Friday, January 20, 2012

Nostalgia or Something Else?

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! Over the last 2 or 3 posts, we’ve discussed some stuff that seems outdated and unnecessary.

Today’s digital cameras do everything for us. They meter, set the shutter speed, set the aperture, set the ISO, focus, and tell us when to push the button. Using all the bells and whistles in your camera makes taking photos easy, right? All the hard parts are a thing of the past, isn’t that so? Why do it, when the camera can?

There are a couple answers. The first one is probably the simplest, although they both go together. ALL photography, notice the emphasis, is built on light. Whether you shoot your shot on an old view camera, making a daguerreotype or you shoot digital, your images are ALWAYS built the same. Light strikes a surface that is sensitive to it, and there is a reaction creating something. To have an image you need the light to have form and varying intensities. If you’re using color film or a digital camera, the color information is recorded as well. That is what all photography is. Because those who shot before us went through the pains of creating the systems we have today and discovering the rules and methods, we have a way to be on the same sheet of music. By knowing these methods, formulae, and standards, we can create great images.

If you’re using a digital camera or a film camera, ISO 100 is the same. When shooting both types with identical lenses and lighting, f/16 will allow the same amount of light for film or digital. 1/125 second on a film camera takes the same amount of time as 1/125 second on a digital. Time didn’t change for digital photography. Neither did light, nor the laws of physics change. DOF is still determined the same way it was when Hurrell shot Hollywood’s most glamorous. Exposure is still figured out the same way it was when Ansel Adams made his images. Lighting is still used by us; the same way Karsh used it to capture royalty and great figures of his day. The theory hasn’t changed because the camera can do it, the camera can do it because these things don’t change.

The second answer is only slightly more complicated. Throughout the history of photography, those who picked up the camera strive to learn more, to prefect their photography, and to share their vision. This knowledge gives us the tools to do just that, as it did for those who came before us. See and shooters don’t care, but those who appreciate a good photo or enjoy making something great do care. The more control we take away from the camera, the more control over our vision we have. You wouldn’t let your stove cook your dinner, would you? So why let your camera take a picture, when you can make one. Remember, Ansel Adams said, “You don't take a photograph, you make it.”

Start using the tools available, visualize your image, and when the 2 come together, you can make something so much more than you thought. Remember to work on making your images for this week’s theme, and don’t forget to vote for next week. While you’re at it, check out the great new images in Your Works.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and try to keep warm with the cold weather coming in! Don’t forget to post any of your images you’d like to see here at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too!

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