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12-04-2014, 04:29 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Capture what You see and sense - Holy Grail chaise?

Hi to You all!

I take/shoot pictures more then 30 years, mostly for my fun, but made some money too.
When I look back there are lots of bad ones, some are good but just a few photos that fulfill me...
Yesterday, I looked at "light" besides a tree in the woods... and it hit me.
No mater what I did I simply just could not take that picture truthful to what my eyes see and my senses show me.

Obliviously after a wile the light was gone (the sun was rising)

Pheraphs its like he "holly grail" search but...

HOW can a person take a picture that matches what the eyes and the senses see?

Note: I do know a person see what ever wants in a picture,
I'm not talking about technical stuff like lenses, DOF, perspective... although I know it helps... a lot

12-04-2014, 04:44 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ant11sam Quote
Hi to You all!

I take/shoot pictures more then 30 years, mostly for my fun, but made some money too.
When I look back there are lots of bad ones, some are good but just a few photos that fulfill me...
Yesterday, I looked at "light" besides a tree in the woods... and it hit me.
No mater what I did I simply just could not take that picture truthful to what my eyes see and my senses show me.

Obliviously after a wile the light was gone (the sun was rising)

Pheraphs its like he "holly grail" search but...

HOW can a person take a picture that matches what the eyes and the senses see?

Note: I do know a person see what ever wants in a picture,
I'm not talking about technical stuff like lenses, DOF, perspective... although I know it helps... a lot

A really interesting question....there is one scene that I see regularly and would live to capture as a photograph.....a moving steam train on a cold night, ideally with moonlight! The glow from the firebox lighting up the crew as they drive, the rising exhaust lit up by a flickering orange glow... the passengers in the carriages caught in dim light, some chatting or looking out of the window or sleeping...the oil lamps on the front of the loco and the rear of the train, this lights of the signals... all amazingly evocative, and very hard to catch.....my attempts so far are here https://www.flickr.com/photos/arleimages/sets/72157630845077560/


In more general terms, when I process my pictures I try to recreate my memory of the scene, which obviously means adjusting tonal balance and colours, sometimes using HDR techniques, some removal of stray objects. The result is an interpretation of "reality" but as both the original scene and the photo have been processed by me, it is true to what I saw.


That's about the best I can do I'm afraid


PS the solution to the "moving steam trains in the dark" problem is probably too expensive for me at the moment....but mirrorless full frame may be part of the answer!
12-04-2014, 05:00 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
A really interesting question....there is one scene that I see regularly and would live to capture as a photograph.....a moving steam train on a cold night, ideally with moonlight!*snip*
Well... you could get better results than the (already fantastic) ones you got with a fast UWA, like the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 24mm f/1.4, but I see some pictures you took were at 16mm...
So yeah a FF would probably help...

As for the OP, on the technical side, all cameras take fantastic pictures in good light, just a few can be used to take good pictures in bad light... shooting backlit trees taxes lenses and camera tech a lot...
And as far as the metaphysics of it all... some technically awful pictures just hit the mark so... who knows?
12-04-2014, 05:08 AM   #4
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There have been numerous scientific documentaries on how we humans see and perceive the world around us. Our eyes are not simply recording an image as a camera does but our brains are processing and interpreting the image to give us a perception of reality that is often quite different that what is physically there. The camera simply cannot render a scene in the same way that our eyes and brains do. We have to use composition, exposure and processing to interpret the scene to convey what we are seeing in our minds. Sometimes it's a near impossible task but we keep trying.

12-04-2014, 05:25 AM   #5
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hm.. i would say the problem when experiencing such a situation is that you can feel the warming up of the sun beams hitting you through the tree/branches. You can feel the wind on your skin, you can hear the leafes rustle, you can fell the vibration of a train passing you, you can smell the steam or the rotten moss. to summ it up you are able to capture the moment with all your senses but the camera just cant. It can take the visual / color / light information. There is no wind blowing and no "warming up" out of the screen okay after some long shooting the camera/sensor/screen may heat up but thats a different story...:-) Maybe in future there will be 4d screens....

I think from what i have seen on the web so far is that the pictures taken with MF are what can give the most wow effect. I think its due to the increased dynamic range. So what we APS-C or FF users can do is tweaking/pushing the dynamic range upwards..
the target of capturing such a moment is to find "the way to the brain" with the picture and composition so that your (or who ever is looking at the picture) memories can be triggered and you may experience the situation again or can interpret the situation.

Sorry for any typos or wrong use of words not my mothers tongue..

Last edited by max_pyne; 12-04-2014 at 05:26 AM. Reason: dakight was faster :-)
12-04-2014, 05:26 AM   #6
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A very evocative set of images Stephen, I find the black and white ones particularly atmospheric.
As we all know, Winston O Link was the master of night steam train photography but his techniques would be imposable
to emulate. It would be interesting to see how a mirrorless camera would perform.
12-04-2014, 05:30 AM   #7
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there is no way of taking a picture of what your eyes and senses saw. You can only take a picture what your mind made out of it.
whatever you see, and remember will be affected greatly by your mood at the moment you took the shot and the mood that you are in while processing the picture. then there is also the factor of your memory, what do you remember of when you took the pciture. All in all, if you wnat a pciture to be what you see and sense, you have to PP it right there on the spot. Otherwise, it will be an interpetation of you memory. that's why i never will say, when showing aa picture, this is what is was when i took the picture. No it alwasy is, what I wanted it to be in the first place.
12-04-2014, 05:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ant11sam Quote
Hi to You all!

