1. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    I recently had a run in with various other members of this forum (you may have noticed),over the way I approached, and they approached, a technical issue. On the one side (probably the majority on that thread) was the view that understanding exactly what happened was the issue. On the other were those (myself plus a few others) who thought the result was the key issue. The first side got very frustrated with the second sides inability to focus on what was really happening and the second side got very frustrated with the first sides inability to see what they thought of as the big picture.
    Is there a solution to this impasse? As with many similar things it is summarised by (a quote from Cool Hand Luke - sorry, very old film) "What we've got here is a failure to communicate". In the opening of the thread was a statement about a particular technique of shooting and then a question "Thoughts?" There was no real direction as to whether the thoughts be technical or not. So ? More generally again. Thoughts? :whistle: (p.s. I've no idea what this emoticon means, but I felt I should put one in as my thread would seem incomplete without one)
     
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  2. MatBin

    MatBin

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    As much as is needed to get the desired results.
    I like to understand the whole process including the underlying technology, my wife doesn't have that same need, horses for courses.
     
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  3. Phil V

    Phil V

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    This is the oldest argument in photography.

    The answer is as Matt says... as much as you need to get the shot, or maybe a bit more just for contingency.

    I know more than I need to about some aspects of photography, there are some issues that I understand less than others, I try to keep an open mind and read stuff that isn’t even relevant to me (like ISO Invariance :))

    On a personal level... if you engage in a discussion, it pays to engage 100% and ensure you’re reading the info posted, it’s never going to end well to argue from a position of ignorance. o_O
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  4. Nod

    Nod Kronus

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    What do we NEED to understand - of technology? Not much - light goes in, a file comes out. In the days of film, light went in (still does!), film comes out, gets sent away, prints or slides come back.
    Any further knowledge is for interest.
     
  5. DG Phototraining

    DG Phototraining Woof

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    I'm in the 'not much' camp too

    Same applies to driving cars, you don't need to know much at all of how they work to be a good safe driver; to be a really good driver and especially a performance one then a little more knowledge helps

    Back to cameras though, I know a few real techie geeks who can't shoot for s***, so like in pretty much everything in life the amount of technical knowledge needed is - "enough" - and that enough changes depending on what you're doing and sometimes how well you do it

    Dave
     
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  6. gramps

    gramps

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    One of the keys when inviting them is to be prepared to listen to them without ridiculing them.
    As to whether we need to know the 'technical' matters of photography, well yes we do to a certain extent, otherwise we will have no comprehension of how to get the camera to deliver its best results, (whether we can get it to do that is another question).
    As with the 'ISO-invariance' thread though, it is clear that not everyone has the same use for the camera and so some technically available processes may not be relevant or helpful to them.
     
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  7. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc Suspended / Banned

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    There are many doors to photography and all are justified by
    passion — at many levels as well.

    Some will get in through the art side of it, others the technical
    and /or a combination of both.

    The more one knows, the more one can do, appreciate, eva-
    luate, explore, express and possibly invest more wisely.
     
  8. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc Suspended / Banned

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    "La photographie est une découverte merveilleuse,
    une science qui occupe les intelligences les plus élevées,
    un art qui aiguise les esprits les plus sagaces
    et dont l’application est à la portée du dernier des imbéciles."
    Félix Tournachon, dit Nadar (1857)

    Translates loosely to…


    "Photography is a wonderful discovery,
    a science which occupies the highest intelligences,
    an art that sharpens the most shrewd minds
    and whose application is within the reach of the last of the fools!"
    Félix Tournachon, aka Nadar (1857)

     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  9. sirch

    sirch Official Forum Numpty 2015

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    To trot out the mis-attributed quote "As simple as possible but no simpler"

    I have a foot in both camps on this. Failure to get into the weeds on technical issues is what leads to the "ritualization" of certain practices, i.e. doing set pattern of actions because that is what we always do, regardless of whether they apply to a certain situation. Also it leads to "I need a better camera" because there is a failure to understand and work with the abilities of the camera in your hand. On the other hand, I am more than happy to let other people dig into the details and I'll just take the conclusions.

