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Totally opinionated

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by the_traveler, May 7, 2013.

  1. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    I am at the point in my life, both chronological and photographic, that I have and hold fairly firmly formed opinions and I've spent some time writing about different subjects on my blog.

    With a very occasional lapse into political things, I write about travel, which I do as much as possible (Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | Travel) and about issues in photography that occur to me.

    Here is a list of the latest articles; I am always happy to have readers and ecstatic to get comments.

    Since most of what I do is in the mode of street photography, I put that one first.

    Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | Aligning the head, the eye and the heart - the spirit of street photography

    Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | Shooting in P mode & Why photographers defend their methods

    Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | Getting to a Final Image - some words on editing photos for a new photographer

    Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | The secret to taking pictures of people in a foreign country - for me at least

    Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | How to improve your photography: your own twelve step program

    Zenfolio | Lew Lorton Photography | The Meaning of 'meaning'
     
  2. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    "not just a picture but a frame through which many people see a reality that affects them"

    What a wonderful, concise and accurate description of what many of us try to create when we try to create a photographic image. I haven't finished reading all of your essays yet but thanks much for that one line.
     
  3. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    Thanks for the pleasant comment.

    My favorite part of that article is this small paragraph which encapsulates all I think about how to manage a picture.

    I'm glad you took the time to comment; 180 people before you didn't and I was starting to wonder if it made any sense.
     
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Lew,

    Thanks for the links. I will try to read some posts as time permits. Not to go OT, but how are you liking the blog module at ZF? I moved to ZF last year, and was considering using their blog, but decided to use WP.com instead, as I was familiar with their whole system. I am still getting things set up with the two sites, but hope to go "live" soon. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  5. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    The downside of the ZF blog is that, if you use a sidebar as I do, the edit isn't WYSIWYG, but it is easy to use, looks good and has virtually no upkeep issues.

    I have had a WP blog and the benefit/pita ratio is too low for me.
    ZF is like living in a townhouse community where the association does nearly all pf the maintenance.

    My blog isn't popular, and I don't use FB or Twitter to get more exposure, but I get from 100 to 700 visits per post.

    Post a link for your site.

    Lew
     
  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Nice images on your site Lew. I hope µ4/3 serves you as well as your previous equipment.

    Gary
     
  7. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    thanks, as far as quality, it seems just fine.
    as far as weight and inconspicuousness, it's great.
    I just need to get it set up so it works well for my fingers.
     
  8. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Thanks for the feedback, Lew. Like you, I will not be plugged into FB or Twitter, and I am not really looking for exposure as much as reaching folks that want to be connected with me. Do you have much of a spam problem with your visit counts (which seem like nice numbers in my book)? And yes, when things are ready to go public, I will post links. I am still working on things, as well as an exhibit coming up this July, and recovering from some major health issues, so everything in my life is moving much slower than I would like.

    Thanks,

    --Ken

    P.S. I really enjoyed your travel images. The portraits were very captivating.
     
  9. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I only read the "Shooting in P mode & Why photographers defend their methods" post so far, but it's an interesting discussion (and the one that originally that spawned it, for that matter).

    My take on P mode - there's 2 reasons photographers often show disdain for P mode. The first is that lots of hacks stick a camera in P or Auto and fire away in spray and pray mode hoping to get a good shot in there. So in order to distance themselves from that people just sort of assume that naturally with skill comes use of a "more advanced" shooting mode with more artistic control. The second reason is that once you start actually flexing your artistic muscles photographically, shooting in P mode feels very limiting for many genres of photography (though not necessarily all). For example in street photography, composition is the defining factor so exposure settings are very much secondary. But in many (if not most?) other genres, individual creative control of the legs of the exposure triangle is much more important.

    As far as defensiveness, I agree to an extent with what you posted except for one part: I do believe talent can be developed and isn't strictly inherent. Some people are certainly naturally gifted in having a great eye for composition, color, or lighting. However, I wholeheartedly believe that talent can be developed by anyone willing to learn and be self-critical enough to judge their own work. :thumbup:
     
  10. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    So far, I am unpopular enough not to have any problem with spam. :smile:

    And thanks for the nice comment in the guestbook.
     
  11. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    I think we probably agree on all but minor issues - and I totally agree with the sentence above, with one small difference. I think that the single most important learning tool is to receive, read and give good comments and critiques on pictures.

    It is the 'giving critique' part that is important because having to formulate what there is about an image that is successful in one's own opinion forces the viewer to analyze and arrange ideas, concepts and opinions into a belief structure that informs one's own work.
     
  12. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Lew,

    I agree completely that everything left in a photo should be part of the "story" (I call it the idea) the photographer is conveying to the viewer. I wish I could agree that most viewers are critical enough to notice. I think the average viewer responds to a photo in what you described as the "associative" manner and are not going to put forth the intellectual work it might take to get more. And if they cannot associate any personal experience or recognition with a photo it is immediately forgotten. I also completely agree that post-processing is as important a part of the creative process as composition in the viewfinder. I often see an idea in the viewfinder that further benfits from some critical decisions made in Lightroom.
     
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Exactly, I think we agree completely :smile:

    Constructive criticism is certainly vital. If you put your work on a pedestal mentally, you will impede your own progress by not being able to accept valid criticism. I called out self-critique particularly, because that's what enables you to honestly compare your own work against the photographers you admire and identify areas for improvement. Being able to contrast my compositions against much better photographs has been a key learning tool for me in improving my framing, for example.
     
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Is it talent, or is it improvement by learning/following the rules of photography/illustration? I guess it all depends on the individual person ... and in the end it doesn't matter if your talent is enhanced or your photography improves ... all that matters is photographic self-improvement occurs. In that regard, does it really matter what others think about P mode or any other mode? All that really matter is the final image, not how you got there.

    For me, shooting in M, demands that I think about the path from what I mentally visualize, to what the camera sees, to the final image. Shooting in any auto mode can truncate or even circumvent that pathway of visualization to final image.

    Shooting in 'M' gets me more "Keepers".

    Gary
     
  15. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    What happens with many photographers is that doing photography is hard enough but actually creating is even harder - and too hard for them.

    The payback for learning the technical issues is very obvious - better images technically - and the pathways to success are relatively clear cut.

    The path to actually create is very difficult and doesn't get any easier so many people just find it much simpler and less of a challenge just to be more 'skillful.' So we can see lots of images that are technically fine, even composed well but have not a spark of interest or originally.

    The danger in emphasizing technical progiciency early on is that the spark of creativity may not sustain itself when a whole load of technical requirements is dropped on it.

    I'd rather new photographers just learn the basics and shoot away the easiest way thus learning the joy of creativity.

    There is plenty of time to learn the technical stuff when they understand how they want to get better.

    Art is hard.
     
  16. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    But the technical stuff goes hand-in-hand with the ability to deliver on the creative side and vice versa. You need one side to deliver the other side and you need both to consistently capture the exceptional image.
     
  17. the_traveler

    the_traveler Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Sep 12, 2011
    Columbia, MD
    Lew Lorton
    When you let children be creative, you first let them color whatever they want and get the thrill of creation and then teach them to draw straight lines, within the lines, whatever.

    A constant initial burden of learning detail that isn't immediately useful stills the creative force in all but the most determined.

    So a new student leans enough to shoot, then shoots a bit and then wants to do something and so they learn to do that, to control all the bells and whistles.

    That's a case based method that I use to teach post-processing and it works marvelously because rather than a bunch of details having to be remembered, there is something to learn in order to use it right then.

    I'm not against the technical learning but it needs to be in its place.
    Technical defects can ruin a potentially great shot but technical excellence never makes a shot great on its own.