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It?s all about the science


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Itís all about the science

20 Dec 2021 7:09PM   Views : 428 Unique : 294


Iím starting my blog up again daily, more or less, and this piece explains why. Iím going to need something to fill the time when Iíd normally be socialising and working with models. Some of you may want extra diversion from the routine of a lockdown world. Works for all of us.

As photographers, we rely on science and engineering. Although we donít want to understand exactly how the sensor in our camera works, we rely on a small number of people understanding the process, and actually being passionate about it. We trust them to know how to make our cameras work, and work well.


The slightly-disparaging word for people who understand arcane stuff is Ďgeeksí Ė Iím an internal audit geek myself. The crucial thing about geekhood is that when the chips of any particular type are down, we turn to the relevant geek. In October 1997, when there were a series of allegations about theft and fraud in one department of the council I worked for, that was me.

Suddenly, the leader of the council, several directors and the chief executive really wanted to know what I thought about the situation, and what we should do. It took me aback Ė by several steps. They knew that responding to the problem required that every political and managerial decision needed to be taken in the light of the way the investigation had to run. The professional guidance for internal audit in the public sector mattered. Suddenly, the Nolan Principles had legs. (If you donít know about them, please look them up. Simple, straightforward, incontrovertibly right: how people in the public sector should behave, now and then. Pretty good for the private sector as well, actually.)


As our country heads into another lockdown, we all need to look to the scientists (the virologists and epidemiologists), and to as the doctors and nurses, and the administrators who manage hospitals and can predict when we run out of beds, drugs, and ventilators. They wonít always be right, but they will be right much more often than the rest of us.

As we trust the engineers and science geeks to make our cameras take good pictures, we should look to the science geeks to tell us how to stay safe. My observation is that most people started wearing masks indoors in public spaces a couple of weeks back: thatís good. More may be necessary, and Iíve withdrawn from a long-planned social photographic event on Wednesday evening because it feels like an excessive risk to me and my family Ė as well as to the other people who would be present.

And treat yourself to a few hours learning a new processing technique over Christmas. You know it makes sense.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
20 Dec 2021 7:11PM
The images are randomly chosen - but each of them relies on amazingly clever technology to get from my imagination to your screen. And also on Kirstie Black (top) and Klashnekoff) bottom, of course!

Tomorrow's blog will be more purely photographic, I promise.
Imageryonly Avatar
Imageryonly Plus
4 208 11 United Kingdom
20 Dec 2021 8:28PM
Sorry, Rant over before it began !!!
Just note I am in 100% agreement with both you and your actions.
Have a Healthy Holiday,
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
20 Dec 2021 9:56PM
Let the scientists et on with what they know and can do. A little technical knowledge does help here and there (e.g. for white balance) but knowing the chemistry involved in film photography for example (such as dyes and colour couplers) won't improe your photography. In the same way knoledge about the exotic semiconductor materials and manufacturing steps used in sensors memory cards and displays won't either, but having spent quite a number of years dealing with that technology it is fascinaing. I prediced 25 years ago that LEDs would become the dominant light siurce.

And a welcome back for your inner bloger.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2064 England
20 Dec 2021 9:58PM
It's odd how much people trust in science and technology when they're flying higher than the air is breathable, or using the internet, but not in some other contexts.

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