back to basics

back to basics

Had a hard drive crash the weekend before last and was without my main computer until yesterday. So no scanning or proper editing for a week.

It never really registered before how much time, effort and general piss-fartery goes into processing a photo. Especially a film frame, where even if I didn’t edit the tones (in which case, why shoot film in the first place?) there’d still be the scanning and dust spotting to do.

So I went for a wander last night with the camera that got me started back in 2004: the Fujifilm S5500. Four megapixels of obsolete noisy-sensor goodness, with an LCD the size of a postage stamp, a cheesy 10x superzoom lens, and no proper viewfinder or workable manual focus. But it does have a tripod mount, self-timer and manual exposure mode, so it can do long exposures. Well, up to 15 seconds anyway. And it weighs nothing and makes these cute little beeping sounds just like R2-D2.

After wandering around for an hour I had five or six usable photos, and within an hour of getting home I had three photos in a finished state. Shooting JPGs helped a lot, as it forced me to get the exposure right at the time and limited me to very minimal editing. If I’d gone out with a film rig I’d have gotten maybe two or three shots in the same time. Then they’d sit in the camera for a week or so until I finished the roll, then they’d need developing, and then there would be scanning, processing and dust spotting.

So am I reverting back to doing everything on a little digicam? Not likely. It was impossible to do selective focus on anything that wasn’t in the middle of the frame, and I’d eventually go nuts without an optical viewfinder. Besides, I like all the piss-fartery of processing. The camera is a magic box that does all the work of painting the basic image for you – without real input into the interpretation of that basic image, I’m only half a photographer. It sure speeds things up if you skip that step though – so maybe those "straight out of the camera" purist types are onto something, if only from a productivity point of view.

Posted by mugley on 2010-06-01 07:44:06

Tagged: , urban landscape , night , long exposure , cityscape , streetscape , tram tracks , road , bitumen , asphalt , cars , traffic , light trails , streaks , red , white , headlights , tail lights , trees , street lamps , vanishing point , lines , nocturne , city , urban , latrobe st , cbd , melbourne , victoria , australia , fuji , finepix , s5500 , 4 megapixel , obsolete , dinkycam , digicam , digital , fujifilm finepix s5500 , aka s5100