Put the Buzz Back in Your Photography!
When I switched to digital several years back, I really had no idea how it would change the breadth and scope of my photography. I began to see more creatively, and as I've mentioned before, that silly psychology surrounding the idea that if you were shooting with film, and the shot didn't turn out, you had to file for bankruptcy.
Well, of course, we all know that really isn't the case. However, as much as I hate to admit it, I certainly worry far less about the cost of shooting film now that I don't shoot it anymore. I have also mentioned in previous articles how other very well known photographers have talked about the renewed interest, fun and increased creativity they have found since switching to digital.
Before I continue any further, let me again repeat what I said in my Fine Tuning Your Photography article a month or so back:
It just so happens that since I switched to shooting digital, I've found myself again doing the kind of photography that I tried so hard to do when I was first trying to hone my photographic skills.
Take macro photography, for example. Here was something that was so much fun and yet so frustrating all in the same trip of a shutter. Was it in focus? Did I have the correct exposure? Was my depth-of-field adequate? Damn, the bug moved!
I'd go back home and flip through those pages of articles and books by John Shaw and wonder how he got such sharp images with those beautiful soft out-of-focus backgrounds. As my technical and artistic skills improved, I drifted away from that type of shooting, leaning toward landscape and wildlife. Then came digital. All of sudden I found myself recharged, enthusiastic about all facets of photography.
About five years ago when I was still shooting film, I found a great deal on a 200mm Micro Nikkor Macro lens. There were no electronics, no auto-focus, it was manual everything, but oh what a lens. I used it a few times, and then it just sat on the shelf. It sat there until about a year and a half ago. When I realized that digital was beginning to spark those creative juices that had somehow slipped past me, I took that 200mm macro lens off the shelf, and found room for it in my camera bag. I can't begin to tell you what a great move that was.
The photographs that are included in this article were all taken this summer. I would be shooting a flower or a landscape shot. And I would look around me. Bees were buzzing everywhere. Bumble bees, honey bees and just about everything in between. All were carrying out their day-to-day duties gathering nectar and such. I'd take my wide angle lens off the camera and attach that great old Nikkor.
I would then lower my tripod so that I was down closer to their eye level. I would take an exposure based on my other lens, shoot a general shot, check my LCD and see if I my exposure was accurate or not. If not, I would make an adjustment and shoot again. Perfect, my exposure was right on. Next I would focus in the general area of the buzzing bees and wait. All that was left for me to do was to re-focus when the bee landed within the range of my macro.
I made sure to position myself so that I had a "John Shaw background" (make sure your background is far enough back from your subject so as to be out of focus), and when all was right, I released my shutter. Sure, not every shot was sharp, but I remained patient and got the images that I was hoping for.
I believe that the lesson for me and for those of you in similar situations, is no matter what you are shooting, old camera, new camera, film or digital, you still need to revive that love that you have for photography. In my case it was because of my switch to digital. For you it may be just dusting off that camera of yours and "Put the Buzz Back in Your Photography."