Monday, February 21, 2005
Mostly slush and rain today. But the snow and rain-soaked trees
were a good chance to play with digital
exposure techniques. With all the snow, the 18% gray thought
process of the camera wants, as they always do, to put the snow at
middle gray. The argument to be careful not to blow the
highlights with digital is true, but as has been written about in
Photoshop RAW and other places, you also don't want to blow the amount
of data in the shadow.
This was shot after a few test shots to push
the histogram over to the right side, but without clipping the
highlights. When I was looking at it in camera raw, there was
texture in the snow, but I decided to push it off the cliff to the
right for artistic purposes. Lots of texture in the shadows.
I've been thinking of writing a description of a print, from start to
finish. What I was trying to capture. Camera
settings. Various filters used. Sharpening. IMAGEPrint
settings. Various level tweaking. The whole shabang. It seems
daunting. How Ansel Adams managed to do this for 40 prints, I
have no idea.
In the rain and snow. Schurz Park.
Pictorialist Redeux, Wheel
I used to feel guilty
about the retouching (manipulation) I was doing on some of these digital photographs,
but I see that a form of retouching goes back to the beginning of
photography. I don't know where I read this, but there is a story
about an ancient photographer who, rather than remove black dots in the
sky by retouching them, would just stick two lines on them and make them
And the use of cloud plates to fill in blank skies goes back
forever. And I guess what clinched it for me was all these visits
to the Met. Those damned painters, even the impressionists, felt
free to put birds anywhere they'd help in the picture. This is
just another form of the montages I was doing. If you feel the
slush could use a couple of cigarette butts, go to the collection of
cigarette butts and stick one in. Sky a bit boring, put a bird in it.
Photography began by emulating painters. They were called
pictorialists. Then came groups like the group F64 (for deep
focus) with Ansel Adams leading the charge, for a pure
photography. They were the anti-pictorialists. But I thought the pictorialists made some damned
good pictures. They'd put billowing scarves in front of the
camera, use glass with various translucent stuff on it in front of the
lens; double exposures to give a ghostly effect; and they were happy to scrub the actual print with various chemicals to
achieve the look they wanted. They were just early Photoshop
Writing about the photographs in the blog, I'm torn now about saying
how they were created. It may be interesting to
photographers, but it also may ruin the viewing experience for
others. You know, the magicians have a code about not revealing
how tricks are done. And yet, every once in a while they do, and
it is almost always a let-down. Oh - that's how it's done.
Many of the "naturalistic" looking images have at the very least been
subject to some masking techniques. This bike wheel had a bit of
burning on the sludge on the wheel. And some of the most
distorted images, may have had just some level adjustments made.
So I'm trying to keep a balance between mystery and
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3/7/2005; 11:45:07 AM.