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01-24-2019, 02:13 AM - 3 Likes   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I understand completely where you're coming from, and respect your opinion... However, I'd suggest it's not up to us to question the intent of the photographer in representing subject matter in a particular way. At its simplest, our job is merely to view the work aesthetically and take pleasure from it (or not, as the case may be). At a deeper level, we might also understand the story and / or messages conveyed by the image - perhaps even be challenged in our views and beliefs as a result. Here, we might reasonably take issue with the photographer's motives... Overall, though, I think it's enough for us to like or dislike a photo for any reasons we wish. Yet, the photographer's work remains as valid as any other, even if we see it as highly derivative...

As always, Mike, you are the forum's voice of calm and reason. A moderator in the true sense of the word.

01-24-2019, 02:36 AM - 1 Like   #47
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Cameras take photographs and people make art - some do it at the time of pressing the shutter, some before, some after - but at the end of the day most people are visually illiterate anyway, and won't know the difference. So you do what pleases you. And then the sun goes down.
01-24-2019, 04:04 AM - 2 Likes   #48
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This is a really tough discussion, isn't it? It is like someone arguing about cubism versus impressionism. I like a lot of the paintings that were produced by the Hudson River School and I imagine that when I am shooting landscapes, that is probably the sort of image in my mind that I am trying to achieve. I seldom get there, but I do try...

I guess in a broader sense, we often discuss post processing as if it was a bad thing. The goal is to achieve the image "straight out of camera." But straight out of camera is simply post processing using the camera's own jpeg engine. Further, using a digital graduated neutral density filter or bumping shadows or even sharpening isn't a right or wrong choice. The question is more if the photographer has a vision and whether they are using a coherent approach to achieving that image. To me, there is a point where an image moves from being a simple photograph to being a piece of graphic art. I do think as well that, particularly for young photographers, there is a tendency to go a bit over the top when pushing saturation and sharpening on images and doing HDR to the extreme. I look back at some of my older images and wonder what I was thinking, but that's the place I was then and maybe in a few years I won't like my current style of image.

In the end, I really think each one of us needs to develop vision and work hard to getting our images as close to that vision as possible. That will mean developing skills with traditional photography techniques like getting better at composition and lighting and using filters creatively. It will mean maximizing our understanding of post processing tools. But as Shakespeare said, "Above all: to thine own self be true." If we remain true to our inner vision, it may not connect with everyone on the interwebs on the way, but we will be the happiest and enjoy the process of photography far longer than if we are trying to fit ourselves into some other style we don't connect with.
01-24-2019, 04:14 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Sometimes you come across something mundane and the light is hitting it just right, and it looks really special. You go back to your PP software and you work on it until you have exploited what made it special. Now you might say it's little over the top, but, I'm making it easier for you to see what I saw, because in this case, I saw a lot of people walk right by it. They didn't appreciate what was there, and they certainly wouldn't accept this as a representation of what they saw, what they saw wasn't worth photographing. To be photographer you really need to see in different way. To them it was just a rock. While I was pretty amazed at how existing light brought out the colour a depth in the rock. (I've walked by that rock 50 times and never seen it look like that before.) I might have emphasized it a tad, but I was helping you see what I saw.



On this famous picture....
The jpeg


My favoured rendition.


The majority of the forums favoured rendition.


What actually caught my attention.


How do you argue which was subjective and which was objective? I argued that the snow was blue. Most of the forum argued the snow should have been white balanced. My focus seemed to be that what was important was the cabin and sunset, and that how the rest was portrayed was irrelevant. At this point, I can't even remember what I actually saw, except that the colour of the sky was reflected in the water as it is in my preferred rendition. The jpeg and forum rendition are not what I saw, but the majority of the forum participants thought it was. What's a guy to do? I know your eye does an automatic white balance, but there was enough yellow in the sunset to keep that from happening. There was nothing I could do to help folks understand that my preferred image was what i saw, and there's was actually a reflection of the reality, because they weren't there. Their minds were made up. The jpeg was right, mine was wrong. Why listen to the guy who was there?

In this image direct golden hour light, I had to dial things back. With the shadow in behind it was very hard to make out any detail on this bird in real life. Yet I compressed the contrast using levels and made it so you could actually see the bird. How is that not better than what I originally saw?



