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Old Dec 7, 2011, 3:48 PM   #1
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Default Are we sometimes too hard on ourselves?

Do we, as amateur photographers (or professionals, for that matter), sometimes get too wrapped up with technical faults? Iíd love to know what others think about this subject, and how to deal with it. Hereís the situation that got me thinking about this.

A year ago I took a picture that was somewhat unusual in one aspect (a fountain was turned off), but otherwise one that just took advantage of the very early morning light (just at sunrise). The dynamic range was a bit beyond my sensorís capability and while the building/subject was exposed correctly, the sky to the east, where the sun was just starting to peak over the horizon, was blown out. I was SO disappointed. I had been shooting raw but the sky was too blown out to recover any blue. When I tried I got grey instead of blue and rather harsh lines at the point where there was no color information remaining. I even went so far as to go back up to the same location, under similar lighting conditions, but the fountain was always turned on and so couldnít replicate the shot. I almost deleted the picture, but decided that Iíd hang onto it in spite of the blown-out sky. I ended up giving up trying to recover anything in that part of the picture Ė the original had gradual gradients from blue to blown-out white, but it still bothered me and I didnít think all that much of the picture.

This week I saw this same vertical aspect picture published in a book, 11 inches on the long (vertical) side. The person putting the book together loved the picture and didnít care about the blown-out sky at all. And I have to say that it looks great in print, far better than I had thought it would when I was originally looking at the picture. Am I the only one that sometimes gets so wrapped up in whatís supposed to be technically correct (you arenít supposed to blow out the sky!) and miss the rest of the shot? How does one keep an even keel about this Ė accepting that some technical aspect gone wrong might not really ruin a shot? How do you judge your own pictures?
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 4:12 PM   #2
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Default I think we can be...

I think we can be too hard on ourselves at times. In fact, many times, I think flaws can add to a picture. While I'm a hobbyist amateur, I think that every artistic type creative person is always harder on himself than is anyone else.
You can also see this everyday in camera reviews! People pick cameras apart no matter how good they are... point in case- right now, there is a huge amount of hubbub going on about the new Fuji X-10 camera due to an issue some of them exhibit with blowing out bright reflections into white blobs to varying extents. People are crucifying the camera- and Fuji themselves for this one flaw that exists under certain conditions, no matter how beautifully the camera performs under most other conditions.
People are always expecting every new camera that comes down the road to be perfect.
There IS no perfect camera.
And what one person might condemn in a photo- I might like.
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 4:26 PM   #3
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In any hobby you have to adopt an attitude of "Good Enough" since you will never get everything perfect. If you agonize over details too much you will only make yourself sick.

While the following link is written in the third person it still applies to your case and shows what you lose by missing the point of the picture over details: http://writtenbythelight.blogspot.co.../rejected.html
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 6:39 PM   #4
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If I'm not happy with a shot, I don't care what others think. And if I took it, I can't help but see the flaws. (... and sometimes even if I didn't.)

Am I being too hard on myself? I don't think so. After all, they're my standards, I'm the only one I have to make happy, and I do that often enough to want to try again.

(Am I being too hard on others? Perhaps, but I keep it to myself.) (... mostly.)
  • The lens is the thing.
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  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 7:55 PM   #5
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There are many technical aspects to any one image,aside from subject matter and composition etc- but one thing I AM obsessive about is exposure.
I'll beat myself with a stick if either end of the histogram is touched...!!!
"As the eye sees" is my obsession- whether using bracketing,filters,HDR etc or whatever it takes....
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Old Dec 7, 2011, 8:00 PM   #6
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To me, the technical details are less important than the overall impact of the photo, in most cases. If I can respond to it emotionally, I am able to more easily overlook the technical flaws. In the cases of studio shots, and unhurried landscape photos, I feel that one should take the time to get the details right. I am usually my own worst critic.

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Old Dec 8, 2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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I may not fully understand the question of the original post but I have to disagree and say that details are everything. Just look at Tetons and the Snake River, Moon and Half Dome, The Walk to Paradise Garden, etc.

The list goes on and on and the attention to details was everything. It is so easy today to take a picture in this digital world but are all these pictures photographs?

If I misunderstood then please forgive me .

Have a great day.
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Old Dec 8, 2011, 11:26 AM   #8
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You have to be your own worst critic. Those are called your personal standards and you shouldnt lower them to please someone else. One thing to remember, its only a picture and as long as you have a camera and lungs full of air and a heart pumping blood you can go out and take another one.
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Old Dec 8, 2011, 3:05 PM   #9
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G'day mtngal

in simple terms - yes ... yes ... yes

Regards, Phil
Has Lumix mirrorless & superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
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