blandness

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by rowlett, May 3, 2007.

  1. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    A photo-pen pal has written, "Thou shalt never use a Light Meter" as his 2nd
    commandment of his photoreligion. He continues, "A meter is the dumbest crutch
    on earth. On a Leica it's a disgrace, like training wheels on a racing bike.
    Those who use a meter are camera operators, those who don't are photographers."
    Bold statements, I know, but he is a masterful street photographer who has sent
    me quite a lot of his work (all fiber-based, mostly 8x10, some cut/cropped from
    11x17 and sent as "post cards" through the mail). He's sparked in me a train of
    thought.

    Perhaps a better way to go with the M8 is to go so far as to remove the meter
    and have only a manual exposure mode. (That is tongue-in-cheek.)

    I wonder if I should set down the M6 and pick up a 4 for awhile and see if my
    photography becomes less bland. And ask him what his 1st Commandment is.
     
  2. "..but he is a masterful street photographer who has sent me quite a lot of his work (all fiber-based, mostly 8x10, some cut/cropped from 11x17 and sent as "post cards" through the mail)."

    I would ask him for tips on printing.
     
  3. His comment is going to receive a lot of flak so I'm staying away from this one. As for his probable 1st, I suspect he'd stick with a single prime lens with a focal length of his choice. That lens is glued permanently to the body. Multiple-lens gig would be a henious crime. And any zoom found in your bag would render you to be banished into the twilight zone.
     
  4. Might as well guess focus too.
     
  5. Well, most of the great photographs being done today are being made by camera operators
    then. Whatever dude.
     
  6. he is a masterful street photographer
    Any chance this masterful street photographer's work might be, uh.. visible?
     
  7. sounds rather pompous.
     
  8. "Might as well guess focus too."

    Lomoleica, Doug? :)

    Heck, why bother with a camera?
     
  9. He has apoint. For the first ten years of my Leica III I never used a meter. I only used Ilford XP1/2 and I knew that in sunlight I would always get an acceptable picture at f9 1/500th. Out of the sun i would use F6.3.
     
  10. Commandment #1 is: Thou shalt not use digital.
     
  11. What snooty posturing! We should use whatever tools help us achieve our seperate
    visions. If you don't need a meter to get the maximum performance from your camera,
    God Bless!

    But I often do and shoot chromes more often than not. Why bracket chromes when you
    don't have to? Why wonder about exposures? I've used a simple incident meter for half a
    century and have no reason not to, especially when one quick reading usually carries me
    through many exposures.

    To each his own.
     
  12. Let's see him do it with color transparancies!
     
  13. Sounds like your friend has a bit of a self security issue. Not only is what he said idiotic for it's boldness, it just makes no sense. A light meter has as much to do with picture quality as a clutch does with how well one drives. It's a tool to be used in the creative process. The meter simply says "here's what I see" and you have the choice to work with it or not.

    Ansel Adams used the 8x10 format AND he used a light meter. Was he simply an operator?

    Not for nothin', but your pal is a ninny.
     
  14. Thought he was using Polaroid?
     
  15. The above provokes another thought: Why do filmmakers still print exposure info on the inside of the boxes or on accompanying spec sheets? Who reads them and does anyone actually refuse the meter and use the instructions? Hmmm. Shouldn't the barcode be enough?
     
  16. This individual has passed the feistiness test and should be admitted without delay to the
    Leica area for further provocative postings. While it can be fun to guess the light--and with
    practice I can get pretty good at it--sometimes I'll get it wrong. A light meter is an excellent
    tool for judging the intensity of light and getting good exposures. Why should I, or anyone
    else, be deprived of such a useful tool?
     
  17. If this credo works for this particular photographer all the more power to him. There are
    "masterful" photographers who do use light meters on or in their Leicas. End of discussion.
     
  18. jtk

    jtk

    There aren't many "masterful street photographers."
     
  19. see if my photography becomes less bland
    Tony, they'll be as bland or unbland as they always were. You're stuck with yourself and your vision, for better or worse. All a light meter does is aid in the accuracy of exposure. The rest is voodoo.
     
