Saturday, 25 September 2010

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans…

When I was in school, this Max Ehrmann poem was all over students’ doors, walls. It’s since lost favour in this world of incessantly competitive and vexatious world of internet forums and dropped remarks.

As I participate in DPR forums, the Beginners Forum reveals lots of insecurities and misconceptions. Lots of people want better photos with the elusive Image Quality (IQ) – they think that getting a better camera magically creates better photos. We keep telling them that 80% of the photo comes from the envisioning + patience + persistence + evolving skill of the photographer. Particularly when one starts from zero base. And a 50% improvement in equipment performance is 50% enhancement of the remaining 20% due to gear. Certainly a skilled craftsperson can and does benefit from heavy investment in better gear but encountering that boundary requires a enlightened understanding of that encounter.

I’ve shot the scene above, many times, under different weather, different seasons, with different cameras at different times of day. Whilst persevering with my Kodak P880 a few days ago, I was evolving my approach. The P880 is a love-hate camera for me – it can surprise with amazingly clear and detailed photos (usually in the hands of someone who lives in Devon, England or Greece) and amazingly unspectacular, nondescript photos. And this scene has shown all the variations.

This time it works for me. Nicely detailed foliage, stone and wood. Sky not burnt out. Strong colours but not distractingly burnt out.

ISO 50. Matrix Metering. Programmed Mode. EV – 0.7. In-camera contrast at max. In-camera sharpening at max.

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