All Images, reflections, memories and fabrications ©2011 Tony Hernandez Photography

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kicking and screaming .... all the way to the digital world

I may have been one of the last professional photographers in my area to make the switch to a digital camera. The photo store I went to for supplies was beginning to keep cretain things on the shelves just for me. I seemed to be the only one left shooting "type B" film. Polaroid was a hit and miss for stock on hand, and sometimes, at least two stores were visited just to get enough film to get through a shoot. It was getting ridiculous. For the record, I still believe film is far superior to digital imaging in many ways but ... "you can't stop progress". To me, there's still nothing like a perfectly exposed 4x5 transparency on a light table with a 30 power magnifier sitting next to it. But alas, things have moved on and the digital camera rules. Just before the switch, I was shooting everything with two Hasselblad bodies and four lenses. The difference in speed with the Hasselblad, as opposed to a 4x5 view camera is amazing. The image quality of the lenses are awesome. I really do miss shooting with that camera. In digital's defense, it's even faster than that. Shooting with large format cameras takes time. Just exposing the film could take a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the shot. Making the move to the medium format systems expedited the exposure process because you no longer had to deal with large film holders, only compact film backs that clicked right on the camera body, and much shorter exposure times. Now, when the shot looks good in the little screen on the camera, or a laptop ..... your done. I think that's one of the best things about shooting digital. That, and being able to take small, annoying things out of the shot. Things like light switches, air conditioning registers, alarm sensors. I'm not one of the "we can fix it later" crowd. I still shoot 99% of the final image in camera. It's just too hard for an OCD-ish guy like me to pass up removing an ugly wall socket in a shot. In the 80's, shooters liked to put plants in front of things like that. It got to the point where looking at an interior design ad photo was like looking at a jungle with furniture. "Too much of a good thing?" I think so. But now, anything is possible with a little knowledge of photography and a lot of Photoshop classes. I am amazed by what's being done with digital images and a computer. My personal Photoshop skills are limited because I don't have the need to "put things together" later. Having done it that way for film makes it easier. I really should take some classes on the subject, just to broaden my horizons, but I find it hard to get excited about it

That must be my last kick and scream.