This is all way more complicated than it's being made out to be. In the end, "getting it right" sometimes means accentuating, and sometimes means "dialling it back". Difficult lighting conditions don't have to ruin your image. It's your job as photographer to alter it in such a way it seems true to you. You're going to make compromises but they will be compromises you can live with. The fact that another group of people want you to employ different compromises is neither here nor there. No one gets to pick your compromises for you. And one doesn't have less compromises than the other. Some like to portray ordinariness. Some try to emphasize the special qualities of the light captured as in the rock above. There is no baseline of righteousness that is "the way" a scene should be interpreted.
Hey Norm -- back to the snow -- a genuine question because I am not that often in snow. Do you feel that the snow cast is blue even when the the sky is overcast?

01-24-2019, 04:27 AM - 2 Likes   #50
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Post processing is (imho) a very important and a very large part of digital photography, the skill lies in how much is too much or not enough to produce a pleasing image. BUT....what pleases one will annoy another. It is a "how long is a piece of string argument" at the end of the day.

One of my more amusing experiences in a competition was when the judge criticised my sunset image for being over processed, over saturated, over sharpened and so forth.... when in actual fact it was simply converted from Raw to jpeg in LR, cropped and straightened...the sunset was one of those brilliant vibrant multi hued and coloured affairs that had to be seen to be believed. Obviously this judge did not believe ( & said so) that these colours actually occurred in real life. The judgeing continued and another similar image came up to be greeted with the same comments...but you could see the judge was a little off put by two over processed sunsets and the wheels of doubt were beginning to crank over.

At the conclusion of the evening I approached the judge, very politely, to point out that there was in fact no processing of colour/saturation/vibrance in the first image, only to be joined by another member who said the same thing. Turns out we had both photographed the same amazing sunset about 50km apart.

The judge was a little embarrassed and had a half hearted attempt at argument, suggesting that if anything we should have toned things down as it was unbelievable... but others also chimed in that they too had seen that particular sunset and thought both images were a good representation of what it was.....the judge beat a hasty retreat.

Damned if you do....damned if you do not.

Last edited by Mallee Boy; 01-24-2019 at 03:33 PM. Reason: gramma
01-24-2019, 04:43 AM   #51
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To be clearer... I'm not saying there can be no consensus and all opinions on art are equal. But I'm also clearly not the arbiter who gets to decide this. In reality, something as crass as your audience is what you have to fall back on. Does someone like it enough to want it? (You can be your own audience of one)
01-24-2019, 05:41 AM   #52
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I happened to come across this thread:
Another person with too much money and too much time - PentaxForums.com --
QuoteOriginally posted by Murra54 Quote
...
I thought the two images posted there were absolutely terrific pictures. No doubt the author did use postprocessing, but whether he did or not, the critical thing for me was that I couldn't tell. I didn't really care, or even think about it. I was taken with how well the bird in the first picture had been captured taking off into flight. It was only because I'd been thinking of our discussion in this thread that I got analytical. Then I noticed how well the bird had been placed within the depth of field, the focus and lighting were perfect; the textures of the materials depicted felt real to me. And in the second picture, I thought about how the random-looking arrangement of the leaves and the feather spoke about what life on this planet is like, in a more general sense. The lighting and the subject conveyed a mood of understanding the transitory nature of the natural world. That, to me, is art. It communicates something nonverbally that one could never get across in mere words. Even if the photographer didn't intend the message I received, it was my experience in looking at the pictures that made them art. I didn't have to get past the distractions of obvious technique to be able to appreciate what the photographer had captured. I saw a bird; and I saw a leaf and feather; and these things spoke to my heart.

On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for what my wife (quoting her grandmother) calls, "DAY-core". Not all visual "art" has to be aesthetically profound. Lots of the whizz-bang stuff really does look neat, and I admire the skill of the people who make it. I reckon I'm just greedy for stuff that teaches me something, so I don't have much use for the decorative arts, myself.

