View Full Version : The (continuing) evolution of a photographer

Michael Lloyd
01-15-2008, 09:53 PM
I've been shooting since I was 8. I'm 49. I own and shoot (2) Hasselblad CM500 series film cameras, (1) Linof Master Technika, (1) EOS1DsMkII, (1) EOS1DMKIII, and (1) EOS1DsMKIII, not to mention just about any decent lens you can imagine, a few good tripods, ballheads, Wimberly mount, flashes, strobes and a partridge in a pear tree. The partridge died so I ate it. It tasted a little like chicken. I can light a portrait as good as most photographers and I have and will continue to climb mountains for the "perfect shot". But something is still missing from my images. Granted life has interrupted my photography from time to time so it's not a contiguous 41 years of shooting, but it's at least 30. An unwanted divorce cost me almost every negative and slide that I ever owned. That was years ago and I don't hold on to it but it did kill my enthusiasm for shooting for a little while. In two + years of shooting digital I have managed to shoot over 15,000 images (RAW files) . Some of which I even like :D Some of which I worked hard to get (My Big Bend images for instance). However, no matter how well exposed they are, no matter how well "posed" they are, none of them approach the level of quality that I have seen on some of the better known (and not so well known) members heres websites (or posts). The stark realization that what I get from a digital camera and probably scanned slide, is always going to be mediocre at best if I don't get a handle on CS3 hit me between the eyes the other day. With portraits, a quick dash through a Portraiture plug-in or Kubota action is all you need outside of good composition and exposure. The processing that I do for portraits is never going to work on wildlife and landscape images. Please believe me when I say that I'm not saying that great images are a product of Photoshop. They are not. They are a product of the obvious talents of the photographer with all aspects of photography. My revelation has been that all aspects includes, to a much higher degree than I realized, the digital darkroom. These last few days, for me, have been like climbing a ladder for two years only to find that you have made it to the basement.

A fellow photographer on another forum replied to a post I made about one of the fine galleries that I discovered via this site with the simple comment "Humbling isn't it?" My reply was " Absolutely... and completely..."

Maxis Gamez
01-15-2008, 10:03 PM

We are always in a learning curve.

Michael Lloyd
01-15-2008, 10:18 PM
Very true... but I wasn't aware that I was so far behind the curve until I found this place :D

Fabs Forns
01-15-2008, 10:20 PM

My favorites images ever, need hardly any PS adjustments at all. Photographing with a14 bit camera has made my life a lot easier.
I don't like high contrast images, so lately, all I have to do is re-frame and resize and save. Some need some sharpening, some much less and always according to application.
A good images can or cannot be made better in CS, a porr image will stay a poor image, no matter how much you work on it.
The RAW material must be there (pun intended :) )

I thing that has helped a lot, and I've only been in the photo world since end of 2003, is surround myself with the top of the line examples, dedicated and successful professional that I can look at as inspiration, not photocopy, and try to share what I've learned with others, when you share knowledge, you find new ways to apply it and new insights.

Our growth as artists in never static, something we liked last year, we may find pas-see this year, and what we thought was outrageous last month, may be our new discovery and part of our style this week.

Keep the hunger for improvement, that is what, at the end, will make you better.
This community was founded in the hope to help you and others like you in their voyage through self discovery :)

Alfred Forns
01-15-2008, 10:21 PM
Hi Michael I think today with digital the playing field has been leveled to an extent In the film days persons with full darkrooms were at an advantage I used to do all my own processing and for printing slides you could not beat a direct print with a double masking technique

Now PhotoShop rules and is within everybody's reach I try doing one type more than anything else Birds Since taking this approach I feel better images have been produced

Ed Vatza
01-16-2008, 07:06 AM
Very well stated, Michael. I feel I know exactly what you are saying and feeling. I am 10 years older than you but have only being serious about photography (defined as my first SLR) for a little more than a year. I feel like I have come a long way then I look around here and feel like a rank novice (which I am :D)! But the passion is there. I want to make images like the folks around here so badly I can taste it. It sounds like you feel the same way too. We can only enjoy the trip!

And BTW, I too feel post-processing is my biggest Achilles heel!

Steve Foss
01-16-2008, 07:52 AM
Michael, you may feel you're way behind a lot of others on post processing.

But you've shown two things that quite a few photographers I know do not have: The ability to be impartial and honest about your own work, as well as a frank assessment of where you are on the learning curve. You will not only catch up, but will soon surpass those who fool themselves about the quality of their own work.

Luckily, on BPN you are surrounding yourself with some of the best photographers in the world (I, honestly assessing my own work, am not one of them), and no doubt you'll apply yourself and learn PP techniques as well as you've learned all the rest.

Mike Moats
01-16-2008, 09:45 AM
Hey Michael,

I started shooting digital four years ago, and have owned three digital cameras. Even with perfect exposures and sharpness, I have yet to produce an image out of the camera that didn't need help in Photoshop, to make it pop the way I want it to.

I know most are using CS3 or Elements 6.0, but I am still using Photoshop Elements 2.0 and shooting Jpegs. With a properly shot image, I find that with just a little sharpening, color saturation, and the contrast tool, I can produce a excellent quailty image. I wouldn't reccomend shooting jpegs for landscape, birds, wildlife but for what I shoot (macro) it works great.

Processing images using Photoshop is an art form. It takes an eye and artistic ability to tweak the colors and contrast of a photograph. Some people are born with it, and others must study and work hard at it. The same goes for composition, its an art form that some have an eye to see and compose the perfect image.

I think the easy part of photography is learning and understanding the camera functions which sounds like you have, but the artistic work in PS may be what you need to work on.

Music is like photography, they have the musicians that can write the perfect songs, and perform flawlessly, but it take a talented producer with the know how in the studio to make them sound good on a CD. We as photographers have to not only shoot the perfect image but also become the producer in the studio as well.