  20. If you want to make life hard, why not also remove the rangefinder and cover one eye with a patch? Could also wear a loincloth made from a potato sack while shooting.

    I'm afraid that doing things the difficult way doesn't make them any better, nor does using a 50 year old camera and lens.
     
  21. This is April 1 stuff..... Can't believe it was posted one month and two days later...
     
  22. I totally agree with your pen pal Tony...though I own a good meter and rely on P all to often. I remember when I first got involved in photography...about 1969. I had saved up my money to by a then popular Agfa 120 folder that didn't have a meter. I went back to my camera salesperson to buy one a few weeks later (this back in the days when the guy behind the counter really cared about photography...something harder to find these days). He showed me the tables on the side of the box of Tri X I had and told me to go out and shoot a roll going by that table. He told me to do this every week for a couple of months...and then he told me that when I had got to the point that my exposures were all reasonable WITHOUT using a meter...then he would sell me the meter. Some of the best advice from a salesperson I ever received.
     
  23. Resonable, yes. But that's working within the exposure latitude of the film. Yes, I could eyeball color neg and get "reasonable" results. If I were aiming for "reasonable" would I shoot with a Leica?
     
  24. Reminds me of my dad. Refuses to use the dishwasher even though it saves water and time. I guess its a way of proving to yourself you are useful but if you think that way you might as well sell the car for a horse and move into a lean-to in the woods.
     
  25. Legend (and perhaps fact) has it that Eggleston at one point in his career removed the viewfinder from his Leica.

    No meter, No finder... No winder!

    It's Leica koan. Dang.
     
  26. Sounds dogmatic to me- not much different from organized religion. And pompous, as another poster pointed out.
     
  27. If you just got rid of the film as well, the whole experience would be spiritual.

    We'd see a lot fewer crappy shots too.
     
  28. I think you guys are missing the point. These people are suggesting you try and learn (you remember leaning...think of your school days) how you're film (or sensors) work... as opposed to just doing what the meter tells you to do. I run into far too many people (and some call themselves 'pros') who have no idea that pointing their meter at a heavily backlit scene (for example) isn't going to give them the exposure they desire. Or the legion of people out there who feel they can just blindly shoot and 'fix it in Photoshop' later. A blown hi-light with no information is a blown hi-light no matter how you slice it.
     
  29. That would be a reason to use the meter intelligently, not get rid of it.
     
  30. Those who use a meter are camera operators

    Let's look at his work to see if he knows what he is talking about.

    Using a meter or not,so what,what has it got to do with the photograph.
     
  31. you remember leaning...
    You mean like in that Bill Withers song, 'Lean on Me'?
     
  32. Film is a crutch. Real photographers coat and process their plates in the field. Enlargers are for people who need to fix it in the darkroom.
     
  33. Before WW2 photoelectric meters were available but expensive, and few hobbyist photographers could afford them after paying for the Foth Derby or Kodak 35 -- or whatever, but when we could occasionally afford a role of Kodachrome we learned to trust the exposure tables that came with the yellow box. Of course we wound up with many ruined frames, but bracketing was resorted to only on really important exposures. I would guess that my keeper rate was just about as good then as now.<p> Shortly after getting my M6 I loaded up and made a trip into the Alaskan outback. Sure enough, when I turned it on it didn't light up! I had left it with the speed dial set off B and the battery was down and I didn't have a spare. Klutz that I was, I had also forgotten my meter. My first thought was to abandon photography altogether and concentrate on fishing but then I remembered that first roll of Kodachrome. I will spare the details, I have a pretty good record of that wilderness jaunt, and I don't claim to have abandoned my meter and now rely entirely on the Sunny 16; but it does me a bit of good to see Tony twisting everyone's tail! (:)~[
     
