Nikon Forum Members = Average Photographers

JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
edited July 2015 in General Discussions
I know I'm going to take a LOT of heat on this but as I've looked over the Nikon Photo-a-Day links I've found that, by in large, there aren't a lot of good photographers around here (myself included - so please, don't presume arrogance on my part).

Does anybody else get the same feeling? There are usually a few nice ones in there but if you take what is being posted here and say move over to Flickr or 500px and take a look at even just the popular photos there you'll see what I consider to be a pretty big gap between IQ there and here.

Am I wrong? Right? No offense aimed at anybody in particular but I can't help but wonder if folks here just concern themselves too much with gear and not enough to taking and processing photos.

Again... I'm just throwing this thought out for discussion, curiosity, and feedback folks. Please don't take offense if you post in there regularly.
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Comments

  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    Pretty much bang on, I think.

    I have maybe one or two 'winners' a year, which make my hobby worthwhile to me. But I am not a 'great' photographer. Nor am I a full-time one.

    Then again, everyone starts somewhere. :)
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I feel like the stuff I'm posting these days is better than what I posted a year ago. And the pictures I shot last year are a little better than the ones before that. And so on. I think that's about all you can ask for. I don't make a living doing this (thank God) so I'm ok with incremental improvement. My friends and family like what I shoot, I sell a few here and there, which is just gravy.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    Yes, we are quite average with perhaps an above average interest in the gear. But that is not unusual and it is still interesting and helpful to us.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    And I would add that most everyone here works pretty hard on their craft and appears to be earnestly trying to improve, which you have to respect. I learn something every week from pretty much everyone here — some technical some artistic.
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    How can we help each other get better? There's plenty of room/time to debate optics and camera body functions but let's face it, if we had to take one camera and a set of lenses and in the rest of our lifetime neither would be improved we'd still be insanely fortunate to have these tools to work with..
  • rmprmp Posts: 547Member
    To me "average photos" have changed over time.

    In 2007 I took a trip with a D200. I took over 2000 pictures. 135 survived as three-star or four-star rated and ended up in a self-published, coffee-table book. I have never taken what I call a five-star photo.

    After that trip, I joined two photo clubs and some where along the way stared reading this forum.

    I just finished a trip to Hawaii with a D810. I took just under 2000 pictures. Just over 200 photos survived as three or four star rated. I have not produced a photo-book, yet.

    I just compared the two sets of photos. The newer set has better compositions, better dynamic rage, and are clearly better technically: what should be sharp is sharp, what should be blurred is blurred, bokeh is good.

    Today, I would call the photos from the last trip "average" and that means I must call my photos from 2007 below average. I still like those old below average photos. Still, I have never taken what I would call a 5-star photo.

    I am willing to bet, everyone reading this forum can tell the same story.
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited July 2015
    While there are some photos on PAD which are quite outstanding, there are also some who simply want to produce a "snapshot" which looks like anyone could have taken it. And, I think one of the purposes of the forum is to allow folks to improve their photographic skills, no matter where any of us start that process.

    RMP describes the progression well....

    Of course our primary goal is just to have fun....IMO
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    Image critiques are ok... I've always found that critiquing an image is kind of tricky in that you can always find something wrong with a picture and then of course there is always that element of beauty in the eyes of the beholder...

    It would help to identify what makes a great image great? @RMP, what is a 5 star photo to you?
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited July 2015
    The thread you are referring to is photo a day...kind of hard for every picture 365 days a year to be amazing. Lots of times I just put things up I found interesting. However I will say as others have said that I think my work has improved over time.

    That being said there are some pretty damn good phtographers on here. From wildlife to portraits and landscapes. The pictures you speak of on Flickr and 500px are a small pool of a huge millions and millions of pictures. I am usually impressed when I look through the PAD thread. I like to showcase everyone's best in the best shot of the year thread around Christmas time.
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    While there are some photos on PAD which are quite outstanding, there are also some who simply want to produce a "snapshot" which looks like anyone could have taken it. And, I think one of the purposes of the forum is to allow folks to improve their photographic skills, no matter where any of us start that process.

    RMP describes the progression well....

    Of course our primary goal is just to have fun....IMO
    Absolutely, and clearly there are photographers at different levels here... (Where has PitchBlack been?).

