I'll be in Georgetown, TX later this Spring. Looks like that's not too terrible far from you.
Yep, Dellville is only a couple hours drive.
I got to thinking about that guy's comments and how he's mostly seen my snapshots of cats and it got me thinking about the Callahan comment, about how he shot thousands of exposures and got something like five photographs that he felt were worth showing and it makes me wonder if posting pics to Flickr and forums is actually a very bad thing for a photographer to do.
If a big part of photography is editing and one's critical reputation lies with the percentage of quality in one's public work, then maybe we need to be more private and more guarded and much, much, much more self-critical of the photos we choose to share online? Have I dragged myself permanently below the artistic Mendoza Line by making my snapshots public? If the only photos of mine anyone ever saw were, for instance, the best ten or twenty shots from my EuroRedux set, would my critic have even had a moment's pause in condemning me to incompetence?
I don't put very many of my shots on the internet. I used to do "picture a day" on Pbase a couple of years ago. I thought that making myself post a picture a day would be good for me. I found out that there were little "clicks" of people who said "great photo", "beautiful", etc. to others in their click. Very seldom did a photo get any kind of criticism, even constructive criticism.
I've also noticed that a lot of people don't react positively to pet photos. On some forums they can bring on down right nasty responses. BTW, this is a safe forum where people like me who don't even own a pet (can one own a pet???) can enjoy pet photos.
There also is a lot of negativity to M8's. I'm not sure if it is jealousy or what. One such thread is running right now on RFF if you want to read what I mean. It started out as a poll asking how many M8's people had. Some of the responses from those who never even used an M8 are bizarre to me.
I am so thankful that Guy and Jack have made this a safe place for us to post and help each other. I hope you don't quit posting your photos here. BTW, your Euro photos are beautiful. My favorite is the Eiffel tower from below.
Ben Lifson has an opinion on shooting every day:
This idea has kept me photographing, day in and day out, through many frames of crap.Our busy, time-consuming and important careers and our important family commitments often make us photograph only intermittently, when we can find time and as subject matter either comes our way or, as is often the case, we travel to it, sometimes quite far. But this is not the best road to good pictures and our growth as picture makers. With a few word changes [mine in square brackets], what the English novelist and short story writer W. Somerset Maugham once said about writing holds true if for photography: “Writing [photographing] every day,” Maugham said, “is no guarantee that you will make a masterpiece [good pictures]. But you will never [consistently] make a masterpiece [good pictures] if you don’t write [photograph] every day.”
I'm a bit jet lagged after flying cross-country today, so this might not be the best time to comment. But I can't help but be reminded of how I managed to talk myself out of photography way back when. As a young man I was semi-obsessed with photography and horribly self conscious. It was a bad mixture. Ultimately, I managed to drain the joy of photography completely out until I ended up hating it.
I've grown up (a little anyway) and it's easier now to smile while I'm doing it, and smile at the results sometimes. But even the ones that stink manage to provide some little step forward. Most of the time I just shoot anything that I feel like. My dog, snow (lots of that up here), anything. Occasionally something else happens and the muse finds me and then it feels... like something else. But so far, I haven't been able to actually dial her (the muse) direct.
As far as posting pictures on the net, this is a pretty safe place. I personally learn something from almost every photo that's posted here. Is it the most rigorous critique? Probably not, but right now it's a very valuable resource for me.
So show us your kitty!
Okay here is how i look at this forum and i know Jack feels exactly as i . This is a forum of many colors . First and foremost it deals with our workshops which you can ignore or be a part of which is great no one is forced to pay any attention to that but this forum heart and soul is about learning and sharing. Now from the several months we have been live that is the pure beauty of this forum it is about you and learning to get better and it is about sharing to help you learn and give back what you know. now having said that. If your not posting images than you are not getting feedback. People here are honest and nice which we all love and as friends we certainly can say something sucks too. So don't worry about what you post it is about learning from what you post. Sure there are many non winning photo contest images here. Who cares as long as you learn to grow than that is the key.
Do you honestly think i had award winning photos out of the gate, not a chance in hell. I thought i was a misfit for many years but i have grown to be better at it and this is a long process folks. Certainly does not happen over night and learning to SEE is the key. You can only do that by shooting all the time and the internet gives you a excellent sound board to help you grow. Jack and i are here to protect the members if someone get's out of line we are here but honestly we have not had to step in very often and don't expect that as we grow either. people know this is a good place to learn and share. It is extremely obvious when you read the posts that this is a place to learn about life and photography. We have fun and that is what counts and the day we don't learn and have fun this forum get's shut down.
