“We can go for a walk, where it’s quiet and dry”

There must be a joke somewhere out there that asks the question: How many pictures must a photographer snap before he gets one really great one? Mind you, I don’t have a witty answer for the question. That would be too easy, wouldn’t it? I guess I could say “One,” because every picture I happen to take is great! But this would be far from the truth.

Since having picked up my every so lovely Canon 40D almost exactly one year ago I have taken a lot of pictures. Many….maybe most….have been complete rubbish. Total crap. A waste of the battery power necessary to have captured the image. But this is okay. Really. Not depressing one little bit.


However, things have been better in the past few months. I genuinely believe that I have had some better pictures and that this has come about from a bit of learning from my previous mistakes. A bit of willingness to explore and try new things. A bit of luck. Okay…..a whole shit-load of luck. And this knowledge, this knowing that I’m getting more keepers than deleters than I used to is a great stroke to the ego. Oh, don’t get me wrong; most are still destined for the Recycle bin icon on the computer, but the number of keepers to deleters has risen and THIS is a good thing. But there is an even greater way to stroke one’s ego when one is a newbie to the world of dSLR photography: go back and look at one’s digital point-n-shoot work.

George & Rowan (3)

What the hell?!?! Did I not bother to look at the white balance setting at ALL??

Please do not misunderstand me…..I am certainly aware that there are tonnes of folks out there shooting great pictures with digital point-n-shoot models. Better pictures than I am taking! Better pictures than I could take with even the most expensive of equipment. But that is because the equipment doesn’t make one a better photographer. Maybe it allows for more creative control. Maybe it allows for more possibilities under difficult circumstances, but equipment doesn’t make the photographer. Me and my Canon 40D are proof-positive of that!

Still…..while reviewing the multitude of pictures I took with my Canon A95 I was constantly blurting aloud things like “What the hell was I thinking?”, “Did I bother to check my settings first?”, “How can THIS many pictures be out of focus?!”

I think it is important to mention that all of my pictures taken with the venerable A95 were simply what I like to call ‘records’. They were a record of a moment in time and not taken for any “artistic” or otherwise expressive quality. In other words, I wasn’t trying to “do” anything other than capture the moment for posterity. But still……framing and composition were most always of the “put the subject in the middle and shoot” variety. Boring. But the real problem…the one that crept across every folder…was focus.

So many of those pictures (which I DID NOT upload to Flickr – what would have been the point in that?) were gently out of focus. The problem wasn’t motion blur (created by me or the subject), but simply the camera not being properly focused upon the given subject. And during the process of taking those pictures there would have been no good way to tell they were out of focus (so that they could be re-shot if possible) because the little LCD screen wouldn’t offer the requisite resolution to check such. It was only after uploading the images that I would have discovered how awful they were.

The fact that I have so many of these gently out of focus images strongly suggests that they were the best of the rest, and what a horrible thought is that! And don’t think that the issue was lighting as almost all of these photos were shot in sufficient lighting for their purpose. After all, even I knew (at that time) that the Canon line of cameras (p&s as well as dSLR) were less than stellar in low-light situations.

So….what has this stroll down memory lane done for me? Simple. It’s taught me that my lovely, lovely Canon 40D is just what the doctor ordered to solve this problem! I have had only a few out of thousands of images that were out of focus (unintentionally out of focus that is). For this I am quite grateful. Of course…..I still have images from my Canon A630 to go through……who knows what I might find there!


5 thoughts on ““We can go for a walk, where it’s quiet and dry”

  1. I’ve thought about getting a small p & s for my car. I am not really sure what I’d get… I worry about pic quality. I am such a freak when it comes to things like that. Decisions, decisions.

    Okay, off to get pizza. I have 6 hungry teens to feed. So far, the house is quiet. They are watching some movie that stars a “hot guy”….whoever that is.

  2. Some of my best photos were out of focus, that is, when the subject is a person. It softens the features and gives them a nice glow (I do hope I’m not misreading your post).

    I know a photographer who took such great photos that he was the mentioned photographer in every acting book known to man. He was known for giving you more good shots than bad. But then he switched to digital and I think his shots just aren’t as good. He’s arrogant, too, and that will be the last time he’ll take a pic of me.

  3. Tam: I originally was thinking about something pretty simple and straight-forward like the Canon G10, Leica Lux-4 (too expensive though), etc. My problem with those choices was that they didn’t suit my particular interests in photography. Mostly meaning their ISO range (without noise creeping in too much) was too narrow. The used Rebel was perfect timing for me.

    Stiletto: In digital (and maybe film; I don’t know about that) one could always effect a gentle out-of-focus look via software or purposely wrongly focus the picture when taking it. That was not my intent with the Canon A95. It simply didn’t always focus properly and upon further review it is apparent that this happened more often indoor than outdoor. Could be a lighting issue, but I would swear I always had plenty of light indoors for using this particular camera. And you don’t need to fool with any arrogant guy – you’re way too good for that!

  4. Now its stopped snowing I can start visiting again. Yippee!

    Odd that, cos I harbour a deep suspicion that the first few batches of pics I took with the KM point’n’shoot (bearing in mind that was my very first sortie into digital photography) were in many ways a damn sight better than practically anything I’ve since taken with the dSLRs!


  5. Maybe it was because you (and I) thought less about the whole process and just snapped the picture; happily oblivious to all the “mistakes” and “errors” we were committing?

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