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Thread: Why do you take photographs?

  1. #1
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Why do you take photographs?

    Sounds like a simple question, but I suspect that the answer can sometimes be quite complex. I'll tell you why I take photos.
    The main reason is communication. It is a way for me to show people what I see. In my case it is showing real things, usually nature, and the attempt is to show those things as they really are. In turn that makes me slow down and really look at what I am photographing, and then read up on what it is, and get in contact with experts in that field.

    And then there is the how.
    Reality comes in many shades and it is far too complex to show in a simple photograph. For a start, we live in time and a still photo is, well, still. And the camera is imperfect and gives a representation of reality, not reality itself and it is a slightly different reality than our eyes show us. So I have to make decisions as to what shade of reality I show.

    There are some things that a camera will do that our eyes cannot. For example: slow shutter speeds allowing the blurring of some components to a greater or lesser extent. Our eyes almost always blur to the same extent.
    And some things that a camera can't do that our eyes/brain can. Cameras are limited to about 4,000 times the brightness form the darkest to the lightest pixel. Our eyes/brain can "see" scenes with up to 1,000,000 times. Actually our eyes can only can only measure light differences with a factor of 10 difference between adjacent pixels but our brains can construct the rest by combining images (sort of an in house HDR).
    Then there is the way our brain interprets things. Some things that we can easily ignore in a moving scene becomes very obvious in a photo. A gorilla walking across a basketball court may be virtually invisible in a moving picture, but isn't in a still photo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY . Power lines often aren't a worry in a real scene, but can become intolerable in a still photo. We have to allow for things like this as we compose a photo and that is a challenge, and that becomes part of the attraction as we learn more of how to do it. It becomes an art, even when the aim is for reality. I seem to remember some comment that taking pictures of reality isn't art. I don't agree with that.

    Then there are the choices of which reality I choose to show. Perhaps that involves decisions as to what time of day, what lighting, what angle, what instant, what camera, what lens, what settings, etc, etc. There are often almost infinite ways in which a photo of any one thing can be taken and again that is a challenge and a lot of fun. Of course it helps to know what your objective is.

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    It's fun...gets you outside...can challenge you...keeps the brain ticking over...and so on ?
    The DSLR is always my companion on bushwalking, fishing, 4wd trips or whatever.
    Once I get home I get into some PP which consists of two buttons...delete or save

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    Member bcys1961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    The main reason is communication. It is a way for me to show people what I see. In my case it is showing real things, usually nature, and the attempt is to show those things as they really are. In turn that makes me slow down and really look at what I am photographing, .
    For me your first sentence sums it up.

    I would add it is my creative outlet , and the buzz of winning the occasional competition helps as well.
    The name is Brad ......

    OMD EM-1, OMD EM-5MkII, m.Zuiko 12-40mm Pro f2.8, m.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 Pro , m.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro, m.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 , Lee Filters




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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Yep. I missed the thrill of producing things that other people admire. I would do it anyway, but the rewards do make a difference.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Every photo tells a story, or provokes a thought.

    Even when looking at a very blurred OOF shot I'm looking for what the photographer saw. I'm also wondering whether they may need new glasses or monitor, or just having a bad day. Thought provoking.

    How we interpret the story the photo tells is very subjective, and varies greatly.

    A photo freezes, and encapsulates, an instant in time. It can never be perfectly recreated. It could be a treasured moment, an awesome sunset/sunrise, or a perfectly formed, spectacularly coloured toadstool, sans fairies, in the forest.

    I recently posted this photo in an AP comp. It didn't rate too badly, but I wonder if others saw what I did.

    Social commentary.jpg

    It's three Noisy Miners at a birdbath, one melanistic. One bird is happily bathing while the other 'normal' miner seems to be giving the 'dark' one a strange, 'who are you' look and seems to be wondering if it should be here.

    As I said, all photos tell a story, if you look for it.

    I like stories, so I take photos.
    Cheers
    Kev

    Nikon D810: D600 (Astro Modded): D7200 and 'stuff', lots of 'stuff'

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    I guess that the subjectivity is where the art comes in. It is one of challenges of photography to master both the technical and the subjective

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    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Macro photography of course opens up a whole new expanded knowledge of natures yearly events at undreamt of levels for me compared to when first taking photos as a young kid.
    Last edited by Nick Cliff; 08-11-2016 at 7:40pm.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Me? It's not primarily for communication, as such. It's just to record something mainly for myself.
    And, err-rr! Um-mm!

    Yeah. That's about it. So, why persist? Well, yes. There's a sort of enjoyment in the whole process:
    sight/event/other >> image/record/...

    Sometimes I post the results here like.

