Tuesday, April 24, 2012

That Pro-tog thing that I do

Four Chairs #2

Lol ok, I've stopped arguing with Shelley when she calls me a pro photographer, even though it's far from the truth - I know she's just expressing admiration and enthusiasm, and I appreciate that. I do manage to get a decent shot now and then, but mostly by sheer dumb luck. Trust me, you don't want to see how many pictures I had to take before I got the one above, and I'm not totally happy with it, but I'm getting better.

Since getting the G1, and especially since getting legacy lenses for it, I've been looking into photography technique more and more, and one of the best resources I've stumbled across is Ken Rockwell's site. What he does is pretty much the opposite of the type of controlled-lighting fully manual studio photography we stopmotionistas do - he takes his camera out in the real world and uses fully automatic settings and has to rely on nature to provide him with lighting and decent conditions.

But..  I LOVE his strenuously repeated advice, which is basically that if you want to get good, stop fiddling around with technical crap and take a lot of pictures. The equipment you use is not important, what's important is COMPOSITION - and a few other elements that taken together add up to visual art. 

I've read a lot of his articles now, and he talked me into buying the Kindle version of a book called The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum, which he hails as the best book ever written on the subject. And I'm so glad I did! Being a lifelong student of art, having learned most of what I know by drawing in pencil and then learning to paint and sculpt a bit, I've long had some familiarity with the basic principles of visual art, but my ideas on photography were a bit vague until reading this book. Now they're firming up nicely. 

Anyone who shoots movies should pay attention to cinematography, which is essentially photography in motion with storytelling. I'll never be half the photographer Kubrick already was in his teens when he was shooting award-winning covers for Life magazine, but dammit I'm gonna push as hard as I'm able toward it!! 

If you click on the picture above you can see a few more I shot in my yard this morning at Flickr. Rockwell got me all fired up about shooting "in the field" - and even though it uses very different techniques than stopmo, it's a form of cross-training - that and it's just a lot of fun!! I want to do a lot more, keep exercising my photographic eye and developing my sense of composition. And also - it's nice to get out into the real world now and then!!