Three-letter Acronyms for Success (TAS), TAS#1: HAC

Well, gentle reader, here’s the grand challenge in front of us…

Can I come up with a series of three letter acronyms for key ideas on how to be generally successful in life, apply them to photography, explain them in a way to make them interesting, and illustrate each with a photograph?  If I do this, will you visit this blog and read about it?

I guess we’ll find out the answer together. This series of posts will be somewhat sporadic and I’ll be using them as a filler when I don’t have a photo expedition type of blog entry to post.

Here’s the image that goes with this post – it’s a Christmas cactus bloom:
Christmas cactus bloom

OK, so let’s get started with TAS # 1.  HAC stands for “Have A Clue”.  To be successful in life and in photography too, you need to have a clue about what you’re doing.  Oh, sure, you can buy a point and shoot camera and take some good pictures, but can you do that under all conditions?  Can you do that when you need to, every time?  When one of your photos doesn’t come out, will you be able to figure out why and then do better the next time? When you’re in a football stadium or a concert will you be one of the people trying to take pictures with your point and shoot flash going off?

How do you get a clue?  How do you know what you don’t know?  Take a course or workshop, read books or magazines, talk to someone knowledgeable, join a photography club and ask questions, do research on line, read photo blogs.  Try things and see how they come out and then try variations when they don’t work.  Learn about the basics of exposure, composition, depth of field.  Keep trying and keep learning and don’t give up and don’t expect to get all the answers given to you in 5 minutes.

Once you have a clue, you still need to keep getting more and revising the ones you have, because things change.  If you thought you knew photography 5 or 10 years ago, guess what … it’s a lot different now.  You have to keep learning.  All of your clues are a good foundation for continued learning, but learn you must.  For example, if you grew up with film your brain might be conditioned to think of exposure as aperture and shutter speed – film speed was fixed for the whole role of film.  Well guess what, now days it’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – we can vary the ISO sensitivity for each exposure.  You have to keep learning or you might not think about things like changing the ISO.

OK, is that enough words on this?  The point is, to be successful you have to have a basic knowledge of what you’re doing and then you have to keep building on that knowledge.

Now, back to the related image at the top of the post.  See if you have a clue about what’s going on with depth of field in this image.  If you think you know the answer, post a comment.  I’ll grade your answers after the TAS #2 blog entry goes up.

To help you get started gathering your clues, here are some photo blogs where you can learn about photography:

Digital Photography School
Luminous Landscape
Photofocus (link no longer available)
Nature Photographer magazine (link no longer available)
Thom Hogan

©2009, Ed Rosack.  All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Three-letter Acronyms for Success (TAS), TAS#1: HAC

  1. Hi,

    Well, the “secret” to this image is that it’s got impossible depth of field. It’s made up of multiple photographs. I took several photos of the flower with different focus points in each one. Then I opened all of them in Photoshop and made a composite image by cloning the sharp portions of each into a single image.

    I understand that CS4 (which I don’t have) can do this automagically today.


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