It's often said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft.
I read the following quote from a David Mclain blog. I got a little sheepish.
"It’s not about the gear. For every minute you research or think about gear/technology you need to spend 100 hours actually using it. Look at the greatest photographs ever taken, almost all of them could have been shot with a 35mm or 50mm lens. I’m begging you… shut down your computer get offline and shoot more. The real world can be so much more interesting and rewarding than the virtual one anyway."
Guilty. That said, I am excited to really begin learning photography through my 35mm and 50mm lenses.
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#3. "RE: 10,000 hours" | In response to Reply # 0
I agree with the sentiment exactly 50%. Or maybe its 47.5%. Might be as low as 44%. Somewhere in there probably.
To the extent I disagree, it is in the sense that I see tremendous value in visualizing photographs you want to take, and then thinking through precisely how to get there...camera angle, lens, aperture, shutter, lighting...everything.
An analogy comes to mind. Back when I was a semi-serious golfer, I spent a lot of time at the driving range. Frequently, I would see guys pull out their huge-hugga-mugga driver and blast away. They hit the ball a mile, but never had any real idea where it was going to go. If they happened to hit one straight, it was dumb luck.
Photography can be like that. Sure, you can take a zillion shots and by pure force of random chance, you will get a few keepers. But I think you are better off thoroughly pre-visualizing your shot and really thinking through how to configure your gear to actualize the photograph you see first in your mind. Working like that necessarily involves a deep understanding of how your gear functions, and if you can improve your knowledge base by studying, then its time well spent.
The example that comes to mind for me was a few years ago when I got "serious" about digital and finally learned (here on Nikonians, as a matter of fact) the fundamentals of how RAW files work and interact with camera settings and all the rest. That "aha!" moment might have never come were it not for making an effort to learn the fiddly details of camera operation.
Of course, with all that being said, there is no substitute for actually doing it...actually getting out and taking photographs and analyzing your results. There just needs to be some "process" to it: I visualized 'this', I set my camera 'thus' expecting a particular result. Did I get what I expected? Why not? If I could go back and do it over, what would I do differently?
One thing I do emphatically agree with is the notion that the iconic photographs of the past were almost all taken with relatively simple cameras. If you have a Nikon DSLR from the last ten years or so, barring some very specific special-case situations you've got all the camera you need. The photographers that I think are missing the mark (and there was certainly a time when I was one of them) are those who perpetually think they are just one new piece of gear away from getting the photographs they want.
#4. "RE: 10,000 hours" | In response to Reply # 3HenkB Nikonian since 18th Dec 2004Thu 08-May-14 02:17 PM
>If you have a Nikon DSLR from the
>last ten years or so, barring some very specific special-case
>situations you've got all the camera you need. The
>photographers that I think are missing the mark are those who
>perpetually think they are just one new piece of gear away
>from getting the photographs they want.
I agree with you 100%, (except, of course, for where I don't).
I think we agree that the sentiment of the quote in the original post is essentially that the final guarantor of the image is the photographer and not the camera. Like the lion-tamer skit from Monty Python, anyone corresponding with this list has the hat. Question is, do we have the smarts/guts to use it.
Even previsualization is subject to the 10,000 hour effect since it presumes a deep experiential understanding of everything to do with image-making. You have to know what you want - not to mention being being able to get it on the fly. Such knowledge isn't necessarily innate but could come from studying (aka critiquing) others' photos (betters, peers, and duffers equally), emulating those you particularly admire as well as, especially, making the effort to strike out on your own. So, agreed, anything tangentially involved with actual shooting that contributes to the easing of the learning curve is time well spent. But, in the end, practice trumps book learning and that's where Thom Hogan's proposed metric of viewfinder hours makes real sense. I would say there is a rough equivalence to the original quote there.
#5. "RE: 10,000 hours" | In response to Reply # 4guitarbts Registered since 24th Jan 2013Fri 09-May-14 07:30 AM
I do agree that the 10000 hour notion is fundamental to mastering a craft or art form. In digital photography however, one must also master post production. Like it or not, it is a huge part of the end result. That requires time away from shooting and time at the computer. As a musician, I have always felt learning the instrument was 60% practice and 40% listening. I also feel the same about photography. You must get through a volume of work to learn the craft but you can't ignore the other part known as post production.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#6. "RE: 10,000 hours" | In response to Reply # 5HenkB Nikonian since 18th Dec 2004Fri 09-May-14 05:44 PM
As a fellow musician I agree. We forget just how many hours we spent as children mastering competence in activities we now regard as second nature. BTW, childhood lasts ~158,000 hours from birth to emancipation at age 18 and at that stage the brain probably hews closer to a 5000 hour rule.
Anyway, we tend to fixate too much on *taking* the photograph rather than a more global approach that considers the final image by taking into account its likely use, media presentation and everything that contributes to getting there. Knowing the parameters of post production magic is very much a part of that. In a word, previsualization.
The prime photographic experience for me is patrolling my environs looking for targets of opportunity. In these circumstances, previsualization starts when I see something I want to make into a photograph and might take 30 seconds but has extended into weeks (or weeks and weeks…) when the subject demands circumstances that aren't yet right. And, of course, my previsualization skills are only as good as my all-photography experience is deep. No doubt they will improve as long as I continue to pile on the hours.