    What I know is that I CAN get into the nitty-gitty if I need too
     
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  10. Gremlin

    Gremlin William Wallace

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    Coming from old school, basic manual film SLR camera, manual focusing etc I had to learn the basics fairly quick,
    didn't have anywhere to set up a processing room, so films were sent off to be developed, if you got it wrong it was wasted,
    If you knew you had things wrong you could ask for the film to be processed differently, but that came at extra cost.
    Luckily we had shops that understood such things, till they were put out of business by the "post and get a free film"
    people
    I learnt very early on from a good teacher, what aperture, shutter speed etc. did, also learnt how to guess what was needed
    without always using a light meter, even now with digital I can still do this, but rarely do, modern cameras are pretty good at
    working things out most of the time.
    I normally shoot jpeg and try to get it right in camera, really can't be bothered with all the processing and faffing about Raw needs,
    don't use lightroom, prefer photoshop it suits my needs
     
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  11. Gaz J

    Gaz J

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    If it makes my photography better or easier yes. If it possibly would make my photography better or easier but I would have to change the way I photograph which would leave me feeling diasadvantaged then no.

    There are some very technically proficient members on here. Some have an ability to get their point over in a way that I can read without perhaps understanding it fully. Some however don't have that ability and then I get to the point where I'd rather rub my ass with a rough brick than read any more.
     
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  12. PhilH04

    PhilH04

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    On a personal side, as little or as much as I need, I was formally educated in photography and my head was filled with formulae for this and formulae for that. My professional career entailed specialist close-up and macro photography that initially demanded using all that formulae that I had stuffed inside my head. As I became more experienced precedence and experience started to take over and all those formulae started getting pushed to the back to make room for other things...

    You need to have knowledge of how to use the tools to obtain the result that you desire, how deep you take that knowledge is entirely up to you.

    Saying that knowing about various technicalities can be useful, for example, in the 'invariance' thread the technical talk went straight over my head, but with a vague understanding I see it as another tool that I could use.

    There are many fine photographers out there with little technical knowledge and also the other way around, poor photographers with a mass of technical knowledge..
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  13. dcash29

    dcash29

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    If its a hobby, enough to get by
     
  14. john.margetts

    john.margetts

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    You cannot learn from a basis of misunderstanding. You can learn from a basis of ignorance. If you are ignorant of something and replace that ignorance with misunderstanding, you have limited your ability to learn in the future. Unlearning wrong things is VERY hard.

    There is a difference between partial understanding and misunderstanding. Many of the threads here contain misunderstanding as being OK as 'easy' is better than 'right' and there is no need to be pedantic.

    I prefer to be pedantic about what I learn but at the same time I am happy to work with limited (but correct) knowledge.

    When you are knowledgeable about something and see it explained incorrectly it can be difficult to leave it be. I have that problem with diffraction which was a significant part of my work some years ago. While not an expert, I know a great deal about diffraction and cringe when I see photographers explaining it to other photographers very badly and incorrectly. Does it matter? Well, a lot of photographers have sealed themselves off from a career in science - which probably does not matter.
     
  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    I find it fun to learn new things.
    A box camera can also be fun, but it entails little learning... and that was Kodak's intention.

    Photography is full of things to learn, from Art to science and everything in between.
    The more we learn of these things the more we understand and the easier it all becomes.

    Some people like to learn new things by rote, and bypass the understanding stage.
    Fortunately past photographers have come up with a plethora of rules of thumb and routines, covering the science bit,
    and others an equal number of rules of composition to replace any need for the understanding of art and design.

    We can add to this the results of automation, and intelligent firmware, which have made photography all but foolproof.

    However Knowledge is more than useful, when you meet that 1% of situations not covered by rules and automation.

    For myself I like to know the why, what. How where and when of things. I like to understand the Artistic, the technical and scientific nature of things.
    They are all part and parcel of Photography, so why shouldn't I ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  16. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    Some time in the not too distant future just about all sensors, will be for all intents and purposes, ISO invariant. When that time comes no one will need to know what it means. ISO will be all but meaningless. We will be able to select shutter speeds or aperture solely for attributes other than their light gathering abilities.
     
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  17. woof woof

    woof woof

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    I think it helps to be at least aware of the latest tech and to have at least some grasp of what it can do if only so that you can decide if it's of any use to you.

