The phrase or term "Old School" has a number of definitions including this one:
Anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect. Can be used to refer to music, clothing, language, or anything really.
That "anything really" can certainly be photography
I am an Old School photographer, or shooter if you prefer. I try to capture a moment that will go away or I try to look at something from a different, sometimes dramatic, point of view. I try to practice what Freeman Patterson calls "The Art of Seeing".
An old school shooter's goal is to capture an image in the camera without the need for a computer editing program to create an image that, well, never really existed. A good image can be seen in the most ordinary of places. An exotic location is not a prerequisite to finding a good picture to capture. If you look hard enough you can find a good angle just about anywhere.
Recently I became involved in a live photography challenge site called Gurushots.com. It is a very interesting place where photographers of all skill levels and using all types of digital cameras, as well as digitized film, post their work. It is a friendly competition with some small awards to the winners of each challenge. I think watching the rankings and reading the comments that are left for mine and other's work is worth participating.
Winning a Gurushots challenge would be great. I have manged to reach "elite" level a couple of times and found myself in the top ten percent in a group of over four hundred photographers.
I was disappointed however with the fact that so many of the pictures that were getting a lot of votes were composites of more than one picture, or they were post produced HDR images. I plan to post more about HDR in the near future but for now let me define it for you:
High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.
In other words, you ain't gonna create an HDR image just by pointing and clicking no matter how good you are. Something has to make it for you; either a built in HDR mode (if your camera has one, and both of mine do) or you use editing software to make it. Either way it isn't old school and that means it isn't something I do very often. (I take a breath here)
Okay, now let me get back on track. Being part of Gurushots had, and still has, the benefit of getting my photographic blood running again. I realized my body of work was not extensive enough; for the simple reason that my camera spent too much time in its cozy padded bag.
I needed to sharpen my seeing skills. I needed images for the Gurushots "Shapes and Textures" challenge. With that in mind, one day, not that long ago, I took my Sony a57, a second battery, and my Sony 50mm F2.8 macro lens out of my bag. I traveled with Diane to the new Kroger Marketplace not far from us. It was having its Grand Opening. I planned on doing two things...try some free Bold Rock Pear Cider at the growler station, buy the best coffee flavored craft beer I could find, and take a bunch of really interesting pictures. Well make that three things,
I spent a lot of time walking down the isles and through all the sections of the really nice marketplace with Diane. I looked very carefully at everything. I looked with my naked eye and then I looked through the camera. If I liked what I saw I pushed the button. I have to admit I had a really good picture takin' time. I saw ordinary items in quite different and surprising ways while peering through my excellent macro lens. I saw patterns, shapes, colors, and interesting combinations of all three.
This is a slide show of the images I brought home with me, along with some really good beer.