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Old Feb 6, 2004, 12:13 AM   #1
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Default How much technical and how much natural?

I've been hearing a whole pile of great technical stuff in Steve's forum, and that was great, because I've always been one who thinks that the tool is as productive as the master who wields it (weilds?). And I had less of a wonderful attitude towards tech nerds and science people, because I always thought that they could measure the bark depth on a tree but neglected how wonderful the forest was draped before them.
However, even though I'm beginning to feel a bit bloated by f-stops and shutter speeds and fast glass and other stuff like that, I'm actually beginning to understand the necessity for knowing some of the technical stuff.
However... a person can work for a year on the "technical" aspects of shooting a hummingbird with absolutely wonderful bokeh? (that background stuff that is just the right amount of blurr...whoever judges just the right amount, I'm not sure), and be so busy with rulers and figures that the scope of the object is lost completely. Listening to all of this wonderful technical jargon has helped me, one who doesn't normally think that way, to become more able to paint with the camera. I never thought I'd say this but you nerds are cool! However, I also say to you, don't forget the beauty of the sky just because you know how many molecules paint it.

Now...don't ask me "why" I posted this. I will not be able to answer you satisfactorily.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 12:22 AM   #2
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Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box, eh Norm?
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 8:52 AM   #3
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This remindes me of a discussion on another forum I post on. That place is close to the opposite of this one.

Very little technical, a whole lot of composition, finding your vision... that kinda stuff. I find it rather refreshing to read at both places.

Over there, the current topic getting attention is if a visual training is good or bad for your photography. Of course, the defintion of "visual training" is a bit nebulus, but that is part of the fun of talking about it.

And there is very, very little technica talk. They are capable of doing it, but they just don't do it often. As I say, it's interesting.

It is much harder to perform at your highest level if you don't understand your tools. But if all you understand are your tools, do you really know how to put on a performance?

Eric
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 1:26 PM   #4
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Eric...

I have a brother who is a plastic surgeon and "extremely" technical about everything (from golf to cameras). He's the individual who got me going on digital photography in the first place because some of what he pontificated was beginning to settle, sink in, and make sense.

I appreciate my brother's input as I do the input of other more technical sorts in this here forum. It pushes me into an area I would not naturally gravitate to, and that can only be nurturing to me as a relative beginner to digital still photography.

You guys are good stuff
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 1:32 PM   #5
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Hi eric s - You make a very good point. I think the short answer is that a good photographer still has to have the eye for the play of light, composition, subject matter and all the other elements that make a great photo. While this can be learned to a degree, being intuitive on this count is a big advantage. When you race out to the beach on your vacation in your underwear at 6 a.m. to take shots of one of the most spectacular sunrises you have ever seen or drive around in your car before dawn or hike a steep mountain trail just to see if there's a good photo along the way or carry your camera everywhere in case you see a great shot, you're a photographer. Digital cameras make this so much easier because you understand right away what you did wrong or right, even if you may not be an expert at the "technical stuff" Better to have a good eye than to be a technician (if you have to choose one), but certainly understanding the tech specs can be very useful. I recommend the "Photography Field Guide" published by National Geographic and authored by Peter Burian & Robert Caputo. Their reference point is film, but if you have been a film photographer, the jump to digital is pleasant. I hope this helps!
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 2:55 PM   #6
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My take on this subject is that technical expertise is very important to get the most out of your camera and the "digital darkroom". BUT there are limits to how much technology can to. Really good photography is truly an art. You can improve technical technique through hard work and study , but great photographers have a special gift they have developed. I have heard photography described as "painting with light".
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 4:12 PM   #7
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I agree with wildman.

You have to be
able to visualize your image,
know how to light it,
select and set the camera controls correctly,
and now also fiddle with it in the digital darkroom.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 4:37 PM   #8
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Forget lighting, composition, color, contrast, textures, and tonal ranges, by golly I gots me a newfangle camera dohickey that can zoom to 10X and it fits in my pocket!!

But, I digress.....
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 5:35 PM   #9
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Technical proficiency is knowing about your equipment and tactical proficiency is knowing how to employ your equipment. Most will agree that a mix of the two is best but you can have all the technical proficiency in the world and not be able to utilize the equipment at all.

As a side note, have you noticed how much more ink the Canon thread gets opposed to the Nikon thread. Do you believe one group leans more one way than the other :?:
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 7:01 PM   #10
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I think photography is just like music in that a good artist can produce something decent even without good equipment, but it takes a good tool to fully realize the artistic potential.

I play piano. I'm not great, but let's pretend I am...

Say I record a play something on a dusty old upright piano that's a little out of tune, and make a recording on a tape recorder. You'd be able to tell that you like the song and that I'm a good player, but it wouldn't sound very good.

Then I play the same thing on a well-maintained grand piano and record it digitally with a studio microphone. It would be good, and it would also sound good. It's the same artist and the same art, but different equipment.

The same is true for photography. If someone is a good photographer, he/she can take a good picture with a basic camera, but that same picture would have better image quality with a better camera. If the better camera has more zoom range, faster autofocus, a faster lens, better performance at high iso, etc., it will also enable the person to take pictures that a lesser camera simply couldn't take.

But... it doesn't work the other way around. If someone isn't a good photographer, getting a better camera won't help.
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