My first ‘real’ camera was a Zenith SLR, bought on a family visit to Poland. I thought it had a spirit level on it, but eventually discovered it was a light meter! I had a lot to learn. Everything on it was manual – ASA setting, exposure time and aperture, and of course focus. No taking snap-shots. Every photo requiring a whole set of settings.
It’s quite a feat that I got some invaluable photographs.
In a modern camera you would need to disable a whole host of settings that make all these things manual. Sometimes that is helpful, pointing and shooting, but what is photographed isn’t necessarily what you are seeing.
The ability to focus, for example, means you can pick out the feature that has your attention, blurring, or placing into the background, the incidental. Then you do have a photograph of the thing you see.
There is talk of a new type of camera, with a large number of lenses, all set to be focused at different distances. You take the picture, then use your software to look through the scene at all the different focal settings. One of them will, hopefully, be the scene you are after!
We have a lens system to view the world. It can work on manual focus, or it can be tuned to a semi-automatic setting. Paul was thinking of it when he advised his readers to notice whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – focus on such things.