  34. I love photo.net, I tried having this same discussion with my girlfriend last night and she looked at me...then looked away. I have been walking around with my Minolta light meter and metering everything and making notes. I just got a Leica M3 which does not have the metering capabilities of the Canon 1Vs i traded it for, so I thought i would try to use it without a meter, simply for the challange, to experiment and see what it does for my phtographs. They will certainly change, because i used to meter the hell out of things either will my camera or meter, now i just walk around, try ot guage and shoot. I am sure the picutres will be different, but I can't say better or worse, nor do i think such things can be said in universal statements. Different processes inspire different artists at different times. If having the structure of his commandments helps him focus, cool, and i happen to feel him on the no metering thin, right now, but that doesn't mean i am not going to sit down and carefully meter certain shots, for example i se a really nice scene that i think would really be bitchin if certain portions were exposed precisely a certain way, why the heck would i not meter it, and leave ti to post processing, especially if the thing i was phtographing wasn't running away. To me each image i see requires different things, sometimes it requires a quick from the hips snapshot, and sometimes it requires a bit of pondering and analysis. Did i mention how much i love having a place where people get so excited about statements made about photography :)
     
  35. The human eye has cells which act as a light meter and negative film has some tolerance. It's not impossible to get consistently good results without using a meter. I tried this when I was beginning and found that I could get to within a stop but not easily better than that. I recall Galen Rowell for a time didn't use the meter to judge exposure, but later he was in ads saying good things about the Nikon matrix meter so ... go figure.

    I doubt not using a meter is helpful for improving how your pictures look.
     
  36. After seeing all the possibilities, i suggest a one shot solution:

    Polaroid.
     
  37. >.. the legion of people out there who feel they can just blindly shoot and 'fix it in Photoshop' later.

    Oh yeah, them. Really, who are these legions of people and why haven't they been punished? No doubt members of the Bush Whitehouse. They're certainly a bunch of operators, no?

    Ignoring the master street shooter's style of communication for a moment, his "advice" does make some sense within a street shooting scenario. With a manual camera, if one is practiced in setting the exposure by experience, they can potentially adjust to changing conditions more rapidly than stopping and taking a reading. And some people meter once on their hand or other arbitrary grey card stand-in, do it once and adjust from there.

    Of course, the "commandments" bit is dumb and guaranteed to put everyone off, but the similarly offputing(is this a word?) original 10 commandments often trace back to simple practical advice. And if I could remember any of them, I'd give an example. Stuff like don't marry your wife's brother.

    I know the puritans never used meters. But they were pure. I like my on-camera center, spot, and multi segment AE, so much.. it's sinful. If it screws up, I've always got photoshop. Especially if I shoot RAW.
     
  38. Tony, you're a genius! You've sparked some good ol' feistiness, and you've done so without posting under a pseudonym.

    How about a new Leica forum category for threads like this? You could call it, "I Have A Friend Who..."? :)

    On a more serious note: I suppose any good principle (such as learning to read light and get a feel for exposure) can be translated into rigid dogma ("Thou shalt never use a Light Meter"). I've learned a ton using a handheld incident meter with both digital and film.
     
  39. jtk

    jtk

    Ilkka, I recall Galen Rowell using a P&S Minox and before that I recall him using a Pentax slide duplicating gizmo (like Bowens Illumitran) to do crazy Photoshop multi-layer stuff long before Photoshop. Galen was seriously into play. He wasn't a one trick pony.

    He reportedly built the best rebuilt engines in Berkeley. He advocated $10 Kaymart running shoes for advances to K2. I think we should remember him as HERO OF BIG FUN, but I don't know if he'd agree :)
     
  40. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Hard bunch. Let me continue. He went on to say, "HCB never used [a light meter] 'cause the decisive moment doesn't last long enough."

    Bob Atkins, it's not a matter of trying to make life hard, it's a matter of being intuitive. Tiger Woods smacks that little ball and it goes in, sometimes from extremely long distances. He doesn't need an electronic survey instrument with LCD readouts of terrain elevations, length of the blades of grass, any possible wooden-twig obstructions. It is the shortening of the distance between the brain and the muscle movements of your shutter finger. He's not making life hard by not using instruments. I think the same is true with what my pal is saying. I think we put too much technology in between our brain and our shutter finger, and it leads to so many "perfect" pictures that they are all bland.

    Guess what? Next year all the "techno-cameras" will sport even MORE functions to ensure you get that "perfect" picture. I've got thousands of perfect pictures, each one so perfectly exposed that they're boring.
     
