A Smattering Of Photographic Stuff

Just so you guys think I am not totally off my rocker here I did want to tell you that I do still think "digital" is great to. For instance - the following shot is an illustration I cranked out in about 2 seconds without even thinking about it using my lovely Panasoic LX5 (aka Leica DLUX-5). As I have said before this little guy is AMAZING.

I shot this off the cuff and had it ready to go in less than a minute from capture to publish. I absolutely love that about digital. It certainly has it's place in the world of photography. I mean come on - This is truly amazing - the shot sucks but look at how easy it was and from a technical standpoint it's sharp and well exposed with not a lot of noise at ISO 500 f 2.0 handheld without a lot of care at 1/8 second. I didn't do a thing - the camera set the ISO, along with everything else including choosing the focus point to use. The only thing I did was to hold the camera near the floor tilt it a little, choose the focal length of 24mm and press the button. Tell me that isn't fantastic image stabilization built right in.

I shot this as a quick illustration to answer a question of "Do I still print" as in wet prints in the darkroom. The answer is yes. I have piles of rejected work prints like this all over the place as well has some that have not hit the reject pile yet that I am "living with" No matter how you capture I do believe that printing and seeing your images on paper is an essential part of the photographic process and experience. I make digital prints to - they just cost a hell of a lot more. These things are a few cents each and a little bit of my time.

Now here is the rub with digital capture in many cases and especially with sensor sizes smaller than 35mm. This camera can shoot in just about any mode you can imagine and has what I would consider reasonably good controls to do so. The problem is that it is way harder and slower to use even these okay controls than say my Nikon F3 or Leica M6 or my Hasselblad, all of  which have very limited options while making a shot. To add insult to injury those controls don't do much when you select differently - This is wide open and focused pretty close - can you see exactly where the focus point is? How about that blur in the foreground or background - oooops no blur or not a whole lot. So why bother. Same goes for small aperture zooms on larger formats.

Couple that with 700 other distractions up to and including color treatment, special effects, aspect ratio, etc, etc and you end up with one big distraction - oh yea and you can make a movie to. An amazing image capture device but absolutely NOT the optimum solution to make any specific type of image. Hell yea I am going to take this thing with me no matter where I am and what camera I bring to make a specific type of image. Will I use it when I am working on a project where I have a very specific end look in mind - No.

I guess the reason I have been talking so much about classic cameras and film of late is do to the fact that I think a lot of these traditional devices and materials are far better at producing a specific type of image with a specific look while clearing out all the mental clutter and focusing on the subject. I find this true for myself. I have proved it over and over again. Of course they are less than optimal if you have NO idea what you are trying to do.

RB

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