I suck...

Started Oct 17, 2013 | Discussions
Jim Radcliffe
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Re: Why do people have to put down gear sites?
In reply to Jonn Quest, Oct 17, 2013

Jonn Quest wrote:

He (they) couldn't possibly have read and understood your comment if that was his take-away.

You didn't put anything down.....

I know.. I've been a forum member at DPReview since April of 2001.  I visit daily and have engaged in many discussions... and arguments.

I have learned over the years that gear does not make you a better photographer, experience does that.
Better gear can make a better photo but that does not equate to being a better photographer.

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Jim Radcliffe
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The ability to 'see' the shot is more important than the gear used to capture it.

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Jim Radcliffe
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, Oct 17, 2013

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

...Just curious. If you see a scene and decide to get the camera out, do you get it out and shoot or do you first double check by closing one eye?

The reason I ask, is that if your not closing one eye you're are seeing the scene through two eyes, giving you depth. Depth that enhances the view.

The camera is only a single eye (metaphorically speaking). A single eye cannot show depth. Without this depth perception the scene looks flat and very different. If you close one eye and the scene still looks good, then take the shot.

If you haven't used the one eye technique, try it now. Just look at the room around you with one eye closed and you will see the room as the camera does.

Over time I have been able to visualize in rectangles and squares.. hard to explain but when I look at a scene, I mentally frame it in various aspect ratios.  If it really looks good to me I pull out the camera and go to the viewfinder to see if my mind got it right.  I guess you might call what I do as using mental frame lines.

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Jim Radcliffe
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The ability to 'see' the shot is more important than the gear used to capture it.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, Oct 17, 2013

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

...Just curious. If you see a scene and decide to get the camera out, do you get it out and shoot or do you first double check by closing one eye?

The reason I ask, is that if your not closing one eye you're are seeing the scene through two eyes, giving you depth. Depth that enhances the view.

The camera is only a single eye (metaphorically speaking). A single eye cannot show depth. Without this depth perception the scene looks flat and very different. If you close one eye and the scene still looks good, then take the shot.

If you haven't used the one eye technique, try it now. Just look at the room around you with one eye closed and you will see the room as the camera does.

Over time I have been able to visualize in rectangles and squares.. hard to explain but when I look at a scene, I mentally frame it in various aspect ratios. If it really looks good to me I pull out the camera and go to the viewfinder to see if my mind got it right. I guess you might call what I do as using mental frame lines.

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Jim Radcliffe
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The ability to 'see' the shot is more important than the gear used to capture it.

Have you heard of Jeremy Cowart? He takes awesome photographs and he hasn't been a photographer as long as you would think. He was a graphic designer who picked up a camera and applies his old trade to his newer one.

Once I learn't of his past, I decided to learn the very basic's of graphic design. I only did it for a week and then applied the very little I had learnt (compared to what it takes to be a graphic designer) to my photography and it took a huge leap forward. Still a gazillion miles away from Jeremy Cowart's work but it did help me head off on in a whole new direction..

Give it a try Jim

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Elliern
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Oct 17, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

Donald B wrote:

Its not that our photography sucks, its just that we don't have the money to spend on photography as others do. at our local camera club members travel the world just to take competition photos, me the local park is all I can afford . I'm involved in dance photography, and have a school to shoot in 2 weeks, but love visiting Richard Calmes dance photography it would rate as one of the best in the world , I would love to spend 6 hours photographing one dancer for the ultimate shot , I get 1min max when shooting the schools. LOL

cheers don

Sorry Don, but this is utter rubbish. If you want to take a shot of something specific, make it happen. How hard can it be to get dancer to do what they love and get free photos?

I see many excellent images taken within walking distance of the photographers home. In fact, travelling a long distance to do photography is usually counter productive. Think landscapes, which is my speciality. You can spend $3000 travelling half way around the world, only to find the weather's not what you want & you come home with a load of dreary grey snapshots. On the other hand, you can sit at home studying the local weather, then go out when it starts looking interesting & get some amazing shots.

Look at it another way, if I go for a walk & take some photos in a local 16th century church, then sent them to you, 10,000 miles away, would they be any better for the distance?

I have little money for travelling, but I'm very happy with my work. If you're not happy with yours, money is in no way to blame, unless you can't afford any kind of camera.

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You are absolutely correct, Nigel.  I also belong to camera clubs where many vacation around the US, go on safaris and trips to other countries and return with beautiful shots.   Some are once in a lifetime trips.  Those same people get most of their shots from nearby places.  About once a year, we will have a competition where you must photograph something within a 10 minute walk of your home.  Try it sometime.  It is fun and challenging.

I am blessed to live in an area with many types of photo opportunities.  But most mornings, I get up and walk around our condominium complex just to see what is new that I can photograph.  Often not much is happening, but many times I see something really worthy of  shooting.

