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.
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!