Monday, February 6, 2012

Craftsmanship in Photography

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! I hope you’re staying warm; I know it’s hard for me to keep warm!

Today we’re going to start with a quote from Ansel Adams. I frequently reference him, as you may have noticed. He wrote in the introduction to his book “The Negative,” “…it is false to suggest that there are shortcuts and quick formulas for success in photography.” I for one am starting to see why he felt that way.

The recent trend in photography, as in all things modern, seems to be toward the easier, simpler, and more automated. Without any doubt, I can safely say that automation, simplicity, and ease will allow you to take some decent snapshots. Take snapshots… not make photographs. Further, with even less doubt, I can say that, like government handouts and welfare, they create an unnecessary dependence, which will hinder your development into a maker of photographs.

Ansel Adams believed in knowing your craft, knowing how to make photographs. It was simple, really, to match your print to your vision you had to know how your camera, negative, and print worked together to get the right combination. He also believed that creativity and freedom in the pursuit of your vision were only available if you knew how to make your shot match your vision. Great photos can happen because of a little knowledge and some trial and learning. As you try various techniques and settings, you learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try manual mode, even if your image is less than you wanted, it can teach you what settings didn’t work. Digital gives the instant ability to know if something worked or not, we should take advantage of it. The sad thing is, too many folks become totally dependent on the camera making the rules, and thereby limit their abilities.

Things we often view at first as less than we hoped for, can become a treasured shot when viewed free from the disappointment of not making what we’d visualized. Remember that, and keep shooting. Strive for better with each shot, but enjoy them all as they happen. You’ll find things about your work that you may have never noticed before.

Enough of the soapbox! Let’s move on to the new theme. This week’s theme is I'm SO Lonely! (If You Weren't So Isolated!) by a vote of 2 to 1. As last week’s theme dealt with the positive side of isolation and solitude, it seems fitting that you have chosen this theme. Show us the negative side of solitude, the isolation of your subject. Perhaps it’s the despairing soul trapped in a lonely joyless rut, maybe it’s the widow, who mourning, longs to feel again the warmth of her husband’s breath. You could show how being alone weakens, rather than strengthens, the whole, by isolating one from a group. Express the isolation, the negative side of solitude, in your images and get them submitted by next Monday night.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to do another Around Hohenfels if things work out. Look for it, and if we end up with something else, I’ll try to be more interesting!

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! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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