I enjoy photography immensely. Somehow my passion rubbed off on my daughter who made it her profession about 16-17 years ago. I am not a pro like her but I know how to hold my own in creating good photographs. For example, I created all the photos that are shown in the header of Ramblin’ Dan.
There are some basic things the camera tool must provide repeatedly and predictably, and that is to cleanly manage the light that creates the captured image. After that everything else can be a variable. There is no such thing as the perfect camera (and lens) and I appreciate the lens quality more than features in the camera body.
The art is in the mind of the photographer, not the equipment. It is the artist controlling the tools that creates what becomes art. Art is a human emotion and not a measurable metric. To me there is a world of difference between a snapshot and a photograph. I know it when I see it. Perhaps that difference is only within my own mind, but I am OK with that.
How many times have I and all good photographers heard the comment, “Those are great pictures! What kind of camera do you use? It must be a good one.” “Heh”, I laugh then reply… “Yes my friend, it is…”
The subject is far too complex to go any further down that road with a proper explanation.
Composition has become so automatic that I am seldom aware of doing it, but occasionally I do think about the rules and maybe how to bend them. Digital cameras with computer controls now manage a lot of the light control and focus. I learned basic photography with full manual film cameras so I seldom use fully automatic digital control. There are some elements I want to have human control over and I feel full automatic is always a compromise.
It’s not that I totally avoid full auto. It has its uses.
Many digital cameras are now being produced without an ELV (eye level viewfinder). A few folks act like they can’t “take” a photograph without that feature. Yeah, it is nice to have but it is far from a necessity. I have a NEX-5 and I have rediscovered DLR (dual lens reflex) view screen medium format type of photography. I am exploring many new angles and levels of photography that I never considered with a camera stuck to my forehead. That’s because my view screen can pivot, a camera body feature I now think is wonderful. Ground levels, waist level, chest level, over my head are all easy and those unusual viewpoints give me a whole new creative input.
Photographers do not have to look like a Cyclops. With available light exposures and the camera away from my face, I am much more aware of what is going on around me and how my subject really looks. Gone is the voyeur within a dark box, peeping through the keyhole in isolation from reality. My appearance has become so much less intimidating to humans around me. I find I am less often looking and taking photographs downward from standard eye level. There are a lot of interesting ways to look and photograph the world.
The digital camera has changed photography but not the art of making great pictures. That still belongs to the photographer artist.