Saturday, May 7, 2011

When vision meets satisfaction

There's vision...

      I’ve been still shooting film when I began to use digital. At the time I had so much pleasure discovering the pictures that I took sometimes one month before having the roll processed, and I was keeping practicing in order to achieve the mystical “100% keepers”.

      Patience and vision were at the time the most important things for me, as I worked with what I called the “one – one” technique ; one roll for one project. Thirty six (or 24) images to summarize, to capture the spirit of a birthday, an unordinary event, a week-end with friends in the middle of nowhere, being on duty or free of anything. Identifying the key moments was a hard task. Sometimes you know that it will happen and you place yourself where you’ll be able to catch the scene as you want it. Swapping lenses, change your aperture, move, move, wait, pre-focus, focus, clac. And you know that it will be good. But you won’t be sure of that until you’ll have your pictures back from the shop. You open your folder and you make a quick overview: can somebody feel the action or the passion even if he wasn’t here? If yes, congratulations. If not, try again.

This was the relationship between me and my camera.

The camera was 30 years old and I had to carry at least two small screwdrivers because of frequent shutter jams in the middle of an event. That day I broke the shutter release mechanism of my trustworthy Minolta X-300 at the beginning of an important event where I had a dozen of precise pictures in my head to be shot throughout the day. I was disappointed, but these things happen.

      I didn’t buy another one even if I knew that the cropped sensor of my Pentax k20d couldn’t give me the same image rendition which I was used to see with my fast primes.

So I took the decision to save for a full format DSLR. This was 3 years ago.

      Today, after an endless search, it’s there. An old 5D classic. Now, fifties are fifties, 1.4’s are bokeh monsters, blur equals blur and viewfinders are bigger than ever. Photographic love is back. I've found the camera that I needed.

Rendition with a full frame camera is miles away from standard APS sized sensors
© Quiet Leaf

...And satisfaction

Many Pentax users took the Nikon way so why did I took a Canon?

This is where everyone has his own “gear philosophy”.

For me, no matter which camera; as long as it meets my shooting style, it’s good. I'm an amateur, not a pro.
I replaced my 35mm film camera by a 35 digital camera because I knew that it would meet my needs.

      I don’t expect a camera to be the best one, it has its own flaws and every photographer knows that he has to work with them, no matter what; go beyond your gear and focus on your pictures. I’ve been through this common problem of being more focused on cameras than my work, and it’s a real stopper. You’ll forget the reason why you’re here: you are a photographer.

      My Minolta was my workhorse camera; I learned the most important part of my technical skills with it. Aperture, Speed and Focus. Patience and vision. Once these are mastered, you can move forward and begin to know your camera and your lenses, be aware of their flaws and their qualities, don’t expect them to take the shot for you.

      This whole process had a significant impact on me: if one of my pictures was slightly out of focus or a little bit blurred, I didn’t really care, if it was overexposed, I would still be satisfied. Why? It wasn’t because of my gear, it was because of me. So it could be improved.

      Find the tools that suit your needs. Use them. Look at your pictures and find how you could improve them. Share your work and let it know around you. Print a dozen of pictures and hand it to your friends. They’re part of your photographic life, their satisfaction is also yours.

     If I had only one advice for everyone who wants to keep up with his passion, it would be this one. Ask yourself, when are happy with your work?

When your vision meets your satisfaction.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.