Photography methods many, Principles few…

Lens Luggers do it in the morning… Cataloochee Valley by bob Grytten
Lens Luggers do it in the morning… Cataloochee Valley by bob Grytten

As I sit here waiting for a video to upload, my mind drifts to some words that came my way over the years that help describe the process of gaining understanding about things.

That may sound like a broad statement, but if broken down to our subject, Photography, perhaps it will become a bit clearer.

C. Charles Chatham uses to say “Methods are many. Principles are few, Methods often change, Principles seldom do.”

How does that apply to photography?

Well for one thing, the principles are there and once we understand them, we strengthen our base of understanding of our craft.  We learn that we can use certain methods to make happen what we wish or maybe we can’t change it.

Magnification: “As we gain magnification, Depth-of-Field decreases.”

Say we want to enlarge a flower, to see the detail better. How do we do that?

Blood Root Bob Grytten image
Blood Root Blossom

One Method: Get closer to the flower. What happens? The background decreases in detail, diminishing depth-of-field. That is, of course if we keep everything else constant.

Another Method: Increase the distance from the lens to the cameras sensor. By adding a 50mm extension tube between the camera and a 300mm lens, we gain about 40% more magnification. What happens to our depth of field. Well for one thing, the background goes very soft and we may even lose some foreground detail.

An Exercise…

Lie on your belly, with the camera close to the ground, and focus in and out the blades of grass, water droplets, and maybe even an insect. The show is incredible. When to release the shutter? Whenever you like. That is what makes each of our results different.

The Learning Triangle

So, on the bottom of the Tripod: How we Learn are a lot of Principles & Methods which we need first.

First we intellectualize the material.

Next we internalize the material.

Then we use the material, applying different methods for principles to achieve what we wish.

“All life is a process of evolution,” writes Joel S. Goldsmith in The Contemplative Life.

“If we study History, we find that we have been slowly evolving from a state of consciousness of the cave man, from the ‘eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ age, from the horrors of the nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries capitalism, to the broader outlook of the present day. …things are first consciously realized and begin to operate in our experience in a similar evolutionary way.”

The more we use them, the more they become part of our automatic track to run on, and there lies the basis to creativity.  The more we grow, the more interesting the process becomes.

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