The Process of Capturing an Image

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by benjikan, May 23, 2007.

  1. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    What is your thought Process (Originally Posted at DP Challenge)

    Before doing a shoot, what are the processes you go through before making the decision to press the shutter? Have you ever thought about it? I ask this question, as I have come to realize that after over 25 years, I forget that I am holding a camera when shooting and only become cognizant of the fact when I put it down...

    When I started in 1980, I didn't have discernment a vocabulary or even a notion of which questions to ask, as these concepts didn't exist in my paradigm. As time went on, I learned how to be discerning and with this capacity I could make statements with more finesse and elegance, elegance being in the scientific domain i.e. "(of a scientific theory or solution to a problem) pleasingly ingenious and simple : the grand unified theory is compact and elegant in mathematical terms."

    I specifically remember the day or the epiphany when after putting down the camera to take a break that I realized that I was not aware of holding the camera throughout the whole process and that vehicle was meaningless to the intended outcome other than it being an interface. That is all it is really. A physical interface able to capture a limited amount of information on a two dimensional plain.

    With this notion well ensconced in my mind set, I felt empowered to do anything I so desired without having to be encumbered by the "Technique"..I would often freak out my assistants when popping the flash and squinting my eyes to increase the contrast or augment the perceptible differences between the shadows and highlights, I would say for example f11 at 100 iso...I would generally be right on or within a third of a stop. Why? After over a million shutter releases and flash pops, you can get the results easily with such a small variation of about seven to eight stops. Once the technique is mastered, you can really fly and be intuitive. Thinking about the shot renders a different result than intuiting an image. Both can be striking, but I believe the one that will become a classic will be the one that captured a universal truth.

    Ben
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Do you find that you sense when something is not right? I find that I only become aware of the camera - or anything else - when something has been changed by accident.
    These days I have to conciously stop and make the effort to check settings and take readings, but only at the start. Once I'm happy all that exists is the subject.
    And you know when the shot you take is the shot.
    I used to freak assistants by telling them which frame was the one to use even before the film was processed.
     
  3. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    "I used to freak assistants by telling them which frame was the one to use even before the film was processed."

    Now that is telepathy or remote viewing of the highest order!

    Ben
     
  4. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    I just got into photography so I have no where near a built in light meter in my head. Unless I am mentally using aperture priority and meter for wide open (because I can see the actual viewfinder) I can actually guess a usable shutter speed. I really need that LCD screen for another year so so before I begin to expose correctly first try in manual.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is deep but true. The same applies to everything you do. Think about driving a car. Those who've had their manual licences for a few years would know what I am talking about. When was the last time you actually really thought about which gear to change into?

    I freak out fellow engineers at uni when I just read values off the back of the package without thinking about it. 104 = 0.1uf I don't think about it I just know it.

    As for being a walking photography machine. I hope to be one one day. I've only 12000 clicks on my shutter thus far and I already realise I can see a scene and know my metre will underexpose it by exactly 0.7 stops and compensate before I click. Seeing the world using manual controls would be the ultimate pinnacle of technical photography skills.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    When is the last time you thought about the fork and plate as you ate? The car as you drive? Your shoes as you walk? The pen and paper as you write? The computer as you read, type, or browse? Do you think about your eyes as you look? We are tool users from way, way, way back. I think it's normal to forget about the tools, until there is a problem with the tools.
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I'd still check every frame with a loupe, though. Just to make sure :lol:
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    My thought process starts with really loud Drum and Bass. The process I go through before pressing the shutter is extremely complex. As a matter of fact I am still surprised that it all can go down in a fraction of a second. Basically the camera is set after the first exposure. Beyond that it is all about the subject and the way I or we perceive it. That is a whole other story for sure.

    I never forget that I am holding the camera. Of course her nuances and controls are second nature. The camera is nothing without me and my work is nothing with out the camera. That is a little dramatic, but I think you get my point.

    Love & Bass
     
  9. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My background is from commercial photography so I have a tendency to view the photographic shoot as a planned project with a very specific result in mind. I may even have had a story board from which to work. If I have to get a product to look as specified by the art director in the space specified by the story board, the process can be fairly mechanical and precise. Not to say that there isn't creativity in commercial photography. There certainly is. But there is also a need for great precision a lot of the time. Since much of it is studio work there is time and room to work. Snap decisions aren't usually necessary. The camera is a familiar tool but one with which I am normally always aware.

    I remember one day I was flown out to Death Valley to photograph a vehicle. The art director wanted the machine shot in sunset light with a trail of dust behind it. He wanted it to be going fairly fast and look like it. I was scared to death. No studio. A short window of time in which to get the job done - really just a few minutes before sunset. Not a lot of light. A moving vehicle in a breathtakinly beautiful setting. No time for second takes. Lots of time and money being spent. Truthfully I hated it. I did get a good result that pleased the art director but I was really out of my element. It seemed like more of job for a photojournalist than a commercial product photographer. I don't remember operating the camera at all and that was very unusual for me. I have a hard time thinking of another time that I operated a camera without being aware of it. Can you sweat in the desert? You bet you can - even in the cool of the evening.
     

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