Journal

Photography, photoshop, and the philosophy of taking pictures by photographer Bill Wadman, co-host of On Taking Pictures.

Quality, Part 1

I've written before about different cameras and different systems and film vs digital and all that nuts and bolts stuff. Most of the time when people are discussing differences, they're either talking out their ass or they've got something to sell you, or both.

However, tonight I went back and rescanned an image I took on with my Hasselblad a couple years ago.  Really grainy 3200 speed Ilford b/w film, not even focused that well. And I've got to tell you, there's something about it, the bokeh is just incredible. The whole image is just creamy in a way that I don't get with 35mm digital, and I don't know what to do about it.

Don't get me wrong, the amount of information in my 1Ds3 files is super, and when I get a 5DII in a few weeks it'll be even better, but it seems like the issue is in the path the light takes to get to the film/sensor and I don't think that the lenses I have are doing what I want.  They're good lenses, I know.  And only crappy golfers blame their clubs, I know.  But I'm feeling limited.  When I finally get paid for the ad job I did in August I'm going to do some shopping.  I'm going to try the fast Canon L primes.  Probably the 35/1.4, 50/1.2, and 85/1.2  Though I MAY wait for the Zeiss ZE lenses which have been announced, though I worry that a 35mm viewfinder isn't quite big enough to manually focus fast enough at large apertures.

Ok, back to quality.  Lately I've been doing a lot of processing to my images. See the first section of images on billwadman.com to see what I'm talking about.  It's fine, and I like the feeling they get because of it, but it's a crutch. I feel like it's a serious crutch and holding me back from getting better, so I'm going to put that formula aside for a bit.  I'm going to work toward getting better lighting when I shoot, and creating depth in my photos through precision and composition and not by fiddling with a Wacom pen.

Robert Pirsig has written alot about Quality in 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' (my favorite book). Basically, one of his thoughts is that things have an innate quality that is there even before you're aware of that they exist.  That some things are just of higher quality than others regardless of opinion post interaction.  I've spent a lot of time lately, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. And the best I can come up with so far as that I want to create things with Quality.  Tomorrow I think I'll go out and shoot a roll in the Hasselblad and see what comes out.