Fast Photography?

I feel the need to slow down, but it’s hard to do…….

Most times I go out to shoot, I come home, and am looking at what I’ve taken within hours. I’m starting to think (a strain for me I know), that I should try and slow things down.

When I’m actually out shooting these days, I’m one of the slowest – I’m conscious that I’m the last to finish, and sometimes people are left waiting for me.  It’s a style, and I see other photographers who can jump out of the car and get cracking straight away – and if I try to do this, I come back with images that are only fit for the digital trash.

I was talking to a friend the other week, who said that he didn’t look at anything he’d taken for at least a week.  He would download to his computer, and back up – but then leave them to ‘develop’ and come back to them later.

With hindsight (which is a wonderful thing) I can see how this works.

I’ve been looking back at images I took months ago, and have just left them to stew on the computer.  This long cooking time, can make for a better image – so rather than just delete stuff – I’m trying to hang onto it for at least two months before I make a decision.  The obvious operator errors can go straight away, but sometimes it’s good to come back to something in a different frame of mind.

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This image for example.

I took this in March of 2017, when out with some friends on an exploration of the Lincolnshire Coast.  I’d forgotten all about it, and rediscovered it, and re-processed it over the last day or two.  I think it’s something I might have easily thrown away, but with hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t.  I think it’s a peaceful shot, calm and Autumnal.  (The image by the way is the ‘Soundtower’, part of an art installation called ‘Structures on the Edge’, and can be found at Chapel Six Marshes.)

It’s always worth archiving images you are not sure about, and come back to them later.

And in the meantime, I’m going to make a serious effort to not process images as soon as I’ve taken them.  I’ll try and let them stew for a while, and look at them again, in the ‘cold light of day’ as it were.

I think that there’s a difference between just getting a ‘shot’, and experiencing the ‘getting of that shot’.  This is what I’m sometimes missing.

Do you find that you get the best images when you are chasing the shot, or when you spend time contemplating what is to come – can you anticipate when the moment is to come?

I think I learnt to ‘rush’ when I was working as an agency photographer.  I would have to wait for the event to happen, but then it was a frantic rush to get the shots, and then they had to be sent off to the agency as soon as I could.  If I was late, then another photographer would have already sent images to another agency, and I would have lost the moment.  Speed was of the essence.

Now though, I don’t need to do that any more, but it’s still ingrained in me – so I rush with post processing, like I need to get images out in a deadline.

I need to STOP, and smell the roses……

I need to make the observation come first, the photography second, and the processing slow and easy.  I shall try and adjust my approach for the future.

And now, I’m out to shoot…. hopefully I can resist the image to edit what I take today…..

Enjoy your photography.

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Quicker, Better, Faster??

In the last 8 months I finally succumbed and subscribed to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom CC – I’d resisted, and resisted till in the end I was backed into a corner.  Two things happened – one piece of software that I had as a plug-in, updated itself, and then refused to work with CS6.  It had gone beyond what CS6 could do.  Secondly, Lighroom did an automatic update, and suddenly the RAW convertor would no longer talk to CS6, and I was left making a DNG file, in addition to the RAW file, and finally then a conversion to JPEG.

Frustrated, I decided to take the plunge and go down the subscription route.  First thing that happened was I got an upgrade to CS6 to the ‘Extended’ version (which sits happily now, doing nothing on my hard drive), the next thing was that LR CC completely overwrote the version of LR6 that I had got already.

In the short term, this isn’t a problem, but if I do decide that the subscription method is not for me, then I’ve no idea if I can recover the version 6 I had before.

I suppose the other issue would be that changes I made in the ‘new’ software won’t be recognised by the old.

Adobe continually tell me that the new software is quicker, better, and faster…..  and as a retired full time photographer, I appreciate the need for speed in processing.  Nowadays though, I can relax and process my images for my use, in my own time.  Which is wonderful.

Is faster necessarily better though?  I’ve spent some time thinking about how I looked at image making in my time with film.  First of all, I was much more careful about what I shot – 36 on a roll – fewer with medium format.  Twin lens Rolliflex – 10 at a time.  Then the film itself.  Dark room, winding the unexposed film onto a reel – dropping something on the floor, and trying to find it again.  Waiting for it to develop – rinse, add fixer, rinse again – fingers crossed, and out it came – and that was just the start….. Check negatives, and look at printing – enlarger, dodge, burn, photo paper – (the sort I saw for sale on ebay a while ago out of its black plastic bag – ouch), and then, the magic of seeing a print magically appear on the paper in the developing tray – fix it, rinse it, dry it…… lets have another look under a light that’s not red………..

Don’t get me wrong, I love the digital darkroom – working in the daylight, and able to walk away for a cup of tea when I want to.  It’s cooler, and I don’t miss the chemical smells.

I love taking time with my images, but that’s not the attitude the advertising bods would have us ache for.  Rush rush rush…. and I see it all the time in on-line images.  Tilted horizons, underexposed, overexposed, burnt out, over processed…..  This is NOT art, this is careless.  More processing does not make for a better photo – whanging up the clarity will never, ever fix a badly composed photograph.

I qualify this by saying that sometimes there is art… and that is very much a personal thing – careful, artistic processing most definitely has its place – but this is by people who genuinely know what they are about.

Begone, you slide whangers – let’s try to tone it down a little – 100% clarity, combined with 100% vibrance really isn’t the way to go……..

 

Loving the Dogs

This week I was able to attend a greyhound race meet…  I’ve been before to watch, and to place the odd 50p bet, but this time it was to photograph the dogs.

I knew they moved fast, but at between 35 and 40 MPH at top speed, it was a bit of a challenge to get them.  The official course photographer was great, he showed me where the best place to stand was, and gave some helpful tips on getting some good shots.  He then walked away and pretty much left me to it.

Greyhound racing is a popular sport in Great Britain with attendances at around 3.2 million at over 5,750 meetings, across 26 stadiums in 2007 alone. There are 28 stadiums in Britain.

On July 24, 1926, in front of 1,700 spectators, the first greyhound race took place at Belle Vue Stadium where seven greyhounds raced round an oval circuit to catch an electric artificial hare. This marked the first ever modern greyhound race in Great Britain. And was where I was this week.

Getting the shots was harder than I thought, but with 14 races spread over the whole afternoon, at least I had lots of time to perfect the technique..  this is certainly something I will have to come back to.

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