The title of this post reminds me of when I was a kid and we had a whapping 2 tv channels to chose from. When one would go out for some unknown reason on the stations end the dreaded “Technical Difficulties” screen would come up, do I dare say, the good old days?

The prospect of technical difficulties is much more apparent these days, everything we do, have, consume has some sort of technology attached to it. We aren’t immediately notified of difficulties in such the case as 1960’s television but we deal with it just the same. If your like me you love the technology, the gizmos, gadgets ease of changing the channels, reading the news, sharing your life with folks from around the world if you so desire. In most cases the difficulties it brings are ones of inconvenience when something doesn’t work. What I would like to touch on is the difficulties technology brings to the photographer or more accurately the growing, learning photographer.

There are boat loads of books, articles, videos on “how to take good pictures” or “how to become a better photographer”. I admit they capture my attention and many times drag me in for a few moments just to see what path someone is going to take in order to help others become a better photographer. More times than not the techniques are the path in which others go down, sharing the technical aspects of knowing your camera typically aperture, shutter, composition etc. or more accurately “knowing your camera” as opposed to “how to become a better photographer”.

So what does one need to know in order to become a better photographer? To me the answer is simple. Stop worrying about your camera and start understanding what compels you to take a photograph in the first place. How does one develop the knack of taking good pictures, simply being observant doesn’t seem to be enough. Furthermore your camera has nothing to do with it, technique is simply a burden to get out of the way so you can free yourself to make images that are compelling. Many people mistakenly think mastering simple techniques such as shutter, aperture, depth of field and the like is to know about photography. It has as little to do with photography as someone who knows how to type being able to write a great novel. Ansel Adams is quoted in his biography as saying,   “I am not a scientist, I consider myself an artist who employs certain techniques to free my vision”.

Free yourself from the technical aspect of taking a picture and allow yourself to have a curious vision of the world around you, your camera won’t be able to help you with that and truth be known some people simply are not able to do that. At least to the level necessary to create good photography. I’m not a psychologist so don’t ask me why this is I simply am aware of those who try but seem to fall short. In passing I will mention photography is subjective and just because one person finds an image to be lacking by no means should it be considered bad. But do you want to take photographs that some may find lacking, or make images that brings out humble emotions to those who view them.

Don’t put your camera down take pictures, lots and lots of pictures, and keep the book handy in case you need it, but don’t rely on your camera to make good images, only to capture them once they have been discovered.

FHWS 3158967

© Brad Mangas