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Do you care more about quality or just capturing the moment?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Andrew Flannigan, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I was in the garden enjoying the bright sun and the brilliant blue sky. This chap (or chapess) perched on a branch about 50 feet from me. I pulled the Sony HX90 out of my pocket and grabbed 2 shots. In the 1st he was out of focus but the second caught him. Then I cropped down to just the bird (and also got lots of digital "grain"). For me this picture works but it wouldn't for someone else. So which type of photographer are you and do you know why you feel that way?

    Sony HX90 8GB 01 DSC01211.JPG

    Sony HX90 8GB 01 DSC01211 crop.JPG
    Cristian del Otero likes this.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'd say it was a male chaffinch but you really need a side view. For me it is a crop too far, not because of the noise but because the lens isn't up to it.
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Andrew,

    Quality needs to be adequate: we've all seen great pics let down by lousy quality.

    "Adequate" quality depends on medium (screen, exhibition print, Christmas card...); purpose (aide-memoire, identification, Fine Art...); and the standards/preferences of both the photographer and the person looking at the picture.

    For me the crop is hideously over-enlarged and crawling with artifacts, but the all-in pic is a nice happy-snap that I'd hesitate to show to anyone else, even though it would have lifted my own heart if I had taken it.. The twig across the eye lets it down either way. But you should still have taken it for you.


  4. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    I think it's the same as many hobbies for me. Technically, I want to be the best I can be.
    I have a camera that is capable of great images, so it follows that I want to make the best of that technology, otherwise what's the point in owning it? Obviously there are situations where the recording of a moment in time, outweighs the need for technical perfection, but in the image you have posted, no, it's not good enough for me. I know what a chaffinch looks like sitting on a branch, and would be happy with the memory in my head, rather than a very poor record of it. Should you have taken it? Of course. Should you crop it to such a degrading extent and keep it to view in the future? That is a matter for you, and you only.
  5. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Horses for courses. On holiday I snap away happily. For books, libraries etc take a bit more care and for competition or company assignments, take a lot more care before, during and after. One size does not fit all.

    I would only have snapped that bird in those conditions if it were something really unique and needed the evidence. It would have no value for me otherwise.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    So are you saying you're a perfectionist? Someone for whom technique is more important than the memory that the picture will evoke?
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I've gotten more self-critical over the years. I wouldn't have cropped that hard on the chaffinch because it is showing up the lens. This is a chiffchaff that is cropped as far as it can be taken. It is a similar composition to yours but it won't stand further enlargement. It is a fond memory, actually from the day I attended a bird photography workshop, and I keep the picture and have it printed out too. Apologies for the signature on the pic - I pulled it off Flickr rather than making a new copy.

    [​IMG]BV9R0015.jpg by Pete, on Flickr
  8. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    The two sentences do not link.That is hardly a definition of a perfectionist. A perfectionist might care passionately about the memory and want it as exact as possible.
    EightBitTony, Zou and Roger Hicks like this.
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Yes I can understand that point of view.
  10. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    But we got the intention :)
  11. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    It is always worth shooting memories. Even if they are lacking in detail.
    Over time memories would become more fuzzy than a photograph anyway....
    A photograph can bring back more than the image. In oure minds eye it can bring back the warmth of the sun, bird song and even the memories of friends long departed. Even fuzzy photographs are magical things.
    tonyfromalnwick likes this.
  12. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    "Do you care more about quality or just capturing the moment?"

    Well, it usually isn't a simple binary choice... but in a situation in which the choice WAS binary, I'd have no hesitation whatsoever in preferring 'capturing the moment'.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  13. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    As I have well ropy eyesight, even with glasses (especially if I go out wearing my reading glasses :rolleyes:), I find my little pocket camera useful for bird identification. OK, it only has a 200mm equivalent lens so I have to crop like mad and the image quality suffers, but it does show up things I might otherwise miss.

