Posted on 06. Mar, 2009 by Paul Burwell in Everything, Top Ten Lists
The other day I started to think about things people have innocently said to me about my photography that have annoyed me. Now, I know that most of the comments were meant without any malice and were well intentioned. I get that. But, that doesn’t stop them from bothering the heck out of me. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the top offending comments into a top ten list, presented in the traditional descending order for your reading pleasure. I also decided to annotate each of the comments with my own thoughts which would not normally remain safely ensconced in my brain.
|10. Will you photograph my wedding?
- Okay, I know that I should take this as a compliment. But unless the bride and groom are going to wallow through a swamp on all fours, count me out. Brides and their mothers scare me more than coming face-to-face with a mother bear and her cubs while hiking.
Female Black Bear and her cubs walking on a trail
|9. Why can’t I get pictures like that with my cell phone?
- Hmmmmmm. Tough one. Could it be that the miniscule image sensor and cheap piece of plastic they call a lens can’t quite compete with quality glass and the resolving power of the sensors in modern digital SLR cameras?
|8. Digital is okay I guess, but it’s too bad it doesn’t have the quality of film
- Hello? 1995 called and they want their camera back. Seriously, the quality of digital cameras surpassed film several years ago. Seriously.
Northern Pintail flying over a golden pond
|7. That picture would be amazing as a painting.
- Why in the blue hell is photography held in such poor regard when compared to sketching, painting or sculpting? I get that these days everybody has a camera of some sort and there are literally millions of images captured each day. But, I’ll put a great image up against a great painting or sculpture any day in terms of “artistic” merit.
Black-capped chickadee perched on the branch of a pine tree - Converted to simulated oil painting to garner some artistic merit
|6. That image looks like it could stand a bit more sharpening.
- Probably the most common bit of “advice” you find on Internet forums when folks post their images. This age of pixel peeping has lead to an increasing number of people wayyyyyy over sharpening their images. In my humble opinion.
|5. Did you Photoshop® that?
- Yeah I did. So what? Do you realize that folks used to “darkroom” their images, remove flaws, lighten areas, darken areas and even completely alter the image? Manipulation of photographs goes back to the advent of photography. A famous example from 1920 is when Stalin had Trotsky removed from an image.
Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, before retouching.
Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, after retouching.
|4. You were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
- In the same sense that I was lucky to be up an hour before sunrise for a week to arrive at the location in time only to be disappointed 6 out of the 7 days, I guess I was lucky.
Long tailed weasel looking for baby gophers
|3. How many megapixels is your camera?
- 200 bazillion. I know that the marketing folks at the various camera manufacturers have worked their butts off to convince folks that megapixels matter. But, I’m here to tell you that you may be able to get away with bigger crops on a high megapixel camera, my “old” four, six and eight megapixel cameras still make great pictures
|2. That’s a really great snapshot.
- Maybe it’s just me, but I find the term snapshot pejorative in the extreme. Call it a great picture, image or even capture, but not a snapshot. Please and thanks.
|1. Wow, you must have a really nice camera!
- Yeah, and that painter must have had a really great easel. Seriously, a nice camera? Are you referring to my new K-Tel Autocapture 3000that not only takes care of all of those confusing exposure calculations, won’t let me make an image that isn’t optimally composed and automatically chooses the perfect instant to make a photograph? Sure, quality tools will help produce a quality photograph. But until the Autocapture 3000 actually ships, it is still the photographer who makes decisions on exposure, subject, setting, timing, and composition.
Yellow-headed Blackbird singing from on top of a bullrush
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you heard some innocent comment or question about your photography that just bugged the heck out of you, I’d love to hear them.