OK, I think I now realize why I’m the only one surprised that digital photography has changed things so much.

Dan wrote:

In my experience, most people can’t count on getting more than 2-3 usable prints out of a roll of 27 shots.

Wow. If I only got 2-3 usable shots out of a roll, I’d have given up photography a long time ago.

Let’s consider our recent Extreme Squirrel Feeding outing. 21 shots. 6 were duplicates, i.e. basically the same shot as another one, and I picked the best. 8 were worth uploading. So that’s about a 50% hit rate.

For the Vegas 2003 photos, if I eliminate panorama pieces there were 91 shots initially. 7 duplicates leaves 84, and I uploaded 38. So again, about 50%, as there are a few that are perfectly good photos but just weren’t relevant to the narrative so didn’t get uploaded.

If I go back to film, the hit rate is higher, as I was more careful not to waste shots. I’m trying to shoot more with digital, but old habits are hard to break.

Partly, I think it’s that I put quite a bit of thought and planning into photos. I’ll often walk around and look at something from different angles and different positions, evaluating the light and so on, before picking the place I want to take the shot from. At that point there’s not much need for multiple exposures. Other people seem to take pictures from wherever they happen to be standing when they get the idea, and then they’ll move and realize there’s a better angle and take another photo, and another, and so on.

I don’t know which approach is better. Taking lots of shots might result in unexpected great images, and might be better for learning. On the other hand, you don’t always have the luxury of multiple takes, so sometimes you need to get ready and be in the right place ready for the photo. Plus, of course, there’s still a cost even to digital photos–time taken downloading, examining, and so on. I quickly learned that you can’t judge whether a photo is any good based on how it looks on the camera’s LCD. At best, you can eliminate a few that are so bad that the defects are visible even on the LCD.