Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Not the Lens


Moose Filter Test #1
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
It’s pretty common for someone to look at my work and then compliment me on the gear that I have. It use to bother me because it’s like going to someone’s house, enjoying a really good meal, and then complimenting the cook on their pots and pans. But I don’t let it get to me anymore because every time someone tells me that I have a great lens I know that their work will never compete with mine…

To be really good as a photographer you have to understand light, that it has different qualities, and how to take advantage of the light when it’s good or modify it when it’s bad. The light, more than any other aspect, will make or break an image. Given the choice between great light and an average lens or terrible light and a great lens I’ll choose the former every time –the resulting images will be infinitely better.

Granted I’d rather have great light and gear because I’ll have to do less post processing, and I think that’s what motivates some people to compliment others on their equipment.

Another important aspect of photography is knowing how to use the gear that you have, so you don’t have to rely heavily on post processing. The computer with never be able to replace data that you do not capture with the camera –it will never be that smart. So there’s a lot to be said for getting it right with the view finder and doing the majority of your post processing before you press the shutter release Take the image included with this post: I used a warming polarizing filter to get the detail you see in that dragonfly –something that isn’t possible with the filters in Photoshop…

In other news: If you've asked me for my help and I haven't gotten to you yet please be patient -I wasn't expecting the huge response that I got to my mentoring offer! I will get to you though, promise :)

9 comments:

Søren Siim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Søren Siim said...

Dalantech = Macro Yoda. The wise mentor taking on apprentices and handing out wisdom.

I've finally gotten to the point where I just smile when people compliment my camera (40D, btw) for the beautiful images it makes... Many of them has gone on to buy DSLRs of their own, only to find out that the camera can't do anything by itself and that taking great images takes a hell of a lot more than just a good camera.

Btw - This is Spook writing from his new account :)

Dalantech said...

@ Spook: Just payin' my dues -lots of people helped, and are still helping, me...

A friend of mine tried to shoot macro after seeing my gallery -he went back to portrait work... :)

squinza said...

The idea that good gear = good photos is really widespread, even in the semi-pro world.
By the way, I recently got a MP-E. Well, it is without doubt a fantastic lens. But damned hard to manage - and I've been shooting macros for quite a while now (but with a standard 150mm macro lens)!

Søren Siim said...

I saw the MPE-65 "live" today - Mounted on a 1Ds mk III. The same montre sported a 24-70L, the 16-35L, the 180L, a 5D and a 1D mk III. I seriously considered just smashing the glass and making a run for it :D

Søren Siim said...

SPAAAAAM, wonderful SPAAAAAAAM

mmm, lovely, just what we needed...

Matt Cole said...

An interesting post John. I regularly have people compliment the MPE-65 when I post images on various forums rather than to compliment anything I've done :-). I must admit it has started to annoy me slightly. This is often by very good photographers who should know better. I think it's because the MPE-65 is such an unusual lens that they feel this is acceptable. I'm sure they would be offended if I commented on their bird images with something along the lines of 'that 500mm prime gets you some great shots'!

Matt Cole

BoštjanS said...

Yea your right it's not the lens, it's the flash!! Just kidding ;)
I really have to say your one of the best macro photographers on the world and only photographer of top class that I know that's really trying to help other's to become better.

Dalantech said...

Thanks all -except for the dirty spammer :)

I had someone tell me today that the MPE-65 gets really close LOL!

John