    If you're old enough or interested enough to have used film you might think that most of the latest digital tech is irrelevant as you can get a very nice straight out of the camera jpeg just using the aperture, shutter and ISO controls and it'll fine most of the time and whilst it may be sometimes that newer tech and processing software might be a real help and it's therefore worth being at least aware of developments.

    I also think that for those of us with an interest in technology it's interesting to read about new developments but I think it's worthwhile keeping one foot on the ground and keeping in mind what we'd each use the kit and software for. I do think that some on this forum get a little carried away when I read their impassioned criticisms (rants maybe :D) about things I see as rather marginal issues at worst :D
     
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  18. StephenM

    StephenM I know a Blithering Idiot

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    I've just glanced at the ISO invariance thread - enough to see where people are coming from :(

    There's an old couplet "a man convinced against his will / Is of the same opinion still". In other words, in general we believe what we want to believe. My thoughts on the "do we need to know that" are that the key word is "need". It's a common point in the F&C section when buying a new camera comes up (and probably in other sections too) that people will say that they don't "need" it but "want" it. Do we need to know the technical stuff really comes down in practice for individuals to whether they want to know it.

    Some will argue that if you have precise knowledge then you are in the best position to get the best result; others will argue that digital is cheap and you can keep on stabbing in the dark until you get it right, or have enough experience to get it to be good enough. That then comes down to personal standards, and ignores the "just noticeable difference" effect - something can look wonderful UNTIL you see something that is just noticeably better.

    Where the lack of knowledge can become a hindrance is when you think something is absolutely impossible - very few people would attempt to do something that they sincerely believe can't be done (unless it's a moral issue where you know you won't make any difference, but conscience requires it). I always think of the sub four minute mile - did they put something in the water from the 1950s onwards that meant that no-one could run the impossible sub four minute mile until Roger Bannister showed that it was possible and then loads of people managed it? Or was it that knowing something could be done meant others were prepared to put in the effort to achieve likewise? Photographically, I've seen people not attempt a photograph that would be very effective because they didn't know that the particular combination of light and exposure would give a particularly stunning effect. Here not knowing something meant no attempt was made. Does that mean that they were worse photographers for the subjects and style that they preferred? No, it wouldn't make a difference. It merely meant that certain areas were closed off because they simply couldn't see them.

    Learning isn't easy - study demands effort. For those who see photography as a fun hobby, something to escape to from work, then working at it may be a step too far, if they can get their fun with minimal knowledge. You don't need to work at it these days to get a photograph; and if that's all you need (= as much as you want to achieve) then all you need (really need) to know is how to turn the camera on and where the shutter release is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  19. Furtim

    Furtim

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    It's one of those wonderful areas where you can know as little or as much as you want, gleaned either through experience or study and still be anything from a terrible to and amazing photographer.

    I love the technical stuff, but then I would - I'm a Computer Scientist. It allows me to make up for a serious lack of artistic vision to a small degree and still produce something my Mum would be happy with. I'm never going to be amazing or perhaps even good, but I'm happy with my lot. My work is probably horribly formulaic, but it works for my hobby.
     
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  20. sk66

    sk66

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    I pretty much agree with this.
    But I think it's silly to not learn/keep up with the technology you have at your disposal. It may very well allow you to achieve better results, work more efficiently, etc, etc... you can still make fire by rubbing two sticks together, but I won't unless I have to.

    There are still those that think the only way to "be in control" and get the best quality images is full manual all the time... that's an example of not learning how the technology works and how to best implement it (as well as when not to).
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  21. woof woof

    woof woof

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    One of the biggest differences I found was when going from the old software I'd used for years to a new package. What I could do post capture impressed me so much that I went back and reprocessed hundreds of pictures I'd processed with the old package.

    Things do move on both in hardware and software and I think that it is worth keeping at least half an eye on developments just in case we think "Ah ha! I could use that!" :D
     
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  22. Retune

    Retune

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  23. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc Suspended / Banned

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    Learning is a very linear thing… one learns one thing after the other
    and it's up to the memory to keep it in. Very boring way to learn! :sleep:

    Knowledge may be exponential too when creative permutations are
    taking over the simple adding in info. One may then learn much more
    and faster… because one can do something with the knowledge. :cool:
     
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  24. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    True.
    The more you learn and the more you know, the easier it is to learn.
    It is like having more hooks to hang things on.
     