    ...
    That's enuff.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 08-11-2016 at 7:46pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Cliff View Post
    Macro photography of course opens up a whole new expanded knowledge of natures yearly events at undreamt of levels for me compared to when first taking photos as a young kid.
    Macro can be a good field for us technically minded people. Good for the discovery side too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Me? It's not primarily for communication, as such. It's just to record something mainly for myself.
    And, err-rr! Um-mm!

    Yeah. That's about it. So, why persist? Well, yes. There's a sort of enjoyment in the whole process:
    sight/event/other >> image/record/...

    Sometimes I post the results here like.

    ...
    That's enuff.
    I am fascinated with the photographer who took photos in the 50s but never showed anyone the photos. I forget her name but she took wonderful pics. It seemed to be her own way of interpreting the world.

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    Member bcys1961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    Macro can be a good field for us technically minded people. Good for the discovery side too.

    - - - Updated - - -



    I am fascinated with the photographer who took photos in the 50s but never showed anyone the photos. I forget her name but she took wonderful pics. It seemed to be her own way of interpreting the world.
    Vivian Maier

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    That's her. Such an interesting story. I could never hide my photos from the world, but I can relate to the way photography can help you understand the world, even if nobody sees them. In many cases, not even Vivienne, as she often didn't develop them.

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    Austog Irregular Regular markdphotography's Avatar
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    Photography is art, art is therapy ........................therefore photography is therapy - well it is for me. Not that I mean therapy in a medical sense but photography is theraeutic for me. It is relaxing, stimulating and for me very creative and enjoyable both pre and post exposure.

    I keep doing it because I like the creative thought process and while it is great that others like or admire your work (judges, customers who purchase etc), it is the creation process that I find the most rewarding. Photography for me is a time stealer if stealing time can be a good thing.

    Good question Steve - thanks for asking.

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    Austog Irregular Regular markdphotography's Avatar
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    Saw this today and thought - I knew Steve before he was famous. Well done Steve and now we can all see what you see in 4K video.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I'm with you Mark on this. It's a creative thing for me too. Plus the thrill of taking a top shot. Always trying to get a better one. Bit like travel for me. Something always exciting to see around every corner
    Cheers, Ann

    60D, Canon 18-200mm, Canon Fisheye, Canon Macro, Canon 50mm prime, Tripod. Photoshop Elements, Picasa.

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    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Bravo Steve, I feel your records of nature will be important for future generations as the world changes.
    It is a wonderful reason for photography.
    Last edited by Nick Cliff; 11-11-2016 at 8:37am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markdphotography View Post
    Saw this today and thought - I knew Steve before he was famous. Well done Steve and now we can all see what you see in 4K video.
    You really know that you've made it when you are featured in the Northern Star :-) Of course Planet Earth 2 adds a bit. I never quite realised how big this would be, but I guess I have to wait until episode 3 airs and I get to appear in the credits - then I see what effect it has.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Cliff View Post
    Bravo Steve, I feel your records of nature will be important for future generations as the world changes.
    It is a wonderful reason for photography.
    Thanks Nick. I occasionally get emails from strangers saying that I have inspired them to study mycology or do something else related to nature. That's always nice.

    P.S. Here's an amazing sequence from episode 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv9hn4IGofM
    Last edited by Steve Axford; 11-11-2016 at 9:09am.

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    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Crikey Steve that is incredible footage, you would need nerves of steel to film that footage.
    It is wonderful to know your work has made a difference for others

  18. #18
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    Wish I'd taken it, Nick. I've never seen anything like it and I can imagine that the people who did get it, whilst they must have planned it, would have been over the moon to actually catch the sequence. It obviously took several cameras and was probably a major production shoot, but still - you get a lot of failures for each sequence like that.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Yeah, well I looked at that video and it was amazing!! And then I got distracted by this:

    SO WHY DO PEOPLE BAIT BULLS?

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Firstly, Mark D's post shows why I'll be using a monopod and not a tripod as a walking stick in the future.
    Then I need to congratulate Steve for what the article mentions.
    I'm pretty sure the adulation is not the origins of why Steve takes photos though.
    I'm still trying to figure the real reason I take photographs. I just don't know.
    I really like bird's so trying to get out there and take photos of them makes me look at what birds do more. Sometimes getting not so good photos isn't a problem because I was out there looking and finding something different. Nature throws up so many unique things that I would have never seen if I wasn't walking around with a camera.
    Another reason to take photographs is to share with you and some friends things I see that you and they may not have the chance to see so close.
    Last edited by Mark L; 11-11-2016 at 9:23pm. Reason: shit, the emoticons
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
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