Thanks for the thoughts, I appreciate hearing them. I do want to clarify and partially defend myself as a photographer haha, I'm totally with you as far as planning a shot goes and I do this as well. I certainly don't take the machine gun approach and spray and pray, it almost seems like cheating in some instances and unnecessary in most. But like others on here if I find an animal and I'm don't get the exact image I envisioned I can easily take 30-50 photos of the same subject, this especially becomes apparent with non-cooperative wildlife, however I will sometimes have what I consider an incredible find and be content after just a few photos if I get the image I wanted quickly.
Electrons are cheap and it seems silly not to take advantage of one of the biggest improvements going from film to digital. Most of us only end up displaying less than 10% (probably less than 1%) of the images we capture. This sort of parsimony would have been unreasonably expensive in film days, but it's par for the course now and is one (big) reason why I think the average technical quality of wildlife images has improved so much in the last 20 years.
Agreed, the ability to change the ISO and whatnot plays a huge role. Back in the day I always shot 400 sensitivity film which also wasn't ideal for all situations. And I felt bad wasting film just practicing and honing my skills, my parents fostered my hobby and paid for developing fees when I was young (maybe like age 8-14, before going digital) but I still remember getting chewed out for wasting a whole roll of film on seagulls, now there's no reason not to!
Like many or most of you, he takes multiple shots of almost everything he sees, making adjustments in composition, lighting and settings as he goes along. If it's a really interesting subject, one that is posing well and is not frequently encountered, he may take over a hundred shots. And it all seems to happen quite naturally. He's not aiming for any particular number of shots. He's not even worried about not getting "the right shot." He mostly enjoys the process of taking pictures so much, he sees no reason to stop. And there isn't, at least not for him. In his mind, he's not missing anything. To the contrary, he's fully experiencing the animal (or whatever) through the lens. The camera is not a distraction, but an attraction to him.
That's the right attitude, enjoying the process itself. Sometimes I get too hung up on the results and frustrated if I can't get the "right" shot. I immensely enjoy the photography process itself but I need that gratification at the end!
Due in large part to his age, he's less than enthusiastic about deleting stuff, which can create a hard drive space problem in the long run. But he's getting better in this regard, and is even independently managing his own Flickr album now.
I have some news for you, it doesn't get better (or atleast not quickly)
. I'm 23 and I still not enthusiastic about deleting photos unless they're obviously bad. This is reinforced by the fact that at times I initially thought a photo was a "failure" due to it not turning out as planned but when I go back sometimes months later. I'll see it in a new light and actually grow to like it, I have a few photos I initially dismissed that I am quite fond of now.
In the old film days, Nicholas simply would not have been able to progress as fast as he has, nor would he have enjoyed photography as much. Chances are, he would not have gotten started until he was much older. Maybe too old (like me )
Agreed, one huge benefit of digital is that is allows a bigger room for error as you're not paying for your mistakes. It certainly makes photography more accessible for the masses. One of the reasons why many professional photographers are struggling right now, you don't have to invest as much time or money into becoming skilled so many more people can do it.
I tried something as a 'personal challenge', right along the lines of your query...
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =6&t=15254
I invited others to take the challenge, but to my knowledge, no one has. I found (think) that being able to only take ONE Shot... makes you pay a lot more attention to stuff beforehand... and can/should ultimately increase your learning curve exponentially...
I remember seeing that, I do like the idea/theory behind it but I don't like restricting myself to just one shot. It does force you to wait for that one special moment and really think about your photos but with wildlife photography its not as practical, you can really set everything up perfectly and plan out all the tech specs but then the animal blinks or turns away at the crucial moment and your 1 shot is ruined. It makes sure you don't just take photos to take photos but out in the field we often run across more than 1 "special" moment in a day. I am also inclined to disagree that taking 1 photo a day can exponentially expediate the learning process, I agree that putting alot of thought into the settings and trying to get that perfect shot on the first try will expedite the process but the best part of digital is you can look at the image right away and figure out how to correct the mistake. The instant results give us a chance to reflect on our mistakes instantly, whereas with film there's a fair chance I wouldn't remember what settings I was shooting with when I see the image a week later.
A while (years) ago, a Nat Geo photographer did that. He spent 90 days or something like that out in the border water canoe area in Minnesota and restricted himself to just one photo a day. I really enjoyed the article and photos he got but at the same time I have to wonder how many opportunities he missed.
I'm not out there to shoot in a "spray and pray" mode and hope for the best. Most of the time if get one shot I really like depending on what and how I wanted to shoot it out of 100's, I'm stoked. That one shot was the result of planning, familiarity of my equipment, pre-visualization of what I wanted and its composition, and the rewarding feeling of pulling it all together. I've been on multi-day trips with one or two shots completely defining the trip for me. That's what it's all about.
Maybe I'm more old school like Jim. I can see the desire to shoot off a lot of frames, as long as you have a goal in mind and how you want to present it, but not because of a 'just in case' mentality to get one shot that may only be acceptable at best.
Yes!! Exactly! You said it better than I was able to. The bracketing technique seems like too much, I won't judge other folks for using it as I'm sure they occasionally produce some phenomenal images much better than my own, but that approach is not for me.
Self-restraint - Strategy or Pointless? Strategy, all day long.
Agreed, planning is the strategy that comes first. Thinking out shots is important and I think will yield better results 99% of the time, planning is essential and then optionally can be followed by dozens of shots.
I was amazed at one of the people who set her camera to its maximum shooting speed and fired off a stream of shots at each subject. She even did this for sleeping critters? She called it the machine gun approach.
Too much! The camera I have now can fire off 6 fps, but there is rarely a need for it. With most subjects you will end up with exact replicas of the same photo.
Talking about film cameras brought me back to the old days, when my parents picked me up a cheap soviet era camera mounted on a rifle style mount from a hole in the wall store in St. Petersburg, russia. I had fun with it... It was something like this, http://www.flickr.com/photos/bwp2011/6927692211/
I definitely got some weird looks as I carried it around, can't say I miss it. Alot of the time I made mistakes and wouldn't know for days and I wouldn't know exactly what I did wrong, then again I was at the age where I wasn't too concerned with the technical aspects. But its definitely alot easier to learn with digital.
Whew that was a long reply, thanks again guys for the input!