Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making pictures

click photo to enlarge
I'm not particularly interested in photography! Correction. I'm not particularly interested in photography as it is currently conceived, especially cameras or the technical side of it. Discussions about the relative high ISO performance of different models and brands, the minutiae of Imatest result or, the relative virtues of CMOS versus CCD leave me cold. So too does "pixel peeping", endless debates about the quality of colours produced by each manufacturer's cameras or the problem of photographic "noise." I believe (and so do more than a few of the saner commentators on photography) that every DSLR available today is capable of producing commercial quality images in the sizes demanded by the vast majority of publishers. Moreover, we've now arrived at the point where this is possible with today's better digital compact cameras. So, I'm firmly of the opinion that whilst an intelligent interest in the hardware is fine, agonising over technicalia is a waste of time that could be more profitably spent taking photographs. To anyone who says that they need a camera that produces the highest pixel count and the best possible output for large scale prints or cropping, I say fine, but remember that print is a dying medium, and that the increasingly prevalent display of images on screens and projectors needs fewer rather than more pixels! A new 5 megapixel camera anyone?

So what is it about photography that does interest me? Well, that really begins and ends with the pictures. Having said that, I'm also not wildly interested in the body of "theory" that has grown up about composition and the general business of putting together an image. I'm familiar with it, but, just as my post processing tends towards the "intuitive", rather than a regimented "work flow", so too does this aspect of my picture making. However, I have to say that my image construction does lean very heavily on a lifelong interest in the history of art.

Despite the remarks above, every now and then I take a photograph that illustrates one of the maxims of photographic composition. Today's image of the medieval church of St Denys, Aswarby, in Lincolnshire, will say "leading lines" to many phographers, as they follow the curving contour of the fence from the bottom right corner to the base of the church tower. I took this shot on an early autumn walk, and tried to find a new take on a building I've photographed a couple of times before.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm (34mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On