A change…

Often change doesn’t come easy, especially if it’s to different methodology or a change in the process when it comes to photography. Changing lenses are often a matter of timing when you’re out taking photographs, but getting used to a new lens can definitely be an interesting change, because each has slightly different characteristics & behavior. Every lens reacts to light a slightly different way, some exhibiting a form of chromatic aberration at different focal lengths, for example; the problem with this is that we can get too tied up in arguing about who’s lens is better when in fact it’s all about the photograph & the photographer, not who’s camera/lens is better. Who gives a hoot if you shoot with a Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus or Sony?

Getting used to a new lens when working at something for a while can be quite a task if you get too caught up in the technical aspects of it. What I’ve found is that there can be a way to get away from this line of thinking and most of it is how you approach taking the photograph in the first place; two posts ago (the one on April 15), I mentioned the idea of starting a so-called practice session. The main reasoning behind this is to hone the skills used in taking the photograph & get used to how the camera reacts to light, but another reason is that it can also take your mind off of all the arguments out there that focus just on technical specifications instead of on skills.

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For me, this has come to mean trying out the different focal lengths, going from as wide as I can to as close as I can, to see what kind of difference it makes; so far, not much other than the quality is pretty good. As for shutter speed & aperture, they’re pretty much identical to the other lens. The thing I’ve come to learn, over & over again, is that we’ve got to learn how to use our equipment so that it matters and not blame it when we fail, not it. Stop blaming the equipment and work with it, not against it (Something I need to keep reminding myself)!

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On taking the time…

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted something and I’m starting to wonder if I’m just taking too much time in doing up a post, but then life just gets in the way and I’ve nearly forgotten about it. When I think about it, I’ve never really gone too in-depth on any specific topic for too long and I try to keep it simple, but sometimes just taking the time to do just that is all I really need. With the hockey playoffs starting on Wednesday, there’s one thing I’ll be tuning in to, thanks to internet radio…I’m just not one to watch the local stuff.

Getting back to taking time…In photography, it’s all about capturing that moment, not just that scene and to do just that, you’ve got to take the time to get it right. Like with the photograph of the forget-me-not flowers in the previous post, it takes a bit of time to get to that point where you can get that shot you want. It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can get even remotely close to getting a good shot of the small flowers, mostly because of patience & skill; it’s something that does take time and something that you sometimes have to force out into the open or it might never get used because you/I need to be deliberate in how we go about taking photographs, not just always shooting from the hip, so to speak.

The beauty of waiting is often missed because the camera only takes a single ‘snapshot’ of that moment at a time, but it’s about capturing the moment and sometimes going with your gut that allow for just the right shot to come about. It’s about practicing and working on your methods to get to the spot where you can rely on that little voice to let you know when to grab that shot. I’ve not always been able to do just that, so for me, at least, it’s like an on-off switch that won’t stay in one place because it sometimes doesn’t speak up at all and, at other times, it just won’t shut up. So the best thing to do, in my opinion, should be to listen for that voice and/or take some practice shots along the way…Take the time for it to improve.

On practice…

You’ve probably heard that practice makes perfect, but it isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you’ve got to make a move. Photography is no different, that’s why practice projects make it better to get the time in and learn a bit along the way. What I mean by this is:
-setting a goal for the project
-picking a topic/theme/subject
-trying to challenge yourself by working with your weakness, instead of against it

Sometimes doing something like this will help you learn; I’ve done it before and I’m going through one again just to keep me learning and growing as a photographer & a person. IT helps with personal growth because it puts a challenge up front and sets a target for you/I to reach for and try to learn along the way.

The fun part of this is trying to learn along the way and see just where it takes you. For example, I’ve spent many a time photographing small forget-me-not flowers to help me be able to focus on smaller subjects both compositionally & thematically. The reason for this is to increase the ability to see a composition no matter how small the subject is to its surroundings. Having to do this forces me, because of the small size of the flowers, to get close up and still be able to not cast shadows over them; for an extra challenge, I’m not using a macro lens, keeping me from getting too close, but not allowing me to fill the from with a single flower. Doing all this, setting these limits, gives me certain parameters to work within while trying to not be dull & predictable with the photographs.

Forget-Me-Nots

Like in the above photograph, a shot of flowers that look like forget-me-not flowers on steroids because of their larger size, the project, for me, is about photographing smaller subjects and working with a much tighter compositional space. In a shot like this one, the total working area is probably not bigger than a single medium-sized shoe, making the focus just a small part of that while the shapes, lines & forms placed within a smaller space. This shot is basically what this kind of practice project is about, coming in close, but yet working with a broader perspective in catching detail of not just the flowers, but also what surrounds them.