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  25. GaryLaird

    GaryLaird

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    Does it not very much depend on what your taking a picture of and why your taking that picture? There are some types of photography where I would argue the subject matter supersedes image quality or the need to understand what the camera is actually doing. I'm thinking paparazzi, sticking a camera in front of a celeb or maybe a war photographer where images can be so powerful, do we or the photographer really care about camera settings. I could imagine in both situations having the camera in P mode and firing away, ducking the fists and bullets!

    Horses for courses I think.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  26. viewfromthenorth

    viewfromthenorth

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    Some of my best images were taken when I knew less than I know now, with a less sophisticated camera.

    Since then I’ve improved technically by doing some nightschool courses and doing some reading. I’ve retained enough to get me by, but the technical side doesn’t interest me much, which is unusual when you consider that I have an engineering degree and work in the aerospace industry.

    I tend to take a passive interest in technique and technology but to be honest, most of my progression as a photographer has come from studying the artistic / creative / philosophical aspects of it and not the technology side of it. The only real exception to this is in learning to print, but even then the subject of colour management bores me rigid.
     
  27. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    I do not quite understnd how any professional or serious Amateur in any field of work, is not interested in the technicalities of his work.
    That would be like a cabinet maker not understanding how wood shrinks, and in what directions, or what joints should be cut for what application and for maximum strength and durability, and the advantages and limitations of various finishes.
    Most people are in fact more knowledgeable than they might think. But what they know is usually mixed up with a lot of misinformation, which they tend to pass on disproportionately.
    This seems to be a feature of photography. Perhaps abetted by the web.
     
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  28. gazmat

    gazmat

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    Personally, its all about the picture, the light, the composition everything else is secondary, I don't give a hoot about the technical side, as long as I can get the picture as I want it with a little PP. If I drive a Ferrari, why the hell do I need to know what the engine does and how it works....put the petrol and pay for the insurance and tax thats all I want to do. Blinkered thought process..possibly.
     
  29. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    I am not one who thinks it clever to be dumb.
    When it comes down to it photography is easy compared to the business side.
    Business skills and people skills trump photograpich skills every time.
    You can always hire a competent photographer.
     
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  30. viewfromthenorth

    viewfromthenorth

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    Personally, I understand the technical side having studied it academically, but now that I know how to apply it I don’t give it much conscious thought unless stuck in an unfamiliar situation.

    Likewise technology, I change my cameras infrequently (unlike many on here) so have no more than a passing interest in machinery that I don’t posses and therefore has no impact on the photographs I can take.
     
  31. Nod

    Nod Kronus

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    I think that you and a couple of other people have missed the difference between technique/technicality and technology.
     
  32. Fraser Euan White

    Fraser Euan White

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    Steve,

    great thread and a very balanced summary IMO.

    Photgraphy is a great hobby to most and to others a profession. I find it quite unique in that involves a lot of science and a lot of 'Art' - typically the 'opposing' subjects when we were at school; you were either good at one and not the other.

    As an interest, Photography has many 'branches' and different parts of Photography can interest different people.

    What we need to make sure of (and I am as guilty as the next) is that Photography is the common link between us and what someone finds very appealing about the interest others may not and Vice-versa.

    Having an 'understanding' is very different to a deep knowledge; my own view is you need to know a little more than you require to fulfil your hobby - whatever the branch of it excites you.


    This really is the part of Photography that covers myself; I'm not 'artistic' in the slightest and struggle with inspiration so I get satisfaction from learning other aspects.
     
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  33. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    How much do we need to understand of technology?

    In terms of photography? Simple; as little as possible but as much as necessary.
     
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  34. Kodiak Qc

    Kodiak Qc Suspended / Banned

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    It is not only knowledge but the approach is important too… read crucial!



     
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  35. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    Thanks for all the replies. I won't try to respond to all of them as that would be unmanageable, so I'll to to explain a little more of where I'm coming from.

    To do this I'll use an example. The example is the diffraction effects you get as you increase the fstop. Going back about the days when I had a 12MP camera and I took photos as a hobby with only occasional macros, diffraction didn't seem to be much of an issue. I had found that using fstops like f32 did seem to make resolution worse, so I accepted that reality fitted with theory.