  41. No, I think it's doing things the hard way. Exposure is just one more thing to have to think about.

    If a camera is a tool to capture the vision of the photographer, then the more it distracts him/her, the less usueful it is.

    While HCB maybe never used a meter, he was shooting B&W with a lot of latitude. If he's been shooting slides, much of his work could have been unusable.

    A camera should take the technical burden off the photographer and allow him/her to fully concentrate on the creative part. It should be transparent to the process of image creation.

    If a photographer is shooting dull and boring images, I very much doubt that it's the automation of the camera which is responsible.
     
  42. I never use a meter simply because it slows me down. It's not that hard to judge correct exposures after doing it for thirty years. I suppose if I had a camera with a built-in meter I would use it, but I don't like having to stop and meter before shooting. I don't think it's a "disgrace" to use a meter, but its certainly not a necessity.
     
  43. "Guess what? Next year all the "techno-cameras" will sport even MORE functions to ensure you get that "perfect" picture. I've got thousands of perfect pictures, each one so perfectly exposed that they're boring."

    If it is that easy to recognize/eliminate one technical aspect of photography (exposure) then I would move on to other aspects?
     
  44. Issues, issues . . . firstly I doubt if many of anyone's 'boring' photos would be improved by being badly exposed - the exceptions probably amount to 3 percent.<p>Second, don't you just love it when someone is so dogmatic (and tunnel-visioned) that they imagine that everyone else must work exactly as they do. I think there are as many ways of taking photographs as there are people with cameras - look at all your heroes, are their photographs the same? Nah.<p>Sorry Tony but while there is something in what your friend says, vis-a-vis understanding your medium, what he has said sounds like ***** to me, even if his name is Edmo!
     
  45. "I think we put too much technology in between our brain and our shutter finger, and it leads to so many "perfect" pictures that they are all bland."
    I think I understand this Tony. I'm not against perfect pictures but I want them to be my idea of perfect, not the safe perfection programmed into the camera by a corporate committee.
    In my Tri-X days I learned to eyeball exposure within a stop outdoors and in many indoor situations but I was relying on the film's inherent latitude and I wasn't too concerned about losing highlight or shadow detail but over the last 40 years I've become more critical of my work. Along with subject and composition and lighting I've tried to improve my technique, which includes preserving as much highlight and shadow detail as I can, where appropriate... this means getting a lot closer to accurate exposure than plus or minus one stop.
    I suspect your pen-pal is in rebellion against those who are slaves to technology, but I see his position as being a slave to anti-technology. I'll bet he's limiting his photographic potential more than he's willing to admit.
     
  46. listen guys the truth is if i took that Eos 1 series camera or the nikons with matrix metering and just shot it from the hip using it like a lieca, prefocusing the same way, i would never have even had to think about metering, so Mr. Atkins brings up a good point, why disregard what is really a marvelous technological advance in photography that CAN not MUST be used by a photographer. it seems this would be a great benefit to most street shooting situations. If a camera doesn't have a meter, and it makes you look at light and thus you improve your photography, then that is an artist's conscious development, or at least attempt in my case, But I'll be damned if i am going to go out there with expensive large format or even medium format film, or slides.
     
  47. >I'm not against perfect pictures but I want them to be my idea of perfect, not the safe perfection programmed into the camera by a corporate committee.

    Please give an example of "safe perfection programmed into the camera by a corporate committee". Even if you have a complete p&s, say an Oly Stylus Epic, and you understand the program, you can make it do nearly anything you want.

    Smart devices, only dictate to those who don't understand how to control them. It's no different than a manual mechanical camera, you still need to understand the interface.

    The irony to me is that many luddite arguments complain that the automation doesn't do what the user wants it to .. automatically. And that if there is something you need to learn, if you need to understand the characteristics of the device, how it will react, how it "thinks" if you will, then it is the device that has somehow failed, and not the user. So they run back to what they're most familiar with.
     
  48. jtk

    jtk

    The drawback to smart devices in general is that their goal is to tempt us away from using our heads. They create passivity. They're used for "captures" rather than making photographs.