    If the goal is to improve.... It would be nice to find a way we can all help each other out and actually have something to show for the time spent here... :)
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    The thread you are referring to is photo a day...kind of hard for every picture 365 days a year to be amazing. Lots of times I just put things up I found interesting. However I will say as others have said that I think my work has improved over time.

    That being said there are some pretty damn good phtographers on here. From wildlife to portraits and landscapes. The pictures you speak of on Flickr and 500px are a small pool of a huge millions and millions of pictures. I am usually impressed when I look through the PAD thread. I like to showcase everyone's best in the best shot of the year thread around Christmas time.
    I don't disagree with thus but at the same time I can say that just because it's a photo-a-day forum doesn't obligate somebody to post 365 photos in there. The better stuff does tend to be in the wildlife and landscape realm for sure..
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,223Member
    Sure we are average, that's okay. Great photographers didn't get the way over night, they learned those skills over many years. Most of the really good, consistent photographers, I know are more artistic and don't pay much attention to the technical details as much as we do. We've also lost some very good photographers from this group, who we were learning a lot from, due to some trolls, but that kind of stuff just happens sometimes.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • rmprmp Posts: 547Member
    JonMcGuffin asked what I would call a 5-star photo. First, as always, .. be careful what you ask for. :D

    I think a 5-star photo could also be called a fine art photo.
    “A fine art photograph is a photograph that
    invokes an emotion in the viewer
    and shows mastery of every step in the creative process.”


    Of course the "invokes an emotion" is the hard part and the most creative.

    I am very lucky, I have several landscape and cityscape photos that grace the walls of relatives homes. Those relatives treat the photos as art which make them remember a particular event. Those photos may rise to the level of a five-star rating, for those relatives. But, those same photos will not (I don't think) raise any emotions in a stranger and I rate those photos as 4-star.

    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    IF you look at the various threads started and participated in on Nikon Rumors Forum they are long on equipment and short on composition, technique and critique. Knowing which is the sharpest lens has nothing to do with knowing how to produce a really great photo.
  • jonnyapplejonnyapple Posts: 130Moderator
    This is pretty fair criticism, @JonMcGuffin. I love some of the photos that people post here and other things I could take or leave. It's very rare that there's anything wrong with them technically, though.

    What I love about this forum is that people generally keep it civil and know what they're talking about, and I think there is a place for people who might care more about specs than shooting that photo that will make them rich. I can't tell you how many times someone has started the same thread to have the members here kindly answer it, then we never hear back from them—presumably because they got their problem solved. I know that's what forums are for and it doesn't really bother me, but some of those people are probably the ones taking the "five-star" images on flickr! It's good that there are people who are willing to know gear inside and out and pretty selflessly share what they know.

    My sister was a big influence on getting me started in photography. I started post-processing some of the weddings she would shoot because she was feeling overwhelmed. Then I shot second camera at some weddings and eventually started doing them on my own. This forum would have put her to sleep because the technical side of photography didn't interest her except the bare minimum to get certain effects she was looking for. I never got as good as she was and I'm okay with that, as well. I know I mentioned her back when I posted regularly here. She passed away this year in May after a long battle with skin cancer.

    I'm with @rmp: I'm not into photography for the money. I'm flattered on those rare times when people ask me for prints, and I've documented my kids' lives really, really well. My five-star images contain the five-star people in my life and they wouldn't mean as much to most other people. I know that my gear is more than adequate for what I want to do, but it's still fun to have a hobby where I feel like I can create something or convey something about how I see the world.

    Flipping through circa 1990 Nat Geo issues, I point to a lot of the images and say, "I could take that shot." The bar has been raised along with gear's capabilities, but you could argue that lower-res platforms like instagram and facebook have lowered expectations among most "normal" people as well.

    Sorry for the long post. Coming from me, it's nothing really new.
    CC is welcome. DC is also welcome when I deserve it.
  • JonMcGuffinJonMcGuffin Posts: 312Member
    IF you look at the various threads started and participated in on Nikon Rumors Forum they are long on equipment and short on composition, technique and critique. Knowing which is the sharpest lens has nothing to do with knowing how to produce a really great photo.
    I'll throw myself into that crowd....
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,181Member
    @JonMcGuffin re Pitchblack.. he decided to leave because he hated the pro DX thread ..

