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03-22-2013, 02:59 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
Of course, all the images I posted could "improve", by your standards. It's all quite subjective.

For example, I could have improved contrast, improved white balance, did a bit of cropping.

But I am getting very tired of looking at over-processed images these days. Whilst they all have "punch", if every picture has "punch" that too becomes boring.

I am not against processing - I've certainly spent enough time processing. I'm just saying that lately I am going for the opposite - learning to like what is coming out of the camera. Stopping myself from fixing things.

After a while, I am discovering my eyes adjust to looking at things more naturalistically. I don't need an image taken in the evening to pop like it is taken in the daytime. At the same time, I don't need to tone down the contrast of a mid day sun. Or improve the contrast on a hazy day.

What I liked about the boathouse photo is how natural it looks - when I compare it to what I took 6 years ago (which I spent days optimising and processing) I find there is a structural integrity and authenticity that is lacking in the processed photo from a previous life (even though superficially the processed photo looks more dynamic). When I look at it, I remember how it felt like on the day, what I was thinking when I took the photo, and a whole flood of memories come back.

Just offering a different perspective on things. I know I'll rather take pictures than sitting down in front of a computer any day, so that's what I am going to choose to focus my time. Someone else I know take one photo and then spend the next three weeks refining it. As long as we're both happy, that's fine.
I have a lot of sympathy for your take. I agree that most images are too dynamic and over processed these days. Not saying that I never do it, but I do get tired of looking at most of the popular photos like on Photo Extract. I like most of your images, by the way, just in case it came across that I didn't.

03-22-2013, 03:00 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by brntoki Quote
Anyway, you had said above that you prefer to get things right in camera. This is a bit of a strange statement I hear often. I think I know what people mean, but it seems to imply that there are serious photographers who don't care about getting it right in camera, so it sounds incoherent; get it right in camera as opposed to "getting it wrong in camera? As a goal"?. Getting it right in camera means a good composition, and capturing all of the details in both the highlights and shadows, exposing to the right as comfortably as you can.
Well, I don't know what others mean if they say a statement like that, but maybe it's worth while clarifying what I mean.

I am not talking about technical details like exposure and focus. I am assuming that most serious photographers will eventually evolve to a level where most of the photos they take come out the way they intended it to. I know that is the case for me - I am rarely surprised when I view my images, they generally reflect what I was aiming for.

I am talking about taking photos that reflect the conditions at the time - including the limitations of the camera and the perspective of the lens. I tend to walk around with a prime lens, and often that will be the only lens I will use that day - in fact, I plan the day around the lens I choose to carry with me. I don't go around zooming in and out, and I don't say things like "that's fine - I'll crop the image later, or I'll fix the alignment, or I'll straighten the perspective, or whatever." I find the discipline of saying "I need to be happy with the image as is" encourages me to find creative angles and compositions. For example, rather than zooming in or cropping, I find a different composition, a different story to tell. I am not always successful, but it sometimes means I get a shot that no one else may have thought of (in the group that I take photos with).
03-22-2013, 05:02 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
I am not talking about technical details like exposure and focus. I am assuming that most serious photographers will eventually evolve to a level where most of the photos they take come out the way they intended it to. I know that is the case for me - I am rarely surprised when I view my images, they generally reflect what I was aiming for.
Right. I also intended basically, by including "composition" in my criteria, to imply that to "get it right . . ." the photographer was also trying to get an interesting capture overall, as you go on to say is the case with you.

I'm curious about your opinion: Do you think many photographers are knowingly sloppy when taking photos, thinking they can try to fix it in Photoshop? Maybe I'm too optimistic, but it is such a strange thought to me that I just can't imagine hardly anyone thinking that way. In some situations, when photographing people candidly for example (which I don't do much), I snap away knowing that Photoshop will be needed to make much of it because, well, as I said, I want it candid. Sometimes, that means doing the best with what you can control, and leaving the rest to PP: And sometimes that just doesn't work.

I got reacquainted with my 50mm the other day. Hadn't done that in quite some time. I used to shoot only primes with film, and "slipped" into digital over the last year with a camera that had a 28-280 equiv. zoom. It is very convenient, but working with the prime the other day was really nice. I'd love to go back to the primes, but man are those zooms convenient. Feet can only do so much zooming.
03-22-2013, 06:06 AM   #49
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Same lights, same subject, same shooter. One camera cost 3X the price of the other. Are they comparable? Not really, one can shoot most anything including wildlife at long ranges, and one can fit in a jacket pocket.