    When we surrender to them we become couch potatoes, taking in rather than putting out. Children read less than they did formerly because they can be mini-adults, just sitting in front of TV and growing fat. The difference between non-literate Junior and Papa is primarily the matter of beer. If you've met the woman in their house, you realize the difference has nothing to do with eros. Therefore, film is dead :) :) :)
     
  49. <Before WW2 photoelectric meters were available but expensive, and few hobbyist
    photographers could afford them ... when we could occasionally afford a role of
    Kodachrome we learned to trust the exposure tables that came with the yellow box....>

    First Yorkshire photographer: "If we'd 'ad a single selenium cell we'd 'ave counted
    ourselves lucky! 'Eck, some of us were so poor we couldn't afford film. We 'ad to make do
    with t' yellow box."

    Second Yorkshire photographer: "You were lucky to 'ave yellow box! We couldn't even
    afford daylight. We lived in paper bag in middle of t' road and were only allowed out for
    'alf an hour a day...."
     
  50. I don't mind being called a "camera operator".......I've been called a lot worse! :) Wasn't it a photographer who once said, "The Ends Justify The Means".
     
  51. "I suspect your pen-pal is in rebellion against those who are slaves to technology, but I see his position as being a slave to anti-technology. I'll bet he's limiting his photographic potential more than he's willing to admit."

    I like that first part of the first sentence. The second, I am not so sure about. There are also disingenuous bunch who claim something and do something else.

    If he/she was really genuinely serious, she/he wouldn't be bothering with a Leica or a rangefinder.
     
  52. "A photo-pen pal has written, "Thou shalt never use a Light Meter" "

    He must be a pal if you're nice enough not to name him.
     
  53. "If you want to make life hard, why not also remove the rangefinder and cover one eye with a patch? Could also wear a loincloth made from a potato sack while shooting.

    I'm afraid that doing things the difficult way doesn't make them any better, nor does using a 50 year old camera and lens."

    Spot on.
     
  54. I tried Rogaine, but it was so unnatural so then I decided I would go back to the roots, literally and i applied the root of rubarb to my scalp three times a day. However I soon developed second degree burns on my...Wait it says blandness not baldness, my bad.
     
  55. Bob Atkins "No, I think it's doing things the hard way. Exposure is just one more thing to have to think about"...right Bob...and there go all those (just for example) fantastic sunset shots where someone had to THINK about exposure compensation. As well we'd sure have a lot crummy grey snowscapes if someone didn't THINK to over-ride the meter.
     
  56. Again, I don't think Tony, or his friend, or my salesperson way back when was saying not use a meter...they are saying to learn enough to know when not to trust your meter. But of course we all know technology is infallibe!!
     
  57. not the safe perfection programmed into the camera by a corporate committee.

    So true. I've never used which had more sense than a robot. You just have to try to work out how far they are off the mark in any given situation.

    Serious pain in the arse stuff with any new bells and whistle auto.
     
  58. I'm a bit late on this but...

    I agree about meterless photography but not that such makes a true photographer.

    Using older non-metered cameras of whatever brand I tend to guess based on years of experience. It is faster. Sometimes it's a challenge to guess and then check the guess with a meter.

    I think it is a good idea to try to learn basic exposure combinations.

    Ansel Adams used a meter to the extreme, but Brett Weston said that he rarely used a meter. They are both great photoraphers.
     
  59. "Ansel Adams used a meter to the extreme, but Brett Weston said that he rarely used a meter. They are both great photo[g]raphers."

    Right, Todd. The secret, as it turns out, was in the prints. Both printed on *fiber*! :)
     
  60. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Good thoughts, all. OK, let me try to qualify a little bit my pal's orientation towards photography. First, he's an old timer who is uncomfortable with things like the internet, the web, scanning, even resin coated papers! I think it could follow that if this guy started shooting with an M2/3 back in the mid 50's, a light meter might, to him, be "just an extra gadget that you don't need." Second, he shoots only with black and white. Thirdly, and maybe most important, he is a street photographer (and I believe a very good one). He may be anti-tech, but I really admire his connection to his equipment nearly to the extent that he doesn't even notice that he's using the equipment. Focus, f/stop, shutter speed, composition. These all seem to me as things that are automatic in his brain. He may quickly notice a scene and promptly forget that he just snapped it (until he has to advance the film).
    I think with other types of photography, these things don't hold so true. Obviously, if you are a slide shooter, a meter is indispensable. I think we're talking about a pretty narrow field here.
     
