Constantly I am out shooting, putting actuation’s on the camera that is in hand, setting lights, moving models, taping something to another. All of this without even thinking in most cases, and yet more often than not about how I could do it, should do it, or how I even used to do it. The little things in photography that every single modern day photographer takes for granted, such as 1600ISO, iTTL, Rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries, lastolite trip grip diffusers, FotoRosa shoe flash softboxes, or even Duct tape. From time to time, (time to time being very rarely) I find myself wondering how I used to do things before my D3 and SB-900’s. Before the SU-800 allowed me to control my lights outputs from where I was shooting, instead of having to move to each light to change the output in increments larger than I wanted to. Or in even some cases, doing what I know a lot of photographers now do; and that’s use High ISO instead of using lights at all.
(Ricoh KSX Super, Fuji 200 Slide Film. 50mm F1.8 Screw mount lens. Tripod of some sort.)
I shot that photo while doing a series of photos regarding Dorm life. Remember taking the shot in a bracket of 5, of which that was the one I liked. Today, this should would have been made differently. I’d have taken 20 or 30 shots, wouldn’t have bracketed but just checked the histogram on the back of the camera. Back then that 20 or 30 shots would have been a whole roll of film, or at least most of one and I’d have had no idea if I got the shot until the next day when the slide film processing came back. I was a lot more deliberate back then and cautious of my shots as I was shooting on my dime in this case. Looking at the full size scan of this image off of the 35mm slide, it wouldn’t even have been sharp enough for me to keep it today.
(Ricoh KSX Super, Fuji 200 Slide Film, 50mm F1.8 Screw Mount Lens.)
The shot above ranks itself by today’s standards as an 18 megapixel slide. It’s dark, , slightly out of focus, and anybody that looks at this would never know that the guy on the right is playing a video game of sorts. My journlaistic abilities at the time, however lacking, aren’t the point of the photos though. When I think about how far technology has come since things like this were taken, I am amazed not only at the technology but how much I learned while shooting film. To this day I maintain that you’ll learn more ruining a roll of film than shooting a thousand digital images. Just think back to the cameras that you’ve sold, broken, or just put into a box and under your bed because the trade in value was equivalent to a White Castle Crave Case. Just think about what they taught you, and how great you thought those images were back then.
I’ve bought and sold more equipment than I thought I would have ever thought would be the case by this point in my young career, but I can definitely tell you that I recognize the influence that every awesome then, crappy now photo has had on my shooting. All things are priceless bits of information as learned by mistakes made with old technology, or just lack of knowledge in general. That’s what I love about my profession that to this day my accountant still refers to as a hobby. Every day, it’s something new. Another mistake made, another lesson learned, another moment captured inching me closer to the best shot I’ve ever taken; and then the one better than that. More Soon.