Friday, January 16, 2009
ROBERT FROST: "Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice."
PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: Taking Stock of Ice Storm Lessons, part III - "It's Easy to Get Lazy"
8. Habituate technique. Always remove a filter right after use. Turn VR off when the camera is put on the tripod. Frequently check and recheck exposure settings especially at the start of a shoot and after shifting subject or location. It seems every few weeks this lesson is driven home again, so I guess I haven't learned it sufficiently. Good habits must be cultivated. There's no problem if I'm setting up for a particular effect as I did for the shot above. It is after I've moved on when I carelessly assume the camera to be as I "always" have it.
9. When moving in for close-ups, it's always worth switching to my 105mm macro lens or my 50mm prime. Over the past few months I've gotten too comfortable with my new, all-purpose, 18mm-200mm, zoom, VR, street lens. It has barely been off the camera. While it provides pretty sharp images in its mid range, when I need to get closer it's a very tempting shortcut to zoom out to 200mm and thereby avoid awkward setups. The frozen branches of the apple trees need not fence with my long tripod legs. It's not just that the 50mm and 105mm primes are a bit sharper; it's that they force me to get physically closer. This image, shot with the 105mm macro lens, is actually made up of two shots focused at different places. I made an exposure bringing the third stalactite and tail into focus, but I like the f9 softness of the receding background shown here.
10. Even when presented with a cornucopia of photographic options, it's better to make one good image than reach for dozens and find later that none was brought to completion. I must write that over 100 times and make 100 fewer images.