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Tom Hicks
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · We can do better.


It's been almost 11years since I got the macro forum started , and I have seen it take on many different forms.
This forum started out as a teaching forum , Myself and a hand full of others , ( most of who have long since gone) put or hearts and soles into making this the best forum on Fred's . We challenged each other , we experimented and came up with lots of ways to inspire the next person to do their best. Years ago we had monthly contest that were judged by me or some of the other top shooters. Judging was based on Artistic creativity , not ID type shots . It saddens me that most of what I see are excellent ID shots and no thought at creating art. I have through the years entered many contest on a national level and have done very well, even besting pro's like Thomas Mangelson , and Leonard Lee Rue III. I'm sorry to say that there has not been anything posted on here in some time that would make it through the first round. Granted , most here could care less and are happy posting just sharp images of bugs, at high magnifications, to hell with artistry.

What happen to giving honest feed back on images posted here. I have tried to do that at times, trying to help that person actually improve their art, but some seem to be above that . They think they know, but in reality they don't. Just like my kids when they were younger. They are finally learning.

We need to start giving honest feed back , and get away form all the ata boy comments, they have gotten really mundane. I for one came here to learn , but sadly it has been some time since someone has taught me anything, new . I am anxiously waiting.

What ever happened to mastering the light,creating art and having your work tell the story.

Your Moderator.



Sep 05, 2013 at 05:47 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · We can do better.


Tom,

I have been a regular follower of the forum for five years and have never had any idea as to the creative ambitions for it of its originators. Perhaps some example images might be instructive?

As for critcism, I have, for a long time, viewed the comments as mostly suggesting a mutual admiration society, rather than there being much of a constructive nature.

I wonder whether limiting the number of images which can be posted per day might be a step in the right direction.

Harold




Sep 05, 2013 at 06:19 AM
plsand
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · We can do better.


Hi Tom-
I, like, and agree, with what you are saying - Years ago, I looked at each posting - To day, I only check to see who posted it, and check the few that interest me -
Thanks-
Paul



Sep 05, 2013 at 09:56 AM
bladesofgrass
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · We can do better.


Considering that this is an open forum and not heavily moderated there doesn't seem to be a real incentive to critique and offer thoughtful comments which lets face it take time and energy. I once looked to the the pffa (poetry for all) http://www.everypoet.org/pffa/ as a good example of forum structure since it is tiered, with only the best poets or in our case photographers able to post in the upper forums (as judged by their body of work and the judgment of forum moderators who are typically experienced and good judges) and the newer/unproven/less talented poets/photographers are limited to posting to the lower forums. Of course theres is a forum that is pretty moderated and participants are encouraged to offer 3 thoughtful critiques of different poems for every one that they post and failure to do so meets with deletion of their account.

All this is to say that left to one's own devices, most people are looking simply for some simple ego stroking and if they're able to get some thoughtful commentary out of it, so much the better, but are they going to invest a significant chunk of time bettering their fellow photographers? Not to mention that if I go out of my way to offer a paragraph or two of thoughtful criticism I don't think that it's wrong to expect more of a dialogue with the photographer rather than a terse thanks or "I'll take it under advisement". Ideally it should offer some though stimulating discussion.

Asking for C&C at the beginning of ones post has for me always been an invitation to offer at least a few words of advice. But if I can see that the author continues to take the same style of shot without improving or following advice then this is also a means of dissuading helpful critique.



Sep 05, 2013 at 10:18 AM
MarkB1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · We can do better.


I have run into this question at other fora. Even to the point the 'mod' didn't want to comment on 'good' pix because he couldn't criticize them. That seems to me perverse, if you want to keep a forum alive.

In response to the issue; Times change, people change. What doesn't change is the need for encouragement or acknowledgment in order for people to go on posting - which is what a forum is for primarily, for without posting there is no forum. I don't agree with your (and others) assessment this forum is a mutual admiration society, though I can see how it may look like that to some.

People post their images and if they are 'good' to my eye I will say so - as much as I post or comment these days. If I don't think they are so 'good' but the poster hasn't shown any inclination to improve over time I will still often comment positively, shortly, but I won't push any CC on them - not my place to. If the images can be improved I may also comment positively with a suggestion for improvement - if I sense an opening. The difficulty in giving CC sometimes is that the poster hasn't asked for it and to give it regardless is intrusive or even arrogant, in the circumstances. That's my take on it.

And regarding the comment above about ego stroking; I couldn't disagree more. No doubt some are only after acknowledgment without giving back but many people don't learn by reading and analysis, photography is after all a largely visual discipline, and macro has a distinct physical dimension that only practise of the right technique/s perfect. The application of theory does happen but in my experience it is a very small (in regards to time spent) but very significant part of the evolution of ones output. I remember spending 90% of time posting and looking at others images to find how to make mine better but nobody could have told me anything before its time. And that time is recognised by the poster asking the right questions, or 's/he' will just take it on and the improvement will be apparent. The upshot is if I didn't get encouragement, and from some of the best, regardless of my response or contribution, I would have stopped posting here and gone somewhere else.

