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Still Crazy
You say you want resolution? The whole world is watching these digicams.


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Old October 17th, 2004, 08:39 AM   #1
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Ever get swamped by technology / lack of time ?

Hi all,

It's been about two months now since I first lovingly fondled my D10. Prior to that I did have a EOS 300 that my wife used primarily for snapshots of the grandkids. Picked it up once or twice myself but not seriously.

I kept to the XL-1 and tried to come to grips with the nuances of video. Unfortunately I am simply unable to find the time to shoot and edit .... sad is it not. I still have about 20 hour's of unedited wildlife footage from the Kruger National Park that still needs sorting out. Considering that I am selective when shooting this is a lot of footage.

As a private individual it is very difficult to keep pace with the latest product offerings when no income stream is generated from this work. Now when I visit the forums I am reminded how far behind I am lagging. New kit, software, PC's all at a price and with regular occurance. So I say to myself let's get back into stills, get simple again!!!!

So in the belief that stills will be the quicker alternative to express my creative side I get my D10. A natural choice so that I can share lenses with the XL-1 that I still enjoy although underutilise. I should have known by know that there is no quick with "toys", they become all consuming.

I must confess to being a little awe struck by how technology has shot ahead since my B&W shots being developed in the bathroom in the early hours of the morning. I am very much subject to my previous experiences, prejudices and exposure.

I have mental blocks,


I still can't force myself to get past the 100 ASA barrier. When last in serious photography (25 years ago) mode one would never consider 200 ASA due to the quality constraints. The absolute limit for me was 400 ASA, which I NEVER used. Now we are talking about 1600 ASA, this is difficult for me to overcome.

I am certainly not used to the good metering on the D10. I keep on wanting to stop down for backlight subjects. This was applicable to the XL-1 and worked very well. I am having much less success with the D10.

There are so many new variables with digital. Colour space, white balance, image type (RAW, differing JPEG's). Then we have the presets.

As I search other DSLR forum's I am faced with questions, is the original shot actually that important or will be a case of "just fix it up in post". I see work posted in reputable forum's that certainly would not qualify, in my eyes, as anything more than snapshots. I know this sounds very cynical. Many will say there is not much you can do with a bad shot?????

Then there's me, just tying to take a reasonable shot of something dear to me. The amount of stuff I have to learn just to achieve this sometimes leaves me a little despondent. And then just as I master it new technology comes in, renders my kit unusable as my old PC will no longer talk to it. I no longer have to upgrade my Camera alone but PC, software, internet connection etc.

I would not regard myself a fool but perhaps hobbies have become so technical that we have remove the simple pleasure thereof. A block of wood with 4 wheels 20 years ago was a good toy now PS2 is getting boring???

Like my wife once said to me "forget the @#$% composition and exposure ....... capture the moment". She would treasure that clip and I would see that as technically incompetent. I don't have the time to be technically competent and to capture the moment....very frustrating.

Any of you ever feel like I do? When in cynical mode?


Cheers
Andrew
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Old October 17th, 2004, 12:07 PM   #2
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I second your observations, Andrew. It sounds like you and I are in the same age bracket and probably share similar perspectives on hobbies.

Video is a very fast-moving technology, much more so that digital photography. Keeping pace with its developments is both a time and financial challenge. In addition to the normal "always a better camera" cycle video's underlying technology is also on the move (i.e. 24p, HDV). And, yes, it can be a very technically complex undertaking, too.

But, contrary to the impression that you might get from boards like this, you really don't need the latest and greatest camera to produce an excellent result. Take a look at some of the episodes from our Lady X Films series, particularly some of the award winners, to confirm that. Story and skill remain the main, and far scarcer, ingredients for success.

Beyond that, however, video is really a hobby for youngsters and young social circles. Unlike photography it relies on collaboration, particularly for dramatic work. Let's face it, as one gets into his 40's and 50's crews are hard to come by. Most of one's friends are entertaining their grandchildren or off to their second homes on the weekends.

I, too, returned to still photography during the past year after nearly a 20 year sojourn. (Yes, venturing beyond ISO 200 still feels creepy for me, even though I have a camera that can go to ISO 3200.) The development of digital still imaging and the "digital darkroom" have made still photography far more accessible and enjoyable to me than it ever was with film. Plus, it's something I can do on a whim. I don't need to wrangle a cast and crew and I don't need a Freightliner full of gear. Just grab the camera, maybe an extra lens, and I'm doing it.