Maybe it is not just the camera or the shooter, but the situation? Still, I wouldn't be adverse to owning a few dozen cameras!

Shot with a "Real" camera.....
[IMG] [/IMG]

Shot with a "Toy" camera....
[IMG] [/IMG]

Regards!

03-22-2013, 06:52 AM   #50
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Rupert dude, you made her feet look big, and you colour balances are different.... still very cute shots...

QuoteQuote:
I am not talking about technical details like exposure and focus. I am assuming that most serious photographers will eventually evolve to a level where most of the photos they take come out the way they intended it to. I know that is the case for me - I am rarely surprised when I view my images, they generally reflect what I was aiming for.
That's a very dangerous assumption, proper exposure takes extreme attention to detail. and there are a number of problems you are simply ignoring. One is that your eyes adjust for color. So when I produce one of those dark blue images from an overcast day with lots of snow, my eyes didn't see it that way. My eyes colour corrects and made the scene look less blue to me. So which is the right way? The way my brain interpreted it, or the was it was technically? The way it comes from the camera is a compromise designed to cover every possible condition. You need a treatment that covers the conditions you had at the time in terms of light and colour. So, what you seem to be saying is that you've gotten so used to the compromise that you've learned to set your standards such that a compromise is acceptable. That is not the mark of a good anything, photographer, athlete , artist, accountant, take your pick, it doesn't matter.

Another issue is that even though a camera is more sensitive than your eyes in EV about 13 EV to 7 EV, your eyes can adjust very quickly. If you look into a dark area you will see detail, so in effect , your eyes can see into almost any shadow and discern detail. A completely blackened out area is not natural. You can't achieve the same dynamic range on a computer screen or a print, so you try and create an image that will allow you to discern detail every where, because that's the way your eye see's it. Art imitates life, not exactly, that's impossible, but by reducing the dynamic range, boosting the shadows and pulling back the highlights, so you have an image that is not a technical representation, but the set of compromises the artist has settled on as the best representation of what he/she saw interpreted in the light of the medium , which happens to include vastly reduced dynamic range and without PP often vastly reduced saturation and contrast.

When you say you're good with no PP, what you are really saying is you are unwilling to alter the compromises the camera manufacturer settled on, to suit the conditions of the every possible condition, and ignoring the conditions under which your image was actually taken, Which in most cases is better served by a completely different set of compromises.

So, if you're settling for what comes off the camera, it's very close to saying you're not really a photographer. Usually a photographer is someone who takes a picture from the camera, looks at it, and immediately sees the difference what he saw, emotionally, spiritually and technically, and realizes the camera didn't capture what he saw. He then alters the image to closer represent not the technical image, but the over all experience of the image. Whether that was what's there or not is irrelevant. If I look into a scene and I look into the shadows of a rock face a see a rich super-saturated colouring of wet moss, when I get home, I'm going to keep PPing that picture until the people who see that picture see what I saw when they look at the picture, and that it will be just as impressive for them looking at my image as it was for me being there. It has to nothing to do with what came off the camera, and more to do with emotional impact.

So the photographer's world is more about the possibilities inherent in a RAW file, than a compromised snapshot image of what was there. You can take snapshots with the best camera ever made and they are still snapshots. The art of photography is a little more demanding than that. It involves skill in communication.

You almost have to look at a RAW file as a partially completed canvas. You look and say "What can I do with this.?" A canvas maker makes canvasses, and when he's finished he doesn't think it's art. It's what the painter paints on it that's art. A RAW file is more like an empty canvas than a finished product. Some of the work has been done, but it can be improved, 99.9% of the time.
03-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by brntoki Quote
I'm curious about your opinion: Do you think many photographers are knowingly sloppy when taking photos, thinking they can try to fix it in Photoshop? Maybe I'm too optimistic, but it is such a strange thought to me that I just can't imagine hardly anyone thinking that way. In some situations, when photographing people candidly for example (which I don't do much), I snap away knowing that Photoshop will be needed to make much of it because, well, as I said, I want it candid. Sometimes, that means doing the best with what you can control, and leaving the rest to PP: And sometimes that just doesn't work.

I got reacquainted with my 50mm the other day. Hadn't done that in quite some time. I used to shoot only primes with film, and "slipped" into digital over the last year with a camera that had a 28-280 equiv. zoom. It is very convenient, but working with the prime the other day was really nice. I'd love to go back to the primes, but man are those zooms convenient. Feet can only do so much zooming.
I don't think photographers are "knowingly sloppy", but I know many photographers who treat the initial capture as a starting point, not the end result.