  61. The subject wasn't sunsets and snow, it was street photography. The moment is everything - ISO 400, f8, and rat cunning, as Tony Dummett used to say.
    00L0tO-36343784.jpg
     
  62. Tony - If your photos are not pleasing to you, then you should try new things.

    At this point, my own instinct would be to consider modifying *where* you're taking photos and *what* you're photographing, rather than how you're metering the shots.

    But you never know. Depending upon your assessment of the blandness and its causes, the new meterless approach may be worth a shot ?
     
  63. m_.

    m_.

    i love all these writing theories about how you should take pictures...

    but then every time when i finish reading the notes, the sun goes down and i am left, all alone, in the dark, with nothing in the view of my lens.

    so the next day, i start over.

    or i could just take the damn picture...
     
  64. Well I suppose I might as well confess, I do use a meter sometims, and remember the Bewi Extinction gadget that was the wonder of my high school photog club! Sure, I also use accessory finders once in a while, but it does make my navel wobble when someone claims he can't take a decent picture unless he has the proper frameline in his finder! Hell, if the scene demands a wider angle just slap on the old Skopar 25 (or whatever you remembered to put in your pocket) and fire away -- who has time to hunt around in the bag for that damned finder even if he has enough green to buy one?!
     
  65. Mr. Root, that is great. Tony, photography is great because there are so many different photographers with different philosophies, i wouldn't want every photographer to feel the same way about cameras and photography that would be boring. Just like it holds for people. If everyone took photography ultraseriously we wouldn't have quirky yet equally compelling photos like the one posted by our Mr. Root. And if we had no serious photographers who create their own...well commandments, we wouldn't have photography at all. The key is recognizing that one is vital for the existence of the other. Ars Photographica a la Alok.
     
  66. Your buddy has echoed my thoughts exactly. Which is why is shoot with M3 & M4. I have acquired an M8, OTH, and basically agree with your premise of shooting it without a meter. It wouldn't bother me in the least. However, I do find that low light photography with the M8 takes on another life as it were due to the availability of high ISO's. As I have always disliked shooting anything higher than 400 speed film, having high ISO's at my fingertips does tend to invoke the meter crutch.
     
  67. This forum seems to be wasting away. Close to dead. Irrelevant, meaningless, and misinformed.
     
  68. I must admit I get a bit annoyed with posts that are full of "thou shalts" or "thou shalt not" Who cares. Do what works for you. Thats one of the joys of photography - few rules.

    Although I must admit one thing using an M4P (no built in meter) and a hand held meter did teach me - you do not need to tweak the exposure setting when using negative film as much as most people think. Its all well and good to have say a Nikon with matrix metering that digitally compares the pattern result with thousands of exposures to assess correct auto exxposure, but I use a hand held meter to make sure I have a basic idea of correct exposure, then if I am in full sun and walk into shade I open up by a stop or so and then close down a stop or so again when I walk back into bright light. Thats it. Works 99% of the time.

    But as for grumbling about other people's metering practices, maybe your pal should get a life.
     
  69. When I was young and poor and could not afford a light meter I had to guess the exposure and pretty soon got pretty good at it. It takes a certain amount of practice that's all. There is nothing genius about remembering a bright incandescent lit room to be 1/60, f/2.8 iso400 as a starting point.
    By the way I too cut up my reject 11x14 fiber prints into post card sizes and mail them to my friends. And I thought I had a patent on that.
     
  70. "Ansel Adams used a meter to the extreme"
    Maybe, but famously not for Moonrise, Hernandez, NM. Ansel USED a meter, but he didn't use it as a crutch, or as a substitute for understanding and seeing light.
    Tools are just that. Without the eye, they're nothing. Assisting the eye - sure, why not?
     
