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The method method


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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The method method

15 Jul 2020 8:44AM   Views : 439 Unique : 305


Iíve been writing this blog for something over 100 days, and I promised myself that Iíd go on as long as lockdown lasted. In my mind, there was going to be a point at which I said that it was over, and lockdown was finished.

Itís actually a messy business, and Iím going to reflect this. I shall go on posting a blog as long as there are 100 or more views by the following morning, and I have ideas left.

However, Iíll be taking a holiday from it on days Ė like today and tomorrow Ė when Iím shooting pictures, or doing something else that takes up a major part of the day.

But I will continue on other days, and I might pen an enigmatic line or two where I donít write something fuller and with substance.

My method has, generally, been to write and post within 24 hours, often thinking up a subject and shooting images on the morning. Thatís a demanding discipline, and itís time to relax it a bit.

Tomorrow may well see an almost-interview with my friend Phil Taylor, about lenses.

For today, Iíll invite you to think about your method with a camera. Do you always do things in a set sequence, almost by instinct?

Before you leave home, do you make sure that the battery is charged and the card has space on it? Make sure you have spares, any special accessories you will need?

When you start shooting, do you check mode, ISO, settings before you take the first frame?

Or do you leave it all to chance?

If you cook, think about how you set about dinner. If you drive, consider whether you always put your seat belt on at a certain point (with me, itís between starting the engine and releasing the handbrake).

If you donít have a routine, consider devising one. Start with four or five steps, only. Tell me how it goes.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
15 Jul 2020 8:44AM
Models are Emi1 and Vampire Princess.
AltImages Avatar
AltImages 3 4
15 Jul 2020 9:14AM
Wow, 100 days already. How time flies!

As for having a 'pre-flight check' I check and have spares of everything. In part it is because at the dawn of digital I had a model shoot in her own home that, for some reason started at 10pm. I'd set up lights, backgrounds etc and then realised I'd left my memory cards (IBM Microdrives if you remember them ... and their cost) on my bedside table an hour's round trip away 😕

altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
15 Jul 2020 9:33AM
I am pretty good at checking battery, memory card, lenses, when I go out but I always end up shooting the first frame at the wrong camera setting, having set it up for something on an earlier occasion. I think it is the curse of the 'old film photographer' or button aversion.
I did once travel 30+ miles to a radio control model airfield without a transmitter!
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
15 Jul 2020 9:51AM
I tend to shoot a lot of breaking news, so I have grab bag handy. It's a fairly conventional news shooters set. Ultra wide, mid range zoom, 70 to 200. Two bodies go in, then a flash. Each body has two batteries in, the cameras have cards with sufficient capacity. Accessories are a notepad, a rubbish 2x converter and two more spare batteries.

The bodies are usually set at 400 ISO, but that's easily changed whilst walking from the car.

The specific bag content changes according to bodies. My 7D2 is the only camera I have that can link to a phone to transmit pictures, so that always lives in the bag. If it's an APS C day, a 7D goes in with EF S lenses or if it's a wide angle day one of the 5D models goes in with a full frame wide and mid range, sadly only f4.

I used to carry a tripod in the car permanently, but I'm finding that with high ISO on modern cameras it's not needed. Nowadays, high ISO is often the only way to work at a night incident. The reflective PPE and batten urg markings on emergency vehicles just throw the flash back.

There's a Think Tank waterproof cover in the car boot, as I talked a 5D in rain once, and the ashtray has a small CF card and a spare camera battery.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
15 Jul 2020 10:22AM
There's always something you would like to have packed.

Only once, when I had to change car because of a duff battery, did I leave my Alpha 900 on the back seat of the car I didn't take.

Fortunately, I had a Pentax P30 and FP4 in the bag...

Phil, you're as organised as it gets, for good reason!

Thanks, everyone.
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
15 Jul 2020 10:33AM
I like to check the setup of the camera before a shoot, even if it's just out in the garden, that the settings such as ISO are appropriate.