I know one photographer for example. I looked at the raw images coming off her camera, and I was surprised. They seemed so amateurish, badly composed, even poorly exposed.

Then I saw the end result several weeks later, and I went "wow!" She essentially took elements from each image, and created a processed composite that was uniquely hers, and it was amazing. I then understood what she was doing - she wasn't interested in each image as an end product - she had deliberately underexposed or overexposed to get the element she wanted, etc.

I am the opposite. Taking 50mm primes as an example, which you mentioned. Not including zooms, I have around 7-8 in my collection right now, and I have probably used at least a dozen in the last 30 years. Each lens will render the same composition differently, even with the same focal length, aperture etc.

For example, I have 4 50mm primes in M-mount alone: the Summilux, Summicron, Nokton and Zeiss Planar (I considered the Sonnar at one stage but didn't like it). Of the four, the Summicron is the best general purpose lens - it renders images very sharply with minimal distortion, and has lots of "pop." The Zeiss Planar is possibly even sharper, but with less contrast - it is a good "documentary" lens if I want to capture as much of the original scene as possible (I sometimes have a sneaking suspicion the Summicron "romanticises" a scene). The Nokton is great for low light and crazy shallow DOF (the image I posed earlier was taken on the Nokton), The Summilux is great for a "dreamy" look but less sharp and less contrast than the Summicron until f5.6 then it is superior to the Summicron.

No amount of processing will change the way a lens render. Although processing can improve contrast, colour saturation etc. - it won't change bokeh for example (unless of course we go beyond processing into actual image manipulation using layers, masks and filters).

So when I pick a lens to shoot with, I actually plan the shoot around the lens. I look for images and compositions that will suit the lens. Alternatively, if I know the subject, I choose the best lens that is appropriate for the image. I do this instinctively - I can pretty much visualise in my mind how the image would look like on each lens without even taking a shot. I can do this because I have taken thousands of shots with the lenses - I know them really well. I generally also choose the aperture before I even take the shot - again, through experience, I know what the DOF will be, and the bokeh characteristics I want. For lenses that focus shift (the Zeiss Sonnar is a classic example which is why I didn't like it) preselecting the aperture before focusing is really important.

Again, I am not saying there is a right or wrong. The way I shoot reflects my philosophy, my creative objectives, and where I am in my journey. I mentioned a friend of mine who is very different - she is equally valid in her approach - I value the result she gets but that's not my journey.
03-22-2013, 01:36 PM   #52
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Here's some images to show the differences in rendering between lenses. Earlier I showed an example of a macro shot taken with the Nokton - the "swirliness" in the bokeh is characteristic of the Nokton (which by the way is very similar to the Noctilux - I've taken the same images using the Noctilux and Nokton - and I can't tell them apart except the Nokton is possibly slightly sharper - which is why I ended up buying the Nokton).

This image on the other hand is classic Summicron - taken last Sun. The Summicron is famous for amazing colour rendition, contrast even in dim light and a creamy bokeh (especially when slightly stopped down - I think I used f2.8 for this image):


The Zeiss Planar on the other gives a more documentary straightforward render. Indeed, that seems to be a typical Zeiss characteristic - the boathouse photo for example was taken on a Zeiss Biogon 25mm (the image is super sharp even at the pixel level - Zeiss claims this is the sharpest lens they have ever made). In this example, the Planar has captured the shadows in the photo beautifully and accurately, without over-exposing the fan (incidentally, I like how the image looks like the little girl is starting at a reflection of herself in the "mirror" but it's actually artwork on a fan):


For an image on the Summilux, this is an representative example. The only sharp object in the photo is the pink petal and yellow stem in the centre - this is intentional as I was trying to see what the bokeh is like at f1.4. Notice how "different" the bokeh looks compared to the Summicron and Nokton - it has a dreamy almost ethereal quality to it that Summilux is famous for.


03-22-2013, 01:48 PM   #53
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And, simply because I can't resist showing off the Summicron, is another rendition of the "first sign of autumn" leaves - this is cropped and slightly processed to improve contrast - just to show how lovely the colour rendition is - the Summicron has an amazing ability to bring out all the subtle variation in colours in the leaf - if you look closely almost the entire rainbow is represented in that one leaf - there is NO colour processing in this photo, this is actually what the lens captured:
03-23-2013, 03:05 AM   #54
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All very nice images, Chris. You really should stop tempting me from becoming a 50 freak again. I thought I had exorcised those demons!

