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Subject:Sailboat at Sunset
Time:11:55 pm

Sailboat at Sunset
Originally uploaded by whipartist.

Around mid-afternoon I looked outside and thought there was a possibility of having an interesting sunset, so I did what any aspiring photographer would do-- I tossed the camera in the car and headed for a spot with a view.

I was pretty wrong about the sunset, but I did manage to catch this image. I can't decide whether I like it or I hate it, but it's the only thing worth looking at in the whole batch.

While I was out there, some TV news guy was on the island to record a segment. I listened long enough to learn that there would be 18-foot swells on the coast through tonight, then snapped a picture and headed out.

Shooting digital makes you lazy. It's really easy to just point the camera in a general direction and take a whole bunch of similar shots wherein you zoom in and out and move the camera around, but don't really think about what you're diong. Yoiu took twenty shots and nineteen suck? No prob. I find myself doing this a lot, as evidenced by a ton of pictures that I took while I was driving up the coast.

New promise to self: I'm going to stop taking pictures that I know are crappy. That will make me think about each shot before I take it.

Starting tomorrow.

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sabyl
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 08:54 am (UTC)
I actually love it. The lighting is kewl. I love the one small boat with the backdrop of the skyline. It would catch my attention and I would consider purchasing it because it isn't the standard tourist skyline shot to take home - which is cool in its own right. But this is more unique as well as skillful if that makes sense.
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whitebird
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Time:2006-12-11 09:14 am (UTC)
The thing that doesn't get mentioned much about professional photography is that photographers will take a hundred photos to get one reasonable photo and a few thousand to get a great or excellent photo. Being able to bracket your subjects with a bunch of quick settings changes is actually a boon to the craft. Granted, with experience, you're quicker to figure out which bracket of settings you want for particular shot and look. But you're still going to be taking a gazillion photos.

Photoshop is what makes photographers lazy. Because with it, you can actually markedly change a shot and make it better, sometimes even more than marginally so.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 09:17 am (UTC)
Well, yes. But I'd been slapping the camera around largely to avoid thinking about how the shot was composed. I want to force myself to think for a while. I'll still bracket exposure like crazy when I have to.
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jellymillion
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 09:51 am (UTC)
As a not very gifted amateur I always used to try really hard with every shot I took on film. And I'd still be pleased if I got a good one from a roll. Bracketing? I'd never heard of it - exposure was either acceptable or it wasn't and I'd find out a few days after the shot was taken.

With digital I could finally do some of that fooling around stuff - shoot a couple of hundred with the hope that I might get half a dozen I liked and maybe one I loved. And I got to be experimental, trying stuff that just seemed like it would be -EV with film.

I do wish the procedure for setting up auto-bracketing on my new Canon would stick in my head though.

All that aside, you absolutely should stop taking crappy pictures. If you're not 100% sure of their crapfulness, however, you should probably still take them: it's not such a rich seam but you may still find the occasional nugget. You'll have to pan harder (and risk overstretching a metaphor beyond salvage) but you have an inexpensive, er, sorry, metaphor just broke.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 10:00 am (UTC)
Would you please clean that up? I don't want messy metaphor crumbs all over my blog. Thanks.

I've gotten to the point where I can bracket exposures without ever actually looking at the camera-- that comes from shooting brazillions of night panoramas. Auto-bracketing is for wimps. :-)

The problem is that I want to force myself to think about composition. The tool has become a crutch, and I'm not sharpening an important skill. Fooling around is a valuable learning tool, but so is not doing so, and it's time for me to switch gears for a while.
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foomf
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 09:59 am (UTC)
So.... not going to use the Hollywood method of shooting a dozen times with a dozen cameras, then seeing if you accidentally got something good?
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 10:00 am (UTC)
Negative.
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foomf
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Time:2006-12-11 10:37 am (UTC)
You're shooting digital, you don't have negatives.
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filthy_habit
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 12:05 pm (UTC)
Twenty-to-one ain't bad. I think it was Ansel Adams who suggested that one in one-thousand was about right. (If you compare his published output to the vast number of shots he must have taken in his lifetime, you'll see he's probably about spot on with his estimate.)

I never got digitized, and still have my trusty Canon F1 and Mamiya 645 (finding good film anymore is a bitch, so they gather dust). I've got about 40,000 B&W negatives, maybe 20 pictures worth putting on my wall, maybe one or two of which that others would put on their wall, all of which require darkroom trickery to make happen. Shooting was a lot of guesswork, a lot of swapping filters, focusing screens (for metering purposes) and bracketing shots. I had a huge distrust in meters, both built-in and hand-held. My all time best picture was a complete accident. It was way too dark to get a meter off the subject and I was using a red filter that took away 3-stops and had to stop way down because of depth-of-field issues. I bracketed my exposure several times, manually counting off exposure ranges starting from 16-seconds to well over a minute. I can't remember which one did the trick.

Shit...20-1...I'd love to do that...
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gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 05:19 pm (UTC)
Back when I was doing sports photography in college, I'd regularly blow through four to five rolls in a single event and *hope* that I got at least one shot worth publishing in the school paper. A lot of times it still took a fair amount of darkroom magic to even get that.
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filthy_habit
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 05:54 pm (UTC)
...And, adding further frustration to the mix. Sometimes, you find yourself in a marvelous location but, no matter what you do, the picture you take simply WILL NOT WORK.

I remember this valley view that we had from near the top of Akagi-yama in Gunma Prefecture that overlooked the city of Maebashi and abundant farm-land (usually rice paddies), and had Mt. Haruna off in the distance. A friend and I tried everything: shooting at dawn, shooting at sunset, twilight shots, middle of day shots, cloudy days, wide angle, telephoto, various filters, films, exposures and developers, etc. I took literally hundreds of pictures of that valley, and never even one made the cut.

I'm sure that there's a picture to be found there, but I was never lucky enough to catch it at the right time.
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loser_variable
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 06:06 pm (UTC)
Wow, nice shot.
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violet_tigress1
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 07:08 pm (UTC)
Then you miss the shot entirely by thinking about it.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2006-12-11 07:15 pm (UTC)
Nah. Things like buildings and ships don't tend to move very quickly.
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[icon] Sailboat at Sunset - Patti
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