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Dennis
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, Oct 17, 2013

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

On the contrary, Lee. Viewing those amazing shots just lets me know that I can do better and that it's not so much the gear that I need but more time out shooting and planning.

That's the discouraging thing for me ... knowing that I'll never have the time to devote to photography to become nearly as good as the many, many excellent photographers out there.  But OTOH it's good to keep things in perspective; basically, to have reasonable expectations.

Understanding what good photographers do (and have done for years) to produce what they show you makes you realize that you're not going to produce NatGeo quality work on your family vacation to the Grand Canyon.  You're not going to produce great street photos during that 4-day trip to NYC.  And then you can refocus on taking great pictures of things that you can specialize in.  Even if it's just your kids or your neighborhood or a local theater or dance troupe, etc.

I've been reading essays by Brooks Jensen recently that have been very interesting.  I'm not sure how much he's posted that's freely available on his site; I've been enjoying a subscription to LensWork and his very insightful ebook, "Letting Go Of The Camera", is available to subscribers.

BTW, you don't suck   Or if you do, then I suck worse !!!

- Dennis

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Nigel Wilkins
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Dennis, Oct 17, 2013

Dennis wrote:

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

On the contrary, Lee. Viewing those amazing shots just lets me know that I can do better and that it's not so much the gear that I need but more time out shooting and planning.

That's the discouraging thing for me ... knowing that I'll never have the time to devote to photography to become nearly as good as the many, many excellent photographers out there.

Why not Dennis?

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krugman
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, Oct 17, 2013

My camera must be broken: my images with aren't nearly as good as some of those posted here and in the other  photo forums, with the same (G1X) camera.

Seriously, though, I find looking at art (paintings, sculpture, architecture) helpful, I am learning to see what I am looking at. This has helped me more than looking at very good photographs posted on the internet. The exceptions are the work of Gianni Galassi, and Carolyn Hammett and Vivian Maier  and Andre Kertesz are exceptions, looking at their work has been helpful.

I also so better when photographing something I understand, cities for example.

I often shoot establishing shots first, with a wide angle, usually 28 mm, and then shoot more detail with a sort telephoto setting, say   85 or 100mm.  I find my  establishing shots are often dull and lifeless, or else too busy, however. And my telephoto image  often seems off-kilter, as far as what it includes and excludes is concerned.

What i have done recently is crop from the initial wide angle establishing photo. I find that with cropping, much better images emerge than the original wide angle shot and also much better than the subsequent telephoto shot as well, because I have more time to frame the shot accurately. This procedure has considerably improved my photos.

Krugman

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Dennis
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Oct 17, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

Dennis wrote:

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

On the contrary, Lee. Viewing those amazing shots just lets me know that I can do better and that it's not so much the gear that I need but more time out shooting and planning.

That's the discouraging thing for me ... knowing that I'll never have the time to devote to photography to become nearly as good as the many, many excellent photographers out there.

Why not Dennis?

Well, I suppose I should never say never.  Short term, anyway, work (and a 2-hour round trip commute), home & family life take priority, leaving little time remaining.  And it's a conscious decision.  My daughter will head off to college one day, get a job, and I'll miss spending time with her.  That's not to say I can't (or don't) find time to enjoy photography, but not enough time to produce work that I admire.  I've read a number of articles on accomplished photographers in which an "understanding family" is credited for the photographers success.  To me, that implies sacrifices I don't want to make.

- Dennis

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krugman
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Donald B, Oct 17, 2013

Donald B wrote:

Its not that our photography sucks, its just that we don't have the money to spend on photography as others do. at our local camera club members travel the world just to take competition photos, me the local park is all I can afford . I'm involved in dance photography, and have a school to shoot in 2 weeks, but love visiting Richard Calmes dance photography it would rate as one of the best in the world , I would love to spend 6 hours photographing one dancer for the ultimate shot , I get 1min max when shooting the schools. LOL

cheers don

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Well, here are some additional thoughts on your most candid and interesting post. I hope you will bear with me because my views are a bit different from yours, but I hope they will be helpful.

For one thing, I am skeptical of camera clubs as artistic fora. Too conventional photography for my tastes. I would entirely forget competitions, too conventional. It is fun to discuss gear, though.

Gianni Galassi lives in Rome, a beautiful city, but his style of photography, fragments of industrial buildings, could be done anywhere, it is well worth studying.

Carolyn Hammett's work is travel photography and it does involve travel to beautiful places.

But Andre Kertesz's work, or Vivian Maier's work, could be done in any big city. It would be worth studying how they approached photography.

My experience suggests that photos are best when one understands a lot about what is being photographed. If you know a lot about butterflies, you can take outstanding butterfly photos; similarly for dance, or cities, or whatever you know a great deal about. Since you evidently know a great deal about dance, your dance photos are potentially very good if you have time to take them. Perhaps if you got to know the individual dancers well, you could take portfolio shots for them?

