Actually, the actual line came from one of my favorite all time movies, On the Waterfront from one of my all time favorite actors, Marlon Brando. Here is the actual scene for those old enough to remember it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GGVDVrIcM
I’m writing this post as a result from another of my students taking my online class with the PPSOP just telling me that the Histogram is a great tool for figuring out the proper exposure.. It’s also come up a number of times when during one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’ve walked up to a fellow photographer during the last rays of golden light coming from a beautiful sunset and he was studying the histogram on the back of his camera.
“What????? Are you kidding me?????” I say to them. Ok, let me get this straight, they’re standing there looking at some diagram on the back of their camera, deciding if the exposure is correct? When there’s seconds of great light left? You do know what could and will probably happen…right? When they decide on the right exposure, the light will be gone. Light is so fleeting, that even for someone like me who has made light the number one priority in his photography over the past forty-four years, and is damn good at it, still has to react quick ( as in very quick) to get the shot.
I can say that in all these years, I’ve never thought about a Histogram, or any device created by the Digital Dork Gods that are suppose to make you a better photographer. What about these insane yet comical blinking lights that they also put on the back of your camera…why? So you won’t clip the highlights. Why would these digital dork Gods want to put these helpful tools on the back? To lead you down a one-way ticket to mediocrity. Why would you want to take a normal picture with a averaged exposure that a Histogram will do for you? I suppose it’s the safe thing to do, and to me safe means average.
Be a student of light and exposure, and the best way to achieve that is to learn how to bracket. Learn the shutter speed/aperture combinations, know when to overexpose more and when to underexpose more. Yes, I know that you really don’t need to know all that because that’s what Lightroom is for. Knowing how to adjust exposure in front of a monitor will definitely make you a better computer artist/digital technician but why not strive to be a better photographer. When it’s all said and done, twenty, thirty, or forty years down the road, you won’t have a clue as to what makes a good photo. What makes your pictures stand out from all the others.
In all these photos, including the one above, If I had looked at a Histogram to decide on what exposure looked the best, I would have lost the light and the shot in every one of them.
Btw, all these photos were created by bracketing and are all created in the camera, not sitting in front of a computer.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have a couple of openings in my Springtime in Portugal workshop. Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. It’s a great place to spend a week immersing yourself in your passion…without any interruptions. I have two spots left in my “Autumn in Provence “ workshop next October 21st. An incredible experience seeing this part of the country during the Fall foliage.
In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group of photographers to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll be able to see and shoot photos you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.
Come shoot with me sometime…like Marlon Brando, be a contender.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gtmail.com and receive a video critique of your image.