  71. Heh heh, I know who he is...
     
  72. Hubris (hy&#333;&#333;'br&#301;s) - excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.
     
  73. Let me continue. He went on to say, "HCB never used [a light meter] 'cause the decisive moment doesn't last long enough."
    What kind of dumbass waits until he sees a "decisive moment" to do his metering? You're supposed to adjust the camera to the lighting conditions as they change. Geeez, if he doesn't know how to use a meter, he's better off without one . . . ; )
     
  74. Here ya go Tony - the camera for you - no meter, and you focus by guestimate...works for me.
    [​IMG]
     
  75. gib

    gib

    given the instruction of this original post there is only one possible response:

    abandon photography and just look
     
  76. Campari works for me, too. Helps produce that "Leica glow".
     
  77. Reminds me of an old joke:

    Two keen photographers walking along a street when they chance upon a beggar laying in the gutter. One photographer keeps walking, while the other stops. A few minutes later he catches up with the photographer who kept walking, who asks him: "What did you give the beggar?" "Oh" says the first photographer, " A 125th at F8."
     
  78. I think we put too much technology in between our brain and our shutter finger, and it leads to so many "perfect" pictures that they are all bland.
    There are plenty of bland pictures, but I don't think that metering is the problem. It's more to do with what the camera is pointed at. All a meter will do is give a good exposure of a bland picture. So since when is it the meter's fault? Abandoning the meter won't help much. Bland pictures will continue to be bland. There's just a risk they'll be incorrectly exposed too.
    I think there's a lot of value in people striving for more authentic, significant pictures. But suggesting this can be realised better without a meter is unconvincing. Far better to educate the eye by reading photo books more widely ....
     
  79. Can't you post even one example of this master's work, Tony? It's hard for everyone to take lessons from an unknown.
     
  80. If you work enough of the same film thru the same equipment in the same place for long
    enough, you eventually pick up on the light and your camera settings. When I lived in
    southern California I found with 400 speed b/w film in an m6ttl with a red 25 filter on
    whatever lens I was using, I'd pretty much get a 60th at f11 nearly all day all year round.
    I'm pretty sure the reason that Brett weston didn't use a light meter was because he
    simply didn't need one- he made thousands and thousands of photographs over the
    course of his life, and also started photographing in quite a serious way when he was
    twelve years old. A light meter's no more of a crutch to artistic expression than a camera
    or a lens. I'd say Tonys friend has his tongue firmly in his cheek- any commandments
    handed out since after the first ten are usually jokey ones,right? Anyway, a meter's not the
    dumbest crutch on earth, photography is....
     
  81. Ray ., May 03, 2007; 09:29 p.m.
    This forum seems to be wasting away. Close to dead. Irrelevant, meaningless, and misinformed.

    Time for another round of self portrait threads?
     
  82. Hmmm, Campari and an Alpa . . . that's a highly civilized combination. Is it too early to start drinking?
     
  83. Is it too early to start drinking?
    I hope not. I just finished finished off a bottle of soju. Remember, it's always happy hour somewhere in the world.
    [​IMG]
    sunny 16 does not apply
     
  84. <While HCB maybe never used a meter, he was shooting B&W with a lot of latitude. If he's been shooting slides, much of his work could have been unusable.>

    I knew his "master Printer", georges fevres, well. GF told me that HCB's negatives were universally terrible.

    So much for the photo gods being any different than most of us....
     
  85. I NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER us a light meter with my pinhole camera. :]

    With my F2's...that's another story.
     
  86. Mr. Metaphor, I may be betraying my ignorance, but I had no idea that HCB or other great photographers did not print their own pictures. Did you learn why, was it simply becasue HCB didn't like the darkroom, or did he prefer someone with more skill in the darkroom do it?

    Regarding a comment about the "irrelevance" or whatever of this forum, posted earlier. Not everything posted has to be of the utmost importance or most insightful and profound statement on photography in order to be worthwhile. I get something out of just chit chatting with other people who care as much about photography as me, and I am sure others do as well.
     
  87. << ... Not everything posted has to be of the utmost importance or most insightful and profound statement on photography ... >>

    Oh, yes, it does.

