Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/07/30

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Subject: RE: [Leica] techie number things (was arggghhh... )
From: "Randy Jensen" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 10:23:48 -0700

A lot of this stuff becomes automatic after a while.  I don't know who said
it first, but it's in "Bluebeard" by Kurt Vonnegut:  You need to learn
everything you can technically so that you can forget it when you make your

The times these decisions are conscious, I think, is before you anticipate
what's going to happen.

What's faster?  The guy who meters the situation, takes it all in, decides
his composition, and then is ready to capture it, or the guy with the
auto-everything camera that sits there and then pushes a shutter release
without really thiking, and worse yet:  zooms to get his composition instead
of actually moving him/herself?

More important than speed, which is likely the better photograph?

I DEFINITELY think about all these things, but not at the moment the shutter
is firing - all this has been thought about beforehand.


- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Ted Grant
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 10:02 AM
Subject: Re: [Leica] techie number things (was arggghhh... )

In answer to my:
> > Do you folks run all these techie number things through your
> > minds when you're shooting?

Doug Herr said "very well" ;-)

> Yes.  I think about whether my plane of focus is on the subject (entire
subject: head, back, feet, etc.), about whether I'm losing color saturation
from flare, I pay attention to exposure so I don't blow out highlights, I
watch the lighting conditions to get an optimum balance between light,
shadow and color, I pay attention to background color, tone, and clutter so
the critter doesn't get lost in the background, and depending on the lens
I'm using I watch for bad bokeh effects. <<<<<  SNIP!

Hi Doug,
Obviously from the excellent photographs you consistently produce and given
the subject it's mandatroy to run this.... But I'm sure you do it
automatically from experience and feeling and without individual thought

When I'm working an assignment, like you, I do the many things the same, but
I don't think about it. I might after if I've screwed - up. ;-)

But what you are saying appears to be quite different to what's going on
about a rangefinder depth of operation with which lens focus and an SLR
whatever. And as I said, I suppose photographing a non-breathing, non-moving
subject of peeling paint, rock and fern it might make a difference.

But shooting, sorry, photographing birds as you do with subjects sometimes
still for a milli-second or so, you wouldn't be thinking about the
difference a rangefinder - lens combination makes at the moment of shooting.

>>>I'm also watching shutter speeds carefully: I want the speeds fast enough
to get sharp photos with my long lenses, fast enough to elimiate most
subject blur, yet I detest bright sunlight 'cuz of the harsh shadows and I
demand slow fine-grain films 'cuz I like to make big prints.<<<

Doing Olympic sports or kids baseball, I also watch the shutter speeds for
max stopping action unless I'm doing swishy-pans, but then the shutter speed
is set at the opposite for stopped action. But those settings and concerns
are done without thought.

> I do all this stuff while the critters are dancing around in and out of
focus, in and out of light and twisting and turning, presenting me
alternately with good and crappy poses.>

Just turn your "critters" into doctors' or athletes and it's the same
technique, but without too much thought in doing it, as it's automatic in
thinking and taking action for correct exposure and focus.

> I ALWAYS keep the techie stuff in mind <<<

As do I without it being invasive of my concern for capturing a magical

I'll admit my earlier post was a tad jumpy on technical details appearing as
an overload of thought by some folks, but when I'm shooting it's so
automatic I'm just re-acting to what's happening. And I suppose some 52
years professional experience does that to one.


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