Monday, October 19, 2009

Artsy / Rant

Black and White.

This first shot was made from 8' underwater in the NAU pool. I was shooting the swim and dive team with my friend's underwater camera, housing and flash. I got about 50 or 60 frames off before the flash stopped working. This image is one of the throw-aways from that shoot (after I was deprived of the flash)... but the minute I saw it I knew it could be something different. It's a very abstract, moody, dark sort of image, which is probably why I like it so much.

#2 here was done with my cell phone. My phone starts at 2mp, but in order to get the frame I wanted, I had to do a 3x digital crop in-camera. That translates to this image being absolutely tiny. So instead of just throwing it out, I tried a technique I've never tried before and I really like the results!

This photo was also made with my cell phone. With some upsampling and filters in photoshop, you'd never know. The final version is 5.9mb large and will happily print at 11x14.

Two of these images were made with my blackberry camera phone (and some photoshop). The third was made with a D40x (and some photoshop). All were captured in JPG.

You know what that tells me? The kind of camera you have has absolutely no bearing on how your pictures turn out. If you know what you want your photo to look like, you can make it happen.

I could have shot these on 400 ISO black and white film in a disposable camera ($6), or I could have shot them on the D3x ($8,000), and they would still turn out more or less the same because the end result would still be the image I visualized in my head at the time of capture.
Don't get me wrong, I love gear as much as the next guy... (using an underwater setup is gear heaven),  BUT it appears to me that simplification is the key.

Something I'm fond of saying with the proliferation of DSLR cameras is: "Everyone's a photographer, but not everyone is a great photographer."
People think that buying a thousand-dollar camera will make their pictures better. It wont. Some of my best pictures have been made on an old Nikon N80 (35mm film) that I paid $100 for off eBay, and I've made some pretty good photographs using 2 megapixel cell phone cameras. The reason almost all my best images are made with a thousand-dollar camera: that's the camera I carry around most. If I carried the N80 around all the time, most of my portfolio would be black and white film images.

Don't be afraid to experiment, take pictures that suck, use your cell phone camera, shoot film... Having fun with photography is what it's all about. If you're enjoying yourself, your images will reflect that.

(there's still no spellcheck in the blogger composer... so please excuse my early-morning spelling)