    Otherwise Ray reminds us we're "losing it." :)
     
  88. Alok-

    No need for apology for "ignorance." Hadnt i known any better, I'd assume the same as you. Yeah, its very common, probably the norm, certainly at Magnum or Agency VU to have your photos developed and printed by a printer.The really good photographers will develop a relationship with a specific printer - In HCB's case, at least since the early 60's, his work was done by Picto in Paris and their head printer, georges fevres, did it all personally.George died his past Feb, but almost to the end he printed for HCB (until his death), koudelka and at points for about everybody who was anybody in Magnum.

    Georges' skills were INCREDIBLE. He could make anybody look like an artist.
     
  89. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Posting this man's work on the web is out of the question, but if/when he gets his own site up (I think he's in the process of it now), I'll be glad to post a link to it. I agree that it is difficult to judge a person's opinion if his presence or work is nowhere to be seen.

    Brad, yep. :) Every few weeks or so I get another jewel in my postal mail box. Intermixed with bills and junk mail, it is really a joy.

    Oh, and Peter, to heck with the camera... I'll have a Compari and Soda, please, with a twist of orange peel or lime.
     
  90. I go to a specialty meat market where they kill the animal with bow and arrow. It's vastly
    superior, more nutritious, and tastes much better than conventional slaughter. Chewing
    meat any other way is just for mindless meat munchers. They sell fish too.. which has been
    speared of course.
     
  91. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    It is better to light a fine cigar with a wooden match than a butane lighter.
     
  92. "A meter is the dumbest crutch on earth" Well, there's really nothing dumber than a camera. Why not just ... remember ..? Or - Take out the battery to kill the light meter Rip out the film Dismantle the lens Recycle the glass And the metals Then start again With a pencil and paper.
    00L1TR-36358984.jpg
     
  93. Yeah, Kevin? Why do you bother with pencils of different hardness?

    Should you be sharpening them? Pick a piece of charcoal and sketch away! :)
     
  94. Kevin,

    The meter is in your mind.

    Very nice drawing! HCB was very much into that as well. I love to sketch.
     
  95. Kevin, it looks like f8 @1/250 to me. If you use an orange 2H it will give you better cloud rendition. Oh, sorry, good sketch:)
     
  96. I had bypass a few years ago, I'd sure have run like hell if my doc had boasted of operating without hooking his patients up to monitors and MRI's!
     
  97. Somewhere in the dim recesses of my unreliable memory, I recall an interview with HCB where the interviewer challenged HCB to provide the exposure settings for several situations which were then measured via light meter. I seem to recall that HCB's guestimates were always within 1/3 f-stop of the meter.
     
  98. a agree with you friend, Tony, but it is a take it or leave it proposition.

    Not using a meter forces me to confront the light and the impact I want to create with the final image. It only worked for me when I was developing and printing my own film because it is all part of the process and feedback.

    Not wearing a watch is a bit of a parallel. You find you can get along without it after a while.

    I would not extend this further to decaffeinated coffee, which is a crime against nature.
     
  99. I have not read all of the answers to this thread, but I throw in my two cents anyway.

    As an exercise to improve the way I see light, I have put Fuji Provia 100 in my Dad's old M3 with the Rigid Summicron 50 and shot without a meter. The camera and lens were CLAed by Sherry. The M3 now has spiffy black lizard CameraLeather replacing the flaking Vulcanite. Oh, the tactile joy. Oh the wonder of the chrome and lizard.

    I walk about and shoot using the sunny f/16 rule and the derivatives. The exercise helps me to slow down and think about shot selection, framing, point of focus and the quality and intensity of the light. I will not profess that all shots are perfectly exposed but many are. The wonder of all wonders is that, in sunlight, my hand held incident meter reads f/16 at 1/100 sec when set to ISO 100.

    My meterless exercise helps me make better images with my Canon EOS 20D and L glass.

    Use of a meter (or autoexposure) or not is not mutually exclusive.

    There is a time for everything under the Heavens.
     
  100. I don't know, I sure have liked my pictures better since I (mostly) stopped using a meter. My Nikon F, my Rollei TLR and now my M3 are meter-less, and though I carry a Minolta Autometer IV everyshere, I hardly EVER use it. Makes photography more fun for me. After all, I'm the only one I have to please.
    VS
     
  101. I'd like to see the pile of photos he rejected because the exposure was off!
     

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