How Did You Learn Photography, Film or Digital?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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J Mountford
J Mountford Regular Member • Posts: 255
How Did You Learn Photography, Film or Digital?

I was born in 1950 and started to seriously shoot when I was 14. Naturally I learned the old fashioned way, film.

The disadvantages are obvious, no instant feed back, no notes unless you take them, cumbersome and time consuming post image processing and a very slow learning curve.

Digital, instant feedback, all the notes you need saved within the image, image processing within the camera or computer and a very fast learning curve.

The drawbacks of film. There is only one negative, post image processing time and costs, long term storage, there is no instant feedback and the negative is prone to scratches, fungus, and storage damage.

The drawbacks of digital. Storage and the cost of post image processing (unless done in the camera or using free software, but there still is the cost of the system to view and process).

When I was about 18 I desperately wanted to learn the Zone System of exposure and processing. I bought Ansel Adams series about photography. It was so poorly written and used words that were not to be found in even an unabridged dictionary, that I was completely lost. He published a revised edition after admitting his ego got in the way, but it was way to complicated and scientific that again, I was lost. I must have bought 10 books on the zone system and each one was either beyond my ability and understanding, or they were poorly written. Then I stumbled upon Fred Pickers book on photography and inside of ten pages he explained the whole system along with post image processing.

I'm one of those types that likes to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is why I never went to college and either learned from books, the military or technical courses. Fred Pickers book bypassed all the garbage to get to the meat of the problem and it was so damned easy and finally made sense that understanding exposure became second nature instead of confusing and haphazard. My photography, technically improved dramatically. Now all I had to do was try to be a good photographer.

Today's photography has been relegated to point and shoot. Most camera's, to change the settings involves going into the menu. The sophisticated SLR's and mirror-less camera's have faster and better controls, but most people don't bother with that.

Today my camera is set on ISO 100, f8, and aperture priority because I want control over depth of field plus I take 3 images, 1 stop apart, all done automatically. I change the ISO and f-stop when needed. The reason f8 is it's a habit and also from the old news photographers idiom, "f8 and be there" which f8 has good depth of field and lets in enough light in most situations, that the only thing to do is set the speed, point and shoot with the old style camera's, and the new, it's just point and shoot.

What's your story?


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"Nike says, Just Do It." ~~~ I think Nike has it right.

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