Hope this helps,

Krugman

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Nigel Wilkins
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Dennis, Oct 17, 2013

Dennis wrote:

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

Dennis wrote:

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

On the contrary, Lee. Viewing those amazing shots just lets me know that I can do better and that it's not so much the gear that I need but more time out shooting and planning.

That's the discouraging thing for me ... knowing that I'll never have the time to devote to photography to become nearly as good as the many, many excellent photographers out there.

Why not Dennis?

Well, I suppose I should never say never. Short term, anyway, work (and a 2-hour round trip commute), home & family life take priority, leaving little time remaining. And it's a conscious decision. My daughter will head off to college one day, get a job, and I'll miss spending time with her. That's not to say I can't (or don't) find time to enjoy photography, but not enough time to produce work that I admire. I've read a number of articles on accomplished photographers in which an "understanding family" is credited for the photographers success. To me, that implies sacrifices I don't want to make.

Sounds perfectly reasonable. An alternative might be to concentrate the time you do have on making less images.

Sounds odd, but personally I now spend probably 14 hours planning & travelling to & from every location I intend to shoot. After spending no more than 1 hour at the location, I usually come home with a couple of images I'm happy with. Sometimes I come back with nothing, but that's ok because I enjoy the experience & it also keeps me fitter than I would be otherwise.

If I just go on a holiday somewhere for say a week, I might take loads of photos, but come home with maybe 10 that I like & maybe 1 or 2 that I feel are good enough to show. A pretty poor return for the investment in time. Also, I now spend most of my holiday time with my family, rather than trying to photograph everything. In fact, I hardly ever take my camera out of it's bag on holiday.

This all came about by spending years taking thousands of photos, just for the sake of photography. I spent so much time just snapping away that I never really had time to look at what I was producing & learn from it.

It's taken me a few years to get to this point, but overall, it's concentrated my mind & I improve at a much quicker rate (IMO). I'm also much happier with what I produce & spend a lot more time looking forward to making my next image.

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Re: I suck...
In reply to D Cox, Oct 17, 2013

D Cox wrote:

Basalite wrote:

Just because you were viewing sites showcases images doesn't mean "the gear" is not important. Gear that takes superior pictures and that allows you to more easily take your pictures is most certainly important.

Yes, but it's hard to find a really bad camera nowadays.

In terms of image detail I think 99% of them are bad. That's why I shoot Sigmas.

Ergonomics also play a big part.

The technical side of photography is not difficult to learn. The artistic side is the more challenging. The most important part though is knowing how what you see with your eyes gets translated to the image. Often times what looks impressive through our eyes makes for lousy pictures.

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Nigel Wilkins
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Basalite, Oct 17, 2013

Basalite wrote:

D Cox wrote:

Basalite wrote:

Just because you were viewing sites showcases images doesn't mean "the gear" is not important. Gear that takes superior pictures and that allows you to more easily take your pictures is most certainly important.

Yes, but it's hard to find a really bad camera nowadays.

In terms of image detail I think 99% of them are bad. That's why I shoot Sigmas.

Many medium format shooters like more detail than the Sigmas can provide...it doesn't make them bad.

Ergonomics also play a big part.

The technical side of photography is not difficult to learn. The artistic side is the more challenging. The most important part though is knowing how what you see with your eyes gets translated to the image. Often times what looks impressive through our eyes makes for lousy pictures.

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Dennis
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Oct 17, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

Sounds odd, but personally I now spend probably 14 hours planning & travelling to & from every location I intend to shoot. After spending no more than 1 hour at the location, I usually come home with a couple of images I'm happy with. Sometimes I come back with nothing, but that's ok because I enjoy the experience & it also keeps me fitter than I would be otherwise.

That sounds reasonable enough.  I think you need to sort of keep in practice, though, to make the most of that hour of shooting.  It's not something I think you could do once every three months, because you get "out of shape" in terms of skills (notably "seeing").  Prior to the birth of our daughter, I would go out pretty regularly shooting in local parks.  I was shooting slide film at the time and might spend a morning shooting 1 roll or so, with only a handful of keepers.

Also, I now spend most of my holiday time with my family, rather than trying to photograph everything. In fact, I hardly ever take my camera out of it's bag on holiday.

I've been carrying my RX100 in a pants pocket ... just for album shots ... mostly of family, not so much of scenery.

But my main thing these last 10 years has been events related to my daughter.  Birthday parties, then school concerts and talent shows, plays, dance recitals, hockey, softball, cheerleading ... I take pictures of lots of other kids involved in those events and share them.  It's been pretty rewarding, and I've gotten pretty good at shooting those types of things.  But it's going to come to an end (already, trying to shoot candids of kids is completely different; they're much more self-conscious in the tween years than as little kids) and I'll get back to something more contemplative

- Dennis

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bosjohn
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Re: Why do people have to put down gear sites?
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Oct 17, 2013

well yes he did but very gently. However knowing Jim I expect he is only referring to whats going on in his own life and not ours. Jim is really a fine photographer and very modest. He is an assent to this forum even if he and some others of us are enjoying the photography side of the site more than the gear side.