Now that is something I don't see engendered here or anywhere else I post, a culture of experts in waiting who understand there is more than one way to approach the subject (skin the cat) and who are willing to do the work and be understanding of a different POV. I must say too I believe there are many experts here who are willing and able but there is no support for a culture that would enable a critical learning environment without excluding those who are not of an intellectual bent - like me, I am primarily visual.

I would suggest a sticky - a very useful tool in any forum - where the experts, those capable of teaching what they have learned from others - as we all do, contribute their idea of how they would like to see the forum like this function optimally, taking into account all categories of contributor - nobody should be left out or ignored. A sticky that is not judgmental of any poster and outlines what the forum's ethos is and how it is put into practise, and 'rules' will be broken and nobody will get on their high horse about it but may, if the poster is receptive, explain and point to the sticky. And the 'mod' should edit the superfluous posts, without consideration - a one time exertion of authority.

I, and many others I believe, have seen the need for some articulation of aims and objectives to be posted where they won't be lost in the melee and pass from the front page in a matter of days. Maybe titled; What this forum is about, including those who don't 'appear' to fit the bill.

Maybe you could invite selected experts and ask them to contribute, to draw up a manifesto for the sticky, including the contributions/analysis that supports it so people know where it comes from, what its origins are and that it is not just dogma.

I would be pleased to see something like this I have outlined, a reference/sticky of best practise written by experts (at macro, judged by their work and an ability to articulate it) to further the macro genre by appropriate attention and understanding where it is due, by ones lights.

I would delete any OT posts, it is just clutter in the scene.

My 2c.



Edited on Sep 06, 2013 at 02:50 AM · View previous versions



Sep 05, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Dalantech
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · We can do better.


I've tried Tom, only to see my own work dragged into the mud for my efforts. I've also been banned from photomacrography.net because I posted non focus stacked images and made it clear that focus stacking, and getting razor sharp images, wasn't necessary. Unfortunately for me the moderator of that forum at the time was coding his own focus stacking software...

In my experience most people are not looking for honest feedback -they want someone to tell them that they are doing just fine, even when they ask for C&C. It's obvious that they don't really want it when they post a shot that's poorly composed, poorly lit, or barely in focus. Photography is like cooking -you know it's bad without asking anyone's opinion.

I've tried before to stress composition and story telling on this forum over absolute image sharpness, and if this is the direction you want to take the forum I'll back you on it (even at the cost of my own reputation). But it's gonna get ugly before it gets better no matter how constructive the critique...

I fully agree with you: Macro as a photographic discipline is in the dumpster. It's easy for anyone to claim that they are at the top when the standards are so incredibly low. The world doesn't need another razor sharp poorly composed and poorly lit insect photo, and if you need help getting that message across then count me in.



Sep 05, 2013 at 01:02 PM
MarkB1
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · We can do better.


Dalantech wrote:
Photography is like cooking -you know it's bad without asking anyone's opinion.

The world doesn't need another razor sharp poorly composed and poorly lit insect photo, and if you need help getting that message across then count me in.


G'day John. Yes, I saw you tried and were ignored, even denigrated, but only because you didn't have a forum 'policy statement - in a sticky (top of the forum)' to support you (and others). I respectfully disagree with the first quoted statement - see above. Not many know their work is bad until they have spent enough time acquiring the necessary critical faculties, it's an evolution which, granted, not everybody is applied to - another category that has its place in a refined forum. We all have our blind spots.

For the second quote; Though we differ in our 'skinning technique' I would contribute under the right circumstances, from my experience - no use pissing in the wind - I'm sure I have a few more metaphors somewhere.

I am not one to blow my own trumpet, a symptom of my approach to learning (when the intellectual is held in highest regard, the visual intuitive approach much disregarded - the way of the world), largely non technical, but I'll throw my hat in the ring if invited. My take is articulated in my sig link and you won't find more than 10% technical.

Let's see what comes of it ...

PS One thing I would add is it should be much encouraged for posters to also comment. Some just hit and run.

PPS Tom. Trim the OT posts, they add nothing.


Edited on Sep 06, 2013 at 03:44 AM · View previous versions



Sep 05, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Reburg99
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · We can do better.


Personally I love having my images critiqued. How else am I going to know how to improve? Getting my ego stroked is great, but I get enough of that at home. I've actually just posted my first images to the site because I didn't think anything else I did was anywhere near on par with what else I was seeing. I often miss things until someone else points it out and hence I learn something else to look for.





Sep 05, 2013 at 01:58 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · We can do better.


