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benjikan
05-23-2007, 06:26 AM
What is your thought Process (Originally Posted at DP Challenge)

Before doing a shoot, what are the processes you go through before making the decision to press the shutter? Have you ever thought about it? I ask this question, as I have come to realize that after over 25 years, I forget that I am holding a camera when shooting and only become cognizant of the fact when I put it down...

When I started in 1980, I didn't have discernment a vocabulary or even a notion of which questions to ask, as these concepts didn't exist in my paradigm. As time went on, I learned how to be discerning and with this capacity I could make statements with more finesse and elegance, elegance being in the scientific domain i.e. "(of a scientific theory or solution to a problem) pleasingly ingenious and simple : the grand unified theory is compact and elegant in mathematical terms."

I specifically remember the day or the epiphany when after putting down the camera to take a break that I realized that I was not aware of holding the camera throughout the whole process and that vehicle was meaningless to the intended outcome other than it being an interface. That is all it is really. A physical interface able to capture a limited amount of information on a two dimensional plain.

With this notion well ensconced in my mind set, I felt empowered to do anything I so desired without having to be encumbered by the "Technique"..I would often freak out my assistants when popping the flash and squinting my eyes to increase the contrast or augment the perceptible differences between the shadows and highlights, I would say for example f11 at 100 iso...I would generally be right on or within a third of a stop. Why? After over a million shutter releases and flash pops, you can get the results easily with such a small variation of about seven to eight stops. Once the technique is mastered, you can really fly and be intuitive. Thinking about the shot renders a different result than intuiting an image. Both can be striking, but I believe the one that will become a classic will be the one that captured a universal truth.

Ben

Bill Markwick
05-25-2007, 10:19 AM
Before doing a shoot, what are the processes you go through before making the decision to press the shutter? ... I forget that I am holding a camera when shooting and only become cognizant of the fact when I put it down...

Ah yes, I remember well the submerging of technique and the emergence of pure control. One time on a location shoot I checked every possibility very carefully, rhyming off all the many details required, but I felt that something was missing. Every aspect seemed correct, yet there was the nagging thought of a background error that refused to reveal itself. I relaxed into meditation mode, chanting my mantra ("Ohm-m-m-m" - I studied electronics originally) and soon the distractions ceased and the missing part became clear - I'd forgotten to bring the camera.


the grand unified theory is compact and elegant in mathematical terms.

Ah, yes! When I first learned to do integrals, I thought to myself, "This is great! I now see the oneness of everything! I'm going to integrate a camera with a coffeemaker." And indeed, I did do that and it served me well on camping trips, although I was finally forced to lay it aside because of the 5-mile extension cord.


A physical interface able to capture a limited amount of information on a two dimensional plain.

In trying to take a portrait of my wife, I realized that she was two-dimensional and plain.

I'm sorry. I won't make lame jokes like that again. At least for another paragraph.


I would say for example f11 at 100 iso...I would generally be right on or within a third of a stop.

I can do that to 1/10 of a stop. Top that if you can. Heh, just kidding. I'd really like to be able to do that. I was thinking of getting the new Sekonic 359a Flashmeter Contact Lenses. You put them in and they beam the correct exposure right into your brain. Unfortunately they're still in the beta testing stage and some users have been known to suddenly run down the street, shouting "My highlights are clipping! My highlights are clipping!"


After over a million shutter releases

Since the average shutter is rated at 100,000 cycles, I guess you've ruined a lot of cameras. :p


I believe the one that will become a classic will be the one that captured a universal truth.

Now there's where we disagree. People don't want universal truths - they want pleasant entertaining lies. Hence the success of television, movies, advertising, Bill Gates, etc.

Regards,
Bill