Kaleidoscope 4/40: But what does that even mean?

Kaleidoscope 4/40: But what does that even mean?
A highly questionable technical drawing of a kaleidoscope by DALL-E

I have lots of 'secrets' for learning, and perhaps the most important is 'Go ahead, ask the dumb question.'

Asking 'dumb' questions often sounds like:

But what does that even mean?

I remember when first learning about filmmaking feeling utterly confused about the exposure triangle. People kept explaining them in relationship... and the whole triangle metaphor was not helping me.

Finally, exasperated, I just kept digging into actually trying to understand it, in real life - What does that mean? But what even is that? What does it look like?

Once I got someone to explain them to me, physically, exposure (time) and aperture (size of opening) were easy to understand and manipulate.

But ISO still eluded me. Everyone kept telling me is the sensitivity of the sensor... but what does that mean?

And then I learned that ISO comes from the time that actual film was used and that the way that they would actually add different chemicals to the unexposed film to make them more or less sensitive to light — and lightbulb moment for me!

Honestly, I still don't think that I actually understand how ISO on a digital camera works — if you know, drop me a note!

Turns out, I'm not the first to realize the power of understanding words and concepts at a basic level.

In the early 20th century, Johnson O’Connor, a Harvard man with a background in astronomical mathematics was tasked with discerning the common traits of General Electric's most successful employees, which evolved into a lifelong devotion to understanding human talents.

Through all his research, O'Connor made a striking discovery: vocabulary level was the best predictor of success across all fields.

O'Connor became fascinated with language and believed that words, as tools of thought and interpretation, enhance our cognitive abilities, allowing for more nuanced understanding and better decision-making, ultimately driving higher achievement levels.

Turns out when you want to understand – the exposure triangle, how your parter is feeling that day or how artificial intelligence actually works... actually understanding the words that are being used is a great place to start.

Which is why I always give myself permission to ask the silly question.

Until tomorrow,