Real world landscape photography versus the ivory tower photo technicians
When you visit photography forums, especially the ones devoted to camera equipment, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE, dismiss ninety-percent of what you read as hokum.
I’ve been frequenting a few over the past few weeks as I waited for my new camera body to arrive. I was more curious about when customers were receiving them as they were in short supply than I was about the customers/photographers experience with them.
To read most of these websites you would think that photography was an exact science of modulation transfer functions, diffraction limits, etc. than it was about the actual act of creativity that is involved in taking a picture. Truthfully, I could still be shooting film with my old Canon Ftb and getting results that I like. Instead, today I have a state of the art digital camera with a lens that is far sharper and more corrected than ninety-nine point nine percent of us will ever need.
These websites are populated by the same kind of people that frequent sports discussion boards. They’re all expert managers and coaches. They all know what trade was effed up and what they would have done. My question is, if they’re all such experts why aren’t they practicing what they’re preaching?
It’s much the same with the photography. Put these “expert photographers” in the real world and let’s see where the chips fall. They’d have you believe that if you are capable of taking a technically excellent exposure that nothing else matters and judging by the photos that I’ve seen by some of these “photo experts”, sharpness is all that matters.
For example, one poster was asking how best to bracket their exposures to avoid mirror shake. Huh? Mirror shake? The last thing that I am concerned with while chasing a storm or a sunrise and looking for the best angle/light is how much my image will be degraded by mirror shake. If there’s any kind of detectable difference in image quality when I enlarge an image to 30 x 40 inches it can easily be fixed up however negligible it theoretically might be by sharpening it slightly in Photoshop.
You can use almost any kind of equipment you want to get great landscapes. An extreme example of how image quality is NOT what makes a photo great are the photos taken with old black and white film and cheap Soviet cameras with plastic lenses. In this case, the image degradation is desirable.
I think that when it comes to judging a photo, it’s ninety percent creativity and 10 percent technical quality.
Stats are for statisticians and not real world photographers.