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What is Professionalism
Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 2:25 PM on 02.23.16
->> British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe died this week at the age of 103. He did the filming for Raiders of the Lost Arc, two other Indiana Jones films and many other great works like The Great Gatsby and Lion in Winter.

In one of the obits I read on him was what earned him great respect as a top pro in his field. For the Raiders film he used NO light meter. He judged what the light did and its exposure in his head. And from what the movie looks like it appears his knowledge of light was right on.

Remember the instruction sheets that came in boxes of film -- then later printed on the inside of the boxes -- that listed suggested exposure settings? And then there was the shutter speed formula of 1/ASA at f/16 for slide film and 1/ASA at f/11 for negs when shooting in sunny daylight. (For the youngsters, ASA is now known as ISO.)

For some of us when cameras didn't have exposure meters we could go into a room loaded with Tri-X and judge the exposure within a half stop before double checking with a hand-held Luna-Pro meter.

Today I'm finding my college students completely lost without a meter with most using their cameras on an auto-exposure setting. And nearly all of them have never shot a roll of film, let alone seen one.
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Shelly Castellano, Photographer, Photo Editor
Huntington Beach | CA | USA | Posted: 9:39 PM on 02.23.16
->> Today, I was given the opportunity to teach a 10 year old how to use a Canon AE-1 with black and white film, 2 lenses and a manual flash. Gotta say, it felt good to get back behind the wheel.... The meter battery was fresh but honestly I just taught the kid some basics and am hoping he will continue to think through the scene and create a style of his own. Too many easy ways to Point and Shoot with digital auto everything. It felt good to manually focus and look through that view finder again. Refreshing actually... Try it sometime :-)
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David Hungate, Photographer
Roanoke | VA | United States | Posted: 10:32 AM on 02.24.16
->> Ah, film. How I miss her. It made me a better photographer. I was slower and more efficient. I had to make 36 frames matter.

That said, why would a contemporary student of photography shoot film? Other than for a nostalgic view of the craft as film is an antiquated technology.

We old farts tend to get misty-eyed when we look back on film. I guess because it reminds us of our youth. You had to have real knowledge and skills to be a photographer. You had to KNOW light and exposure and shutter speed. And if you knew what you were doing, you had access to the elite club of being a competent photographer. That, and the joys of being in a dark room with music jamming and no one to bother you.

But you don't hear anyone reflect on the times they spent with an old IBM Selectric or a Technics 1200-MK2 or a GE Television with a knob tuner. (And I know Tom Hanks loves old typewriters and many a DJ still covet that turntable and I think my mom still has that TV in the guest room... rabbit ears and all.)

My point is simple- why would they care about film. You don't. I don't. My clients and editors don't. It's time has passed. What is shot today digitally is technologically superior than most of what was captured on film. Digital is a superior medium. That's why we use what we use.

I admire someone like Douglas Slocombe who shot movies without a light meter. It is the sign of a craftsman who is confident in his talents and skills. I know I still get a little jazzed when I light something and I hit the shutter for a test shot and it is bang on. I bet you do, too.

As for all the electronic aids that come with cameras, I still shoot in manual modes (with the exception of focus) because it is what I know. I should replace my SB-900's with Vivitar 283's as I never take them out of manual mode. It doesn't matter if a photographer shoots in M, A, S or P modes, the proof is still in the image. How you get there is a matter of personal preference.

I say film is dead. Film is that green slime that forms on the surface of a pond during a long, hot summer. Film is history and past and done.

I miss what film made me as a photographer. But I know journeyman shooters will find their way and hone their skills chimping at the back of a camera. They do it the same way I did... except I chimped at a negative through a loop.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 3:08 PM on 02.24.16
->> David: "...why would a contemporary student... shoot film?

Answer: To be a better photographer like you said.

While shooting film is not really an option in the classroom anymore, one can emulate the experience by putting limits on how students use their cameras. For my photojournalism class we go to a college basketball where I let my students set their exposure and color balance. Then right before tipoff I cover their back screens with blue painter's tape so they can't chimp. At first they are very flustered, then settle down to watching and anticipating the action. They are also limited to single frame mode. And for those who think they are hot stuff I take away their 8--gig cars and replace them with old 512k and 1-meg cards which limit them to 12-24 exposures -- same as shooting with Hasselblad or SLR with a short roll of film. By the end of the game they learn how to shoot and not waste frames.

This is similar to instead of writing with a computer you use a manual typewriter. Or better still, if you really want to get down to serious thoughts write a letter or thank you note in long-hand with a pen. You'll quickly find your everyday mindless jibberish disappearing.

While dSLR cameras have made great strides in photography, they cannot replace good old fashion knowledge of the craft and how to use tools like cameras and lighting properly.
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Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 11:12 PM on 02.24.16
->> I remember shooting three assignments on a roll of 36 back in the day. Or only shooting two, maybe three rolls of 36 at a high school football game. Other times opening the back of the camera before I rewound the film and praying I closed it in time to at least save a few images. I was also famous for opening the paper safe with the lights on.

Ahh, the good old days (mostly kidding). I think one of the best things about the film days was when a new, better film came out you didn't have to get rid of your pricey Canon 1N or Nikon F4 every couple of years, you just bought the new film, which costs almost the same as the old film.
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Simon Wheeler, Photographer, Photo Editor
Ithaca | NY | USA | Posted: 10:03 AM on 02.25.16
->> When I interned at the Fort Wayne News Sentinel in the late 80's they would buy rolls of 24 for assignments where you didn't need as many frames. If it was a head shot you were expected to pull out the number of frames you shot and cut the roll, saving the remaining frames for the next small assignment. I was always in trouble for using too much film. I learned a lot from Carl Hartup and John Stearns
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 3:35 PM on 02.25.16
->> Back in 1975 I attended the Missouri Workshop where one was limited to 10 rolls of film over four days to do a picture story. Some people blew half their allotment the first day and barely had a good photo to show for it.

One student stood out. Out of 36 frames, 30 were very usable. Why? Because he was from South America where a $1.25 roll of Tri-X in the U.S. cost $7-8 down there. He and his colleagues would go out on assignment, shoot four frames, snip what they shot from the back of their camera in the darkroom and soup the strip in a tray, saving the rest of the roll for other jobs.

When you are limited in your resources you learn to use what is only hampered by your imagination, ability and workflow -- your brain. And once you start thinking you start "seeing" pictures and anticipating them.
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Thread Title: What is Professionalism
Thread Started By: Doug Pizac
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