Some Lessons From The Olden Days Of Photography

 

Believe it or not, I didn’t always call myself a bird photographer. Early on in my photography career I tried several types of photography. I started as a motorsports photographer and then went to portraits and weddings because that was where the money was.

I have occasionally dipped my toes back into the portrait and wedding business when I wanted to change things up, get a fresh perspective, or just help an old client who prefers my photographic style, but mostly, I still prefer photographing wildlife.

The reason I bring this up is simple. Whether it’s sensor size, megapixels, video quality, or the latest craze – “Low Light Performance” the various fads that make cameras noteworthy have come and gone.

All of the images you see here, were made with film cameras. The most recent was made 22 years ago. And some of them were made on film that is larger than any of the sensors the majority of you use. But being shot on film, then scanned, they all exhibit one thing that is generally verboten these days. GRAIN – what today is called “noise.”

If I posted these images on most camera forums today, the pixelpeepers and measurebeaters would go crazy attacking them (and me) because they are too “noisy.”

Yet, all of these pictures have been published in national magazines, and/or sold as prints to the subjects and/or won major photography awards.

The point is this. If you’re fixated on “low light performance” or any other technical aspect of your camera, chances are you’re heading in the wrong direction. Photography is about capturing a story – a moment in time or a memory. As you mature in your photography, you’ll see this more clearly. Pun intended.

The gear is just a window to the eye. If you can see well, nobody cares what gear you use. And if you have some grain (e.g. digital noise) in your pictures, well who cares? Not me. That’s for sure.


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