My last working day of this year ended yesterday. While I happened to have a chance to shoot the sunset, I questioned myself whether I really grew up as a photographer through this year.
To my surprise, my photography gear didn't change at all from the same period of the last year. My lenses are currently as follows.
I'm somewhat proud of not being trapped into buying too many lenses on impulse. One wide-angle lens, one standard lens, one telephoto lens and one macro lens are enough for the basic photography needs. That is, this is the year without any change in tools.
So, any changes in my photography style?
Here are two big changes to tell you.
I often hear that we need to set the shutter speed the same as or faster than a reciprocal of current focal length. (ex. 1/50ss for 50mm full size lens) Indeed, when I hold my camera without special care, I need such speed to prevent camera shake.
As a result, in a darker place, I might need a high ISO value, which leads to picture quality deterioration. But this is much better than the possible camera shake, I believed.
I believed so because it worked well.
If I needed any slower shutter speed, I used my tripod to prevent the camera shake. It also worked well. Of course using a tripod doesn't make your single photo bad so I had no doubt using my tripod.
But one day this autumn, I found an amazing argument from Mt. Kent Shiraishi, saying that he trained and trained so that he can take photos with the shutter speed of slower than 1/10ss with his camera on his hands.
It was a paradigm shift in my mind.
I challenged and challenged, and found out how I can hold my body and my camera firmly. Now I can try as slow as 5-10 times the reciprocal of current focal length. (ex. 1/10ss - 1/5ss for 50mm full size lens)
This allows me not to use my tripod often, which means I can change my shooting positions much more times in the same period of time.
The most important thing for photographers is that they need to be "there" to take photos. If I want to take a photo which the other photographers have never taken, I must be at the right place with the right gear at the right moment.
There are lots of great possible opportunities to shoot the best. Do I spend my very important time folding and un-folding my tripod? Definitely no. I must be skillful in using as slower the shutter speed as possible without my tripod.
Slow shutter speed without tripod is definitely the biggest change of this year to me.
This is, indeed, the great new habit to me. I started thinking about why I use the current camera setting as thoroughly as possible.
Why this shooting position?
Why this angle?
Why this composition?
Why this F-number?
Why this shutter speed?
Why this white balance?
Why this ISO value?
Reviewing is also important. By documenting my thought by myself later, I will unexpectedly recognize something that I didn't consider or something that I didn't have logical reasons for it. This is helpful in using the PDCA cycle, and it will end up letting me embody my own photography theory in a shorter period.
Plus, I also started thinking about how I can show more beautiful photos in a scientific point of views. This habit leads to the posts like the post about picture quality deterioration and the current blog design. My challenge will go on through the next one year, too!
I'm looking forward to seeing both slow shutter speed without tripod and logical photography get better in the next one year, and am also looking forward to seeing something new to grow up more. I have lots of things to do, don't I?
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