Clearly, I've been talking about my own point of view in all this, and there can be no right or wrong answer. And to me, the point of such a discussion is the opportunity to learn new stuff from others whose opinions I respect and value. It's not about who's good or who's bad, or whether someone's sense of self ought to be called into question because someone else has differing tastes. As has already been observed, none of us perceives reality directly, we don't see all the colors or hear all the frequencies. Each of us has built his own model of the universe in his head, and the value of sharing, both through art and discussion, some revelation of the differences among us can help us improve our own mental models. So I don't presume to be judging other peoples' work or criticizing anyone. It is my opinion that anyone who is not still changing and growing, and those trapped by the illusion that their mental model is reality, are already dead, and that life itself defines our priorities. So I'm talking about what I find helpful for me in my own journey/process as an invitation to discourse.
01-24-2019, 06:34 AM - 2 Likes   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
Take the example that we've all seen a thousand times of the beach photo at sunset, with some rocks in the foreground and an ND filter used, so that the water turns to smoke and the sky is streaked with clouds. And who knows, maybe that was the photographer's genuine emotional response to the scene that he tried to capture honestly. But I'm more inclined to think that he was only trying to reproduce a look that he's seen so many times on the internet that he thinks that's the way a good beach photo has to look. I suppose that's really what I mean when I talk about over-processing: processing for the sake of conformity rather than personal expression.
I've seen those pictures, we all have. And when I go somewhere with moving water sometimes I think "huh, that was a cool thing I saw, I wonder if I can do that myself?" It's never "if I don't take a dreamy, long-exposure water photo I won't conform to expectations." Most of the time 6-8 people are all that see my photos, and I'm the ony one who has even the slightest inclination to be a photographer. There are no expectations to conform to. I'm just trying to make something I find interesting and/or challenging.

01-24-2019, 07:21 AM - 1 Like   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
And now I'm going to get flamed by half a dozen people who love that sort of photo and dream of taking one themselves some day. I'll probably be accused of being a snob (guilty). So it goes.
If you insult people's sensibilities they tend to respond. But you didn't post an example so you're safe. I'd say, nobody really does that, but, the memory of Bob Harris lives on. But bottom line, Bob overdid everything but I enjoyed his posts. I'm not sure if criticism on the forum drove him away, but I know he wasn't happy with it. That coupled with the fact that about half the people who told me I'd done something like having sharpening artifacts were wrong, I'd suggest such opinions are best kept to themselves unless requested. The fact that someone thinks they know something doesn't mean they do.

We used to occasionally discus the garishness of "Elvis art" done on black velvet... now we can say it was over the top, but someone somewhere was making really good money selling those images. At some point, you have to ask, if people like it enough to pay for it, who cares what some internet experts opinion of it is? This is some serious nose in the air stuff. Are folks saying we should have some kind of police state where folks with those sensibilities can't buy what they want. And that people who create those types of image should be some how educated? I would suggest an education in tolerance for the snooty might be more appropriate.

For those of us for whom photograph is the pursuit of "extraordinary light" where we are actually looking for natural light in nature that some would consider over the top, you never here us telling other their work is flat and boring. Yet that type of person is more than will to share their opinion that other's work is "over the top."

It's just so odd that people who look at other folks taste as garish don't realize that the opposite opinion, that their work is flat and boring, is equally true to those people, and that the opinions of those they consider ignorant are reversed for those people standing on the other side of the divide. By your own judgements you are judged. I have not noticed that people with garish taste are in someway otherwise lacking as human beings. It's not some kind of thing where you can say "I can tell you aren't good person because you like Velvet Elvis art." People who get all superior about this stuff need an attitude adjustment.
01-24-2019, 07:22 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
Exactly my point - Adams' photography didn't get in the way of his subjects. It's because he was a brilliant photographer that people look at his pictures and think what a wonderful view of whatever that subject was; they don't stand around and ooh and ahh about how wonderfully he dodged the highlights in a particular rock. That's what I meant about the techniques and tools being unnoticable in my analogies to theatrical lighting and make-up.
QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
But, the general evaluation of Adam's is, he was a fairly mundane photographer, but a brilliant darkroom technician. His "zone system" for making and evaluating prints is evidence of his preoccupation with "post processing." BUT, one point I tried to make, he made the final image what he saw, or thought he saw, or wanted to show, not necessarily precisely what it was.
I think WPRESTO's point is very nicely demonstrated by Ansel himself and his son in this video on "Moon over Hernandez".
01-24-2019, 07:26 AM - 1 Like   #56
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LOL... The age old discussion...Who among us were at that location at the exact same time, at the exact position, looking at the same angle, with the exact same light? Who's to say what's right or wrong, I imagine the photographer in question saw, captured and recreated in the manner he visioned it in the photo posted.

I ask, how many times you've seen something rich with color that's out of the ordinary, had your exposure correct, set up your composition, snapped the photo, excitedly anticipating what it will look like then got home and see the software's rendition is not what you recall. What do you do, leave it as the computer's rendition of it is or try post processing to regain the rich colors you remember it was at the time you captured it. So you process it for what you remembered and post it for other's to see.

