Dick’s Rant

When you not, you not. And thank you to Jerry Reed for giving us one of the best explanations for photography there is. We've all experienced the streak of good fortune or creativity - of inspiration, facility, or felicity that leads to rapid success. We've picked up a camera at a wonderful location to see a wonderful scene and pressed the wonderful button as fast as we could. With any luck, the results have not corrupted in the memory card. Equally, we have all called forth the wellspring of inspiration, only to find the water table has lowered so much that it can't be found. The wisest of us have realised that the time for photography was not then, and gone home. I've spent entire weekends not being the wisest of us...

Now that you are up, had breakfast, and hopefully put your clothes on, we can continue. We need to learn to see as well as our cameras do. I use the term " well " rather than " good " because photography has nothing at all to do with goodness. Too many pictures of shocking events  - too many shocking pictures - flood our world to confuse the art with morality. Photography is neutral, and it is up to ourselves to be good as we practise it. Okay, we're looking, but what are we seeing? The visible spectrum of light, bouncing off the world. Some of us get to see the whole thing, some get just a selected part. Some of us see it through lenses made of crystal and some of us get the linoleum optics. We cannot actually see what others see, but we can be shown hints and use our imaginations to connect their images to our experience. Our cameras do better. They can see smaller, bigger, darker, lighter, and quicker things than we can. This started long ago -...

Or How I Learned To Hate The Plugin. I use a number of plugin programs on my computer that ride on the back of Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements. Most of the time they are tame strings of electricity that do useful things; make images look like paintings or old-fashioned photographs or intensify colours. One set sharpens everything without making ragged halos. In some cases the effects are naff but you only have to see them once and then just don't press that button again. Most of them are signals imported via discs or internet connection - visible enough on the screen but ephemeral in real terms. You buy what they do instead of buying what they are. However, one piece of gear is all too real - the Loupedeck+ editing console. It's been making life easier on Lightroom and Photoshop for two years now. I can breeze through a dance show or an exhibition shoot with my eyes on the screen and my hands on the buttons and knobs - or at least I could Saturday. By Sunday it had all...

We all remember the 1950's* when labour-saving devices were the newest rage in advertising. Whether it was an electric cake mixer or a twin-tub washer, nearly every advertisement that wasn't dinging the patriotism bell was shouting out about saving labour. It suggested that we had been slaves chained to the stove or washtub in the past and that we were going to have a glorious future of doing nothing at all. I'm retired, with nothing to do, and I have never been so busy in my life. You may be in the same position, and we'll both be looking desperately at our camera gear to save us. The working photographers are in a worse position - they are saving labour so hard that many of them collapse under the strain. Once you could pull out the Brownie, turn a knob until a number came up in the red window, point the camera at your subject and press the button. The chemist and Kodak did the rest. If you did not get a good picture you could blame the subject - in the...

One of Fremantle's most famous bike-riding photographers frequently says that if Photoshop is the answer, you've asked the wrong question. He's in a good position to say this as he has passed a working lifetime making excellent pictures with film as well as digital cameras and has the ability to teach others to do the same. I am not sure if he gets it right every time, but I'll bet he gets it right nearly all the time. That's experience and skill. Some of the rest of us have a poorer batting average. I can look back on decades of negatives, slides, and prints and see where I went wrong, and that on a steady, regular basis. I'm not saying I was dumb, but I learned early on that you could make most mistakes in new ways if you tried...

Because if you are, keep your fingers out of the way. For myself, my cutting edge is best expressed by the heading image. I am allowed to use one at the dinner table as long as I have corks on the sharp points of the fork. My photography is a lot like this, too. You may be better...

Not if I'm in 'em. I can look horrible by myself - I don't need professional pictures to prove it. We all break a picture now and then. In our early photography days they can all be cracked and sad as we learn what to do - by learning what not to do. People can take a shortcut to this sort of knowledge by attending classes at Shoot Workshops or Perth Learn Photography or many other clubs and institutions. The rest of us just make errors and feel bad about them and have to figure out how to correct them a. The film folks can make all sorts of errors loading the ISO of their films into their camera's metering system...

It's how you fix it. And when, and where, too. I flew a scale model airplane into the floor yesterday, courtesy of a my coat sleeve, and the landing was a hard one - no nose gear left. It was up off the floor as fast as possible, under a strong light to find the damage, then out to the workshop. The gear leg was drilled, pinned, and re-cemented within 15 minutes and the plane would look fine in an hour. My heart rate calmed down and I was able to take a long breath. It is exactly the same with our photography ventures. We will make mistakes  - we will break things - and we will experience panic when it happens. That's the point when being prepared is important - and the preparations can be done with knowledge and organisation. a. If you break a camera or a lens, you generally do it with a fall. First thing to do is examine yourself to see if you're broken...