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What the fStop!!!


1/1000 sec



The above will either make sense to you or it will be like trying to decrypt the Rosetta Stone... upside down and back-to-front, it'll make no sense at all.

But this isn't some ancient language, it is of course a camera's settings for a particular shot and some photographers include this technical detail with their images when they publish them.

Now I'm the first to admit that I'm not a particularly technical photographer. That's not to say I don't understand the technicalities of taking a picture or what all of the above means. I'm more than familiar with the exposure triangle, and the effects a wide aperture, fast shutter speed, or a high ISO has on the final image. I also understand the characteristics of different focal lengths, and I can manipulate all of these factors to get the shot I want.

What I mean when I say I'm not technical is I don't feel the need to record my camera settings for each shot and share them with the viewer. To me it's what the final image looks and feels like rather than how I got there, that's more important.

Equally, I find being told what settings were used in someone else's shot doesn't add anything to the image for me. In fact sometimes having this information detracts from the emotional connection I may feel towards the shot.

If a description has to accompany a shot (bearing in mind a really great image needs no explanation), then I much prefer a commentary about how the photographer was feeling, and what mood they were trying to capture rather than what settings their camera was on.

For sometime now I've felt that the photography industry is dominated by camera manufacturers. Ask the average person on the street to name a camera brand and most would quite readily come up with a few, but ask them to name a successful contemporary or even historic photographer, I suspect most would struggle. It's this dominance of the industry by camera manufacturers that I believe has created an obsession amongst photographers with gear and in turn the technical aspects of picture taking.

Obviously, the camera is an essential and fundamental tool in taking pictures, and having a sound technical understanding of your camera and photography is important. But I believe that the final image and the emotions it evokes should take precedence over how the shot was taken.

Photography is where art and science meet, and maybe my preference for the non-technical stuff reflects my artistic bias, and for those who find camera setting data more interesting have a more scientific leaning? I'd be interested to hear what you think.

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