A few days ago, I posted a piece about deliberate practice. I asserted, but did not defend, the position that that technique can help your photography. Today I’d like to take on what I consider to be the easy part of the argument: that some of photography consists of motor skills, and, since deliberate practice has a demonstrated track record with those, that it can help photographers.
Back when I was starting to use a view camera, I found that I was missing the light because it took me too long to set it up. I practiced unpacking the camera, setting it up and centering the movements, taking it back down. and packing it up over and over. It helped a lot. That was before I’d ever heard of deliberate practice. If I had to do that today, I’d spend a lot more time on the analysis and tightening down the problem parts of the task and less on mind-numbing repetition.
Same with changing lenses. Each body has its own tricks, and you use a different technique for collar-mounted lenses than those that you mount by hand to the camera. In the digital era, speed in lens changing is even more important than it was in the film days, because the more time your camera is open, the more opportunity for dust to get inside.
Can you find the tripod collar locking screw by feel on every lens you own? Can you adjust the locks and gears on your tripod heads without thinking about it? I stumble sometimes on both of those.
If I haven’t convinced you, let me know why not. If I’ve made an OK case, but you’re still not gonna do any overt practicing, let me know about that. If you’re going to practice something I haven’t mentioned here, sing out.