The Discovery


Every so often you make a discovery. And I don’t mean white ants in the bathroom vanity. I mean in the photographic business. It is a discovery because… discover it. As opposed to having someone tell you about it or just reading it off the net. And any discovery that you make yourself has far greater effect upon you than the other two events.

You pay attention to a lot of things in photography as you go along. You learn that you ought to watch your shutter speed and your aperture. That you should have things in focus if you want to be able to tell what they are. You learn to keep the latch on the back of the film camera or the battery door of the digital camera firmly closed for most of the time. You learn not to lick the sensor clean.

And occasionally you learn that there are capabilities in the system that you have never suspected. Your ignorance is not a sin – it is just that you have been working with the system so long that you fail to notice the incremental improvements that the designers have added.

We all change the digital systems that we use…and it seems that we either change them far too often or not nearly often enough. There is no happy medium. If we are using medium format there is not even an agreement about what medium format is. But then there never was, even in the film era. Half a dozen different makers had half a dozen different formats.

When we change our cameras we also tend to change our computer systems – sometimes the actual computers themselves. As we do, the image-editing software is constantly swirling around in the background like a Norse legend. At any point in time there may be several versions of a program all trying to get into or out of our computers. My latest Adobe product is not THE latest Adobe product, but I have a feeling that occasionally it wakes up late at night and demands to be fed with new data. Thus it becomes a hybrid while I sleep and I am occasionally presented with something that cannot do what it did before…but can do new things.

Last week I discovered that the focus stacking that was always denied me is right there in the system…but hidden. I need to do some of the leg work myself, but the choices I have to make are the choices I want to make…and I have a new trick up my sleeve for no expense. As I have discovered this myself, I have paid close attention and will be able to do it again and again. You can’t say that about bits that you just read on the net.

In conclusion, I would advise everyone to experiment. Any change in your computer or camera that does not result in a cloud of smoke and parts embedded in the ceiling is a good thing. You will be smarter and with a bit of luck…better at your job.




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