The Beginning


Times Square, NYC.

T

he beginning. The very first time. I was traveling in New York City with a couple of friends. When we got to Times Square I started making a few pictures. One of those friends, a well thought of National Geographic photographer — a real one, not one of those who had the luck to have one picture published in the magazine — taught me a new technique.

It is just a simple way of exposing slide film — Fuji Velvia — in this case, at night without a tripod is to set the camera at f 5.6 for two seconds and let nature take its course. That formula works for film rated at 50 ISO. You make adjustments for different films.

The photograph was made entirely in-camera. No post production except for a little clean up. No crops. No color changes. No tinkering. In those days you had to make sure that the subject you wanted, as you wanted, filled the frame of the slide.

It also changed the way that I worked.

This is a good lesson for us today.

Many photographers buy high megapixel cameras of 48 MP or more. That’s a marketing term. It’s meaningless unless you consider the quality of and size of the sensor. Sheesh, my smartphone makes a 36.7 megapixel file. But, the sensor is the size of my pinky fingernail. It’s just computational photography. Math expands the file, but it isn’t real.

If I were buying a large megapixel camera I would be making huge prints. Prints that are a minimum of 8×10. Feet, not inches. That’s the only reason I would do it. But, many photographers buy them because they can make radical crops to their image file.

That’s craziness.

Fill the frame with the subject you want either by walking closer to it, or by using a longer lens. Can’t afford a longer lens? Rent one.

There is a real difference in the optics of a cropped frame and an image made with the proper lens.

I dunno.

That’s just me.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at Ray@Laskowitzpicturess.com or Pictures34@me.com. For a quick look at my work please go to www.laskowitzpictures.com.

4 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. I agree. However, even with a longer lens or the inability of getting closer you still can’t fill the frame. This is particularly true with bird photography. In many cases, I have to crop. I do use Topaz AI software to reduce the noise and increase sharpness. Life is not perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure you can. The guys who do it for a living — although for the life of me I don’t know what their market is these days — carry a 600 or 800mm lens with extenders. They hike to where they want to work and go from there. I have a friend who retired after a long engineering career and hikes with a 400mm lens and seems to do pretty well based on what I see on Facebook. It’s a matter of motivation, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t forget about the rental comment. I don’t own any long glass anymore. If for some reason I need something, I just rent it. I’m just magic with an ancient Nikon 400mm f 3.5. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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