Difficult Questions for Top Experts Only!

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Astrozoid Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: Difficult Questions for Top Experts Only!

57even wrote:

Well, I don't classify myself as an expert on anything except my job. I have a track record to prove that, and more experience than most in a specialised field, but there are people I still rely on for advice and opinions, and I have to consult with experts in many related fields to get answers. I am only as effective as my network.

I have a technical background in science and a masters degree, but that was in the early 1980s. I hit a brick wall when I encountered statistical thermodynamics, but my masters thesis was a computer modelling project and I ended up in the computer industry, not an oil refinery or chemical plant - thankfully.

Science and engineering are a hobby. I can just about decipher 40% of the technical papers on sensors and about 20% on optics. The rest fry my brain.

Similarly, photography is a hobby. I am fascinated by it, but a lot of what makes a good photo is empirical, not deterministic. I worked in a studio for a week and most of what I learned about lighting was entirely non-intuitive. I promise you will NEVER see it in a YouTube video. These are closely held secrets of a few top class pros.

Finding this out by trial and error would take lifetimes, and there is no right answer - just a good or bad outcomes with shades of grey in between. The only way to learn this, like art or panel beating, is to 'apprentice' to someone who has the knowledge.

So, science does not have all the answers. It just has better ones than most other forms of philosophy when a quantifiable and repeatable answer is required. Without it, we would have no technology and no understanding of the universe, but it won't necessarily make anyone a good photographer, or architect, or writer.

The more I learn and discover, the more I realise I don't know. Knowledge is an onion with infinite layers and when you think you have mastered something it means there is simply a complication you didn't think to look for. So, I have a permanent case of imposter syndrome, which I guess is the opposite of Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

Hi 57even,

I want to deeply thank your for taking the time to actually think about the questions and not have a knee-jerk reaction that we are "Dunning-Kurger" for even asking or thinking about it.

I appreciate the difference between taking the time to write a detailed reply and seriously trying to answer the questions, versus taking the time and effort to mock us by posting a bunch of quotes irrelevant to the original question.

So, I will take the time to reply in depth. I apologize for the length.

It was suggested to me in private correspondence that no one would answer my question here because they did not know who I was. Ok. Not my own personal opinion of how I help idiots, which I may very well be one, but to each his own.

I am somewhat of an expert in my plank-scale tiny little fish pond: long exposure astrophotography with DSLR cameras. I am an expert in real-world technique, as well as very very basics in theory. I am terrible at math and am simply ignorant of the deep hardware stuff like exactly how they dope the silicon. But I have learned some things through real-world experience.

Of course, I fully admit that I am not nearly as smart, either biologically, educationally, or experientially, or as accomplished, as someone like Eric Fossom. Although I think I have also helped answer thousands of questions, just like Eric, from less experienced photographers in my own microscopically small area of expertise, I'm sure they are not as knowledgeable or accurate as Eric's.  Granted, my area of expertise is not as HUGE as Eric's, and I totally admit that. Wow, it really is HUGE compared to my own much more humble and limited knowledge. Eric's area is truthfully ENORMOUS compared to mine. No lie. That is why it actually would have been interesting if Eric had seriously answered the questions. But, I'm ok with that. If he thinks I'm a rectum, I can live with that. I just wish he wouldn't waste my time making me read his comments.

When some idiot, like myself asks a seemingly stupid, but really naïve question, I either totally ignore them, or give them the benefit of the doubt that they are sincere in their questions and maybe are just so ignorant I have to treat them like they were a 5-year-old. But, I don't waste my time and theirs by attempting to mock them.

Maybe others could just give people the benefit of the f'ing doubt once in a f'ing while. Hey?  No, I guess not.

Like you, I also hit a brick wall. I absolutely loved science from when I was young. And I did great in science in high school. And then I majored in science in college. And then, even though I was great at math in high school, well, calculus reared its ugly head. And, in a true moment of clarity, I knew I would not be able to really do the science because I could not cut the math. Lucky for both science and me. But that didn't mean I wasn't interested in science and the philosophy of science, such as the limits of knowledge (see Gödel) or maybe it really is Dunning-Kruger. At least I am truthful enough to admit that.

So I posted my seemingly stupid, at least to Eric Fossum, question here. Where I knew the true experts were. Because I knew they would have the most interesting answers, like your honest and knowledgeable answer, and not like Eric Fossum's mocking answer.

Maybe they will still answer. But if they are as deeply "knowledgeable" about what they actually DON'T know as Eric Fossum, they I guess they are not as smart as they think they are. Or else they are just arrogant assholes.

Now, please do not take this tirade to mean that I do not completely respect Eric Fossum's deep knowledge, world-changing inventions, expertise, accomplishments, and allocations. I do deeply respect that.

What I do not respect is not actually answering a serious question, even if you consider the questioner a fool.

And, if you do not think serous questions can come out of the mouths you consider fools, then I would really like to have a couple of drinks at a bar and tell you how really full of yourself you are. In a respectful friendly manner of course, never once mentioning "dunner-kureger" except in a self-referential laugh.

Now, back to 57even's comments. I can't tell you how much I like real names, but even tough I may be ancient in age, I an young at heart. So, I will call you "57even". Yes, I have aspergers also, so, please don't bother to explain.

Personally, I don't worry about being able to understand "40% of the technical papers". Because, 50% of them are wrong. And I could quote a reference here, I'm too lazy. Oh, Crucify me please Detail Man! Yes!

I think what makes a good photo is what makes good art. It literally doesn't have anything to do with the technical. No one ever asked Hemmingway what typewriter he wrote with. On the other hand :-), I do appreciate that you can get so good at what you do that the hardware does actually matter. For 99% of the people out there, their cameras VASTLY outperform their own photographic skill technically. Yet, they still get joy out of it. Like I always say, they guys in the porn films know more than me, but it is still fun fooling around with it,

I can not tell you how much joy it brings to my heart to say someone values science! Wow, I am afraid we, as a culture, at least in the US, are actually embracing ignorance. People used to be ashamed they didn't know simple facts like the Earth is round. Now, they revel in their ignorance thinking "opinions" actually mean anything except in the intellectually and morally bankrupt realm of politics. But I digress.

Your comment about the more you learn and discover making you realize what you don't know, to me, is a really deep sign of true wisdom.

I always try to keep in mind that as the pool of knowledge expands, the boundaries of the lake expand. So the more you know, the more you really don't know. What, first you said a pool, then you said a lake. Ha ha. I said "pool" first, then I said "lake." I must be stupid.


Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow