120 to 1: the evolution

16 08 2011

Richland Creek Community ChurchWith the advent of digital photography, the argument has often come up that a person tends to put less work into a single image because there is no relative cost factor every time you press the shutter. Maybe, but I would like to argue the other aspect of it and say that the advent of digital photography has allowed the craft to reach new levels of quality and creativity.

I recently was asked to take a few shots of a church building for a design piece. I needed only a handful of shots, they needed only one. I got up early to get the morning sunrise coming across the building. In the course of roughly 30-40 min I snapped off about 120 shots of the building. It may seem a bit excessive, but for me it was a constantly changing scene, and I was constantly seeing something different between where I was standing and where the light was shining. Because I was working with natural light I had an ever changing scene.

What did I get with my 120 images? Yes, a lot of work to dig through in post, but the reality was that I didn’t have to do that much, I either liked the shot or I didn’t. But what I noticed was that as the light changed and as I hit different angles and locations on the building, I liked my shots more. The first several shots I took weren’t that great, the lighting was a bit too muted and the building just didn’t pop like I needed it too. As the shots rolled on, I started to realize the angles I wanted, I got the light where I wanted it, and all things came together.

If I were shooting film and had 24 frames to shoot, it would have been much more difficult. I would not have realized I didn’t like the play between my angles and the light. I would have fired off my 24 or 48 frames, packed up and gone home. With digital, I can rattle off the shots and figure out what I need to do to get the shot I really want.

The argument always seems to go to someplace like Ansel Adams and the amazing things he did with film, but I would argue that the creativity of photography has come a long way since Adams was amazing the world. Please understand, I’m a fan of film work. I have two film cameras, one medium format and one 35mm. There is a certain aspect to film that isn’t the same as digital. I love the natural grain and imperfections of film, but digital photography has made the world of photography a better place and brought creativity to a whole new level, and I am excited to see where we will continue to progress.


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2 responses

19 08 2011
missusk76

I agree. The cost of experimentation with film was prohibitive for me, but now I can afford unlimited play, which (along with the huge benefit of people like you who have shared their knowledge on the Internet) has accelerated my learning exponentially. At first my shots were completely haphazzard, but as I take them home, study and compare them I am learning to make decisions in the field that lead to more successful images. I have a long way to go, but am far ahead of where I would have been had film been my only option.

6 09 2011
kim

me too..I saw this website and thought it looked good, their running a contest for photographers each week and I think your images could do quite well. You can enter as many images as you want and it’s completely free .
I encourage you to check it out at http://www.pixoto.com – and then tell me what you think.

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