“f8 and be there”

Taken along the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.

Taken along the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.

Some of you may be wondering what I mean when I say “f8 and be there”. Now that saying itself is attributed Arthur “Weegee” Fellig, a world famous New York photojournalist and street photographer most known for his works in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Arthur Fellig worked in the days before auto everything on cameras, when photographers had to calculate their settings to get correct exposures. So he decided to use f8 to simplify his calculations and the f8 setting also allows for a good depth of field to help with focus issues…and coincidentally f8 (f8-f11) is also where most lenses are at their best. So basically he simplified what he had to think about when shooting. The “being there” part is simply you need to be there to get the shot.

A view from Black Rock Summit in the Shenandoah National Park.

A view from Black Rock Summit in the Shenandoah National Park.

That philosophy of simplifying and being there is one that I enjoy myself when shooting. A lot of times when I am out shooting landscape work I do keep my camera on f8 to f11 to allow for nice sharpness and depth of field in my images and to let my lenses be their best. But that saying as a “whole” is more what I am saying when I quote it.

What a view! One of my favorite places in Canaan Valley.

What a view! One of my favorite places in Canaan Valley.

For me “being there” means more than just being at the right spot at the right time with my camera in hand, it means mentally I have given thought or pre-visualized what I am about to shoot. It means I have ‘read’ the scene to understand the light I am about to shoot and thought about exposure. This is where slowing down the mind helps a lot, and this to an athlete is known as being in the zone…you are focused and ready to shoot. And yes, it means too that you must get out of the house and just simply be there *smile*.

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