Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Magic of Photography

You come home from a hard day at high school with a ton of homework. The first thing you do is hit the computer (or in my case, the encyclopedia) to do all the research you need to do. By the time you get done, it dark and you missed that game of catch outside or the double Dutch rope has been put away, and now it's time for dinner. Oh well at least all your work is done. The next morning, your friend comes up to you and wants to copy your homework before you go to class. No research, no missed games, nothing. They just want you to do the work and you to give them your results. Sound familiar?

We all went through this in school (unless of course, you WERE the moocher). But old habits die hard because people still do it to me. In the photographer community, there is an environment of sharing that we all appreciate. We all know that today I may share a technique but tomorrow I may learn something for someone who I taught something to the day before. It's like splitting the bill when you're out with friends: in the end it all evens out (PS. That's the topic for a whole other blog). There is another aspect of sharing that bugs me though: the hobbyist wanting to learn a technique without learning the fundamentals. When I started learning about photography, I started from the ground up. I made an effort to understand f-stops, shutter speeds, light meters, everything. That way when I wanted to learn about more complex theories, I had the basics down. Cue the enthusiast who refuses to take their camera off auto and wants me to tell them how to shoot a stitched together panoramic image! Then I start by telling them that they have to set their white balance to manual and their eyes start to glaze over. Now I look like the jerk who won't share my secrets!

I say all of this to say, if you're serious about photography, I will geek out with you for hours and tell you everything I know...once I know you've done the research and know the basics. I'm happy to do that. However, I think it's rude to expect a photographer to detail their work to people who have a pedestrian interest in the art. It's like asking a magician to show you how they did their tricks. Unless you want to be a magician yourself, knowing how it's done just spoils the experience! Same with photography.  So word to all photo enthusiasts who aren't serious about advancing; thank you for appreciating our work but leave the magic to the professionals!

On to the next frame...trying to stay in focus!