My photography summed up

And summed up perfectly too, in this entry towards the end of an epic description of a day out in Bournemouth by diamond geezer:

20:45 Start looking through today’s photos (I appear to have taken 342).
Most are not as good as I’d hoped.

This is exactly the case with my photography – although usually on an entirely different south coast.

But that’s the way with photography today, isn’t it? And at least we have the luxury of taking that number of photographs in an attempt to capture something decent. Remember when you only had 24 or 36 shots for an entire holiday? And the expense of film and developing? That made each photograph precious: from the composition to the actual, tangible image at the end of the process.
That said, despite the fact that they now cost “nothing”, the fact that we’re still chucking 90+% of them away doesn’t speak much for our talent, does it?

The questions remain

Proportionately, are we now or were we then taking better photographs? And then, are our best photographs now better than our best ones then?

Sorry, I don’t think I have a considered answer, although I’d like to think that I’m improving bit by bit.

Meanwhile, talking of that photography, some of it has been Micklethwaited – which could be the catchall verb for “thinned, improved, made more interesting”. Something else that wouldn’t have worked very well or have been anywhere near as straightforward with a physical, old skool photograph.

6 thoughts on “My photography summed up

  1. If I look at a big clutch of photos immediately after I took them, I am often very disappointed, because I remember what pictures I was trying to get. I see only failure after failure. But being old, I soon forget about this, and so when I return to a collection a few days later, perhaps already remembering it as disappointing, I am often then very agreeably surprised. I have now forgotten about what I was trying to photo. I simply look at what I did photo.

    I often see things for the first time that my camera saw at the time, but which I did not see at the time.

  2. About those “thinned” photos I like to do, such as the one I just did of your two ships, I don’t think that thinnable, so to speak, photos are necessarily more interesting after they have been thinned. They have merely been made thinner. They suit blogging because blogging, often, is about doing a small throwaway post about something nice but not very consequential, and a thinned photo makes the posting shorter, and thus less like it’s taking itself too seriously. I hope that makes sense.

    Thinned pictures really come into their own when you have quite a lot of them in one posting. That cuts out a lot of scrolling, and a lot of the-posting-taking-itself-too-seriously. There is something pleasing about a posting that fits into one screen view, with no scrolling, if it can do this with only a little shortening.

  3. Brian Micklethwait > I love the notion of “convenient amnesia” after the disappointment of looking back at what you’ve taken. It’s certainly better than the more pessimistic approach of – just as you’re about to take your next shot – thinking “this probably isn’t going to look as good as I think it will”. There are those times when it just works, though. It’s the little things like that the keep me going. Although it’s been a while since I’ve had one of them.

    On the thinned photos thing, I must respectfully disagree. Well, maybe “improved” was a bit harsh on the original shot. Perhaps “adapted” would have been a better word. But – dependent on the photo in question – you can definitely thin it and make it more interesting. The ships on a roof thing lends itself to being better thinned because, let’s be honest, that sky isn’t doing anything and the rest of the house really isn’t important in the context of the photo. So yes, this one was definitely thinned, adapted (and improved) and made more interesting.

    For clarity, we’re talking about this photo:

    My shot

    and this thinned version:


  4. Re the two photos, the good news is that neither of us is choosing to show only one, to people who aren’t able to make the compare and contrast for themselves. They can also choose, if they want to. Hopefully the thinning adds enjoyment to the original.

    Personally, I enjoy intricate detail in one part of a picture, but bland monochrome expanses elsewhere.

    Much depends on what is and is not in focus, or is blurry because it’s a long way away.

  5. I definitely think that I now take better photos than when I first got a digital camera, and it isn’t only because my cameras have got steadily better. It’s also because I have learned to notice a wider ranger of interesting things.

    But then again, I notice more things partly because more things are now worth noticing, because of those better cameras. I notice distant objects better now, because (thanks to vastly improved zoom) I can photo them far better than I could a decade ago.

  6. Brian Micklethwait > Yes. Each to their own. I’d actually like to have got a bit more height and got another shot without the roof. But still with the same amount of ocean. And the rest sky. But, I didn’t, and because of the distance of the vessels – the big red one, 330m long, was out at about 10 nautical miles, the other at about 12nm – and the relative proximity of the roof, I wasn’t able to find a suitable vantage point quickly enough. Angles and such were constantly and rapidly changing.

    I’m glad that you recognise that your photography is improving. I do think mine is too, slowly. Blogging helps with gauging that sort of thing because you can look back over several years and see how good (or not) your photos were then. But any improvement on my part is certainly aided by better technology as well. I’m still far from a ‘serious’ ‘DSLR’ type photographer, but I’m already getting to the point with my new camera where it limits me from time to time. But those moments are few and far between and I need to improve (and deeply consider if that’s a road a I want to take) before I think about improving my equipment.

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