    Then I started to use first 20Mp cameras, then 40MP cameras and started to need to use focus stacking in order to get enough DOF with macros. I had a passion for wild places, especially rain forests, and the photography was always a way to record those places both for myself and for others. I developed a love of fungi macro photography and somehow became quite well known, and beyond that very small pond of fungi photographers. People started to buy my photos and pay for me to travel to some very interesting places. They also started to buy my time lapse, which I had started to play with, most notably the BBC for Planet Earth II. All of this changed my view of diffraction. What had been of academic interest with some small practical application, became quite a crucial subject to understand. Through trial and error I had found that I could focus stack with my 20MP camera quite effectively at f18 and that using less than f18 generally slowed my photography down with little benefit. Time tends to be a key issue when you are in a forest trying to collect 100 or more images a day, all focus stacked. Then I moved to a 40MP camera and I found that I needed to use no more than f16 for focus stacking. I found that, while a lower fstop produced a slightly better result it was more prone to errors. I do not use a slider for focus stacking as it is too time consuming, so I just change the focus on the lens. This works fine as long as the change in focus isn't too small. I use a 90mm macro for this. In the future I hope that Sony and others will include automatic focus moves as part of in-camera focus stack. I believe Olympus already does this.

    I had noticed that all the references I could find told me that diffraction effects would indicate that f8 or even less would be appropriate for this type of work. I was even told that using f16 would reduce the resolution to the same as could be produced by a 5MP camera. What was going on? I'd had a 6MP camera and the 40MP one at f16 was clearly far superior. On the other hand I didn't doubt that diffraction was real. So what was going on? I eventually figured it out by playing with pixel shift on my latest camera. I found that a pixel shift image at f16 was better than a single image, but not by a lot. A pixel shift image at f8, however, was a lot better than a single image. Now I could really see the diffraction effects. So if the camera I had somehow managed to take a pixel shift image all the time, then I would see a more accurate representation of diffraction, but with my actual camera I was seeing images that had a lot of other things effecting the image. The lesson I took from this is that you always need to try it in practice, before being too sure.

    Currently I am setting up a new tracking device to do macro time lapse with a moving camera. I have other tracking devices, but this one adds focus pulling, so it is a little better than before, and more complex. This is challenging and I got a bit frustrated on the iso invariance thread because my technical attention was elsewhere. I just wanted to know if there was any complexities that would effect my work. I don't think there are, but I will keep an open mind.
     
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  36. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    Very nice. It's always good to see a different approach as it may give you a better way to visualise something.

    Fortunately i find it easy to think in 2 dimensions, even 3. Currently I need to be able to visualise the movement of a camera in 4 dimensions. These have turned out to be:
    1 space dimension (out of 3), being backwards and forwards on a slider.
    2 directional dimensions (out of 2?), being pan and tilt.
    1 focus dimension.
    plus time, of course, which really makes 5 out of a possible 7.

    There are other dimension that could be added.
     
  37. Fraser Euan White

    Fraser Euan White

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    Crikey Steve, you've got your work cut out :)

    like i said on the other thread - your photos are amazing!

    I can only recommend you read up as much as you can on the subject and try the different approaches to find what works for you - it is probably quite critical to your photography so you will need as much info as possible on the subject.

    The hurdle you face is time - If you need to get the optimum results quickly then the reading/experimenting time is reduced - I don't envy you.

    Good luck :)

    Fraser
     
  38. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    Thanks Fraser. I tried to make it balanced, but really that is for others, including yourself, too judge.

    I never thought I was artistic until I took up photography, but I probably was. It was just that I was brought up in a scientific family and hence thought I was scientific. I found that I was very good at what seemed a highly technical area for much of my life. In retrospect the bits I really excelled in were things like - how to represent very complex systems in readable diagrams and how to predict the performance of complex systems by building models of them. Watching systems in real life has been an ongoing passion - and now I do it with fungi, that are more complex than any system I ever worked on.
     
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  39. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    I've worked out how to programme it :) Now I just have to visualise what I want it to do. I can understand why film making is usually something that is done by a team of people, as it is really complicated for one individual to do. Fortunately, my partner Catherine, is a film maker. I could not do this without someone to talk to.
     
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  40. jamesev

    jamesev

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    Jamesev
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    Enough for when something odd happens that you understand why and can fix it by knowing the tools and principles.
     

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