Friday, 4 December 2009

Learning cycles

Manila, November 2009

Two related trains of though in one post: a blogger BOGOF.

Like many amateur photographers, digital saw my skills improve dramatically. The short review cycle & low cost per exposure made it easier to experiment and review the results. Although I now have my kit mastered, and all the technical stuff down, digitial was handy to learn by playing with exposure & focus modes & all the extra bits beyond DoF. Having a screen to chimp away kept that cycle really short. Without the short feedback, the learning would be slower: for one, I'd also have to remember all the things I was doing at the time.
Having the sort of brain that likes to experiment and analyse these things also helped.

But I've really got past that. Now on a typical afternoon walk I'll take less exposures and return with more I like and develop. Hit rate has gone way up because I have the equipment nailed.

And that leads to the second train of though. Like Paul Butzi, I like to use the short feedback loop of digital to get to grips with what I've just been doing. Helps me learn about my photography and what it means. I could go out one day, try a bunch of things and use that learning the very next day. For times when I'm shooting consecutive days, that's really handy.

But there is also more to it than that. I find that keeping close to the taking of the picture helps with linking the results with the intention. What did I see, feel & understand by it? Which images reflect that state I was in? Waiting a month will have that lost, and I'd just be back to taking nice shots of stuff. I'm not an "Art is Verb" kind of guy like Paul but I find the means to the end is important in defining that end point. Understanding how I'm getting there helps me understand where I am, and can, go.

Sometimes I do go back to images after some time, or develop ones I previously overlooked. But those new images are different things than the ones of the time. And for the photographs I am taking at the moment, the understanding I get in the "right now" is important to me.

1 comment:

  1. How refreshing to read an intelligent perspective on the digital vs film argument. I also find digital has made me a better, more aware photographer. I recall when I shot film, by the time I had the negs scanned, I had forgotten many of the details about the subject's environment and sometimes my own intentions.


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