Ah but someone else came by there a half an hour later and snapped a photo of the same scene, the composition was alike but the colors were different and not as rich but they really liked the composition and they process theirs with less color showing in their composition.

Both get posted on the internet, so some look at yours and critique your photo as being over processed because that rich color you saw and captured isn't what most see in that scene normally opposed to the other more normal photo.

Which is correct? I say both because each is portraying the scene as the photographer captured it, remembered it and is trying to portray it.. Whether you like one over the other is a matter of interpretation. As we see some people take a scene they captured and re-colorize it in post to make it more pleasing to them. So what, to argue which is better is silly because we each have different ideas of what we like and dislike. Just because I don't care for what someone else is portraying or has done in post doesn't make theirs wrong.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 01-24-2019 at 07:33 AM.
01-24-2019, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
Just because I don't care for what someone else is portraying or has done in post doesn't make theirs wrong.
For those of us who actually seek extraordinary light, it's such a curse. Those who are content with the ordinary can take their images anywhere anytime.Those of us looking for the extraordinary tromp all over the planet looking for the possibility of extraordinary natural light. Then someone says "that doesn't look real". We are providing an opportunity. An opportunity for folks to expand their horizons as to what might be real. There is always going to be pushback against the who are for expanding one's perceptions. Most people are comfortable in their cocoons and don't even want to be exposed to a bigger reality. Push back is inevitable. But if you're choosing who to hang out with, people who push the boundaries will probably be more comfortable among people who understand what they are doing, as opposed to people who're critical on the basis of "this doesn't align with my world view."

Last edited by normhead; 01-24-2019 at 09:15 AM.
01-24-2019, 11:37 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
I think WPRESTO's point is very nicely demonstrated by Ansel himself and his son in this video on "Moon over Hernandez".
Ansel Adams Most Famous Photograph: Moon Over Hernandez - YouTube
Are we better off because Ansel dodged and burned the heck out of everything and gave us awesome photos to look at? I don't see how the answer can be anything but an enthusiastic yes. If that's not your thing, that's fine. There's a billion photos in the world, you can probably find some that you like.
01-24-2019, 11:44 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by GUB Quote
Hey Norm -- back to the snow -- a genuine question because I am not that often in snow. Do you feel that the snow cast is blue even when the the sky is overcast?
In a heavy overcast sky, to me the snow looks neutral in colour. The extreme on the other end is the sun low in a totally clear sky, here shadows will generally appear intensely blue if you're standing in the sun. But our minds are tricky. I can stand across the field from my barn on a clear day and the snow in the barn's shadow will appear intense blue, but if I walk over and stand in the shade and confine my vision so I'm only seeing stuff in the shade, it looks pretty close to neutral.

The in-between stuff can vary pretty greatly depending on the conditions, the appearance will also vary from person to person, or even between the same person's eyes (mine have a slight mismatch in their preset white balance). I won't comment specifically on Norm's photos here (especially not on the 'accuracy' as I certainly wasn't there), but I will tell you that at sunset, even with a bunch of clouds in the sky, the shadows in the snow can definitely appear blue to my eyes. Unless you have a full 180 degree view of the sky, it's not always easy to tell what the conditions were like.

As for our own subjective rendering choices, if you aren't familiar with him take a look at some of Lauren Harris' paintings. I tend to favour his gorgeous blues and am usually on the look out for miniature snow piles that somewhat mimic the feel of his bluer paintings.
01-24-2019, 11:57 AM - 1 Like   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
We used to occasionally discus the garishness of "Elvis art" done on black velvet... now we can say it was over the top, but someone somewhere was making really good money selling those images. At some point, you have to ask, if people like it enough to pay for it, who cares what some internet experts opinion of it is? This is some serious nose in the air stuff. Are folks saying we should have some kind of police state where folks with those sensibilities can't buy what they want. And that people who create those types of image should be some how educated? I would suggest an education in tolerance for the snooty might be more appropriate.
A company I used to work or in my 20s shared a rep with a man who also worked in giftware. I visited him on his stand at a trade fair once and expressed a certain low regard of the tat on display, to which he replied sagely that the advice his father had given him when he was starting out in the business, many years previously, was that "Nobody ever got rich overestimating the taste of the Great British public." That thought has stayed in my head, though I've never beeen able to bring myself to act on it
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