Thursday, August 15, 2013


As I have recently purchased a DSLR camera, I have been doing a lot of reading on photography so that I can take advantage of some of the features and take better pictures.  The more I read, the more I am realizing how much more my compact camera is capable of and also the limitations.

Although I grew up when film camera was the norm, I never was very good with my Dad’s camera.  I was often worried about not getting the focus correct.  I remember my Dad getting a zoom lens, but I am not sure if it ever got much use.

Framing a picture required a lot of moving around.  Lighting considerations were always done beforehand when you loaded ISO 100 film, ISO 200 film, etc.  For the next 36 pictures that was your ISO and pictures taking in bright daylight or dimly lit homes would suffer accordingly.  I don’t remember manipulating shutter speed or being particularly concerned about optics.  I want to dig up the old camera, but assume it was a 50mm prime lens.  Photography was a science as well as an art and very few individuals managed both successfully.  There was also some physical strength required to manipulate lenses and carry gear to places in the field.

Modern cameras still require all of the science, art and physical strength.  However, there are conveniences and lower costs associated with modern equipment.  Similar to engineering design being revolutionized by computer assisted engineering, photography has been revolutionized by digital photography.

However, the adage “garbage in, garbage out” still applies.  If one takes a camera in bright light or low light without appropriate adjustments the picture will turn out poorly.  If one does not take the time to consider composition, the overall appeal of the picture will not be aesthetically pleasing.  The science of photography is not a weekend workshop, it is a multi-semester curriculum.  The art of photography takes a lifetime. 

There is a place for untrained, amateur photographers.  Similar to self trained musicians, they can create incredible pictures.  However there will be a ceiling.  Professional photography has been and will continue to be a strong field as the art of photography cannot be taught to a computer or outsourced overseas to low cost labor countries.

I have been reading a lot about photography and find myself overwhelmed by ISO settings, focal lengths, apertures, stops, white balance, lens design, shutter speed, etc., etc.  The art part is a little easier to get like the rule of thirds, but there is a tremendous amount of factors to take into consideration.

I will try to document my learning curve over the next several months.

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