty similar to still life, it's just that I can't arrange the set. It'd be cool to have a car, electricity pole remover though Razz


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just don't shoot very many digital images. I currently have just the K110D with some M42 lenses for my digital group.

I find myself reverting to "old habits" - and am extremely slow using my digital camera. I notice when shooting in a group that the others are "firing off" a lot of shots in comparison with me. It sort of makes me think I'm missing something at the time. And I even had a member of a group ask me when I was going to start "getting a few more shots". Shocked

So what do I do, almost every time? I go back to the car and get my manual film cameras. Digital is a lot of fun, for a short while. But I must have a "gene" in me that doesn't enjoy the machine-gunning so it probably seems as if I'm wasting a lot of lot of time positioning myself and "micro managing" the scene.

Anyway, when I get back to my film cameras I'm all of a sudden less dependent on a sort of "hit and miss" digital venue. I just feel better working out the exposure and scene with the film equipment.

The last time I was out for an extended two-day outing with the K110D and the film cameras, I shot with the K110D for about 30 minutes. I spent the remaining time using my film cameras. I guess I'm some kind of Luddite, but it is all fun! Laughing


PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laurence wrote:
I notice when shooting in a group that the others are "firing off" a lot of shots in comparison with me. It sort of makes me think I'm missing something at the time.


Larry, your photos speak for themselves, and say that you are right in what you do.


PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

j.lukow wrote:

@farside, I think you've brought a good concept to this thread, on the use of digital for learning. (Though can't one develop bad habits that would make film frustrating?)


As Orio has alluded, I would recommend spending time getting to know the digicam on its manual settings before picking up a film camera. On manual, you can learn a lot about how and why a shot did or didn't work and you get the absolutely invaluable instant feedback that digital excels in. In a way, it's a great step backwards, but it leads to a slowing down and an appreciation of what the camera can do when properly set up.
Armed with this knowledge, you can then tackle film - sure, there will still be wasted shots, but every one is instructive, and there will be many fewer of them.

Quote:

Though I'm wondering if I may have goofed on my phrasing Confused
I do have a motor drive which is more a thing of convenience.
The key point that was somewhat missed is, can one be a good photographer through sheer volume? If there is no cost attached to the pictures how does one invest value?


I don't see how sheer volume can determine quality - it's not an exclusivity, for often sheer luck can rescue the situation and there might be a killer shot in amongst the great number, but it's a pain trying to find it sometimes.
Sure, many of the great photogs of the past were lucky enough to be shooting on someone else's tab and were in the habit of rattling off hundreds of frames of film, but they were mostly rather talented to start with. Even so, many of them had a huge reject rate when they examined what they'd shot.
Horses for courses, of course - I don't think Weegee rattled off film with his Speed Graphic at the same rate as somebody with a Leica, and I'd bet his keeper rate was much higher.

To answer your second point - even if there's no or very little financial cost, there's still an investment in time, even with digital. That's a much more precious commodity than mere money.