giovedì 28 febbraio 2008


What does it stand for? Well, for instance it deals with sudden situations you have to front knowing that you *can* successfully front them.
The first roll of film I shot with my father's Yashica FX-3 was a two-years-expired roll of Ilford FP4+ film, and it was easy because the FX-3 has a light meter. A light meter doesn't necessarily tell the truth, but it can safely approximate it and the vast latitude of the FP4+ film does the rest; you shoot and you get photographs. But starting from the second roll, I began shooting with the Zorki 4 rangefinder, and I hadn't a meter; I simply learnt the Sunny16 rule and started extimating how many stops the light was below than optimal. It's not, as some would think, a matter of memorizing a complex array of times and exposures, you just have to be able to tell how lower the light is than full. Esay enough. You know the starting point, all you need is a sense for dim: one stop below, two, three, oh, it's a heavy overcast, we might reach five-six stops below. Then you need practice for night shots, but it's a matter of a couple of rolls. To be honest, the first photograph I ever shot using this method (on Ilford film and my Zorki) was perfectly exposed; I had an instant confirmation by my Nikon 5700 just a minute after, but it's the neg which said it all, when I processed it and saw the result.
You develop a firm confidence in your sense for light, and a belief in the uselessness of a light meter; no, wait, "useless" is not the right term, I'd rather say "superfluous", that means it's a gadet you got but you can safely do without. Exactly. I don't care if I have to think before framing, it's ok to me, it's part of the process. And believe me as I started shooting digital, so I' not far from that vast group of photographers who rely on their huge digitally-automatized cameras and the neeed for an instant satisfaction: viewing the photograph ass soon as you shoot it.
I'm not saying it's no good; the result is what matters, indeed, and the process to get it doesn't add or subtract value to the photograph.
I just say it's not fun, to me. What's cool in pressing a button? Results can make you blind, man, if I liked to push buttons I could spend my afternoons turning on and off the lights...
And when you find yourself in front of a nice subject and you discover that the meter's batteries have just run out because you accidentally left it on - as I happened to experience a couple of days ago - you grab the camera, smile, take a look around and think: "...mmmhhh... it must be four stops below...", then quickly set the camera, frame and shoot.
It's not a concern; you got confidence.

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