Idiot question alert - 52 focus points

Started Jan 2, 2014 | Questions thread
Rservello Senior Member • Posts: 1,157
Re: Idiot question alert - 52 focus points

When the Army and the Agency on the base asked a few of us with extensive experience and formal training to develop a set of photography courses for Agency and Army personnel along with given us a building on based for class and lab work and paying to equip the darkrooms and buy equipment, the first thing we did was to buy a number of 120 TLR cameras.

Of course all the students in the beginning course were upset when we handed out the purely manual cameras (not even a light meter) and told them that was the only camera they were use for the course.  They were to put the nice new Nikon or Canon with all sorts of aids away and concentrate on learning photography from the ground up.  I compared it to learning to pay tennis by going a backboard and hitting tennis balls until it was motor memory which is the only way you will become a decent tennis player or a young musician learning to play the piano.  You never become a great musician without hours and hours of playing scales.  You cannot become the next Lionel Hampton without first developing the sills needed to execute.

In any discipline the first and most important lesson is to fully understand the underlying principles.  The underlying principles of photography have changed little in the last 100 years.  Once you understand the principles you are then freed up to devise your own methods and to improvise and establish your one methods and your own style.

I would suggest learning to shoot fully manual - even starting out ignoring the metering with one prime lens (a 50 (35 mm equivalent ) works well for this) is the best use of your time.  Even going to take courses in a good art school if there is one in your area would be a benefit.  Reading the daybooks of Edward Weston should be your first assignment.  The good news of digital over is the feed back is a lot faster than in the film days.  At the end of the day getting to be a good photographer with the skill to even consider developing your own style requires the same thing that is required by a musician to get to Carnegie Hall - practice, practice, practice ... developing the fundamentals of the craft.

Rservello wrote:

This is how times have dramatically changed. When I was in college and took my first photography class we were using all manual film cameras. No auto anything. So you shot with no regrets and prayed something nice came out the other end. When things worked you remembered what you did to make them work...when they didn't you remember that too. As things have gotten more advanced, and camera do more of the work for you, I think these traits have been lost in new photographers. It's ALL about getting the perfect picture, right now, without any discipline or rejection. Turn off your lcd. Turn off any automations. Learn to actually use your camera...and start shooting and see the results. I'm sure most people on here take better pictures than me on here. But, I know what is going on behind the lens. I have shot, and developed film by hand. I learned photoshop in a dark room. I think it makes a huge difference!

Perfectly stated! It applies to so many fields too. I work in visual effects and new artists are always asking what software to learn. I tell them that software is meaningless. Learn the theory, learn the math. Understand what's going on when you use an operator. The software is all the same after that. Same with a camera. It's all principals of light. Understand the underlying physics and it's a no brained to operate a camera. Don't get me wrong. I geek out and week the hell out of my cameras. But I disable all the automations and go 100% manual 99% of the time. I just ordered a non-CPU lens with a manual app ring. I can't wait to swap out my focus screen and start shooting they way I loved.

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