A thanks to Ray....re: focus...sharpness

Discussion in 'Sony' started by rpavich, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. rpavich

    rpavich Veteran

    Jul 10, 2013
    I recently had a sort of mini discussion with Ray here on the RX1 part of the forum. He mentioned that sharpness or super accurate focus wasn't the be-all-end-all of photography.

    I guess I heard what he said but I didn't really HEAR it at the time.

    Well...fast forward a week: I had posted a good shot that i had missed focus on but posted it anyway with the disclaimer "I know I missed focus but I'm posting it anyway" and another forum friend/veteran said "spot on focus isn't the be-all-end-all of photography...it's the story you are telling that's important..."

    And then it sort of hit me...I "got" it.

    So with that in mind, I took some images at a BBQ. I tried to make sure that I was reasonably in focus and to get focus but I tried mostly to "get the moment" and let the rest be what it is.

    I have to tell you, Ray...my shots improved. Yes...I had mushy focus on some but overall, they were much improved and really gave some context and story to the images. For the first time, I didn't feel like cropping the crap out of them...I framed them better when taking them and so the background elements worked much better to enhance the moments.

    So...I just wanted to say thanks and I appreciate your wisdom.

    here are two shots that aren't necessarily art, but I wouldn't have gotten them without keeping your advice in mind.

    DSC01293.jpg DSC01221.jpg
  2. ajramirez

    ajramirez Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Terrific shots, particularly the cellist. Nice work!
  3. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    The "shot" ALWAYS matters more than the IQ. Period. End of story. Amen.

    IQ sells cameras, not photographs.

    And thanks for sharing your photos and you epiphany.
  4. christilou

    christilou Legend

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    Love that second one, a moment well caught!
  5. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    Perfect Shot

    I've spent many, many years, trying to get the focus and the framing "right". And was and am never satisfied with an out of focus picture, I went auto focus, way back in the 80's, in the Maxuim 5000, 7000 and 8000 days, when AF was iffy at best. Hated missing the shot. Bought the Nikon 8008 and 85mm, f1.8, and AF became of age. Well almost. Me and AF still weren't on the same page. And computer "controlled" camera, after the OM 1? Hated it.
    Fast forward to today. Just sent my daughters Olympus 45mm back to her, and gave my other daughter the G1 and 14-42. I love AF, but it just gets in my way sometimes, when it doesn't "see" what I do.
    Conclusion, of over 50 years of "trying to get the perfect shot". I ought to quit trying so hard. But I just can't :redface:
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    FWIW, I wasn't suggesting that your emphasis SHOULDN'T be on sharpness and focus - I was just making recommendations based on that because it clearly seemed like those WERE your priorities. So, please, don't give me ANY credit here. You had that epiphany all on your own and I'm glad you're enjoying exploring photography from a different perspective. There are so many ways to shoot, so many different types of photography, so many different ways to do it well. But when it comes down to it, I look at photography the way Oscar Peterson once described music, and I'm paraphrasing here: 'Jazz, Rock, Classical, R&B, Country - none of that matters - there are only two kinds of music, GOOD music and BAD music". So whether you like doing super sharp landscapes, super blurred and grainy B&W street shots, or anything in between, some shots are gonna work and most aren't. And the challenge is just to figure out the essence of why some work and keep striving to get THAT right. Whether its content or composition or texture or light or the amazing things that can happen on the rare occurrences when all of those come together in one shot, THAT's the stuff that matters. The rest is just down to what we prefer.

    Nice photos BTW! I really like the first - on close examination I can see that the sharpest focus is somewhere other than his face, but it all works - and I LOVE the second which is just a great moment caught and appears to be in great focus and very sharp to me!

  7. rpavich

    rpavich Veteran

    Jul 10, 2013
    Points taken...and you are too modest but thanks for clarifying even more...that helps too.
  8. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf All-Pro

    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    For me my image should tell a story or portray a message. It's how I decide to use the tool to make that happen. Whether we're using the aperture to control the DOF or shutter to create or stop the motion. "Sharpness" is only a very small factor when all of these "things" come together. It's why I thoroughly enjoy shooting with a mostly manual camera. I want to be in full control not the camera's onboard computer that I had no part of the design. (8>)

    Sharpness may mean something of course if you've been hired to photograph a stationary brick wall from a tripod so to speak and your image is used by the online review sites or whatever.
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I hear that Duane. But some of these modern computerized marvels let you control the logic and the sequence of adjustments to a degree that it makes it pretty nice shooting in some auto modes, knowing YOU were the one who effectively DID program the computer.

  10. romi.gilles

    romi.gilles Top Veteran

    May 17, 2013
    back in Crooklyn
    this made me think of something i recently read off some photographers' blog - they mentioned all the photos they had taken were wide open (not stopped down for optimum sharpness). it was more important to have the shot and make the viewers feel the space. then they explained, just because a car can go 200+ mph doesn't mean you have to.

    (Sent from my EVO via Tapatalk)
  11. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    Beautiful photos indeed!
  12. veronese

    veronese Rookie

    Jul 31, 2013
    Per the discussion, I've gotten positive reactions to this shot of mine. Clearly it's soft (taken at night, slower shutter speed with no luxury of a tripod), but viewers have told me the implied story helps make up for this.

  13. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    A shot can still be a masterpiece even if it is not technically perfect, but I know that I will still beat myself up for whatever it was that I got wrong.

    Unless I want some kind of blur for effect, I want sharp, in-focus images, and most of the time that isn't something that is difficult to achieve.
  14. R Melanson

    R Melanson Rookie

    Aug 12, 2013
    Toronto, Canada
    Some of the most boring snapshots I ever saw were razor sharp and perfectly exposed. Though the geek in me enjoys technical talk, it's refreshing to read about people just enjoying the art. I'm a newbie here at serious compacts and am enjoying reading your posts/replies. Cheers!
  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Love the feeling of being there in your first.:friends:
  16. rpavich

    rpavich Veteran

    Jul 10, 2013
    Thank you..I'm learning to "let go" a bit... :)
  17. rpavich

    rpavich Veteran

    Jul 10, 2013
    It's a tough lesson for me to learn but little by little I'm learning...
  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    One of the most technically messed up photos I've ever taken, but I like it. And this is NOT what I was going for when I shot it...

    View attachment 73849
    Blur by ramboorider1, on Flickr