Monday, June 30, 2014

What Did You Do To This Image?

Some friends ask me that all the time. They assume (naturally or not) that I must have messed with the original image in some way. Often they can see that I've done "something" because it's pretty darn obvious. Flip back through a few posts and you'll see several examples. But! Sometimes an image looks pretty straight and it's been worked to death. I get a kick out of those who say "I like to get it right in the camera". I like to get a well exposed digital negative. Today's digital negative is a digital positive, but what I'm getting at is that I like to get all the information I need on a properly exposed NEF file. (If I'm going for a straight image and not some HDR thing.) If you go to the "absolute" people who want the image to magically come out of the camera ready to go, do you know who you'd be eliminating? How about Ansel Adams? Bill Eppridge. Alfred Stieglitz. Any of the masters of film photography. Adams is quoted as saying "thee negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways. Read more at . I was at a talk by Bill Eppridge (look him up) and he explained that he spent the entire day in the darkroom one time making print after print until he got the image he saw in his head. He wasn't just clicking the enlarger's light on and off. He was "creating" his final image by burning and dodging small areas of the print. He mapped out what tone should be in what exact tones he knew were there. There's more to today's image than there is in many of my more obvious manipulations. To find out more about today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Aim To The Right

"Aim to the right"?  Sounds like I'm coaching somebody at a rifle range.  I typically use two methods when I'm out shooting (photographically) for my personal use.  If I see something that might make a good (interesting) HDR image I'll set the camera to take five, seven or nine shots one F-stop apart.  I "always" (99% of the time) have my camera set to -.3 EV (Exposure Value), so the images come out on 1/3 increments.  (-.3, -1.3, -2.3...)  That way I have choices as to what exposures to select.  If I'm shooting something that probably wouldn't lend itself to HDR I'll switch up the settings.  I'll go no more than five shots and set the F-stops to .3 separation.  That way I'll have one exposure that I think will give me the optimum density.  Today's image is one of those that probably would not be "enhanced" by HDR.  It was shot with option two, the .3 stop steps.  It was taken in bright sunlight at the absolute worst time of the day.  My choices were very dense, where I'd have to bring back the shadows or pretty light, where I'd have to tone down the wildly overexposed areas.  To find out which option I chose and why, hit the Read More.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

How To Get More Interesting Images

Well, the easy answer is "go to more interesting places".  It's an old truism, but it is something that works.  About a month ago Doris (wife) said she wanted to go to the Lancaster Pennsylvania area over Memorial Day weekend.  Okay, Lancaster equals Amish.  Amish farms.  Amish buggies.  Flat brimmed straw hats.  Buttoned up (sometimes not) white (also sometimes not) shirts.  Beards and bonnets and horses along the highways (not the interstates).  Some things are contradictory.  The Amish won't ride a car or use a tractor to till the fields, but a weed whacker with a motor is okay.  There's no electricity to the house or farm, but that doesn't mean all the houses are old farm houses.  Some were absolutely modern in appearance.  Imagine a couple coming at you in a horse drawn buggy and the driver and passenger are wearing the latest in Oakley sunglasses.  One thing all these opposites do is mess up a "vintage" look images.  We noticed the thoroughly modern juxtaposed against the eighteenth century.  If nothing else, it was entertaining.

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