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Pritzl
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I suck too...
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, Oct 17, 2013

... and I don't even need to see others' impressive work to know that. 

That said, I suck less than I used to. So here's to many more years of continued incremental improvement.

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Re: I suck...
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Oct 17, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

Basalite wrote:

D Cox wrote:

Basalite wrote:

Just because you were viewing sites showcases images doesn't mean "the gear" is not important. Gear that takes superior pictures and that allows you to more easily take your pictures is most certainly important.

Yes, but it's hard to find a really bad camera nowadays.

In terms of image detail I think 99% of them are bad. That's why I shoot Sigmas.

Many medium format shooters like more detail than the Sigmas can provide...it doesn't make them bad.

Feel free to include those shooters in the 1% category.

Ergonomics also play a big part.

The technical side of photography is not difficult to learn. The artistic side is the more challenging. The most important part though is knowing how what you see with your eyes gets translated to the image. Often times what looks impressive through our eyes makes for lousy pictures.

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Henry Falkner
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No you don't
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, Oct 17, 2013

But there is no need to put yourself down. Just enjoy YOUR photography.

The right gear CAN help though.

Henry

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Re: I suck...
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, Oct 17, 2013

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

Basalite wrote:

Just because you were viewing sites showcases images doesn't mean "the gear" is not important. Gear that takes superior pictures and that allows you to more easily take your pictures is most certainly important.

The technical side of photography is not difficult to learn. The artistic side is the more challenging. The most important part though is knowing how what you see with your eyes gets translated to the image. Often times what looks impressive through our eyes makes for lousy pictures.

I did not say the gear was not important I said the ability to see, visualize, compose, anticiipate.. is more important. If you don't see the shot.. the gear really doesn't matter does it?

My remark had to do with the final remark in your OP. It's OK to say the first part without having to qualify it by saying the last part, especially when you are assuming people don't already do as you suggested.

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krugman
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Re: I suck too...
In reply to Pritzl, Oct 17, 2013

Pritzl wrote:

... and I don't even need to see others' impressive work to know that.

That said, I suck less than I used to. So here's to many more years of continued incremental improvement.

Nonsense! Your images on Flicker are excellent, I would be proud to have taken any of them.

Krugman

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Donald B
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Re: I suck...
In reply to Elliern, Oct 17, 2013

Elliern wrote:

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

Donald B wrote:

Its not that our photography sucks, its just that we don't have the money to spend on photography as others do. at our local camera club members travel the world just to take competition photos, me the local park is all I can afford . I'm involved in dance photography, and have a school to shoot in 2 weeks, but love visiting Richard Calmes dance photography it would rate as one of the best in the world , I would love to spend 6 hours photographing one dancer for the ultimate shot , I get 1min max when shooting the schools. LOL

cheers don

Sorry Don, but this is utter rubbish. If you want to take a shot of something specific, make it happen. How hard can it be to get dancer to do what they love and get free photos?

I see many excellent images taken within walking distance of the photographers home. In fact, travelling a long distance to do photography is usually counter productive. Think landscapes, which is my speciality. You can spend $3000 travelling half way around the world, only to find the weather's not what you want & you come home with a load of dreary grey snapshots. On the other hand, you can sit at home studying the local weather, then go out when it starts looking interesting & get some amazing shots.

Look at it another way, if I go for a walk & take some photos in a local 16th century church, then sent them to you, 10,000 miles away, would they be any better for the distance?

I have little money for travelling, but I'm very happy with my work. If you're not happy with yours, money is in no way to blame, unless you can't afford any kind of camera.

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You are absolutely correct, Nigel. I also belong to camera clubs where many vacation around the US, go on safaris and trips to other countries and return with beautiful shots. Some are once in a lifetime trips. Those same people get most of their shots from nearby places. About once a year, we will have a competition where you must photograph something within a 10 minute walk of your home. Try it sometime. It is fun and challenging.

I am blessed to live in an area with many types of photo opportunities. But most mornings, I get up and walk around our condominium complex just to see what is new that I can photograph. Often not much is happening, but many times I see something really worthy of shooting.

I think you guys misunderstood me. I take great photos and have nearly won photographer of the year at our local club with simple shots around my home town, and also very happy with my dance photography as not many photographers put the effort into dance photography where I live, its the same as jim he is a great photographer, but it would be nice to go to the next level. for me time and money stop me going any further as I enjoy other things more. give up the day time job and anything is possible.

cheers don

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