Freshly Squeezed Photography


TwoYellowApplesSoftNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Or, why I love my lensbaby, reason #438

It’s hard to put a focal length on a lensbaby. About the best I can tell you is “medium blur” or, if you really want me to be precise about it, “medium squeeze” (since that’s what we do when we use one.) Really, a focal length doesn’t do it justice. It’s got that whole tilt shift variable focus thing going on that just blows the whole EXIF debate out of the water. Best guess is, even if you were to find my tripod holes (I wish you luck with that one-I don’t even remember where most of them are anymore) even if you were to take the same camera, same lensbaby, same light (impossible tasks all, really, scientifically, if you think about it) you still could not get just the exact squeeze down to copy my work. You might get really, really close but…

All these folks on this great EXIF quest need to realize that each moment in the time space continuum is, in fact, unique. This point in time, that place, the position of the sun, the heat, the humidity and temperature, all scientific elements that contribute to making a unique entry in the continuum also contribute to making our images unique. You can try, and try as you may, but you’ll never be in the “here and now” again. Sure, you might find yourself in the “there and later” or quite possibly in the “here and later” (should you succeed in finding those tripod holes) but the “here and now?” Sorry, it’s come and gone.

Good photographers pay attention to the weather. They know the temperature, the humidity, tide waters, position of the sun, time of the moon rise, and all that. Great photographers, I think, take it on instinctively. They walk around and just feel, in their blood, what they want to shoot. Then they just go after it, making the most of their surroundings in the process.

The best images represent a concept realized. The photographer had a vision and used his hands and camera “foo” to bring that vision to life-to share it with the world-to put it “out there” for all to see. But, the camera “foo” is only part of the equation. One important piece of that photographic puzzle if you will-the vision-is just as important. And, unfortunately, for all you EXIF hunters, that’s the piece you won’t find on your tripod hole maps.

A few people have written to me and suggested that the EXIF data is really used by beginners, to help them out, so they have a “launching pad” of sorts. That’s all well and good but, I’m here to tell you the bad news that comes along with that. At some point in your development, you are going to have to make your own tripod holes. You are going to have to take your own shots, make your own way, celebrate your own moments. It’s what makes us unique that brings out the great artists in us all and, frankly, you won’t find “unique” on that tripod hole map now, will you?

So, yeah, go ahead. Find my tripod holes. Try to copy my “squeeze.” Peek at my EXIF data. But, do it and then realize you have your own concept to conquer. Learn how to properly expose an image, record apertures, calculate hyperfocal focusing distances and shutter speeds down to the thousandth of a second. And then, if you want to get really good, forget all that crap and go out to take good pictures. Good photographers take good pictures. There’s no big secret to that, and, sorry to say, there’s nothing to calculate really. If you have to think about it, well, you’re trying too hard.

I’d much rather be creative and copied than caught up in the chase to fill out my book of cliched shots and stranded in the land of other photographer’s tripod holes.

Wouldn’t you?

Until next JPEG…

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