I take/shoot pictures more then 30 years, mostly for my fun, but made some money too.
When I look back there are lots of bad ones, some are good but just a few photos that fulfill me...
Yesterday, I looked at "light" besides a tree in the woods... and it hit me.
No mater what I did I simply just could not take that picture truthful to what my eyes see and my senses show me.

Obliviously after a wile the light was gone (the sun was rising)

Pheraphs its like he "holly grail" search but...

HOW can a person take a picture that matches what the eyes and the senses see?

Note: I do know a person see what ever wants in a picture,
I'm not talking about technical stuff like lenses, DOF, perspective... although I know it helps... a lot
Depends on what was missing. You don't describe that. I'm guessing the dynamic range of the camera wasn't wide enough to record the contrasts between the shadows and lights. In that case HDR (or more correctly: exposure fusion) would have done the trick.

12-04-2014, 05:36 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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This is the very reason that Fuji Velvia film is such a hit with outdoor and nature photographers. As someone who spent a major portion of his life evaluating image and color reproduction the film is a disaster from certain viewpoints. It does not render colour accurately at all. But it does add the WOW!!!! factor to the image.

It is a film that appeals to the emotion of what you are seeing and not the reality. People have really bad colour memory. But emotions stick with you. When you first see the Grand Canyon, you go WOW!. A photograph using the old Kodachrome film would be a pretty accurate rendition of what you saw. But the rendition with Fuji Velvia film with it's intense (Exaggerated?) color palette will usually evoke a similar emotional response. Velvia plays to our memory of the experience.

I don't know if this is still true, but wedding photographers, in the US as least, had similar problems when using film. In a lot of cases the only color that mattered was that of the wedding dress. IT HAD TO BE WHITE!!!!
12-04-2014, 06:15 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by max_pyne Quote
*snip*
Maybe in future there will be 4d screens....
*snip*
4D actually already exists in 3D cameras... it's called "VIDEO mode"
12-04-2014, 10:02 AM   #11
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I've been shooting since the spring. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how I'm supposed to look at a scene or what I'm even supposed to look for, if anything, other than light and how it effects the scene. But I always look back and forth between the VF and the scene to try capturing what I'm actually looking at. It never works. The picture never looks like what I saw. I came back home after shooting this past Saturday, went to edit my photos, and was disappointed and frustrated that they didn't come out like what I saw in the woods where I was taking pictures. It was beautiful scenery - steams, tall cliffs, valleys. I was in the middle of it with my camera. I could've stood in one spot, turning around in a circle, snapping countless photos. I exited out of Lightroom and went upstairs to share my frustration with my wife. And during our conversation, I realized it's not possible to capture what you see. When I look away from the VF, I look at everything. My eyes are constantly looking and focusing on different parts of a scene. My eyes and my mind are interpreting hundreds of different subjects. The tree stump twenty feet away, the tiny ridges on the cliff, the sun shinning on one branch hanging over a moss covered rock. The blades of grass in front of that same rock. The small patch of missing grass on the right side of the rock. The line pine tree 30 feet behind the rock with the white birch tree barely poking out between the branches.
You get the idea. There's no possible way to capture all of that in a picture the way your mind does. A camera just can't take it all in. Aside from that. You're looking at a 22" screen compared to a vast world you're a part of.
So I'm sure when you were sitting and seen the sun coming down, you didn't just stare at the one spot. You looked everywhere and took in your surroundings. All in the blink of an eye and all without even realizing it. No camera will ever be able to compare to the wonders of what we see.
12-04-2014, 11:23 AM   #12
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Thank to you all for the input! Made me think a little bit..

Lovely trains StephenHampshire !!!

I'll shoot some more photos...
12-04-2014, 02:20 PM   #13
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If your goal is to capture the scene as you see it with your own eyes you will inevitably be disappointed. It can't be done. All you can do is use the tools you have to render an image that interprets the scene. Your eyes and brain together form an imaging system that renders the light in far greater dynamic range than the camera is capable of and with a field of view greater than a fisheye lens yet without the characteristic field curvature of wide angle lenses. You are capable of sorting and prioritizing the elements of the scene; emphasizing some and virtually ignoring others. The camera is hopelessly inadequate to replicate what you perceive.
12-04-2014, 02:35 PM - 1 Like   #14
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My approach to photography and art in general is to show what I want to see and obscure anything that distracts from it. So as an observer of a scene I see and feel so much more than what I can capture with the camera but maybe I don't want all of it anyway. I try to pick key elements that exemplify what I want to capture in the scene and shoot to those. It's a distillation of reality, and sometimes even an embellishment of it. Everything seems to be too much for a lot of people to observe anyway. As the artists we need to cut through the clutter and show them images that feature the good stuff.
12-04-2014, 05:14 PM   #15
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in 1975 my uncle wrote a book called :Perception and Photography". It is now in its third edition under the title "Perception and Imaging" with the subtitle Photography - A Way of Seeing. It deals with this subject. It started out as a small book in 1975 but the third edition published in 2007 is greatly expanded.

At least in the first edition I got a picture in a book with photographs by Henri Cartier Bresson, William Henry Jackson, Edward Weston, Richard Avedon and others. Luckily it didn't make it into later additions. While it did demonstrate a concept, there was no way it should be included with their works.

My uncle was Richard Zakia. He taught at Rochester Institute of Technology and authored several books dealing with everything from the technical to the psychological aspects of photography.
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