Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photographic Numbers

Three of my favorite numbers are 7, 8, 9. Why? Because they're the uniform numbers of my three, all-time, greatest baseball heroes: Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Roger Maris, respectively.

Numbers often play notable, sometimes superstitious roles in people's lives and for various reasons-- you know, like "Lucky 7" and "Unlucky 13" or trying to be "#1" and things that "come in 3s."

Numbers are also a big part of our photography pursuits. All kinds of numbers! Some of them we recount to describe a variety of things, some of them we simply like or prefer for personal reasons.

As an example, I like/prefer the number 100. In fact, I place a fair amount of belief in the number 100 because it's my preferred ISO for shooting pretty girls. Sure, other numbers might produce equally good results. (Or results that are nearly indistinguishable from one ISO number to the next... until the number gets a little too high, of course.) Still, I like ISO 100 and I generally stick to it whenever I can. Obviously, I sometimes choose other ISO numbers for various reasons but my preference, the ISO number I like shooting with best, remains 100.

The number 8 is also a much favored number of mine, as in ƒ/8. I'm also fond of the number 125 for shutter speeds, especially when I'm shooting with strobes.

I used to be quite fond of the numbers 24 and 36 because of their associations with the numbers of exposures contained in rolls of film. But, since I don't shoot film these days and haven't for a while, the numbers 24 and 36 have been relegated more to nostalgic and sentimental fondness than anything else.

Two ascending numbers, 85 and 135, are very cool numbers and faves of mine. They happen to be focal lengths I'm somewhat enamored with, especially for shooting models and other portrait subjects. I suppose I should also include the number 50 in that ascension of numbers I just mentioned. There's plenty of times the number 50 can be a reliable work-horse of a focal-length number, for shooting portraiture or lots of other things.

As photographers, we often mention numbers when talking about many aspects of our work, be it ISO, exposure, focal lengths, and more. Often, our talk is of an objective and technical nature. Other times, it's of a decidedly subjective nature. I've already used numbers both ways in this update, objectively and subjectively. Mostly, in fact, at the same time.

Camera model numbers come up in photo discussions often enough. Sometimes within the context of positive words, other times in not so positive ways. I, for instance, shoot with a Canon camera... a Canon 5D. I really like my Canon 5D! So, I suppose I might include the number 5 amongst my favored numbers. Leastwise, till I purchase another camera, one that I end up liking as much or more than my 5D and one which may end up having different nomenclature which doesn't include the number 5. Or, maybe it will?

Course, the best number of all is the number 1, for photography and in many other ways. As a shooter, the number 1 represents that one shot I might snap amongst a much larger number of shots. It's the one shot, make that *the* one shot, the money shot, the one that trumps the rest of them. Like you, I'm always hoping to snap that 1 (one) shot that rules them all. Sometimes, I know when I've snapped it. Other times, it seems elusive or doesn't always scream out at me. During those times, I end up trying this or that, all the while convincing myself that one shot, *the* shot, is only 1 shot away.

The bad girl at the top is Aurora. As far as favorite numbers go -- besides those which would be used to describe her figure, that is -- I snapped it with my camera set to ISO 100. The aperture wasn't a whole number for this one. Instead, it was 5.6. The shutter speed was 125 and the focal length was that old, reliable, 50mm. Instead of the number 5, which describes my Canon camera, this particular photo was snapped with the number 20, i.e., a Canon 20D, which is my backup number, I mean camera.

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