Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What Photography Did To My Eyes

If you'll forgive a moment of reflection and review? It just hit me my photography was first published 40 years ago. This hit me as my evening shaped up.

I was with a friend and commented on the look of the light in the evening sky. It's unusually humid, and that changes the look of the sky. Add that to a customarily dry season and it seems I remarked on why the sky had that rare look especially with the sun just below the horizon.

My friend was a little baffled and after talking it through together I realized that photography had changed my perception of the air itself. The other day my dear friend Kevin brought me a neutral density filter from a cinema equipment rental house I can adapt to my camera lenses for long daylight exposures.  I held it up to the light and said, of a couple, maybe three stops of difference. But it was marked #6, I thought 6 stops. Huh. Okay held it up to a light meter and it takes exactly 3 f stops of light away. Did some checking. Turns out they are marked in 1/2 stop increments for cinema cameras.

I should have guessed, by it's nature cinema gear brings a far higher level of precision than typical still photography. We still photogs adjust for light apart from a simple flash. Cinema makes all the light as per a human decision. If you print your own photos think zone system on a sound stage.

Okay now after all that I see my still shooters perception can roughly estimate like a light meter measures with precision. Humans have a well evolved system of eyes, nerve and mind. Looking at the light for it's quality in so many circumstances over all those years calibrated my vision in a way. It does that to all of us photographers and cinematographers. Film, digital, stills, TV movies, creative videos, it's all about the light for that content to carry forth the story.

The moral of the story I guess is to be a better photographer or cinematographer...

Always watch the light.

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