Monday, 20 July 2015

On tools and technique

Photo of Bellagio by me
Bit of a parable about chasing silver bullets ...

I have been a keen photographer since mid-2008 when I got my first SLR. Since then I have taken tens of thousands of photos, practising my technique and getting used to the tools available - for example natural light, flashes or particular lenses.

Most of these photos never see the light of day and get written off as I don't like them for some reason or other, but I can't bring myself to delete them and every now and again go back and look to see what I can salvage. Each time I then fall into the trap of Gear Acquisition Syndrome!

I have been doing that recently and looking at what themes I can find in my photos and how they can be edited to fit in a series - at the same time as pricing up the latest Fuji X-T10. This time there are a couple of photos that have not only gone from the "nah" pile, but are now being shared on the Internet with other people!

So, what has changed? ... The only difference has been how I look at the photo and what I see. In the past seven years I have lusted over gear and editing tools and although I do now use Aperture over DxO - as its more suitable for my work - and I have a much better lens, ultimately I had the gear in my hand to produce a photo that I could be proud of. The effort that has paid off with improvement has been getting better at manipulating photos. I doubt the photo that illustrates this article would have been much better if I the different camera I lusted over or the more expensive lens attached that I thought I needed.

What has this got to do with software products or software development? ... well, it struck me that it was a similar situation that I have encountered in my professional life. When things aren't going "right" you might have the tools to hand to fix the problem but you might be making the wrong choices in where to invest time and energy to get the best out of existing tools.

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