Reburg99 wrote:
Getting my ego stroked is great, but I get enough of that at home.

Are you kidding?

I wish!



Sep 05, 2013 at 05:21 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · We can do better.


Although I am getting email notifications from other threads I have yet to receive one from this one.

Harold



Sep 05, 2013 at 05:49 PM
 

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Reburg99
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · We can do better.


, maybe I should have phrased that better


Sep 05, 2013 at 07:07 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · We can do better.


e6filmuser wrote:
Although I am getting email notifications from other threads I have yet to receive one from this one.{quote]
Problem solved. I didn't spot a reply in with a mass of emails and so did not reply to it.

Harold



Sep 05, 2013 at 07:12 PM
rocco61
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · We can do better.


I think this is the better way to improve.
It's also important that pics are supported with some EXIF ( AF, time shooting, tripod or not, flash .... )



Sep 06, 2013 at 08:56 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · We can do better.


rocco61 wrote:
It's also important that pics are supported with some EXIF ( AF, time shooting, tripod or not, flash .... )

What, no lens?

Hardware and settings data would permit comments to help the author and/or help to inform the reader's choice.

Harold



Sep 06, 2013 at 09:39 AM
birdied
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · We can do better.


I have the greatest admiration and respect for the talent that this board displays.

I, do however agree with Tom, in that the the vast majority of posts are the focus stacked close ups. Do not misunderstand, they are wonderful and I enjoy viewing them . However, since they are the majority of what is posted, one could easily get the impression that is all that is wanted on the forum.



I personally really like the artist composed shots . It is something I would love to learn more about.
Tom, I would happily post my humble attempts for critique if the forum want's those types and not just the super close ups.

You guys are so good, it can be very intimidating to post . This is only compounded when ones style of macro is not what is mainly seen on the board.

I have learned quite a bit from some of you and I am grateful to the few that took the time to help me.

I wish I had the knowledge to help those that now ask questions. I see very few responds to the direct questions or critiques if they are asked for. I don' shoot super closes up, I don' t do a lot of focus stacking, so can't help most who want to learn that.

I have only been on Fred Miranda for a couple of years . My very first post was on this board. A pure novice who wanted to learn. I don't know what changed, maybe it was me. Lately I spend most of my time on Nature and Wildlife. The difference I notice is the willingness to participate, comment, give critiques even when the style and subject matter maybe be vastly different from the poster.

If someone asks a question that has been asked and answered previously, someone replies or refers them to previous posts with a link. While it is intimidating to post in that forum as well, there are many who help people improve and encourage them to keep posting as they make efforts.

This forum helped me see and view an entirely different world. I will always be most appreciative for that. Maybe the forum does not want us novices and our bad shots. I hope that is not the case.

Birdie











Sep 06, 2013 at 01:11 PM
MarkB1
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · We can do better.


birdied wrote:
Maybe the forum does not want us novices and our bad shots. I hope that is not the case.

Birdie


Not the case Birdie. All you have to do is ask for CC and I, for one. would be happy to respond in my capacity.

Love some of your stuff, BTW.



Sep 06, 2013 at 02:40 PM
birdied
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · We can do better.


Thank you Mark, will definitely ask for CC. Your help is and always was appreciated.

Birdie



Sep 06, 2013 at 03:46 PM
MarkB1
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · We can do better.


birdied wrote:
Thank you Mark, will definitely ask for CC. Your help is and always was appreciated.

Birdie


And I must say I have witnessed your evolution, you went from ok to good and I suspect you will be a teacher of quality in time. It does take time, no getting away from that. Keep up the good work.



Sep 06, 2013 at 04:24 PM
MarkB1
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · We can do better.


I must say; technical details have their place but they are minor to the art. You learn the necessary principles ( Dalantech comes to mind) and everything else is art built on that. And in the end it's the art that counts, not the gear or tech - they are secondary though foundational.


Sep 06, 2013 at 04:34 PM
12monkeys
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · We can do better.


I started a thread on this a couple of years ago but I can't find it now. It included a survey in which something like 19 out of 20 respondents said that they really wanted constructive criticism, no matter how harsh.

I don't really post here any more because I'm bored of all the mediocrity and back-slapping. There are two things that upset me. One is when beginners post god-awful photos and people compliment them without having the kindness to point them in the right direction. The other is when some of the most talented macro photographers around mix their stunningly beautiful photographs with dross, just for the sake of posting something.

I don't think the "post your set-up" thread helps. There's an implication that macro requires lots of complicated gear to get as close to an insect as possible, with a super-sharp, huge eyeball being the ultimate goal. I haven't used my flash for about 18 months. I go out with a camera and a 100mm lens and shoot handheld. It's liberating and forces you to concentrate much more on lighting and composition. I don't think my recent pictures would win any competitions but they're much better than they used to be.



Sep 06, 2013 at 05:22 PM
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