I thought that I would take one of the “dead flowers” pictures a little further. That was about the extent of my labor on this Labor Day holiday. Oh, we did other stuff. I’ll share some of that later when all the “I’s” are dotted and the “T’s” are crossed.
This picture. The basic file is a pretty good by itself. Then I took it a little further. I do that a lot. No reason not to. Pictures don’t just come out of the camera exactly as you intend. When some photographers say things like, “This picture was not Photoshopped in any way, ” I start wondering why. Why would anybody care? I don’t know about you, but I really only care about the end result. Getting there is the photographer’s business.
First, with the exception of about three or four cameras, the technology used to produce the image creates a slight softness. There is a filter that keeps certain patterns from creating a moire effect on the file. The pictures have to be sharpened slightly to remove the by-product of the filter.
Second, if you shoot in JPEG and use a picture right from the camera, it has already been “Photoshopped” in the camera. Of course, Photoshopping has become a general term for post production work sort of like Kleenex is a general term for a tissue. That’s one great argument for shooting RAW images and working on the picture in some kind of post production software. You control what the final picture looks like.
Third, most people who look at pictures today might not know many photographers’ names, but they do know Ansel Adams’ name. He is probably as iconic as they come. Not only did he want his pictures to look like his mind’s eye saw them when he took them, but he created an entire system to do that. The Zone System. It began with making a proper exposure in the field, developing the film and making the print. That’s a real simple outline of what he did. In order to read about it, you have to work your way through three — admittedly small — books. It isn’t all that complicated, but it takes time to learn about it. It takes even more time to do it. And, you have to be precise. How many “digital” photographers are precise?
Fourth, a lot of photographic thinkers are saying that with the advent of the digital age, everybody can take pictures. Few can make them. Those who do make them are using all available technology to take the pictures they make way beyond the what is considered to be the norm.
And, why not?
Think about how pictures were made in the early to mid 1800s. Think about how the photographs evolved as the technology evolved. This particular art is wound around the technology. It always was. It always will be.
There’s more. There always is. That’s enough for today.
Oh, one more thing. All that I’ve just written is fine for every picture other than photojournalism or documentary. Those genres must not be tampered with, other than a little sharpening and what those practitioners call toning.