A "learning thread." What was your "A-Ha!" moment in photography?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by jwbryson1, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. jwbryson1
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    jwbryson1 New Member

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    In response to another thread I was reading this morning, the idea popped into my head that maybe it would be cool to have an "A-Ha!" type learning thread where people could share their experiences in which they **finally** understood: (1) the exposure triangle; (2) composition; (3) portrait lighting; or (4) anything else that might be interesting to NooB or experienced photographers.

    I consider myself an advanced amateur at best, so I may not have that much to offer in terms of a useful A-Ha! moment, but here goes...

    In terms of shooting a portrait photograph that will get **good** reviews and positive criticism, I think in the past I have worked too hard on getting the technical aspects correct and I have focused less on the composition of the image. I have posted many portrait images on this forum which I considered to be technically sound, but the reviews were lukewarm at best. Perhaps it's a personality thing--regulars on here know me and I'm not friends with everybody, and this place does tend to be a bit of a popularity contest :mrgreen:, so those who are more popular get more responses and more positive critiques of their images.

    But back to my A-Ha! comment--in the future, I think I should worry less about nailing the technical aspects and worry more about making the photograph appear interesting. For example, maybe instead of just a head shot or a head and torso shot, I should focus instead on the person doing something, or I don't know...I'm still thinking this through. I guess if you boil it down, what I'm trying to say (and this sounds so OBVIOUS now that I'm typing it :mrgreen:) is that composition is more important than technical soundness.

    Anyhow, not that interesting but I tried my best. Anybody else care to share their thoughts?
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  2. amolitor
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    amolitor New Member

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    I don't remember figuring out exposure, but I do remember having an a-ha! moment about strobes. I don't remember context, but at some point I put together shutter sync speed, and what that's all about, with aperture to realize that with flash the only thing that matters for that part of the light is how big the hole it. I had probably been stewing in Edgerton's work for a few years before it all really fell into place.
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    texkam New Member

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    My join date here. :headbang:
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    The day I bought a flash.
  5. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    I've had several A-Ha moments. The last 'big' one was when I finally understood raw. December 28, 2010. 8:53 PM.
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  6. runnah
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    runnah Titan of Tom Foolery Staff Member

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    Does feeling up my GF in the darkroom when I was in high school count?

    But seriously it would have to be using my old Minolta to figure out the basics of shutter speed and aperture and how it translated into the developed photo.
  7. jwbryson1
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    jwbryson1 New Member

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    Was the photo....**well** developed? :eyebrows:

    [Insert comment here from Kat about jdubs being a perv....] :mrgreen:
  8. Light Guru
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    Light Guru Well-Known Member

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    "A "learning thread." What was your "A-Ha!" moment in photography?"

    If your serious about learning anything there is going to be a LOT more then one!
  9. leeroix
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    leeroix Well-Known Member

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    i have aaahha moments every day... sometimes several times a day...
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  10. jwbryson1
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    jwbryson1 New Member

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    Pick your favorite.
  11. jwbryson1
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    jwbryson1 New Member

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    Newlywed? :mrgreen:
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    runnah Titan of Tom Foolery Staff Member

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    PixelRabbit A naughty little bunny...

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    One thing that made a huge difference was shooting for a week or so on auto ISO.
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    ..i'm with this!
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I'm still waiting for this "aha moment" thingie...

    Does it hurt when it happens???
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    If it doesn't, you need to pay the girls more money or find more competent ones.
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    My aha moment was when I realized the connection between exposure & the exposure meter in the viewfinder.


    Sounds stupid now, but I always wondered how a person knew when they had the "right" exposure settings when there are several combinations that should get you there, but no set "number"

    When I realized what that little meter in the viewfinder was telling me, then adjusting shutter speed, aperture size, & ISO made all the sense in the world.

    Then I found that meter represented on the LCD of my camera as well.

    Don't get me wrong, I read my manual a couple of times, but what I was reading never clicked until I realized what it was saying.
  18. unpopular
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    For me it was when I was processing 4x5 in hangers for the first time. I had a really hard time understanding how this was going to work - but in the dark there with the dim glow the timer being my only reference, I really had no other option but to imagine what was going on around me, so I imagined the film being developed out, first starting with the areas of greater exposure and then finally the areas less exposure until the halide is entirely exhausted and the shadows begin to fog. At that point everything clicked, how exposure, processing and printing is one continuum of the same thing.

    At that point photography stopped being something that had a sort of laundry list for. It opened a lot of creative options.
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  19. otherprof
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    otherprof Active Member

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    Aha! moment: When I realized that my camera thought everything should be 18% gray, but it was wrong. I followed up with a Zone System dial for my Weston Ranger 9 meter. BTW, I just had another Aha! moment. It came in the form of a question: Why do I shoot in auto mode so often these days?
  20. FstopRocker
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    I can't think of 2 off the top of my head.

    firstly, "Metering in Manual" as a fellow Tog told me one day.
    I was shooting festival downtown, and found myself next to a very knowledgeable local Photographer. We talked about his 5D mark II for a minute or two, and the benefits of possibly upgrading to the Mark III..... went off shooting for awhile, then when we bumped into each other again, he said something along the lines of; "By the way, a quick tip: try metering off the band members faces. With such shadows on the band, and direct mid-day sunlight on the background, it's challenging to get the exposure right. I've found that Metering in Manual is the best way...."

    I didn't realize you could meter in Manual before that. I thought that was a AV/TV function. So when I got home, I Googled manual metering, and found that the little line in the viewfinder at the bottom, with the tic marks and numbers was the meter! -Hot Diggity! I immediately got quicker at getting proper exposures.

    the other was, when I was starting out, I felt like it was cheating to use any sort of Auto mode. so for the first few months of shooting, that dial stayed on M. no Autofocus either. (though the lens I was using did have a bit of a hunting issue....or perhaps that was operator error.... in fact, I'm pretty sure it was)
    After shooting for awhile, I started trying to teach myself how to use all the tools available. AV/TV, Autofocus and the various methods, metering, exposure comp.....
    and then it dawned on me. A pro will use all the tools available to him. and won't excuse Priority modes as cheating.
    I wouldn't change how I learned. I feel I have a decent understanding of all the things going into a proper exposure. but now I can get the same results in a much much faster fashion.

    Sorry, I find myself a little long winded sometimes....

    -RW
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

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