Never Skip the Basics

I have been crossing this bridge every single working day for over the past two years, and every single time I did I always had the same thought in mind: "Where on earth did so many cars come from?"

Taken by resting the PEN on the hand railing at the edge of the bridge.
Olympus PEN E-PL1, IS Off, Anti-Shock 2 seconds, 15 sec long exposure, F/16, ISO 200.

There are many "new generation" photographers these days over-emphasizing solely on the artistic side of photography. It is crucial to acknowledge and understand the fact that photography is not one hundred percent art. I agree to create a great photograph is to create art. Nonetheless, without technology, there is no camera and lenses, and subsequently no photography to begin with.

Basic technical understandings of photography is important, and should NEVER be skipped. Understanding of light is extremely important. How to control the camera exposure, the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO should not be overlooked. A lot of photographers would openly argue that the technical control of the camera are not as important, or can be neglected in comparison to the artistic sense and vision. Yes, I agree to go far in photography, you need to dive deep into the artistic side. However, do not try to run before you can even crawl !!

Take a step back, take your time to sharpen your weapon, and learn how to wield it skillfully, before throwing yourself into the battlefield.

Unfortunately, these days many people would spend thousands of dollars getting a DSLR/(insert other types of expensive camera system of your choice) with a plethora of even more expensive lenses, almost have zero knowledge on how to use the camera system, just went out, pointed, shot a few shots, and expected miracles to happen.

Like many beginners out there, I did my homework. I read up on shutter speed, aperture, ISO, White Balance, Metering, Composition techniques, lighting, etc etc, did uncountable times of experimentations, starting with cheap, budget point and shoot cameras, and unintentionally killed three in the process of learning, to grasp some fundamentals of photography. I took my time to slowly gain my understanding on how the camera works, and how to make the camera do my biddings. It took me years and years of patience, diligence and practice to master certain techniques and photography skills. I admit, I am a slow learner, but I never, NEVER skipped my basics. I learned to walk, before I ran.

We all want to be able to create that wonderful image of our idol photographer (insert some insanely famous professional photographer of your choice), but I am sure that your idol photographer did not create that wonderful image in his very first encounter with photography. I myself am still terribly new to photography (a few years of experience is nothing), and there is so much more for myself to learn and explore. The journey is never-ending, and there is no finish line.

Hence, I sincerely hope many of my readers who are new to photography would have patience. There is a lot to learn, but if your heart is in the right place, you will be driven passionately to learn. Like I said, NEVER, never skip the basics. My only question is, why don't you start from there?

Of course, while you are at it, do not forget to have fun doing what you do !!


  1. Great blog entry! One should first know the technical side of things, then start thinking about artistic images. 100% agree.

  2. Thanks Bartosz !!
    Technical basics in photography should not be overlooked. Especially dealing with cameras with many controls and settings. It is like, how can a person drive a car if he does not even know how to steer the wheel properly?

  3. Awesome shot. I am going to shoot from that same spot when I write about the topic next time.

    Gotta agree with what you wrote, wholeheartedly. You can learn all sorts of photography but you can't run away from the basics and yet everyone took it for granted.

  4. Bartosz Dawidowski5/12/2011 04:39:00 AM

    My new photo:

    Awaiting your opinion :)

  5. Hello Daniel,
    Thanks !!

    Hey Jason,
    Thanks for the reaffirmation. Basics are important, no question about that. When will you be going to the bridge? Do let me know.

  6. Hello Bartosz,
    I like the overall colour tone of the golden sun. The dust just added the drama to the shot.
    However, just my personal opinion, I would avoid the wooden fence (I am not too sure what that was) at the bottom left and right, if possible. I find them distracting. Do note that was just my own personal preference, and I understand that probably you did not have the privilege to go that near.

  7. Magficent shot Robin! Am really impressed how the Olympus PEN performs. Very inspiring photograph indeed. Hopefully one of these days you can write a book about Olympus Photography and sell it on your website. Excellent job!

  8. Hello Eric,
    thanks, you are being too kind!!!
    I am still quite new to photography, maybe many years from now I will be able to produce that book. Thanks so much for such generous words of encouragement.

  9. Aha! I know where is this place! :P

  10. Hey chong,
    lol its too obvious is it not?

  11. Nah... Only those who pass through that area would know. Nice shot, btw. :D

  12. Thanks for the opinion Robin! I liked those fences (horses jump over them) so I deciced to include them in the photo. This way viewer knows that it's a horse training ground :) Please feel free to criticise my work. If you find something ugly just tell it :)

  13. Hello bartosz,
    dont worry there was never anything ugly in your photos, they were all beautiful!! Sometimes I would not comment on certain things because they may be subjective and we know that everyone has different thoughts.

  14. Hi Robin

    What about these

    Kind regards ;-)

  15. Man, i love photos like this.. I thik its only able to be made by DSLR or high end pc =(

  16. Bro, i love photos like this(the road image).. While light is important, its difficult to control em when using a normal Minicam. I hope to have a DSLR next year.. but yeah.. its a hope..

  17. Cyril,
    I have shot the similar image, at the same location, with my Panasonic Lumix DMC LZ8 which i think you also had and have sold off.

    take a look at the following blog entry: