We photographers love the metadata. The settings used to take a photograph seem to be just an important part of photograph as the brand of the camera used to take it.
I am guilty of that as much as the other person. After all, from day one of this blog I had some plug-in displaying the exif file (this one, currently) for interested readers. I have seen it on other blogs (on Uwe’s, for the first time), and found it looking professional. So I had one too. And it was there to stay.
Truth be told, I never have spent time studied the f-stops, shutter speeds or even ISO or focal lengths other photographers used to create their images. It simply did not make any sense to me. Yes, the aperture influences the depth of field and the shutter speed makes image sharp or implies motion, but there is so much more to it, making the particular settings useless for me unless I want to re-create exactly same image, assuming I can get the same conditions. Not to mention what lens I have available.
And yet, over and over again I hear people asking “what f-stop did you use to get this image?”. Or guidelines telling you to puts aperture and shutter information so others can learn from it. Learn what? While photography is so technical, it is creative, too. General ideas are enough, in my opinion. Large aperture for portraits and small for landscape or macro, and even this is not the case all the time. The rest, figure out by yourself, with camera in hand and checking the LCD monitor to see if you are getting what you want!
You want analogy to different art form? Nobody asks which softness of pencil or size of brush an artist used to create a sketch or a painting. In the museum, all the info you find is technique- pencil, aquarel, oil, or silver print, for photographs. Not an f-stop or focal length…
How about you? What is your opinion? I would love to hear what am I missing, especially if you think studying metadata is worthwhile?
And I dare you not to check the shutter speed I used to take this Foucault pendulum photograph in Science and Industry Museum in Chicago ;).