October marks seven years in business for Craig Augustine Photography. I am thankful every day that I am able to work at something I have a passion for. Back in high school and then college, my photographer instructors laid the technical foundation for what I take for granted today. From film to digital, the interplay of F stops and shutter speeds still provide the map to create and capture images. When I first started making photographs with serious intent, I was using a Cannon AT-1, a film camera that was introduced in 1977. Film’s ISO’s at that time were much less sensitive than that of professional digital cameras of today. I routinely shoot at ISO 800 to begin with and often shoot at 1600 -3200 when light is low. If I was shooting film at 3200, I could expect a very grainy image, with no post production at the back end. (Photoshop was not invented yet).
I was in a local camera store recently to get my sensor cleaned on my Nikon D800 and in talking to the owner, he said that he is seeing millennials using and buying film. I thought that was odd. (I know they are interested in vinyl LP’s, maybe this is just another hipster thing!) Working in the digital world for almost 20 years, and seeing the unbelievable improvements in resolution, ISO and post production capabilities, I could see no reason to go back to film for any reason. There are filters that can even approximate various film types from back in the day. I thought about it a while and then realized a few reasons to possibly go back: Besides the nostalgic fun of handling my clear edged, aluminum and nubby leathered AE-1 again, the entire process of making a photograph is much more deliberate. Film costs money and with only 36 frames to work with at a time, the opportunity to THINK and really LOOK before pressing the shutter is one reason to do it again. Another reason might be to break myself of the habit of checking the image in the back of the camera after EVERY shot. I think it takes me out of the visual “zone” I get into while shooting. It is an interruption. To resist this temptation, I made it a little harder by turning off the “review image” option in the menu on my D800. So maybe as a training tool, a tool to slow myself down and think a little longer before pressing.
When I first arrived in the Fox Valley and began working in an established studio, much of our work was industrial documentation of new machinery in plants before the units got “dirty” with production use. Newly manufactured machinery was also photographed at it’s source before it was packed up and shipped to the customer. Now that consumer digital cameras are so good, (one only has to put it on the AUTO setting and fire away) and the latest smartphones can capture wonderful images, the work of industrial documentation dropped off. The sales person for the company can go out to a big box store and spend a few hundred dollars, learn to use the camera over a weekend and do the documentation theirselves. That’s fine. A professional is still needed for website images, sell sheets, trade show images, lifestyle, business portraits, healthcare, etc, etc.
Over the years, knowledge of lighting, composition, crowd control, post production, timing, and the changing technology have provided me with the tools to continue doing what I do, and enjoying the ride! To all my clients over these past seven years…Thank You!