You've done extremely well coming up with a blog a day for so long. Like you :i have plenty in the pipeline, some already written but it's getting the images for illustration that can take time.
JJGEE Avatar
JJGEE 18 8.1k 18 England
15 Jul 2020 11:45AM
Before I go out I always clean the lenses & sensor - usually with just a blower, reformat the card and double check I have a fully charged spare battery and spare card. ( two 32GB cards are normally enough for a day out )

Also, I no longer take everything out with me, deciding on what I think might be needed so in effect I am really checking my bag for every outing.

My camera has preset options so by selecting 1,2,3 I already know what the initial settings will be so do not check them as such for the first shot.

Returning to your 100 blogs...... I recall many years ago several members done a 365/ 366 project whereby an image was uploaded every day for a year.
Pete was one contributor as was Alison ( cattyal. ) & Graham ( captivephotons )

GGAB Avatar
GGAB 7 31 1 United States
15 Jul 2020 1:25PM
If I am just going on a walk, I decide what I will focus on and only take the eq. necessary.
I pack the bag about an hour before going on the walk and check for charged batteries and clean cards.
If I will travel, I check and pack everything the night before. If it will be either much hotter or colder than in my house, I will put my bag and gear in my car the night before.
When traveling by car I will often take more gear than I will use, just in case. If flying, I am a bit more conservative.

I don't find many blogs interesting however I have checked and read yours daily.
Thank You.
GGAB Avatar
GGAB 7 31 1 United States
15 Jul 2020 1:27PM
Regarding the camera, I check all my settings before shooting.
While I use custom settings, I fine tune them before shooting.
woolybill1 Avatar
woolybill1 Plus
16 39 79 United Kingdom
15 Jul 2020 3:39PM
I believe it was Weegee whose recipe for success was "f8 and be there!" As a Micro 4/3 user I have found that f4 fits the bill for my carry-round camera which under lockdown restrictions has seldom varied.
My 'main' camera has two card slots, both always complete with cards, and two batteries (one in the grip). I always recharge the grip battery after a shoot and swap the batteries over; the one in the grip is always used first. As I like to do a recce beforehand I can choose lenses according to need, but there is always a fast prime in the complement.
With my PEN-F I only use the lightest primes (17mm f1.8, with the 12mm f2 and 45mm f1.8 just in case). This and the carry-round E-M10 only have one card slot and one battery; I've never run out of juice yet, but I do check beforehand.
Not long ago I prepared a just-in-case extra lens, drove to my destination and discovered that I had no camera to attach the lens to. Although that was in January I reckon I must have been preparing myself for the lockdown in advance Blush

Thanks enormously for your blog sequence, John. It has been in turn inspiring, instructive and nostalgic (I have no desire whatever to return to the darkroom!) and always both entertained, informed and given the grey cells some work to do. Once I began a blog; that's as far as it got.
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
15 Jul 2020 3:56PM
Does anyone pre shoot jobs in their head in advance?

It's very rare that the fisheye goes in the bag, unless I have a specific shot in mind.
Once I have the idea in my head, then all the additional stuff goes in. Two flashguns, reflectors, brollies, light stands, IR trigger, wireless trigger, 85mm if it's a portrait etc.

Thank goodness we no longer have to carry a brick of film of each type nowadays.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
15 Jul 2020 4:50PM
Jeff - using camera presets is an excellent idea - more people might consider using them...

I do post daily: there are very occasional days when a lack of Internet stops me posting anything, but otherwise, it's been 365/365 for several years. A blog is harder work, by a long way!

And there will be more: just not every day.
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
15 Jul 2020 4:59PM
OK, confession time. I have recently been leaving the cameras set to Program, 400 ISO and around 5fps.

Despite 50 years experience, for general outdoor shots it makes the same decision I would with a hand held meter.
JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
15 Jul 2020 5:50PM
What a lot of organised photographers; I have to admit I fly by the seat of my pants and get around to checking settings by the second shot (although very often grabbing an unplanned opportunity), but normally with a fell battery and empty SD card.

Many thanks for your informative blog John.

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