Lot’s of time to kill… smokes… a bit of jd… oh, and music… thats pretty much it.
Fortigurn… I’m nowhere near the level where I actually plan shots and know exactly how thing will end up… In fact, I find myself wingin it most of the time and end up experimenting with what has worked for me (or not)… lots of trial and error… and lots of getting the images by chance. More often than not, I don’t end up with the shots I was hoping for.
As far as technique goes… There are no standard set of rules, or certain ways of doing things when it comes to the way I do things hehe. If anything, I’ll just shoot a scene like 10 different ways (via camera settings) just in case I miss something… then I’ll “digitally develop” the images another 10 more different ways to see what worked for what… sometimes the shots come out pretty good straight out of the camera and not much has to be done besides the RAW conversion… other times I’ll get caught up in the processing while experimenting with stuff and end up having to walk away for a bit hehe…
I’m not much of a book reader so you can forget manuals, books, instuctionals, etc… they aren’t exactly my thing as far as learning photography goes (Those silly step by step tutorials never work for me anyways). I actually get more out of the photos than I do the actual “words” that describe them… whether it be a set of instructions, descriptions, or story.
The only exception to book reading would probably be Ansel Adam’s technical books series (the one’s he wrote)… his autobiography is pretty cool too. Be warned though, his technical books are better suited for rocket scientists!! Not sure if he was a photographer or scientist – prolly both! If anything, I’ll read his books and pretend I understand any of it just to get a sort of placebo effect out of it lol.
If you’re into books though, I’d recommend the older film type books over the digital books regardless of whether you shoot film or digital. They just seem to be written with a bit more wisdom than the cookie cutter digital books are. I’ve flipped through pretty much every digital book I could find in the book stores and they all seem to be the same shit. Most of the film stuff will translate to digital… for example zone system to histogram. PageOne is pretty good if your looking for film books.
I spend a lot of time at the bookstores flippin through different mags, photo books, lookin for inspiration 'n stuff like that. And I don’t just go through materials classified under photography either… In fact, I flip through a lot of fashion mags to get an idea of how models are shot / lit up… or art mags to check out the latest trends for example. National geographic, Time, USnews, etc to get an idea of photo illustration, etc…
Surf mags are my favorite cuz it’s something I could relate to. I could more or less tell by looking at a surf mag shot, if the photographer knows anything about Surfing… it makes it easier for me to understand what was going on in his head when he made the shot. In other words, it’s easier to reverse engineer a shot when you could relate, or are familar to the subject matter. Seems to works for me. Something you could try is examining a photo that has something to do with what you could relate to… then think about how it could have been shot differently, or your take of it… There’s a cool book on the shelves right now with nothing but Taipei101 shots… gives you different perspectives of it and shows you how the same thing can be shot a hundred different ways.
After a while of doing that, you sorta develop an eye for things… what works, what doesnt, oldschool or newschool, classic or played out, boring or cool, different stuff, weird stuff, etc, etc… Of course the sense style is all subjective but there are things I like more than others… and I sort of just follow the stuff I like… seems to work for me. I’m not much of a critic though, and I do appreciate most of what I see out there… but I usually keep my eyes peeled for the “different” stuff. As far as whether I coiuld put it down on print is a totally different story… I guess that just takes a lot of practice and shooting.
I think BP pretty much summed it up in eight paragraphs less than I did hehe…