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The Problem of Speed


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With a camera as small, quiet, and quick as a Leica--and factoring

in the low cost of 35mm film--I find myself shooting without

thinking. I just see something, grab it, and go on. This has good

and bad effects; I'm trying to decide if the good outweighs the

bad. When you don't think, you let the creative, instinctual part

of your mind take over. You also unleash foolish impulsiveness.

The result is some good frames mixed in with a lot of bad ones.


Here's what I'm thinking. Maybe every Leica shooter should take a

break from 35mm and shoot for a time in MF or even LF, working

slowly and thougtfully. Perhaps that will train your instincts,

allowing a higher ratio of good shots when you go back to Leica.

After all, the piano improvisations of someone who is a skilled

pianist will be superior to the improvisations of someone who hasn't

studied at all. Or do you disagree?

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Having shot with MF I know where you are coming from. Yet there is something to be said about shooting lots of film. We see that effect with digital. How many posts have we seen from people (non-pros) that have done 10,000 images in the first year?


I guess it depends on ones point of view of what the art of photography is all about. For some it is the time to get the right image with a single shot (the Ansel Adams school of thought); or the idea that you take lots of images so that that one image will pop at you (the Winograd school of thought).


One can accomplish the same thing by moving to 12 or 24 exposure film for the Leica. or with dedication one can do the same thing with a 36 exposure roll.


Cameras are tools. As such MF and LF are suited towards a different style of photography. 35mm and Leica in particular are suited towards a different style. With the advent of 35mm you don't see MF or LF being used for street photography. Street photography IMO requires the ability to take a number of pictures to obtain that winning image. can LF be used for street work? Yes, but the success rate will be lower.

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The one major photography school in our area has a two year course in which students are not given 35mm till the 2nd year. First they start with 4X5, then graduate half way through the first year to MF. I completey agree with the concept. Learn the basics of composition, exposure and processing, till it's 2nd nature. Then when you go out and 'machine gun' with 35mm the above (excepting processing) will naturally fall into place. I see nothing wrong with lots of frames to guarantee an expression, or to capture the 'decisive moment'. But too often I do see people who haven't grasped composition and the like taking hundreds of frames, all to no avail.
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aside from the camera, can you teach someone how to see and feel..?

that seems to be what lacks in most photographs, whether they be 35, mf or lf....



maybe concentrating on looking and feeling rather than trying to 'succeed' at photography will enhance life all that much more...

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Robert et al,


if you think Leica shooting is fast you should try walking around with a DSLR for a while...


Or get a M3, alt. take out your batteries if you use a MP or M6, use a hand meter. That will slow things down, force you to think before you shoot, and perhaps be more creative in terms of using shutter/aperture settings to accomplish the photos you "see" in your mind.



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<<When you don't think, you let the creative, instinctual part of your mind take over.>>


Bullsh*t. Creativity involves vision and purposeful effort to realize it through the chosen media.



<<You also unleash foolish impulsiveness. The result is some good frames mixed in with a lot of bad ones.>>


That's called luck.



If you lack the necessary self-discipline to modify your photographic behavior without switching to MF or LF, then I guess that's what you should do. Some people need nicotine patches and gum, while others just plain up and quit.

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Oh, Patrick,


I do use an M3, actually, but with an MR meter on it. And you are right: using it w/o the onboard meter and relying on a handheld meter does slow the process down. What I'm not so certain about is whether that slowing down is necessarily good. Sometimes if you think about a shot, the "decisive moment" gets away.

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I disagree. While this is a photo forum; the most informative threads have been those that don't deal with gears and glass. This thread started as one of those. But because of an axe to grind, it has taken a bad turn. Then there are threads like "Leni Riefenstahl, R.I.P." that is thought provoking and on target to photography.


I fully support you as it stands with this thread. Other threads like the one I mentioned above, one can opt out when they see the warning signs. In this thread there was no reason for it to degrade to this point. As much as I wish for less involvement from moderators, I do wish the offending posts were deleted.

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HEY guys/girls there is a FULL moon, BTW we had 4 semi's roll over in the boston area this morning, one FULL of liquid Methane, they closed the intersection of 128 (aka 95) and 93.


Now back to the topic, when taking pictures of kids trying to get the right pose and expression is hopeless for me, for Marc he seems to do it effortlessly, for me nothing beats a canon 10d just blasting away.


As for something that requires some thought any camera will do, you just need to have some time and insight.



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Hey Gerry, we had two separate accidents on the George Washington Parkway this morning that tied up rush hour traffic till after 10AM. And a recent study says that there is no correlation between the full moon and any other day, right....


Just as there is no correlation between what I felt on September 11, 2001 and the reality of that day. It still bothers me when the weather is clear and crisp. I still remember pulling into the parking lot at about 8:45 and having a strange sensation that caused me to pause a moment. My life, and the lifes of many others will never be the same....

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I too know where Bob is coming from. I just got back my negs from

San Francisco I after eliminating the ones I did not want printed I

see that I am about to O.D. on fastest-gun-in-the-west shooting

techniques. Bob's idea of swtiching formats is not a bad one.


Tom Abrahamsson once said to me that Gary Winogradt suffered from too

much radomness toward the end of his life. This Leica disease

affects even the greatest among us.


I might take the Hexar RF out of storage and shoot with it. I

stopped using it regularly because of the slow shutter release. Now

it might be cure. Got to pre-plan.

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"maybe concentrating on looking and feeling rather than trying to 'succeed' at photography will enhance life all that much more..."


Second time i agree with Grant, i wont do that again, promise ;)


I have abandoned any thought when shooting, no more technical hesitation, just me and what i see. I did do so because i was allready busy with technical issues belonging in the processing fase and NOT in the creating fase. Fumbling with technical issues messed up my photography very badly, it could be i have evolved to a level i need not worry about the processing anymore though..... My choise for basic manual film equipment is because i can work fast and without disrupting my concentration when shooting....


If you think your burning too much film, you might try enjoying yourself with only one film for a day. I only burn too much film when im testing gear, you bought something new?


And BTW, photography -as such- only needs a greedy eye and something to store the image, no more no less.



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Manu: "Technique isn't that important, if one should learn all techniques that exist, he would have no time to take pictures anymore!"


DOP John Seale (who shot Dead Poets Society) said to learn all the rules, then break them and start making movies.


I think you might be right by saying that learning to see and feel is more important than learning technique. However, I'll only truly believe you if this is the reason why your photographs are so spiritual. ;-)

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I find that the fast handling of the M6 forces me to shoot multiple frames on a given

subject. That's because the M6 viefinder is a lot more "confusing" than the

groundglass of my 6x9 Technikardan. But I love the idea of making mistakes:

photography is my profession and I have to deliver 100% correct images used for

catalogues and advertising in general. With rare exceptions, the M6 is the camera I

use for myself and nobody will ever judge those images except myself.


BUT, to prove the exception, I recently did some shooting of a shopping cart for a

small ad campaign. Well, that was done with the M6 and it took me 15 frames to

actually respect the layout I was given by the agency. FYI in have enclosed the picture,

which I hope you enjoy.<div>005yyv-14434584.jpg.2e187fe5669364dc36f20ce15d1dd6aa.jpg</div>

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