So please post your images you will only grow from it. Now if you want hard reviews of your images than maybe post in the Image Critique and tell everyone okay nail me , let me know if this really stinks or not . If you really want to know than you need to tell people it is okay to be hard on you in a constructive way. Being polite is good but giving a little tough love sometimes can be rewarding if done correctly.
Okay having said all that, not a big fan of cats but they sure are cool to photograph. Maggie okay a little more work to the cat image. Cropped obviously , brought in more black and dodged the cats eye's to stand out.
Someone may ask why i cropped like i did , very simple . Look at the cat's eyes they are looking into the image and not out so the data outside the cat on the left is worthless. so bring the focus back into the cat and what do you see first the cat's eye and it makes you look into the image and the drain pipe leads you back to the eyes.
This is her original image , now what has more zing to it. Actually a excellent example of how you can get more out of your images
I think one thing maybe I can get across without showing you at a workshop is to think key element in the image and the composition supports that element. In this case it is the cat's eyes but the composition now keeps pushing the viewers eye's back to the cat. You immediately go to the eye's on viewing and than follow what the cat is looking at than you get pushed back to the cat with the drainpipe and the curve of the cat's back and finally back to the eyes. Sounds weird but what you are doing to the viewer is pushing them around the image through composition.
I like that crop, Guy, and get what you're saying about composition.
But man, I sure do have a hard time letting go of a full-frame image. I'm sure I'm not alone in that and I know it's kind of silly, but cropping has always felt like cheating. (I used to print with a filed-out negative carrier and man, a print without the film's frame lines just didn't look right.) I gotta get over that.
Yeah I hear you on that Maggie, but I think once you see how you are cropping on the computer your brain will adjust to framing that way in the camera. After Moab, and realizing I had a lot of shots needing cropping work, it is exactly what I am trying to think about!
I think that Guy's crop improves the composition but it's a two-edged sword in that it now highlights what to me is really oogly bokeh: the trouble that this unattractive out-of-focus blur now covers something like 40% of the picture area. Discussion on bokeh are often problematic because so many people maintain that "it's what's in focus" that's important — that is true, but when such a large part of the picture is o-o-f blur the quality of the bokeh becomes a major part of aesthetic impact. I have to say that bokeh discussions get particularly boring when Noctilux fans maintain that any bokeh by this lens is beautiful. My experience is that the Noctilux can create good bokeh but often that is not the case, as when it transforms points of light into great big blugs. But, then, I've sold both my Noctilux and my Summilux-75.
That makes gobs of sense, Terry.
I think one problem with my everyday shooting is that even though much of it is supposed to be "practice" I've gotten a bit cavalier about it. It's the photographic equivalent of me noodling on guitar in front of the TV. Yeah, it keeps my fingers nimble, but it's sloppy and thoughtless and, frankly, not really fit for consumption by the general public, even if it does amuse my friends and family. Practice should be a bit more thoughtful and focused than that, don't you think?
I mean, I could just imagine what people would think of my music if I posted clips to my website of me farting around on the sofa like I do with snapshots on Flickr.
But this part takes time , i rarely crop ever so everything i do is in camera but this is were the practice comes in and takes the time. Is learning to see in camera without cropping and this maybe a good lesson tool for some is completely forget about cropping , go for ever image as perfect in the finder. This will force you to work harder at the camera level and make you think stronger with composition.
But that maybe the case Maggie that it is more therapy than anything else which is wonderful and that is what photography is supposed to be also and that is just plain fun. I think you are being hard on yourself a little. You have the talent and the eye you simply just don't apply it when you are just playing around but when you think you do really well. Two different things completely and that is okay . i think you want your playing stuff to be good but that is not what your heart is doing, your playing but when you switch modes to shooter you do very well.
One other point the Nocti can be downright freaking ugly with bokeh, it is a lens that needs a lot of care and the user watching what there backgrounds are doing. i have seen great bokeh with the Nocti but like Mitch says it is most ugly a lot of the times too.
It was beaten into me to frame the shot in the camera and not on the easel. However, with the two camera systems I now use, Nikon and Leica, I am much more successful doing the in-camera framing with the Nikon than I am with the Leica. Some of it is just plain lack of experience with the rangefinder. And to a smaller extent, some of it is the inaccuracy of the rangefinder itself. Accurate framelines has been on a lot of people's wish list for the M8, but I am just now realizing how important that improvement would be.
I'm getting better at guessing where the actual frame will be, but I frequently crop tiny bits off the edges of photos to get rid of intrusive and distracting junk that manages to work its way into the frame.
The Nikon is a different story. The image floats in a nice black space and the edges of the frame are a lot more obvious. I've not done a lot of detailed testing with it, but I think it's more accurate. Not perfectly accurate, but a lot closer.