    Like this one. I had recognised the mistle thrush, but wondered why it was squawking and shaking its wings about. Turned out that the tree also had a load of goldfinches in it, and it apparently didn't want to share its perch. I didn't know they were goldfinches until I did the crop and saw the one sitting above the thrush.

    peterba likes this.
  14. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    I'm with Milke - different according to the circumstances and use.
    As a dedicated Natural History photographer i'm looking for quality for 99% of the time and everything you read about NH photography will emphasize quality. BUT have a look at the picture below.

    Not even the blindest photographer would think that the picture had any quality - but it's probably the most important picture I've ever taken. The reason is that it proves (along with others in the series) that there's a breeding population of the Dainty Damselfly in the UK - the species was thought to be extinct in the UK since 1976.

    So even in a genre that demands quality there are times when the image, any image, comes first.


    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  15. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I'm greedy and ideally I want both technical quality and some kind of emotional investment in the shot, whether it's capturing the moment, preserving a memory or whatever. It ultimately depends on the intended audience of the shot though. I might take a terrible photograph in technical terms but keep it and love it because of what it stands for - but probably would choose not to share it with anyone else. Or, MickkLL has given us a perfect example of something that is important because of WHAT it represents, not how. I have few pictures of birds because mostly I don't have the patience for that kind of thing. One exception is a shot I happened to take on holiday in France when a bird was taking berries from the tree outside our tent, hopping down onto the ground and eating them in the undergrowth. I'd been reading a book in the sun with my camera nearby and somehow managed to grab a shot of the bird, beak wide open, berry looking like it might choke the thing. I think the eyes were well out of focus and there was probably a lump of twig in an unfortunate position but because it captured a very precise moment, I quite liked the pic. I'd have to dig out an old hard drive now if I wanted to share it here, and I don't know that I like it enough for that so it falls into the category of 'snap' for me. I still strive to take 'good' snaps though! If it's for something more - part of a project, a book, answer to a brief...well then I woudl take the time to keep trying until I got both techncial quality and a sense of the moment. AFterall, with digital, there's not often an excuse for not having both.
  16. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Tough choice on occasions (as others have said)
    Personally if it's a grab then so be it, if I'm lucky and get reasonable quality as well then that is a definite Brucey Bonus.
    My speciality (by accident rather than intention) appears to be "The Quirks" which doesn't necessarily lend itself to quality (excuses excuses :rolleyes:)
    Done_rundleCams likes this.
  17. alfbranch

    alfbranch Well-Known Member

    It all depends what are doing and why. The shot below was taken with my Lomography Knostructor with its 5cm f10 plastic lens. all things considered I am happy with it.

    [​IMG]Konstruktor-roll-1001 by Alf Branch, on Flickr
    Done_rundleCams likes this.
  18. alfbranch

    alfbranch Well-Known Member

    I am no bird photographer and I am not aiming to be but when I bother I try to get decent results

    [​IMG]Jackdaw 2 by Alf Branch, on Flickr
  19. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    As an enthusiast for me it's principally about quality - though I'd be the first to admit I rarely achieve it...:rolleyes::D

    And then are we talking quality in terms of subject, composition, technique or all at once? A photograph that is well composed or of significant historical/factual/documentary value may be forgiven poor technique image quality rather more readily than a technically perfect photo of a dull or bland subject or a scene that's been poorly composed.
    Done_rundleCams likes this.
  20. jimh

    jimh Well-Known Member

    Went on a round trip to the Arctic Circle and beyond to see the Northern Lights, just saw a slight lightening of the clouds that we put down to a bright moon. Then somebody took a shot on their phone and we realised there were green flashes in the sky! The best shots were 8secs/f2.8/iso800 on a compact,(Nikon P7100) why can't they be seen with the naked eye? By the way two people were using tripods on a pitching boat because that was the advice in a leaflet handed out!?
    Done_rundleCams likes this.

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