    Regarding PAD pictures.. I mentioned it before .. I really dont mind the "average" images.. I like them because you see what caught the photographers eye / interest.. you can decide for your self how you could do it better and learn from it. OR it may be spectacular and think I couldn't do that and challenge yourself to learn how to.. I go to another site that provides critique for every image posted (you can opt out in or opt in your sig) .. some crap critique and some good critique .. its for you to decide which is crap and which is not.. you do learn a lot that way. but our PAD has decided that there is no critique and I am ok with that ..it does promote postings as I know some people take critique personally ( not to put them down, its just part of their natural makeup (hence the words agreeable and disagreeable) )

    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,300Member
    edited July 2015
    Have you checked out nikon, Zeiss, Leica images photo gallery portal by any chance? It's usually hit or miss as well. However, I agree with tcole1983 in that it's pretty hard to upload a fantastic image 365 days of the year. I do think there is a lot of talent on this forum though. Some nice images and a lot of great advice, links and ideas. The photo a day link is a good way for people to share images with each other I think.
    Post edited by kanuck on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,293Moderator
    I have actually started this thread a couple of times before but deleted my first post because I didn't want to rock the boat. Kudos to you Jon for starting it in such a non-confrontational way.

    It has mostly been covered above very nicely, but I will add this: When I have managed to take an image that may qualify as 'fine art' or excellent (yes, I have managed one or two ;-) ), it has been taken at a time when the gear has been the very last thing on my mind, and so I find that ordinary shots come when I am thinking too much about the gear. Added to that I also can now see better the images that I think are great for the wrong reasons that others think are average. Doubtless my time spent judging others images for external competitions at my club has helped that, but I am sure PAD has helped. I think it is within the scope of this thread to give some examples, and I'm feeling brave so here goes:

    I liked this image because I rescued it from a grotty shot with an untidy background and reflections of people who wouldn't get out of shot:

    Buick Electra 225

    It would not win any prizes anywhere!

    I liked this image because the Amalfi coast is such a rugged, beautiful area of Italy:

    Amalfi

    It is a good holiday snap, but that's it!

    This image has done well and I think does qualify as fine art just about:

    Goin' shootin'

    I never thought about the gear at all, just getting the shot posed and shot while the light was there.
    Always learning.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,293Moderator
    Also, I will add that the most technical people here that know all the answers aren't necessarily the best photographers. They know the 'how' and 'why', but that doesn't automatically make them the best photographers.

    Another point raised above is about professionals: Professionals are usually quick to admit that they are not jacks of all trades, but they are - and have to be - very good at their chosen area of expertise. I have a friend who is an excellent wedding and portrait photographer, but who admits he doesn't know how to shoot night shots or macro for instance.
    Always learning.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited July 2015
    Maybe scan through this thread. Although all pictures might not be amazing, the person that posted them had their reason for it being their favorite for the year.

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/3718/your-best-of-2014/p1

    I also think it really depends on what ones likes to shoot and what they are good at as spraynpray says. I would say I am pretty average and get lucky every once in a while.

    Here are my top 5 popular pictures on Flickr according to Flickr which I have 830 pictures uploaded:

    1) Ok I think this one is pretty bad A ;-)
    DSC_0050

    2) I like this one, but I think it is more the emotion and environmental aspect
    DSC_0113

    3) This was with my S31 and I think because it has the word Mexico in it, it gets tons of views...2174 of them
    Mexico 069

    4) I like this one. I put it in the 2014 best of the year thread last year
    DSC_0138-1

    5) I have a large print of this one hanging in my house.
    DSC_0001-1
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    No matter how much people try to improve their photography technique, almost half of them will be below average. ;)

    So if the photographs posted by the majority of our members are average, we are going pretty good, actually.
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • framerframer Posts: 491Member
    PAD was not meant IMHO to be for super great photos but for the practice of photography.

    framer
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    spraynpray: I fully agree with your own critique of the three photos you posted. Why? The light falling on the subject and my personal preference for warm light, leather and wood.

    Here are a few of mine in a similar vein.

    The lines of a car:
    DON_5745 - Copy

    Scenic:
    DON_5511wb

    Leather and wood but the lighting is not as good as yours was:
    DSC_1521

    Unusual and good atmospheric lighting makes the photo when the subject and composition are otherwise quite ordinary (I used Topaz Impressions to create the brush strokes):
    WinterEveChesterCountyOil1
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