I've shot a Summar 50/1.5 uncoated LTM that was very dreamy, but increasing contrast quite a lot amazingly brought things much closer to a modern lens rendition than one would probably think. Otherwise I've shot with Canon FD 50/1.4, and a 50/1.8, also LTM. I was shooting an M3.

Out of curiosity, what body are you using your M lenses on?
03-23-2013, 04:52 AM   #55
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GET IT "RIGHT" IN CAMERA

This simple little phrase has made me think a bit about how I actually
use my camera and why I use it the way I do.

First of all let me say I'm an ancient old fart. My love of photography
goes back to the mid 1950s. While I can't say I'm a good photographer I
do think it's fair to say I'm a serious photographer. Photography for
the last 60 years or so have been, off and on, an important part of my
creative life. For you gear heads out there my first serious cameras
were a Nikon S2 rangefinder and a Rollie TLR - that should date me
pretty well.

One thing that has been consistent from the Nikon rangefinder to my
present digital Pentax K5. I love gear that gets out of my way and
allows me to concentrate on the task at hand, capturing an image, and
anything that interferes with this process I despise. I point this out
because, at least indirectly, it strongly effects my present approach to
photography.

Moving on...

In my ideal photographic world there are only two things I want to be
concerned with at the time of capture:

1. What the hell to point the camera at (composition)
2. When to press the shutter release.

Yea, I know, it sounds a lot like PS and it is except it implies an
intense concentration on the scene at hand, "visualization"?, that is
usually missing from the typical PS snapshot. Also you are using better
gear and these two factors together makes all the difference. All other
considerations at this point are just static and background noise as far
as I'm concerned. I do need to be more concerned with exposure than I
would like but this is primarily because cameras still do not include a
ETTR metering mode but that's another issue for another thread.

So...

I always shot in RAW. For me the ability to shot in RAW has been,
perhaps, the most liberating advance in photography since I started the
hobby.

When I'm out in the field actually taking shots I'm no longer burdened
with trying to get a damn camera to, rather crudely, control
tone, levels, contrast, color balance etc. In fact I'm not even really
capturing an image but rather the maximum amount of editable data
commensurate with the particular scene and the sensor I happen to be
using at the time. A RAW file is not a final image just a potential
image and the creation of that final image is put right where it should
be - at the back end of the process where you have the time and power of
advanced software to get that data to do what you want it to do and not
out in the field which is, in my opinion exactly the wrong place for
such considerations.

For me the final image is just a work in progress. I find myself
constantly going back to 5 or 6 year old files to see what I can do with
them now that I have some time to give them more consideration. In fact
I spend more time on simply evaluating my RAW files than I do on either
capturing or processing them - what should and can this file be made
into?

So at the end of the day for me at least...

"Get it right in the camera" is just another one of those
thought-terminating clichés that has no relevance to how I work.

One man's opinion and only opinion.

Last edited by wildman; 03-23-2013 at 11:08 PM.
03-23-2013, 06:32 AM   #56
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I like it, Wildman. Not only do I like your desire to focus more on what
you're capturing rather than how, but also your approach to posting
sensible line lengths on this forum. I'll copy that . . . starting now

Since you've laid out your style of shooting pretty plainly, I'll follow.

I've shot a lot of different gear. A lot of film. Black and White, chromes,
negatives. Scanning taught me the importance of exposure perhaps
more than anything.

The various gear makes me appreciate both simplicity (much of it
wasn't), and, like you Wildman, the ability to get the details out of my
way.

What do I mean by "the details out of my way"? This: Have the camera
set so that I know that I'm not going to get a wonky exposure. No
blown highlights, ever. Unfortunately, this does mean work on my part.
I have to use the in-camera meter skillfully, because although I won't
accept blown highlights, I don't accept pulling them down more than
necessary.

So, in practice, I first find the shot that I want, compose, meter the
highlights, set exposure to put the highlights where they go, on the
right. Shoot.

But after that I don't just move on. Of course not. I lower my camera ( I
don't use a tripod too often) and look at the scene again. I don't know
why, but sometimes it hits me that a different composition would perhaps
be better. So I usually shoot it a second, third, and fourth time. If the
scene is really compelling, I may shoot it ten times or more. Why not?
A lot of times the first exposure is the best, but far from always.

