I write a lot on these pages about the quality increase that exists with today’s cameras and software programs, over those of just five years ago. Better, more powerful images due to bigger technical horizons is a good thing. There have always been those photographers who when their image quality moves up due to new technology, are insistent on convincing the rest of us that it has nothing to do with the equipment. It’s the photographer not the camera that makes the picture, they say. My reply is usually to ask if they can make a photograph without a camera? My point is always, that it takes both, great photographers and at least current and very good equipment to make noticeably compelling pictures. The photographer will indeed always be the difference among those with equal, or at least near equal equipment.
The pictures below were made in 2008 on a minus 9 degree day, with a 6 mega pixel camera and a manual focus lens. The lens quality was excellent but that’s about it. I used an ISO speed of 400, and that left me with noticeable noise. That’s right, only 400! I am not whining, this is just an illustration of changing technology and what it means to photographers. The truth is in that era, from 2008 when they were made, until about 2011, many of the images I made that day were welcomed and successful. Today most of them are really only usable as an illustration of my point. Part of that has to do with computer monitor quality and how it has advanced. In other words, we are “seeing” things differently because of advances in monitor technology. Photography and everything connected to it, is a profession, a part-time job, or a hobby, that is driven by technology. It is always difficult for me, to view the work now of some of the world’s greatest photographers from yesterday, and find it inferior to Joe Shmoe, who just took up photography six months ago. Photographers who choose to earn their entire living from photography, not just supplemental income, cannot not merely stock up on great equipment, figuring to replace only what breaks or wears out. You will need to create enough income, to move on to better technology as it arrives, and it will. Having another job, or having a spouse who has a job, is the best way to keep up. If you are privileged to be in those circumstances, you are blessed.
Technology not withstanding, days like the one pictured above will always live in my memory. Equipment has nothing to do with our experiences or our memories.
The next image you see, was made in 2011 with a 16 mega pixel camera. I used the same high quality, but manual focus lens. Now it is true, that this bird is a little closer, is moving slower, and is under front lighting conditions, but the quality differences are noticeable even on several more distant fast action pictures that I made that day, even though I missed the focus on most of them. Today, more breathtaking quality is easily attainable with higher mega pixel, better resolution cameras than was possible with this one. Sharpening quality with software, is also much better today.
Images of star trails, lightning strikes and lunar occurrences are becoming common place. Do not misunderstand what I say, I love these forms of low light image making. I did far too little of that in my day, and I wish I would have. One reason for the commonality of these sorts of images today is that every picture made is placed on the internet where everyone can view and learn from them. Another reason is we have all the astrological info we need right at our fingertips. In most cases, on our phones, wherever we may be.
Below we have star trails, the moon with the land, and a cityscape with lightning.
Mitchell Krog is a superb photographer of landscapes. Wildlife, details and abstracts. This picture of lightning strikes over Pretoria, South Africa shows another one of his talents, weather/art.
Wow!! The wealth of spectacular images today is amazing! The combination of great equipment, extraordinary photographer/artists, and the world-wide web turns yesterday’s work into trivia. Go out and take advantage of those opportunities.
God Bless, Wayne