Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Faith and the Photographer

Greetings and welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! Greeted by rain and thunder in the early morning, the day ended nicely, perfect for getting some nice evening shots.

Today we’re going to talk about faith and photography. Believe it or not, the 2 are related.

First, let’s set a definition for faith. Webster’s lists “complete trust” as one of their definitions. For the purposes of this post, we’re going with that, although the definition “something that is believed, especially with strong conviction,” again from Webster’s, fits also.

The first way that faith is relevant to our topic relates to the photographer and the stages of progression. We start out with a decent camera, having complete trust and conviction that our camera will make nice photos. It’s sort of like believing in the government to be our nanny. It’s reassuring to know our camera can do everything for us, leaving us no need to do things for ourselves.

The next stage is trying to do more for yourself. You start believing you can do it, and going out of “P” mode. Trying out AV and TV modes gives you some control, and can lead to images that are more creative. At this level, curiosity about the basics takes root, and starts leading you generally to the next level.

At this level, you start having faith in others and what they can teach you. You start learning from all the resources you can find, and trying out manual mode and value controls. You’ve generally reached the level of most advanced amateurs, and are quite content with your work. You can see the difference between your work and that of others, and for the most part, you’re happy with it.

The last level is a combination of all the above. You have faith that your camera will do what you tell it to do. You have faith that for a given setting, a given image will result. You have faith that your image, when shot a certain way, will end up matching your vision. You have faith that the knowledge of others can be applied to improve your work, and faith in yourself to apply it. You have reached a stage of photographic faith that allows you to find your flaws, and seek solutions with confidence. You can control all the little aspects into visualizing and editing an image that will have a desired impact.

Faith, for the photographer, is an ongoing thing, and something that we sometimes battle. Much like our faith in government or our religious faith, our photographic faith is shaken from time to time. At the lower layers, it leads to growth and improvement. At the later stages, it can concentrate our efforts or it can discourage us if we let it. Fighting that discouragement is another act of faith. Believe me, it’s worth the fight!

On a second aspect of faith and the photographer, I’ve been noticing a general trend to revert to the first stage. There are folks who say things like “Why should I learn to shoot manual?” “My camera does it all for me.”, and “It’s easier to shoot “P” mode, I don’t have to think.” My personal favorite is “It’s digital, so it’s free. Just delete the bad ones.” This trend leads to stagnation and mediocrity. Just because you can shoot 1000 images and delete the 975 that are worthless, doesn’t mean you should. You’ll never grow when you lack faith.

Hohenfels Volks: The Storm Cloud, before
ISO 125, f/14, 1/60
Faith allowed me to make this image, shot to make:

Hohenfels Volks: The Storm Cloud, after
This image. Knowledge, confidence, and faith combine to allow creations like this to be made. Visualizing your image and shooting for that vision are acts of faith.

I hope our Hohenfels Volks enjoy the rest of the week. Keep the faith and get that shot you’ve been seeing in your mind’s eye!

Please feel free to share your photos on our Faceboook page. Everyone here would love the chance to see your work! Is there anything you’d like to see here? Do you have a question? Share your thoughts here or 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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