I still love amateur filmmaking and will probably return to it one day. It's a a terrific exercise in creativity and skill. But right now still photography is more my style. Easier to do. Far easier to share. Comparably challenging.
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Old October 17th, 2004, 01:38 PM   #3
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We all have had similar journeys. Mine started more than 25 years ago in still photography. The '70's and '80's were still photography decades and afforded me the opportunities to travel as a PJ. The '90's were the video decade. The thrill of capturing both sight and sound was irresistible. But the video has faded this decade (probably like much of the original tapes from the early '90's).

My work over the last year and a half has been over 90% still photography. If it weren't for the classes I teach, I would have given video up. The remainder of this decade will probably be centered on still photography. But the merging of video and still is inevitable and the cycle will continue. I look forward to 2014 and the hybrid camera that I'll be shooting with.
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Old October 18th, 2004, 04:08 AM   #4
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Re: Ever get swamped by technology / lack of time ?

<<<-- Originally posted by Andrew Leigh :
Any of you ever feel like I do? When in cynical mode?


Of course, Andrew! But the feeling usually fades away rapidly. I like the possibilities of the digital world. I got a 300D in January and just "upgraded" to a 20D. Swell!

I do a lot of sports shooting (latin formation dancing, quite popular over here) in not so well lit places. So I use the 1600 ISO setting on my digicams extensively. Yes, there is more noise than at 100 ISO, namely in the red and blue channels, but the overal quality is still very good. In fact I had some 8x10" prints made from the digital images as well as from 1600 ISO negative film and the digital images scored a clear 3 points: better colour saturation, less grain (noise), better sharpness (no, it was not the lens, I used the EF 2.8/300 lens in both cases). So, give it a try, you might be surprised.

Having said that, I still have my good old Rolleiflex cameras (35mm and 2 1/4" x 2 1/4") and still use them for b/w pictures. Nothing compares to the feeling when you pull a large b/w print out of the developer. I sure don't want to miss that!
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Old October 20th, 2004, 08:27 AM   #5
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Even though I am piecing my way to a 20D, I still think it is hard to beat a 4x5. In fact I spend a lot of time looking at their prices. If I knew that I could get pro developing and printing now and in the future I would be shooting 4x5 and 8x10 large format cameras right now. I love their look, to date simply unbeatable. However, I had a terrible time getting (finding) high quality prints from my 645, and I am sure 4x5 and 8x10 prices for developing film and prints would be out of my price range. But I still dream of changing film in black bags and composing my shots upside down under a hood.
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Old October 21st, 2004, 12:46 AM   #6
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Well, Don, I've got an old Horseman 450B (4x5") with a set of lenses (90mm, 150mm, 240mm) and the black hood ;-)

I'ts great fun to take pics with a camera like that but it is also awfully expensive and a hell of a lot of weight to carry around! But you always feel a bit like Ansel Adams.

To be honest, I don't use it a lot these days but I would never ever sell it!
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Old October 21st, 2004, 10:42 AM   #7
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I decided to get away from production and sell my camera because of the lack of time issue. I wasn't connecting with enough people and while I enjoyed being in the few productions I did participate in it was frustrating not seeing the 'movie in my head' being transferred into digital. Lack of time is a factor since i have a full-time job and am constantly making money on the side with web contracts. Since my concepts probably would have required me going full bore into production to get them done 'on my own' which would require an even greater commitment of time (plus maybe going back to school) I decided it would be better just staying in the ideas and concentrate my remaining time on screenwriting which has so far made me more working industry contacts than when I ran around with an Xl1S.
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Old October 21st, 2004, 08:21 PM   #8
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Hi Andrew,

Share your sentiments entirely.

Block of wood and four wheels. Gee whiz!! Thanks for reminding me. While I'm about it, think I'll build a pinhole camera and a crystal set radio. Now all I need is a 100 yards of copper wire and a couple of trees to build an aerial.

I was wondering what I was going to do with my second childhood.

Cheers,
Owen.
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