The M8 takes some real time to get the framing accurate . It is hard no question . Honestly if you can conquer the M8 than you can shot anything in my book. It's that hard
....offering a couple more cents worth..... Maggie's cat looks fine, but the background is unpleasantly distracting.....good bokeh or not. This is one of the harder, and easier things about shooting with a rangefinder. You really do get to see a bit more and that allows you to think about more than just the subject you are shooting. Something I think about as being more "background aware". You may not always be able to fix that, but it does offer you an important perspective that is worth looking at. The other side of that RF coin is that you do not get to see your bokeh, so things like the sticks and twigs may be rendered simple or simply ugly. That only comes with lots of familiarity with your lenses and at various apertures.
I do think that Guy's crop brings the cat into better play, but as others have mentioned, it does not help with the distracting background too much, and also brings that downspout into more play....another distraction of it own. This was a real setting and the shooter has to work with what they have. Moving 15-30 degrees arc to the shooter's right may have created a smoother background....or not. We cannot see that, but the shooter could at the time....being background aware.
As for using the full frame....worth arguing both ways, in my opinion. If you cannot control the entire frame, crop for the better image. If you do not like to crop, get control over the entire frame. Not saying this as a criticism, but more as an offering to think about when shooting. Sometimes we get so mesmerized with our main subject that we for get about what else may come into play. Photoshop can help overcome some of those background distractions for the final version that one may offer up, but trying to get more right at the time you shoot seems to be a very worthwhile endeavor to start.
Again, not meaning to throw any rocks, but as Guy and others have said, offering up some things for consideration. These may not correct the issues under discussion with this particular cat photo, but I think there are some great take-aways from discussing this kind of stuff among a group that is willing to offer sincere commentary, and not malicious criticism only.
P.S. For my tastes, I would have gotten a whole lot closer and gone vertical. You can do that with a very tight crop that cuts out the downspout and reduces the background to a minimum. Yes, you lose a lot of pixels, but you may gain a cat portrait that can then have even more pop than the few things Guy did. Just a thought.
Last edited by LJL; 16th March 2008 at 09:56.
Agree LJ , I only used the cat shot because it was there and easily to wrap a nice discussion around it with some helpful tips. But we need to consider all things when we are shooting like you said moving around and such. All good stuff folks and stuff we should be talking about. I love talking gear but this is where it is at and you want to bring these discussions to the forum . I'm all over it with my 2 cents.
Just a touch more work to this burned down and vignetted the corners and also more dodging on cat as needed than applied a simple gaussion blur to the background , Helped even a little more
Not a big difference between lens blur. Did it ion this one although there is more control.
Really a tough background to fix without looking worse.
Makes our animals look pretty mangy
It did communicate what I wanted it to, so, as an illustration, I think it worked- the original crop, with Scooter centered, has more of a J'accuse! feel than the cropped version, which is a better portrait and stand-alone photograph. Heck, the unsettled background may even be more effective as an illustration, because it echoed my feelings of being peeved.
Sometimes, I know what I'm doing, even when I don't know what it is I'm doing!
I'm also glad I posted that particular photo, because it was a good launching pad for some excellent lessons and I am very grateful for that. As usual, it's our "mistakes" that provide the real fodder for learning and growth.
[QUOTE=Maggie O;15287...it's pretty hard to sex a cat.[/QUOTE]
Not if you know how
Not sure i want to know this
I've found any of the Ultra fast 50's (Canon f/1.0 or f/0.95 or Nocti) can burn you very quickly if you don't watch it. At least I've not seen with the Nocti the spectacular flares the the Canon f/1.0 can inflect from unsuspected point sources of light.
Me either, John, but one does have to be more careful shooting toward light if you have a UV/IR filter on. I have had several nice shots "ruined" when the filter caused the flare problem for me. With a DSLR, one would have seen that in the composition, but with the rangefinder, you only see it later...unless you check the LCD a lot. THAT is another element to think about when shooting with filters on.
I'm not going to be posting or reading any of the forums here for a while. You know, maybe I do ask incredibly stupid questions and maybe in 39 years of shooting I haven't learned a damn thing and maybe my photos are hardly worth the time it takes to scroll past them, but I'm really feeling worn out and looked-down-upon here lately.
Message received- I'm a no-talent idiot. I just don't need to hear it anymore.
Maggie! I haven't read any message that says you have no talent!
I very much enjoy viewing your images and reading your posts I really hope you are not serious about not posting or reading the forums!
Wow, where did that come from Maggie??? I don't see it anywhere either
"Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."