Photography Happiness – Escaping The Numbers

If you’re a regular here you may have noticed I’m pretty fond of numbers and stats, like the activity this blog sees.

My daily routine of yoga/exercise/gratitude is packed with numbers like a Snickers is with peanuts, clocking how many press ups and squats and sun salutations I complete, amongst other things.

And with photography, I like to know what aperture I’m using, which focal length (especially with a zoom lens) and sometimes have a kind of reversed snobbery towards the number of MegaPixels my camera’s sensor boasts (usually 10 or less).

But sometimes I get tired of the numbers.

I think because my day job has been very busy lately, where numbers and performance is fairly closely tracked, I’m just weary of measuring everything.

Sometimes with my exercises, I just do as many press ups as I can before it hurts too much, then have a rest, and repeat.

And sometimes my camera choice drifts away from a hugely adjustable DSLR to a simple point and shoot like the Lumix XS1, which is very cleverly optimised to be the ultimate pocket sketchbook camera.

Power up, compose, focus, shoot. Bliss!

As the seasons turn, my camera choice usually does too, led primarily by the fact I want to shoot more b/w, and whilst my favourite colour cameras are DSLRs, my favourite b/w ones are compacts.

But these compacts seem to fit my prevailing mood too, and that yearning to let go of the numbers a little, and just enjoy the not knowing.

How about you? Which numbers matter to you in photography (if any)?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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10 thoughts on “Photography Happiness – Escaping The Numbers”

  1. Think for me photography is more about getting outdoors and being in an environment that I love then taking photos that I like to look at. Not so much about the numbers but then maybe would be a way to improve my photography.

    1. I complete agree about photography being an excuse almost to go walking. I love getting out and walking anyway, but when I can combine this with photography, it’s double edged pleasure.

  2. Hi Dan, I do like peeking at the stats from time to time but I wouldn’t say it matters to me as such, it’s out of curiosity really (which parts of the world are engaged in the blog activity etc). Otherwise I’d say the numbers that matter are the ones on my Fuji (f/stop, aperture, Iso) that’s about it. I never liked math in school and in general numbers give me headaches to be honest so I don’t pay that much attention to them…:)

    1. I guess I take it for granted now, but yes when you look at all the different countries people visit from it’s incredible. When I was a child there was hardly any communication with anyone in another land, except perhaps a pen pal across the channel in mainland Europe… The global village we now live in!

  3. Numbers are interesting to me when other people talk about them and sometimes I think I should understand them more but I’m a stories and feelings kind of person.

  4. I agree with Yuri, aperture/shutter speed/ISO are all the numbers that really matter in photography. Everything else is over-complicating things, I think…
    Ken Rockwell, in a moment of lucidity, wrote an article called “Pixel Dumping” which makes a lot of sense: anything over 6MP is basically “pixel-dumped”, meaning that either the medium (print or screen) or our eyes, won’t recognize anything above that – when looking at a picture as a whole.
    Which brings up the fact that once we stop pixel peeping, life in photography just gets so much simpler and happier…

    1. Yes I’ve read that before about the differences not being discernible to the human eye past a certain resolution.

      Isn’t it the same with TVs, people spend fortunes in getting one with the latest resolution, but actually they were pretty much as good as they can get a few years back?

      1. I would say that the OLED/AMOLED technology s pretty revolutionary and you can really see a difference. This in TVs and others including cell phones – AMOLED finally made it to midrange phones so I have one now and it’s a pretty dramatic difference. But after that, will we see much improvement in TV image quality? Tough to say…

      2. I think this is tainted by nostalgia, but the massive Sony Bravia CRT TV we had around the very early 2000s, hooked up to a PlayStation 2 was mind blowingly good looking at the time. Flat screen TVs, in my opinion, took absolutely years to get anywhere near that picture quality. But I know (nor really care) that much about the tech these days! We had a Panasonic plasma TV that I never thought was very good, and last year went back to Sony Bravia, which is hugely better, but aside from the size (I think 46 or 48″) I don’t think it’s any better than the old CRT Bravias!

        Perhaps it’s a bit like the argument with digital cameras, does anything look as natural as a great 6MP CCD? 🙂

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