Actually, I was thinking of letting Jens play 'Bad Cop' for a while...heehee. Especially since he bagged on me for being 'not so silent.' ;-)
OK, regarding this thread, I will report that both Jens and I were both a tad caught off guard, as clickykbd didn't tell us he was putting us on the spot. Imagine being rudely awoken at 4AM and forced to stand naked in front of 5,000 people...
This ISN'T like that :-)
About me: My name is David Hull. I'm a professional geologist living in Placerville, California (where it's a bit smokey at present).
I got interested in photography many years ago; a result of being a climber and skier and spending a lot of time in wild and mountainous places where one can close their eyes, point the camera, and snap a wonderful photo without much thinking. As I got a little more sophisticated over the years, I started experimenting with muliple-exposure images, and hand-held motion blurs. My wife and daughter bought me a compact digital camera for Christmas 2006, and that opened the floodgates of serious experimentation for me. A little research brought me to Ryan's Camera Toss Blog, and this flickr group, and I was hooked like a mackerel.
Over 60,000 frames later, like Jens, I'm still as fascinated as during those first weeks of tossing.
While some consider Camera Tossing to be a random, chaotic technique, I think of it more as complete order. Once the camera is out of one's hands, with no additional external influences, it behaves only in response to the laws of physics. The images produced by free flying cameras generally exhibit only extremely smooth curves and lines, something not entirely possible while a camera is in one's hands.
I've stayed with tossing as long as I have (and it really feels like a short time) because I thoroughly enjoy the iterative process of creating images using this technique; a partnership between my vision and natural processes. The entire process is a blast; the hunt for unique light sources and conditions, the various angles and DOF used to build compositions, the reproducibility of certain patterns, and the minute differences in input forces required to change the flight characteristics of the camera and the resulting image.
The collaborative aspects of the relatively small community of "serious" camera tossers has also been very encouraging and enjoyable.
As for lessons learned, there are too many to list here. Prior to engaging in toss experiments, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the photograhic parameters of exposure, aperture, film and sensor speed, and lighting conditions in general. Toss technique has increased my understanding of these parameters by an order-of-magnitude, and therein has helped me take better "normal" photos. Experiencing the various forms of distortion that can be produced by different types of shutters/recording media (slit-scan/leaf/diaphram shutters, CCD and CMOS sensors) has given me a better understanding of the technology.
More basic lessons learned: how to catch a camera and cover the lens without damaging it (think water-balloon or egg toss events). All of my tossing disasters have resulted in lens damage. The lens actuators of comact cameras are fairly wimpy and prone to damage easily, whereas I can't think of once damaging the internals of a camera (possibly a good argument FOR tossing more expensive DSLR cameras).
Use of a shutter-release timer and covering the lens during the catch are important elements of minimizing non-flight light streaks, as is selecting the appropriate exposure time.
A non-technique related lesson-learned: If you elect to experiment with toss technique, consider purchasing the no-questions-asked return/exchange policy many stores offer. It's very satisfying to walk into a store with a busted lens/camera, and walk out 5 minutes later with a new one. I've used this policy for one of my A-series Canons 6 times, and even upgraded to a newer model in the process.
As for aspirations, I'm in the tossing game for the long haul, and would like to see toss technique and the resulting images garner more exposure and be taken as a serious artistic pursuit, not just a fad hobby. I believe that the state of the art is about at this point, and the momentum in this direction is still strong, thanks to the collaborative and open nature of the community members, and the strong example set for us all by Ryan Gallagher.
Well...THAT should be enough 'non-silence' to put most to sleep, so I will close by saying I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to moderate the Camera Toss group, not only for the ultimate feeling of power over the toss surfs ;-), but for the interaction with many flickrites, and the learning experience of reviewing many, many photos.
As Jens suggests, if anyone has questions regarding toss technique, don't hesitate to ask the admin, moderators, or several other experienced photographers lurking about this group. Like most folks addicted to something, we are all good pushers.
OK, NOW...Let's Meet the Administrator! Ryan, how about giving us a little diatribe on Your pioneering involvement in this community.
Originally posted 116 months ago.
mtnrockdhh edited this topic 116 months ago.