It's just a workflow. Once you've got your workflow down, you've got your
workflow down. And when it's down, you're free to do art (or try real hard
anyway).

At least that's the story I'm stickin' to for now

Last edited by brntoki; 03-23-2013 at 07:07 AM.
03-23-2013, 08:59 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Rupert dude, you made her feet look big, and you colour balances are different.... still very cute shots...
Thanks Norm, she is a cutie, and I agree....cute shots!

I have been reading every post here, there are many worthy and interesting viewpoints, and I agree with most of them to a large extent. However, I do think we lose some sight of reality for what matters most, most of the time. Few of us are ever going to be technically or artistically perfect, I see tons of great shots here all the time, few are perfect.

My own "Surprise" is that they don't have to be! Unless you are a paid shooter, making your living seeking perfection, the basics will get the job done almost every time. We all know the basics, and just getting close is going to work for what we do most....and what do we do most?
*Shoot for our own satisfaction and entertainment
*Shoot to post on our websites or to post here for our fellow shooters to view, and hopefully enjoy

*Shoot for the benefit of others, delivering to them "memories" that can last a lifetime.

That last one is mainly why I shoot. I want to do the best I can, but never let perfection stand in my way. Some may attain it, but I never will, and I don't have to! When I delivered the shots above to Ava's old Granny, her eyes lit up and whatever flaws were there disappeared like magic! Feet too big? You could show that shot to a thousand Grannies, and not a single one would ever notice it, I guarantee! So what I am saying, is don't let perfection rob you of the joy in shooting, just get the basics as close as you can, always looking for ways to improve your skills, including the fantastic world of post processing we have available (As Norm so wisely pointed out) and have a little fun! Or, as in my case, a lot of fun!
Regards!

Lots of fun!, ......here's what I' talkin' 'bout!

Flaws aplenty...but Granny didn't see a one!
[IMG] [/IMG]
03-23-2013, 11:43 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by brntoki Quote
Out of curiosity, what body are you using your M lenses on?
Believe it or not, most (I think) of those photos were taken on a very cheap body - NEX-F3.

Because of my failing eyesight, I can't use rangefinders anymore. I realised that when it took minutes for me to focus properly in low light conditions on an M9.

I was set to buy a Leica M, but from what I read I don't think it's the camera for me.

Currently waiting for Sony to release a full frame NEX.

Old lenses can sometimes have spectacular results with some processing, for example, here are some pictures taken on an old Super Takumar 55 that someone gave to me:






03-23-2013, 02:41 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
*Shoot for the benefit of others, delivering to them "memories" that can last a lifetime. That last one is mainly why I shoot. I want to do the best I can, but never let perfection stand in my way. Some may attain it, but I never will, and I don't have to! When I delivered the shots above to Ava's old Granny, her eyes lit up and whatever flaws were there disappeared like magic!
Spot on.
Unlike you it took me a long time to figure out how important "household" photography can be.

About three years ago I sent out a email asking the rest of my extended family to send me any pictures they may want me to commit to digital. Among the shots I received was a shot of my Uncle helping me put together a bicycle he had given me. Back in the forties he was sort of a ersatz big brother or father to me. We lived in a tough neighborhood then and he protected me from the bullies and taught me how to defend myself.
He went MIA at the Battle of Unsan during the Korean War so we have hardly any photos of him now and this photo was the only one of the two of us together and is priceless to me.

Good photography is a much a matter of heart as it is of technique and gear.

Keep up the good work.
03-23-2013, 09:55 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Good photography is a much a matter of heart as it is of technique and gear.
Wildman, Some "get it" and some never will. Some are more interested in FF talk, perfection as an end result, bantering over the pros and cons of this or that, or in general, the "social media" aspect of photography, where talk is king and photos get lost in the conversation.
So good to see that you "get it".....you are not alone, many of us get it. Just guessing...that photo of you and your uncle wasn't a work of art or technically excellent, was it? Didn't have to be did it!

Before someone gets me all wrong and goes gunning for old Rupert, I dearly enjoy all these conversations about excellence, and they are meaningful, have value, are instructional, and whether you "get it" or not, I would miss them if they disappeared.
I just wanted to put in a few words on behalf of the "Grannies of the World" that don't see many of the flaws and mistakes we make, they just see a memory to hold in their hands and view with their eyes.

Regards!
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