Thursday, March 14, 2013

Work as if You Were Shooting Film

Well looks like I haven't been doing too good on my New Years Resolution to keep up with the blog, I am kinda trying. I haven't been shooting as much as I should be lately, so last weekend there was a Civil War Reenactment near my house, it was The Battle of Thompson Station. I decided it was time to load up some film and go out and shoot. While I was out there I noticed several other photographers with their DSLR snapping away. I sat there and watched several of them for a while (people watching is a hobby of mine) and noticed how they would shoot almost 20 images of the same person or scene. Now there is nothing wrong with taking a bunch of pictures, however editing all of those images down is time consuming. Furthermore it seemed that they were relying more on sheer volume of images to get the good ones rather than slowing down and paying attention to lighting, posing, and composition.
One of the blessings of digital photography is memory is cheap, and you can store hundreds of images on a single CF or SD Card so we are able to shoot a massive amount of images. Working with film on the other hand you are limited to the amount of film you have on hand, and it cost more to work with between purchasing the film, and processing it, so it forces you to slow down when you are shooting. When I went out last weekend I only took one roll of film with me, with the 6x7 negatives I had a grand total of 10 images I could take. If I wanted any good images to turn out from my outing I would have to take my time and pay attention to my framing, exposure, lighting, composition, and the subjects I chose to photograph. When I would find an interesting character to photograph I would talk to them for a little while waiting for the sun to go behind a cloud for softer lighting, then take my time with focusing and composition. I will say having the waist level view finder made this easier because I was still able to engage them without having my face hidden by a big camera.
Well before I get to much rambling I will just end this post with these few nuggets of wisdom: When you are out shooting just because you can take 1,000 images doesn't mean you should. If you take your time and pay attention you can take fewer images to get the one you want. This will mean less time in post editing your images down and more time you can be out shooting! Here are a few images from The Battle of Thompson Station reenactment.

Taken with a Mamiya RB 67,  180 mm ƒ4.5, Kodak T Max ISO 400, Scanned with Nikon 9000 Coolscan.

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