Sharpen Your Photographic Axe

We’ve all heard the story about the young axeman who thought he could fell more trees than the old lumberjack. So he challenged the old man to a head-to-head competition. Throughout the day the old man would always cut down more trees per hour than the youngster. The harder the young man worked, the more trees the old codger would cut. The challenger would work non-stop and yet the old man would best him. What was worse that even though the young man would work without a stop, the seasoned veteran would take regular breaks!

Finally the challenger decided to see what the old man was doing on these breaks. He had to be cheating somehow.

At the next break he followed the old man back to the camp. What he saw amazed him. Rather than kicking back and relaxing the old axeman went right to the grinding wheel and spent his time sharpening his axe. When the veteran returned to cutting trees he did so with a knowledge that his axe was the best it could be for the task at hand.

We all know who won: the old lumberjack with the sharp axe.


Fog Over Gin Lake a limited edition photograph on canvas.

Photography is like that too. Not that old men always win, but that the person with the sharpened skills and vision will create superior images. We have all seen an inexperienced photographer create a stunning image. And you say, doesn’t that disprove the point? No, it does not. For as with the lumberjacks if the competition had been to fell one tree the young man may have won. But the competition was over time. And over time the person with the skills and vision will turn out superior results.

Yesterday I spent significant time setting up and calibrating a panorama rail. Not exciting photography. But now when I set out to shoot panoramas I know that my camera and lens will be the best it can be for the job. Sharpening the axe can mean spending time reading your manual or going online to learn a new technique. If you want to learn about calibrating a panorama rail go click here and see how the people at Really Right Stuff do it.

Now I can’t wait to create some amazing panoramas in the field. I wish you a good week and urge you to spend a few minutes sharpening your photographic axe.