Sunday, August 26, 2012

OK, just how bad is it?

I spent an hour or so yesterday perusing some literature that a gate attendant had handed me Thursday as I entered Spring Mill State Park in southern Indiana. And yes, that means I didn't really take time to look at it thoroughly while I was actually in the park. Is that bad?

I'll often take hundreds (and, yes, in the case of sports events, even thousands) of pictures on a shoot, and then about halfway into the post-processing, I'll start rushing my edits so I can justify to myself afterward that I didn't spend more time editing than I did shooting. Is that bad?

Conversely, while in the throes of post-processing -- and the aforementioned rushing -- I'll often keep a picture I should have skipped over or tossed even though it's of marginal quality. Is that bad?

In recent years, quite a few photographer friends have strongly endorsed a photo editing software program called Adobe Lightroom, touting its facility, logical workflow and "all in one" features. So, I acquired a copy of Lightroom 3 about a year and a half ago. After about a half-dozen or so stabs at trying to acclimate myself to this so-called facile program, I found it to be confounding and counterproductive. To me, it was hardly facile, compared to the way I had been handling my post-processing previously -- even though my process could involve up to three more steps and use three or four different software programs -- so I went back to my old ways. Is that bad?

I hear professional photographers tell how they back up all of their work in triplicate -- uploading copies to an online backup site (such as Carbonite), storing copies on an exterior hard drive and burning copies onto a high-quality medium (such as a CD or DVD). Because of cost and file-size issues, I back up my RAW files only on disc, although I do back up my JPGs in three places -- disc, online storage (Carbonite) and my online galleries. Is that bad?

A longtime Indianapolis photographer who teaches his craft, whose opinion I respect and whose instruction I truly value -- especially because he gives of his time freely and teaches with enthusiasm -- espouses the discipline of carefully metering for light, using gray cards or a hand-held light meter, to ascertain optimum exposure on every shot. He even shares shortcuts he's come to use to accomplish this when logistics prevent one from using the preferential methods. But I don't own a light meter, and rarely turn to my gray card, depending almost solely on my camera's built-in meter to compose my shots. Is that bad?

I sometimes err on the side of caution rather than aggression when it comes to pursuing some of my photographs, trying to use common sense and respect of privacy and sensitivity even though I know I have a much greater chance at a much better picture if I throw caution to the wind? Is that bad?

There is gear I would love to own and exploit in the name of enhancing my skills, and I feel frustrated that I can't obtain them because of cost. Things such as a camera with a full-frame sensor; a tilt-shift lens or two (to better exploit my interest in architectural photography); a quality, far-reaching telephoto lens (to do more and better quality outdoor and wildlife photography); a good strobe or two and a premier wireless trigger system to hone my portraiture skills; some backdrops to have at the ready, presuming the portraiture thing would actually develop into something substantive; carrying equipment to package and transport that portraiture gear; a video camera that would allow me to venture into videography. And so on. And yet, I periodically hear photography acquaintances pine for even half the gear I already possess, making me feel immediately humbled and guilty. Is that bad?

And is it bad that I cannot seem to resolve how I fiercely oppose photo contests (partly because of how I believe competition has no business in an art form such as photography, but more so because of how I've seen otherwise decent people resort to unseemly measures to give themselves an edge up on these things) ... and yet I truly appreciate genuine praise (outside the parameters of competition) about any of my pictures?

Is it bad that I expect my regular blog visitors to wade through this litany of text instead of viewing pictures with today's post?

OK, I know some of you may be wondering, "what's with today's post?" I credit the blog Blether (aka Jacqueline), via the blog two birds. My initial reaction when seeing stabs at "honesty" was "there's no way I can work this into my blog." But I gave it some thought over the next 24 hours, and came up with the above. In my version, I initially was going to also take time to respond to each of the rhetorical questions, but ... I hope we have an understanding that you and I both know the answers to most of these. And besides, to add responses would be counter to the two birds' concept, and that probably would be bad, right? Two birds asks that bloggers who do one of these should "link up," but I have no idea what that means or how to do it, even though I trust that it would not necessarily be a bad thing to do. I'm content on giving you all a little change of pace with this.

I promise that with the next post there will be pictures from Part II of my trip to Spring Mill State Park, as indicated in yesterday's post.


  1. Is it bad that I chortled through your entire post? Hehe. And to link up with a blog hop you post a link to the instigators blog on your post, in this case two birds, then go to their blog post on said subject, scroll to the bottom to the Create a Link, and enter the url for your pertinent blog post. I'm sorry I didn't think to post a how to on my post; especially since I messed up badly the first time I ever attempted it.

    Hmmm, money-making ventures....we really should talk soon; if you don't mind I'll send you an email in the next couple of days?

    Btw, not only did I chortle through the post I enjoyed it tremendously as well.

  2. Thanks for your comment ... and the "linking up" coaching, Jacqueline. It worked! And you're welcome to contact me by email anytime.