You will deduce from the posts on my blog that I am more
interested in taking photos and building up a body of work than waxing lyrical
about gear and gadgets. There are plenty of sites that do the latter and yet
have very little photographic creativity to show for it. I have taken photos
using my phone, a 7-year old DSLR, and the latest full frame camera. With
digital photography, many people simply use the freedom to ‘spray and pray’, or
take multiple images of the same thing, checking the LCD and deleting as they
go along. Obviously, this approach negates the use of actual photographic
knowledge, or any sense of timing or judgement about composition and exposure.
With this in mind, my good friend Bizhan and myself decided
the test ourselves this weekend by putting our money where our mouth is.
Essentially pretending that we were shooting film, we decided to take up to a
maximum of 36 exposures without using the LCD review. We could set the maximum
ISO and adjust the aperture and shutter speed manually, and use any lens or
tripod we wanted. Any misfires or mistakes counted towards the maximum 36. We
thus had to time our shots carefully, trying to achieve the correct exposure
and interesting compositions just by using our EYES! We would then review the
shots we had taken over dinner later on.
I used only the 35mm F/2 AF-D and the 50mm F/1.8G on a D600,
and Bizhan used an 18-55mm on his Sony NEX-7.
I took 35 shots, 4 of which were misfires (hitting the
shutter prematurely or accidentally), 3 were out of focus (tracking
skateboarders), and 10 that I simply decided I didn’t like once I had seen
them. This left me with 18 exposures that I have presented here. I knew I
wanted to render them in black and white, so this influenced my judgement of
composition and exposure.
Bizhan was even more selective than I, taking around 16
It was an interesting exercise, similar to one I had done before with Jena, and reinforced the simple
truth that whenever you’re out and about shooting for pleasure, careful
consideration of your shots and opportunity will yield fewer, but far better, images than simply hitting
the shutter aimlessly and hoping. And it is far better to have a few great
images to your name than a ton of mediocrity clogging up your hard drives.