Thursday, September 4, 2014

TMI? - lessons from a caterpillar

by Linda

camera settings: 100mm, f8, 1/60sec, ISO 800, processed in Lightroom using my own preset then PSE for type-"Talking to the Moon"


Recently, a well known business magnate and inventor did something controversial and smart. He gave away some of his patents. And it wasn't the first time. At a news conference, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla motors, said he was opening up his patents for electric car technology so others could give it a go. (I'm paraphrasing) If you don't know what a Tesla is go here, it is one sexy electric car I wouldn't mind seeing in my garage, but I digress.

Seems crazy, right? Why would someone give away something like that?

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most prolific inventors in history. He built many devices that were designed to help improve or solve everyday problems. Some of his inventions, like bifocal glasses, are well-known, while others are more obscure. Of the numerous inventions Franklin created, he did not patent a single one.

Franklin believed that "As we benefit from the inventions of others, we should be glad to share our own...freely and gladly."

For a photographer, all the settings we use on the camera to capture a shot, all the tweeks and twerks we go through as we edit could be our "secret" shhh! Our "patent" for the image we create. Yes, we do create images, from conception till final processing, our images are created by us, they come from us, they are our own ideas, the visions we see that are expressed in each photograph. So, we can't tell anyone how we did it! Or could we?

One of my guilty pleasures is perusing photos on places like flickr. When one especially catches my eye, I will go to the exif of that photo. (exif is metadata, the settings, equipment, copyright, software and more of a photograph on flickr, you have the option to include it or not) I want to know as much as I can about how that photo was created. Things like lens, aperture, shutter speed and ISO at least are what I am looking for. Sometimes the owner will post processing information in the description. I love that. I learn from all that. When exif is not available, I'm a little bummed out.

Could I go out and create the exact same image now that I possess all the relevant information?


Could I go out and create a similar image with all the relevant information?


Do I want to recreate exactly an image I see?


I have always thought that if 10 people stood together and used the same equipment, same settings, and had the same subject the resulting image would be different each time. Like my caterpillar picture above, now that you have the information, could you take that same picture? (who knew caterpillars were so smart!)

So why not share the exif data? I understand that sometimes there is personal information you don't want to share to everyone, but what is wrong with sharing the basics?

If sharing settings/processing I used helps someone else, good. Maybe sharing this information could result in someone learning something new about their camera and maybe they will create something amazing!

Do you share?


"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
 ~Benjamin Franklin



Kim Stevens said...

First, I love you queen caterpillar...of course!! :)

Second, wonderful post. YES, I share, why not - just like you said they can't duplicate that exact moment, heck I can't even duplicate something I did. And believe me there is one photo I have tried over and over again to recreate (there is probably a story in there somewhere). I think if you really don't want someone to duplicate it, and someone will try, we shouldn't post them at all. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

kelly said...

beautiful shot linda! and yes i like to share my exif data. and even my processes on flickr and my personal blog. because the way i see, in the beginning of my photography journey, i was a HUGE consumer of online information. from photography to post-processing. i took in everything i could find. so i think it's only right to give back.

Anonymous said...

Linda, this post resonates my feelings about this subject! I never understood why someone would want to duplicate others work…plus what kind of reward or accomplishment would that be? I also go to flicker to get ideas for aperture, lens, etc. thats how I learn. I love it when others share their tricks of the trade! Like Kim said, its almost impossible to recreate your own work! Its like taking photos of sunsets…no two are ever alike! Great post, and I love your caterpillar photo!

Deanna said...

Wonderful post, Linda and stunning image. Thank you so much for "sharing" all this information with us. I think as a group of FOL women we like to share, we like to gain knowledge from each other as well as others. I can't tell you how many times I have googled info from the web and from YouTube and from those who blog and share. And then there is Pinterest, where I can spend hours and hours searching valuable info gained from others.

Dotti said...

What a beautiful photo, Linda! I can't believe you got such stunning bokeh at f/8 aperture. Amazing! We are about sharing here and like Kelly, I gobbled up everything I could when I first started my online journey. Were it not for others sharing their knowledge and techniques, I wouldn't be here today. So, now, true confession ... I'm heading over to Flickr to change my settings to show my exif data.

terriporter said...

Oh, definitely, I have learned to much from people who are generous enough to share. I was searching Google Images one day for the name of a certain cactus flower and came across a website where the gentleman had a folder of images he called Photo Paintings. I emailed him to see how he processed his images to look like that and I couldn't believe how helpful he was! Could I recreate his images? No, but I spent a long time trying and in the process I learned how to use Photoshop filters and created some beautiful images. I think sharing what you do and how you do it is more common among photographers, or maybe I have just been exposed to those who do. I believe that learning from others is how we improve our craft and being willing to share is how we pass that on to others. Great post and amazing photo! That bokeh is to die for!

Sarah Huizenga said...

I love to share. I think it would be a fun experiment to try that 10 people shooting the same thing idea.

Liz said...

What a gorgeous image!
Yes, I share EXIF data on both Flickr, 500px and often in Instagram (especially my long exposures). I don't have an issue with sharing details, editing information, etc. I learned the basics of shooting images by trial and error and also via assistance from others. I don't understand photographers who keep secrets (but maybe that's just me). My motto is "Pay it forward".

Kate said...

i used to not share my EXIF data, but then decided that if i go to look for other's data, then it's only fair that i share my own, and if i can help someone else just starting out, then all the better.

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